‘I Was Afraid I Was Going to Lose Her’

Becoming a new mother is challenging at the best of times, but Fatima, mother to one-month-old Janat, feared her daughter was about to die. Janat was born with a cleft lip and palate and Fatima not knowing where to turn was overcome with worry.

Janat was losing weight. Every time Fatima tried to feed her, she spluttered and choked on the milk. The hungry cries of her starving daughter broke Fatima’s heart. Janat could only slowly drink three ounces of feed over the course of a day, no-where near enough for a growing child. Each attempt to feed her brought more heartache.

Luckily, Fatima was seen by an Operation Smile dental team who arranged for her and Janat to be transported to our care centre in the city of Oudja. By this time Janat had lost nearly half of her birth weight and medical volunteers immediately identified Janat as at risk of dying.

Experts from the team were able to feed Janat with a special feeding plate. Rather than choking, with milk spilling from her nose, Janat hungrily drank three ounces with ease. ‘I was so happy. I was so relieved,’ said Fatima, ‘…I’ve never seen kind hearts like you before.’ Words that travel through our volunteers to you, as without you Janat would very likely have died.

Operation Smile will continue to support Fatima and Janat. Able to get the milk she needs to survive, Fatima will now be able to build up Janat’s strength for surgery to correct her cleft conditions. Although their journey is not over yet, we look forward to Janat growing into a happy and healthy child.