Mary was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate and has an unrelated genetic condition, skeletal dysplasia. Mary is a graduate and has followed a career in education as a teacher, and she has an interest in science, travelling and crafts.
Mary was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate and has an unrelated genetic condition, skeletal dysplasia that has restricted her growth.
Mary’s mother was not able to breastfeed her daughter at birth. Mary’s mother fed her by having a special plate put into her mouth and she was then spoon-fed milk. Mary feels that her mother would not have been well-supported having a cleft child born in the 1970s. Mary was one of six children and felt well-supported at home where there was an emphasis on reading, music and the arts.
Mary had her palate repaired over the course of a few operations in her early childhood and she remembers spending a lot of time in hospital throughout her childhood having various operations on her palate and nose. Mary also received speech therapy until she was about 7 or 8 years old.
Mary went to a co-educational primary school up to 11 years of age and was then sent to an all-girls Catholic secondary school until she was 16. Mary then went to a college of further education between 16 and 18 years. At puberty Mary became more aware of the way she looked but she was not aware of being bullied at school. Mary had to take quite a lot of time out of school to attend hospital appointments and to undergo and recover from orthodontic surgery. However, there came a point when Mary decided she did not want further surgery as she was content with her looks and she could function well.
Although having treatment for a cleft has been challenging for Mary it has not impacted on her educational achievements. Mary is a graduate and has followed a career in education as a teacher. Mary also has an interest in science, travelling and crafts.