Club feet is just one category of lower extremity birth defect. Within club feet there are variations in severity and also in what caused the condition. For instance, children can be born with bilateral or unilateral clubbed feet, with severe, moderate, or mild severity. There are also atypical club feet which are very difficult to treat. Om has bilateral club feet with moderate severity. The docs said it is an isolated (no other issues in Om) genetic problem. There was nothing we could do or could have done better (such as changing the diet etc). Om wasn't "cramped" inside me (he had plenty of room to kick the bejeezus out of his Mom).
Thus, I understand when people who hear about club feet for the first time say things like "Oh don't worry my cousin's friend's brother had this and he just wore special sandals and is totally fine now." How do they know it was club feet and not some other milder deformity that was easily fixed with special sandals? They don't, yet they are trying to be supportive and give us hope. So I listen. :-)
I also listened when my parents said that Om would "miracously" be healed in the womb due to prayer. They were convinced that club feet could be healed via intense prayer and that when Om was born we'd have a pleasant surprise. I knew in my heart that this would not be the case (I trust science too much) but I let them pray for my baby. They were just worried for their grandchild.
I listened when my mother in law conducted a puja (prayer) ceremony in her house in India and had a priest pray for the baby for several weeks after. Although I didn' t like the idea of the money spent, I didn't mind since she was just trying what she knew best.
What I don't listen to are when people say things like:
- "You didn't get enough vitamins. You should have eaten (insert random food here) so that your baby would have normal feet."
- "You didn't sleep in the correct position."
- "Malnutrition causes this."
- "You must have bent in an unusual position thus the baby's feet twisted inward."
- "You should have prayed more during the pregnancy."