One aspect of our clubfoot journey that's made me the most apprehensive is how strangers would react to Peter's casts (and later, his boots and bar). I've heard some horror stories from other clubfoot moms about strangers asking them why they broke their baby's legs, or who dropped their baby, and so on.
So far, I haven't had any negative comments. Most people, when they see his casts, just ask what happened in a concerned, non-accusatory manner. Some just ignore them completely, although I can tell they're curious. (In that case, either Collin or I will take the imitative and tell them he was born with clubbed feet.)
At William's first T-ball practice the other night, a lady started playing with his toes. I was a little weirded out by it but didn't say anything. When she realized what she was doing, she apologized and said she was a nurse, and it was an autopilot reaction -- she was making sure the casts weren't cutting off his circulation!
Something I wasn't expecting was to have a very positive encounter, but that's exactly what happened a few days ago.
Collin and I went to the mall so he could get his iPhone checked out at the Apple store. Afterwards, we were sitting on a bench and I was nursing Peter. I was wearing a nursing cover but his little legs, in their plaster casts, were sticking out.
A woman, probably in her late fifties or early sixties, stopped in front of me and said, "Wow, that brings back memories." I thought she was referring to nursing and I just smiled, but then she continued, "My son wore casts on his legs too. Your baby was born with clubbed feet?"
My jaw dropped open for a second, but I recovered and answered, "Yes, he was!"
She told me that her son was born with clubbed feet about twenty-five years ago, and got his first casts when he was several weeks old. "But he's just fine now," she told me. "You'd never know anything had been wrong. He plays a lot of sports."
She was surprised when we told her that Peter had gotten his first casts when he was three days old, but saw the wisdom in starting early.
As she left, she said, "Hang in there! Soon all this treatment will be nothing but a memory. It really goes by so fast."
We didn't get her name, which I regret now, but it was a pleasant encounter to meet another mom who'd been there and gotten through it just fine.