Lost Smile



Vanity dribbles

Mirror shows beast created

Pregnant, reliant on straws

Can you find the middle line?

Meet the Bells Beast

The Beast Palsy

Prised eye views world always

tape it down

tape down tears with sneering patch

Overcompensating with a sly wink

You’re on the wonk

You ARE a sore sight!!


Anesthetized and cut at 39 weeks

baby boy greeted with leer

ARHHHHH!! Pirate Mummy

No smiles, not yet for
my newborn

We both don’t blink

and try out muscles.

I manipulate,

massage nerves on strike

You try to perfect an ooo and route with your tongue

Probing beyond the shark’s eyes.

We rely on instinct

Doctor prescribes time


Branflake lady takes pity

with two boxes daily

‘Symmetry is the key’

‘Symmetry is the key’

Of course she is right

she is also lucky left.

We practice her wisdom.


A month later

A small twitch on the lips

Delayed Joy

We give each other our first smiles.


My Bells Palsy struck me when I was 38 weeks pregnant. It started with a watery eye during the day and then tea dribbling down my chin, for some reason my lips wouldn’t grip the cup.  A mirror soon revealed what had happened. A Stroke was ruled out, Bells Palsy confirmed. Steroids were an absolute no no because of the pregnancy. It was a case of wait and see what sort of recovery I might have. I was lucky, four weeks later a twitch and then slow but gradual healing.

7 years on, and the face still gets a bit confused when I’m tired. The nerves haven’t quite knitted back together in the correct places. When I yawn one eye closes.  The muscles still feel a little bit sore in the cheeks and have to massage the cheekbone and the muscles in my neck. My eye still dribbles in the wind.

Above is the link to the article about Bell’s palsy: Facing the TV cameras with half a smile,
which made me hunt out some words I had written when I had been struck down.

Bells Palsy at 39 weeks pregnant 2005.


9 responses »

  1. Caff-this made me cry. You were so stoical about it all, just shows what incredible strength you have, I am in awe. Love you x (just read it to Evan and cried again). Thanks you for sharing this poem and picture.

    • Polly you are a crazy lady!!
      I was so lucky, have met some sufferers that have had to have surgery and one friend who has had it four times. I will certainly try to follow John Sudworth, because it is rare to hear it mentioned or documented in the media.

      • Totally agree your comments 😀

        Keep me in the loop with new stuff from Mr Sudworth on the topic ~ I’m following too many peeps already, but if there’s anything like his recent post I’d be interested.

  2. hello you – that must have been horrible – my friend’s daughter has it; she is 31, and her baby is now almost a year. She still has a bit of a lop-sided face, but luckily the baby, she says, is more than worth it xxxxx She looked really frozen on one side for months – very strange, although we all knew what it was. love and hugs xxxx

  3. Fingers crossed your friends daughter keeps on healing.Did she also get it latter stages of pregnancy? I was so lucky to be in the John Radcliffe, Oxford when I was experiencing mine. They sent a special physio to see me who gave me exercises and massage to do. Previously I’d only been using my good side. I was told I had to focus on eating and drinking in the middle, no matter how hard it was and constantly looking in a mirror. Night time feeding was always funny, sitting in the dark doing the exercises. Makes me think of some of our warmups in singing!!
    and Yes the Baby is definitely makes up for it!! xx

  4. Hi Catherine, just read this, had no idea this could happen. You are amazing! and this will help other people going through it. You are such a positive person! Must of been a really hard time though. xxxx

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