Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Father to-be without a face fears how his children will turn out

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 19th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An Indian man, currently without a face - but rather folds of flesh, will soon be a proud father-to-be. However, the 32-year-old Mohammad Latif Khatana, who cannot see or work due to the severe creases on his face is now worried if his rare malady will be transferred to his progeny.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While happily married, strangers still spit on the road as he walks by, disgusted by his deformity.

Latif's wife is seven months pregnant, but he still harbors misgivings. "I cannot wait to be a father and have some happiness in my life. But I worry every day and pray my child is not born like me."

Living high in the mountains with his 25-year-old wife Salima, in Tuli Bana, in Jammu and Kashmir, Latif travels to Srinagar for four months out of the year to beg and find money.

Born with a small lump on his face, the lump continued to grow and form huge flaps across his face, making it impossible for him to see. "My mother still cries when she looks at me. She feels so much guilt and cannot understand why her youngest boy was cursed."

The youngest of two brothers and three sisters, he's the only child in his family suffering this condition.

He says that without his siblings, he would've lived a very lonely childhood without friends.

"Nobody wanted to play with me as a child," he added. "The boys in my village used to beat me and taunt me every day. I lost my left eye when I was eight years old and they used to call me one-eye freak."

Latif faces many struggles as an adult. While he is a strong man, with his failing eyesight and facial condition, no one will give him a job.

"I'd love to do an honest day's work like a normal man providing for his family. It would make me so proud, but no one will give me a chance. I have to beg and hope people take pity on me so that I can feed my family."

He sometimes earns 400 Rupees a day begging, but he's mindful of the many occasions when people spat on him as they walked past.

"Three young girls walked past me once and they spat at my feet and ran away with scarves covering their mouths. I was so embarrassed.

"I was shocked at how cruel they were. I felt very depressed for days. But I had to pick myself up and get on with it."

However -- four years ago, he finally met the love of his life. His parents had tried to find him a wife but no girl would come forward, until Latif heard about Salima.

"My wife has only one foot, and so for many years she struggled to meet a husband. As soon as we met we knew we were right for one another," he remembers. "We were both medically incomplete, we were a good match."

They married in a Muslim summer ceremony with 400 guests, in August 2008, and have been happy ever since.

"I feel very blessed to have met Salima, she is good for me.

"I feel a little normal now I have a wife, a little more complete than I did before. And now that she is pregnant with our first child I am even happier. No matter how I look I am a happy man right now."

Latif is in no pain and takes no medication, still worries his child will be born with the same facial condition.

He has had no luck with local doctors. He remembers that one local doctor told him "that my condition was due to a solar eclipse when my mother was pregnant with me. I don't know whether to believe him.

"And now there is so many veins going through my creases that surgery would be too dangerous. I have lost all hope of help.

"This is how I'll look forever."

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