A baby boy covered in thick black hair is the latest member of the ‘Werewolf Family’ in India.
But new mother Manisha Sambhaji Raut, 22, from Sangli, near Pune, in central India, is heartbroken that her son has inherited the same genetic condition that has blighted the life of her and her two sisters Savita, 30, and Savitri, 19.
She said: ‘I always felt disgusted when I saw myself in the mirror and now I wonder how my child will cope with the same trauma.
‘My sisters and I were always teased and often nicknamed ghost, bear and monkey. To know my son will also go through the pain and suffering I went through breaks my heart.’
The five-month-old baby boy, yet to be named, has inherited a rare gene which has been passed down from Manisha’s father.
Werewolf Syndrome, otherwise known as hypertrichosis universalis, is a genetic mutation and there is no cure. It is an extremely rare condition found only in one in a billion people.
‘he is my baby and I will love him unconditionally.’
Manisha and her husband Vithal, 30, who runs a small sweets stall, had an arranged marriage on May 25, last year, and are now overjoyed at becoming parents but Manisha’s mother-in-law is devastated her grandson has the Werewolf Syndrome.
‘My husband is very supportive and loves his son but my mother-in–law is not happy,’ Manisha said. ‘She keeps moaning that he is not good or a beautiful baby. She says he is ugly and looks like a monkey. I feel angry and hurt but there is nothing I can do.’
Manisha and her two sisters, Savita, 30 and Savitri, 19, hit international headlines in 2012.
Since then, they met with doctors and found a hair removal crème to use every four days to remove their heavy facial hair.
‘My mother-in-law has already forced me to apply the same crème on my son’
Manisha’s mother, Anita Sambhaji Raut, 48, believes the disorder has been passed on from her late husband, Sambhaji Laxman Raut, who she was forced to marry at the age of 12 and died in 2007. Anita has six daughters and three were born with the condition and now she has to watch her grandchildren live with the condition too.
In May 2012, Manisha’s older sister, Savita, got married and then in October 2013 gave birth to her first daughter, Riya, who was also born with the condition.
She is now almost three-years-old and while her hair continues to grow Savita admits she applies the hair removal cream.
Anita said: ‘I have seen many members of my family suffer this condition now and it breaks my heart. The cream is all they have to try and look normal but it is a very smelly cream.’
‘I adore my new grandson no matter what he looks like.’
Manisha is now determined to ensure her son has a happy childhood and will not be bullied like she and her sisters were.
‘My only wish is that my child will grow up like a normal child,’ she said. ‘I hope he gets accepted into a school and has all the opportunities other children have. I don’t want him to suffer like me and my sisters. We lived a difficult childhood and we were locked away because people couldn’t cope with the way we looked. I can only hope people will be different and kinder towards my son.’