What’s that on her face? It might sound rude, but it’s the question that Katie Crenshaw hears time and time again.
But instead of shying away and only photographing her daughter from her ‘good’ side – Katie isn’t ashamed to share photos of baby Charlie’s birthmark on Instagram because “it’s a part of her unique beauty”. We couldn’t agree more.
The capillary hemangioma (known commonly as a strawberry mark) on Charlie’s right cheek is about 5cm x 6cm and is a defect that occurred early on in Katie’s pregnancy when the baby’s vascular system was developing.
Doctors have said the birthmark is cosmetic, but she is taking daily medication to prevent it from growing any larger and potentially blocking her vision.
“Her entire face is my sweet Charlie, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like,” Katie wrote on her blog, Twelve and Six.
“Hold the pity. She’s a healthy baby girl and we are blessed. Her hemangioma is just as insignificant to who she is as a freckle on her arm. You don’t need to mention it, and you don’t need to wish it away.”
Most strawberry birthmarks fade by around the age of 1 and may disappear entirely eventually.
But in the meantime, Katie is keen to “see past the colour of her face” and talk about something else.
“It may never disappear, and guess what? It doesn’t have to. I would much rather chat about her latest milestone achievement, her amazing smile, or how gorgeous her eyes are,” she added.
“We don’t need to talk about it every time you look at her. We see past the colour of her face. Charlie is Charlie and it’s part of who she is. It doesn’t need to be constantly commented on, critiqued, or questioned.”
Katie is happy to answer questions – but hopes the stares stop before Charlie is old enough to notice.
“I don’t get angry about brief stares. I understand that it’s human nature to do a double take when you see something about someone that makes them different,” she wrote.
“Pray that constant comments and opinions from friends, family and strangers will end before she’s old enough to overhear them,” said Katie. “Pray that she will be a strong person in an age where we are bullied for any number of reasons.”