‘My daughter is more than just the mark on her face’

By Litaletu Zidepa
09 March 2016

Little Charlie has a glorious smile, beautiful big blue eyes and adorable chubby cheeks. But when people meet her, their first response is often, “What’s wrong with her face?”

The six-month-old was born with a capillary hemangioma or “strawberry birthmark” on her face, the blemish being about 5 cm wide and 6 cm long. It’s a benign tumour consisting of an abnormal overgrowth of tiny blood vessels.

Charlie’s mom, Katie Mullis Crenshaw, is tackling the stigma attached to her daughter’s birthmark one beautiful Instagram picture at a time "I’d like to normalise 'differences' in appearances," the proud mom says.

A photo posted by k a t i e • c r e n s h a w (@katiemcrenshaw) on

Katie, who’s also a Huffington Post blogger, says she’s had people telling her to turn Charlie “to her good side” or things like, “I’m praying that it goes away” or “bless her little poor heart.” Read more: Baby conceived on Valentine’s Day born with heart-shaped birthmark on forehead In a blog post Katie says Charlie’s birthmark is the first thing people notice and comment on.

Good morning bright eyes! . . . #liveauthentic #momlife #love #thatsdarling #abm #joy #clickinmoms #mommyblogger

A photo posted by k a t i e • c r e n s h a w (@katiemcrenshaw) on

“I try daily to remind myself that most humans are kind and well-intentioned. 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.” But Katie want people to understand that her daughter is more than just the mark on her face.

A day in the sixties.

A photo posted by k a t i e • c r e n s h a w (@katiemcrenshaw) on

“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.”

The mother wrote that she’d much rather talk about Charlie’s amazing smile or how gorgeous her big blue eyes are.

Read more: Baby girl nearly died from a birthmark that was actually choking her "Her personality is dynamic," she told HuffPost Parents. "Everyone she meets comments on her piercing eyes, or that she seems like an old soul that understands much more than we think. She’s extremely motivated and is already crawling and trying to stand." According to MailOnline, it’s not known what causes or can prevent capillary hemangioma, and the blemishes may disappear as the child gets older.

According to aapos.org, “Capillary hemangiomas may not be present at birth, but appear within the first 6 months of life. They usually begin to decrease in size between 12 and 15 months of age.”

Strawberry birthmarks are said to be more common in premature babies and girls. Parents are advised to monitor the marks to ensure that they don’t grow to interfere with vision or breathing. Katie, who also has an older son called Grayson (6), told HuffPost Parents that her daughter has seen specialists and takes daily medication to ensure the birthmark doesn’t grow any larger or obstruct her vision.

When your brother jumps in the pic like...#willybeanco #adenandanais #sophie

A photo posted by k a t i e • c r e n s h a w (@katiemcrenshaw) on

Katie revealed that she was bullied as a child and would like to protect Charlie from the same fate.

"As a child, I was bullied, and I had nothing wrong with me. I think to protect our children from bullies we should instil confidence and values in who they are, the way they were made," she explained.

“Her entire face is my sweet Charlie, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like,” she says.

Sources: AAPOS, Daily Mail, HuffPost Parents, Twelve and Six

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