“While I don’t mind educating curious minds, I don’t need your opinion on how it its [sic] progress or the affect it may have on her,” Katie, 29, wrote on January 12. “It’s a part of her unique beauty.”...
Charlie’s “birthmark,” which is about 5cm x 6cm large, is a capillary hemangioma. The benign tumor is made of an abnormal overgrowth of tiny blood vessels. The majority of capillary hemangiomas do not require treatment and are simply monitored for the development of vision problems, according to the American Association for Pediatric Opthalmology and Strabismus. The tumor is sometimes referred to as a “strawberry.”
The toddler does not have vision problems and sees a pediatric dermatologist who specializes in vascular anomalies and a pediatric ophthalmologist every 1 to 2 months, Katie wrote on March 7, in an updated FAQ in response to the viral media attention.
Since she was six weeks old, Charlie has taken a beta-blocker that’s been approved to treat hemangiomas by suppressing growth and initiating shrinking and fading. According to her mother, she doesn’t have any pain and doesn’t even know the mark is there.
In her original post, Katie, who lives with her family in the metro Atlanta area, asked supporters to, rather than pray the mark will disappear, pray that her daughter “grows into a confident girl who loves herself no matter what she looks like.”
“She doesn’t have a ‘good side’ that we choose for family pictures,” the mother-of-two wrote. “I don’t retouch her hemangioma in photos. Her entire face is my sweet Charlie, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like.”
My infant daughter, Charlie Kate has a large “birthmark” on her face called a capillary hemangioma. To be specific, it’s about 5cm x 6cm. It is usually the first thing people notice about her. I know, because it’s usually the first thing that people comment 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...
For us, any other complication were eliminated and Charlie’s hemangioma was deemed cosmetic. She is observed by her specialists to make sure it doesn’t ever obstruct her vision and she takes a daily medication to keep it from growing any larger. Most hemangiomas involute or disappear eventually.
I’ve gotten a variety of remarks from family, friends, and strangers. I’ve done some thinking and I want to share our perspective as parents.
We don’t need to talk about it every time you look at her. We see past the color 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. While I don’t mind educating curious minds, I don’t need your opinion on how it its progress or the affect it may have on her. It’s a part of her unique beauty. 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 isn’t in pain or ill. She simply has an unusual quality about her appearance. The most common sentiments are “I’m praying that it goes away.” Or “Bless her poor little heart.” I’m constantly being asked “When will that go away?” I’ve even heard things as harsh as “turn her to her good side” or “Too bad, she’s so pretty otherwise”.
I encourage you to, instead of praying it will disappear, pray that she grows into a confident girl who loves herself no matter what she looks like. Pray that constant comments and opinions from friends, family and strangers will end before she’s old enough to overhear them. Pray that she will be a strong person in the in an age where we are bullied for any number of reasons...
Just consider that. Consider that you are offering to pray away one of my daughter’s beautiful features that makes her who she is.
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.