“What’s wrong with her face?”
That’s the first thing people ask Katie Crenshaw when they see her 7-month-old daughter, Charlie. So the Atlanta, Georgia–based mom decided to take a stand, penning a powerful post on her blog, Twelve & Six, about what it is like to deal with the negativity.
“My infant daughter, Charlie Kate, has a large ‘birthmark’ on her face called a capillary hemangioma,” Crenshaw wrote. “To be specific, it’s about 5cm x 6cm.”
A capillary hemangioma is a benign vascular tumor that can range in size and shape. Sometimes they are referred to as “strawberries.”
“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,” Crenshaw shared. “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.”
Though Crenshaw and her husband Tyler, 25, — who are also the parents of son Grayson, 6 — have developed a thick skin, some remarks sting more than others.
“The worst thing is when someone says, ‘She’s pretty, otherwise,’” the 29-year-old tells Us Weekly. “People are pitying something that makes her unique. People are praying away one of her defining characteristics.”
The blogger refuses to retouch Charlie’s hemangioma in the Instagram pictures she posts.
“Regardless of how Charlie’s face changes as she ages, this is the way she was as an infant at least,” Crenshaw explains to Us. “There is no reason to alter photos to make her someone she isn’t. She is my daughter and I am proud.”
Since the baby was 6 weeks old, she has taken a beta-blocker that has been approved to treat the condition. According to Crenshaw, Charlie doesn’t have any pain and isn’t aware the mark is there.
“When Charlie is older, I will teach her that a birthmark is irrelevant to who she is as a human being,” says Crenshaw. “Strong is beautiful. Kind is beautiful. More importantly, individuality is beautiful.”
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