For those of you who have been readers of this blog from the beginning, you know I have a daughter with a facial birthmark. She’s actually the inspiration behind “Use Your Wisdom.” You may read the section “About Use Your Wisdom” for the story on how my blog came to be.

My daughter’s birthmark is on her lower lip and upper chin. It is called a Strawberry Hemangioma and is very common. They appear shortly after birth and go through a process of development before eventually involuting and going away. Before my experience with my daughter, I never paid much attention to birthmarks. I also didn’t realize the negative stigma that has accompanied them for centuries. As an avid reader, I often find references to birthmarks I wouldn’t have noticed had I not shared this journey with Olivia. It’s amazing to me how often a villian’s face is marked or pitted in some way. There was one book that referred to the villian as having the nickname berry face. In another novel, a pregnant woman was worried her child would be born with a “red mark” because a loved one had died close to the birth of the child. Other references involve misfits or presumed predators who are/were marked in some way.

I know many of the negative references to birthmarks were a result of the mystery surrounding their occurance. To a large extent, we still don’t know for sure why they happen. The debate over how/why they form and whether or not there is a genetic tie rages on. When I read books or see movies where the ‘bad person’ is marked in some way, my heart breaks a bit. I’ll admit, my daughter is naughty at times. If I leave my purse on the floor she is more than likely to snag my money and debit card. At 11 months, she is already showing affinity for the almighty dollar. I’d hardly peg her a villian, however. Heck, with all of the money that ends up in her mouth I figure she’ll be made of money by the time she’s 5 and will never have a need to steal.

As I write this blog, I have to admit I often wonder what people think when they see Olivia. What reasons pop into their heads to explain her birthmark. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just that I often see the wheels spinning in people’s minds and am curious to know what they’ve come up with. The only ones that bother me anymore are those who worry I’ve allowed her to be hurt in some way (or worse, inflicted the hurt). Sometimes I don’t have to wonder at all as perfect strangers are willing to offer their unsolicited opinion. Let’s see, I’ve heard she must have a nut allergy, she’s eaten too much fruit, she has a cancor sore that is out of control…the list goes on. I’m sure it will continue to grow.

I decided to write this particular blog today because it has been a while since I openly discussed by daughter’s hemangioma. I think it is important to do from time to time just to give everyone a chance to broaden their knowledge a bit and be more aware. Awareness helps everyone. A woman and her son, who I’ve come to know through various channels, have written a fabulous children’s book about birthmarks. I’m actually going to link it to my blog for those with any interest. The book is called “Buddy Booby’s Birthmark”. It’s about a Booby bird in the Galapagos Islands who is born with a birthmark. It tells the story of how the world greeted him and all of the questions they faced. Donna’s son Evan was the inspiration for the book when he remarked at a young age that none of the characters in the books he read had a birthmark like him. Donna and Evan decided to do something about that and wrote a story together. I’ve purchased several for my local libraries. It’s great to have a book on the shelves where a character who isn’t a villian or an evil force of some sort has a birthmark.

Thanks for reading.

3 Responses to “Birthmarks”

  1. beth says:

    Good information, sweetly offered and I do agree with broadening people’s horizons. You have a very good head on your shoulders.

    My son and daughter had small birthmarks similar to what you described, only my daughter’was on her pinky finger’s first knuckle and my sons was on his scalp but small as well. They faded I guess around 2 or so.

    People are very strange, aren’t they?

  2. lisa says:

    They really are quite common. I guess that’s why I was surprised I knew so little about them and that so few others are aware of what they are. Olivia’s is somewhat large and quite noticeable. It really doesn’t bother me that people wonder. The red startles them, I’m sure. Kids are always worried she’s suffered a boo-boo.

  3. Holly (hpsnowgirl) says:

    How ridiculous that someone commented about Livvy having a canker sore! I admire how well you handle so many of these situations. Olivia is a beautiful and sweet girl. I think it’s so sad that some would see her birthmark before seeing her. They are really missing out, aren’t they?

    I am very interested in that book. What a wonderful idea for a children’s book! I will most defintely look around for it. Thanks for the recommendation.