Charlie Crenshaw is six months old and lives with her mom, dad, and older brother in Atlanta, GA. Her mom, Katie, posts tons of pictures of her kids and writes a blog called Twelve and Six. Charlie is your typical cute, happy, bubbly little girl, who just happens to have a (not even that unusual) birthmark on her face.
Recently, Crenshaw got a little tired of all the comments from people on her blog and Instagram saying how sorry they were about how she looked, worrying about the little girl's health, and even going so far as suggesting that Crenshaw turn her daughter's head in photos to only show her "good side."
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Crenshaw said the comments were annoying because “it was the only thing anyone wanted to talk about anymore. We had moved on and just wanted to talk about normal baby things."
First, Hemangioma 101. A capillary hemangioma is a vascular tumor that can range in size and shape. It’s a birthmark, essentially. Sometimes they are referred to as “strawberries”. Hemangiomas are a defect that occurs extremely early in pregnancy when the vascular system is developing. There is no known cause or prevention. . . . 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.
She goes on:
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.
Crenshaw told BuzzFeed that she hopes sharing Charlie’s story will help “normalize ‘differences’ in appearances.” She ended her blog post by writing:
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.