1. This is 6-month-old Charlie Crenshaw. Charlie lives with her mom, dad, and older brother in the Atlanta area.
2. Charlie also happens to have a birthmark called a capillary hemangioma, her mom, Katie Crenshaw, told BuzzFeed News.
The birthmark is a benign vascular tumor, Crenshaw said. The mark is cosmetic, so it doesn’t do Charlie any harm, and she takes medication to ensure it doesn’t get bigger, Crenshaw wrote on her blog Twelve and Six.
“Most hemangiomas involute or disappear eventually,” she wrote.
4. The proud mom shares countless snaps and stories about Charlie’s many characteristics on her blog and Instagram account. But people kept asking her about Charlie’s birthmark.
Crenshaw said she and her husband were bothered 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,” she said.
6. She said the constant comments from family, friends, and strangers began to weigh on her.
“They were saying things like ‘poor baby’ and ‘praying that it goes away.’ Also we heard ‘turn her to her good side’ and ‘too bad she has that, she is so pretty otherwise,’” she said.
Crenshaw said she did some “soul-searching” and realized why the comments bothered her so much.
“I realized that it was because people were pitying something that just made her unique,” she said. “People were praying away one of her precious characteristics.”
8. So Crenshaw decided to write about the situation on her blog. Her post has since been featured on multiple media outlets.
9. In the post, called “What’s Wrong With Her Face,” Crenshaw wrote she wants everyone to “hold the pity”:
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.
I encourage you to look past it. What if I came up to you and loudly asked “What’s wrong with your baby’s weird ____ ?” Or, “I will pray for your child that her (genetically unusual quality) goes away.”
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.
She doesn’t have a “good side” that we choose for family pictures. I don’t retouch her hemangioma in photos. Her entire face is my sweet Charlie, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like.
10. Her post was met with a great response, with many writing to say they had dealt with similar comments from people about their children’s unique characteristics.
“I had no idea this would reach so many,” Crenshaw said. “I am extraordinarily moved by the lives our story has touched.”
12. Crenshaw said the main thing she hopes to accomplish by sharing Charlie’s story is to “normalize ‘differences’ in appearances.”
“People tend to immediately pity people who look different, and I would like to change that conversation and embrace difference,” she said. “I hope Charlie will grow up as an example that beauty isn’t synonymous with society’s definition of flawless.”
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