Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A disappearing strawberry

The internet can be a funny thing. It can be both positive and negative. With it’s endless supply of information and opinions it has the power to both inspire and encourage us, but also has the capability to completely overwhelm. 

Overwhelmed was definitely the way I felt when I began googling ‘a strawberry hemangioma’ (birthmark), after I discovered Isabelle had one her left shoulder that appeared when she was 3 weeks old.

I now know that these types of birth marks are extremely common (they say up to 1 in 10), and although they can increase in size at first, often completely fade by themselves. But, I didn’t know that at the time. Instead I felt overwhelmed by contradictory and extreme information that I found on the net. Plus,  I was hormonal and emotional from breastfeeding and recently giving birth – not a great combination, at all!

I’ve been blessed with two really healthy kids – apart from Noah's need for glasses and this birthmark, they haven’t had anything out of the ordinary. But, back then, just over 2 years ago now; this minor blemish on my otherwise perfect baby girl, suddenly had me weeping at my computer. Even after realising the silliness in this, I have to confess that (until relatively recently) I somewhat avoided dressing her in clothes that revealed the mark and preferred photos of her where it wasn’t visible. Ridiculous I know!


There are 2 disappearing strawberries in this photo. One in Isabelle’s left hand and one on the shoulder of that same arm. (The latter is becoming much less obvious and increasingly faded with each passing day.)

I guess the point of this post is twofold, firstly to tell you not to trust (or get freaked out by) everything you read on the internet; and secondly to encourage you to celebrate and not hide away your child’s so-called imperfections, whether they be glasses, a birthmark or something else altogether. After all, it’s part of who they are, what makes them unique.

I think the second point is best summed up in one of the most touching and beautiful birth stories I have ever read – by Kelle Hampton of 'Enjoying the Small Things'. It truly is worth a read (and makes my silly concerns about Isabelle’s birth mark seem even more ridiculous by comparison.)

Has anyone else been completely overwhelmed by information – on the net or otherwise? We get bombarded with so many ideas and information as new parents anyway, that the internet sometimes only exacerbates this. Or have you had a similar experience to me, we’ve you’ve come to accept something classed as an ‘imperfection’ as something that make your child unique?

I would love to hear your thoughts

Jen x

1 comment:

Sophie Slim said...

Googling ones condition is not the best decision! I have done it many times and completely freaked out! A few weeks ago my mum was in town for blood tests and I wouldn't let her use my computer because she wanted to find out what her symptoms meant! No way! Turned out she was fine, but could have caused way more stress than needed!

As for the strawberry I have a very bold one on the back of my neck (just on my hairline) and to be honest I love it. I can't see it, but I know its there all the time, and kind of like that its there. My daughter has an identical one and it makes me beam with pride knowing I gave it to her. Weird, huh?

Although she did have a weird red mark on her scalp, which is now covered with hair, but for her first bald year I would constantly have people asking me if she had falled over and cut her head *sigh*