Most people have physical features that they feel shame about, in particular while growing up. Eventually, most find self-confidence and learn to embrace their flaws. Some are even lucky enough to outgrow them altogether. However, birthmarks are often with us for the long haul. Sadly, in 2018, a mother faced hurtful responses to photos of her baby girl, born with “Port Wine Stain.”
Born with a Notable Birthmark
Marianna Bowering from Australia gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. However, little Angelica had been born with a birthmark, known as Port Wine Stain, and has shockingly encountered some bullying over it.
Sadly, Angelica’s birthmark yields a lot of negative attention both online and in person. “In person, I think the most hurtful thing was when someone at a soccer game told me that she was a ‘defect,’” Marianna heartbreakingly shared. “He just said that to me and then walked away. I was shocked.” Meanwhile online people have said she’s “hideous” and “will never get a boyfriend later in life“. Marianna also disclosed, “The worst comment online that I’ve gotten is when someone asked if her face had been pushed onto a skillet. Basically, saying her face looked grilled.”
Embracing the Birthmark
In contrast, Angelica’s parents both see the birthmark as “a unique addition to her beauty that should be celebrated.” “I would never hide my little girl because of it, I think she is absolutely stunning,” Bowering said. “The thing I hate most is when people tell me she can just cover it with makeup when she’s older. Why should she cover it up? If she wants to flaunt it, she can.”
Angelica’s whole family has always encouraged her to love herself, her birthmark and all. Sometimes even highlighting that feature with body glitter or painting it like a heart.
Interestingly, her mom Marianna is so involved in loving and encouraging her daughter that she is, “ambassador for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation.” She explained, “It breaks my heart to think of anyone being mean to her. But I see her now, and she is such a confident little girl, and she isn’t afraid of anything.”
Concluding, “I am sure she is going to get through anything life throws at her. She is more than her birthmark. She is her own person, and she is not different to anyone else.”
The birthmark can become darker over time and is not generally cause for concern. However, the mostly harmless birthmark can be a sign of other pertinent physical conditions. Generally, Port Wine Stain birthmarks are associated with syndromes that impact the blood vessels, or vascular diseases. Some examples include Carotid Artery Disease, Abdominal aortic aneurysm, and high blood pressure. Other conditions commonly accompany the birthmark are glaucoma and Sturge-Weber syndrome. “Thankfully, we’ve done tests and Angelica is totally healthy,” Marianna said regarding Angelica’s health. “We just need to have regular check-ups, especially for her eyes as glaucoma can be a concern.”
Interestingly, the birthmark is a fairly common condition occurring in 3 of every thousand babies born and impacts every demographic. At this time, there is no known method of prevention but it can fade over time with treatment. However, some people don’t feel the need to pursue treatment.
Treatment for Port Wine Stain
The most common treatment option for Port Wine Stain is a ‘pulsed-dye laser’, which is also used for treating Rosacea. “Gradually over several treatments, this lightens the skin, and, in some cases, the stain may temporarily go away.” explained Dr. Gregory Levitin. However, they will often return over time. “In about 10 to 15% of cases, the skin not only darkens but thickens and enlarges, causing soft tissue changes,” Levitin explained. He also suggests reconstructive surgery for people who can’t lean into their birthmarks. This will restore the skin, helping to contour, even tone, and ultimately return the skin’s appearance to “normal”.
For these patients, he recommends reconstructive surgery to restore the skin to a normal size, contour and appearance.
However, Angelica’s family has encouraged her to do what makes her happy, and at the end of the day, we all should strive for and accept our physical flaws, loving ourselves through our imperfections. After all, embracing birthmarks, stretchmarks, and other scarring, will create one less stressful factor in life.
“Mom speaks out after her toddler daughter is bullied for facial birthmark.” TODAY. Rachel Paula Abrahamson. February 5, 2020.
What do you think?
“Port Wine Stain.” Cleveland Clinic.
Baby With Red Birthmark Called ‘Hideous’ And ‘Defective’, But Wait Till You See This Beautiful Kid Now.” Daily Positive Info.
“Port Wine Stain Birthmark.” Birthmark.