Birthmark

‘The monitor went crazy. Suddenly, there was a half dozen doctors in the room, bagging my son. ‘I’m going to watch him die, aren’t I?’: Boy diagnosed with rare Sturge-Weber Syndrome, ‘A birthmark changed our life’

“He was hitting his milestones. He was happy. He was supposed to beat the odds. One evening, we noticed he wasn’t himself. He wasn’t making eye contact and was whimpering non-stop. We thought it was the heat, so we gave him a cool bath and went to sleep. The next morning, his face turned blue before my eyes. He went limp. The ambulance came and took Noah away. I couldn’t believe it. My baby wasn’t my baby anymore. Watching him fight made me so strong. For him. For us.”

‘It was pizza day in school. ‘Your face looks like a pepperoni.’ My friend got up and slapped the guy.’: Woman born with port wine stain learns to embrace her beauty, ‘I needed to be myself’

“I was born with a big Port Wine Stain, covering half of my face. They would only laser a small part of my birthmark at a time because it was so painful. My mom recalls ‘the smell of burned skin getting in her nose.’ As I got older, I felt people staring more. Adults would stop in the middle of the sidewalk. ‘Wow.’ Kids would point. ‘Look at that.’ Imagine a little girl asking a grown woman, ‘Can I help you?’ That was me growing up.”

‘My fingertips gripped the vinyl. It felt like ‘hot rubber band snaps.’ My mom had to hold me down. For a child who doesn’t understand, it’s torture.’: Woman with port wine stain advocates for ‘torture’ pain control, ‘It felt like hot needles into my brain.’

“As we walked toward the doctor’s office, the fear made my body cold. I would feel my anxiety bubbling up, making it harder to breathe. I wanted to pull away from my mom. Stop getting closer. I became aware infants and children are still treated without any pain control. ‘They just swaddle them and do the treatment really fast,’ I was told. Babies? How could anyone do this? ‘It doesn’t really hurt.’ Reading this made me want to vomit. The memories of the pain and being held down is so visceral for me.”

‘After my C-section, I heard, ‘Wow! He’s got a big birthmark on his face.’: Baby is born with Port-Wine Stain and Sturge-Weber Syndrome, ‘Never did I think I would have to consider what anti-seizure medication would best keep my child thriving.’

“A bright reddish-purple color covered more than half of my newborn son’s face. ‘Will this birthmark fade? Will it get worse? What will other people think? Can this lead to other health issues?’ Looking back now, those first months of Leo’s life, I was living in fear. I was consumed by anxiety, exhaustion, and confusion.”

‘Were you in a fire?’ ‘Did someone beat you?’ ‘No one will ever want to date you!’ It was cruel adults asking, not curious children.’: Woman born with Port Wine Stain views it as a ‘blessing’ to filter out ‘shallow, undeserving people’ from her life

“When I met my husband, he was unlike any other guy. He looked past my exterior and into my soul. He truly wanted to get to know me. He was attracted to my confidence despite of looking different. ‘I never see your birthmark,’ he always says. He never made me feel insecure like so many guys in the past. So many broke my heart, used me, kept me a secret, disrespected and took advantage of me. He never made me feel like I had to change who I was.”

‘I can’t! I can’t leave the house without makeup!’ I was shocked. He looked me in the eye. ‘You can’t, or you won’t?’: Woman embraces port wine stain birthmark after years of ‘feeling ashamed, insecure’

“I waited after I had my son to start treatments. The swelling, bruising and scabbing made me feel worse than my red, bold birthmark. I was miserable stuck at home, hiding, waiting for it to heal. I asked my husband if he’d get me In-N-Out. ‘Yeah, let’s all go.’ I was in shock. Why would he think I’d leave the house with my face all bruised and swollen if I can’t even leave the house with my birthmark in its normal state?! That’s when I lost it. Tears streamed down my face.”

‘Can I sleep with you tonight mommy?’ I still get chills thinking about it. I cried my eyes out.’: Mom swears her child is ‘the reason I am alive,’ after traumatic relationship leaves her contemplating suicide

“I met this guy who was a little older than me. He had a daughter the same age as mine, it was too good to be true. ‘This is it, this is the guy who’s going to fix what was broken.’ But I learned very quickly how someone could live two totally separate lives. It was a nightmare. In that moment, I swear I heard it loud and clear. ‘I gave you the person who needed you the most.’ My daughter walked into my bedroom.”

‘The weird looks. Names. Disgust. Laughter. Violence. I just couldn’t fit in.’: Woman with Congenital Melanocytic Nevus claims ‘beauty is diversity,’ learns to love her ‘endless birthmarks’

“Before I could prove myself, they already knew what they thought of me. Judgement straight away. To be honest, nothing feels more discouraging than not even getting a chance. Over the years, teachers just accepted the bullying. I can’t even remember how many times my parents spoke to the principal, but I’ll always remember him saying, ‘We don’t care.’ I was alone, scared, broken. It was my son that got me through the worst. When everyone else left me alone, he always offered a home to my soul.”

‘The bride who refused to cover her birthmark.’ People wonder why I’m not ashamed.’: Woman with nevus birthmark celebrates her ‘distinctive look,’ reminds us to ‘love ourselves’

“At church, I made eye contact with a lady. She gestured for me to remove my birthmark from my face. I ignored her, but every time I gazed her direction, she’d make the same gesture. At the end of the service, the pastor asked if anyone had final remarks. She stood up. ‘I want the young lady to remove what’s was on her face.’ I was 9 years old.”

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