At just 8 months old, baby Charlie Crenshaw is a big hit on the Internet. She’s got all the credentials for an infant Instagram star. Bright blue eyes? Check. Cute button nose? Check. Adorable little outfits? Check. But there’s one other feature which receives the most attention – her birthmark. And not all that attention is welcome, according to Charlie’s mum, Katie…
‘People constantly ask me what’s wrong with her face. I’ve had complete strangers come up to me in the grocery store and ask if they can pray for her… Family friends have said, “It’s a shame, she’d be so pretty if she didn’t have it.”’
Charlie was born with a capillary haemangioma, a tumour consisting of an abnormal overgrowth of tiny blood vessels. It has no effect on her health, and she’s not even aware of it. Unlike some people…
In fact, so fed up was Katie, 29, with strangers’ reactions that she blogged about it. ‘I wrote a blog post kind of venting about my reactions to the kind of things people were saying to me about her birthmark,’ says Katie. ‘I sent it to a website that caters towards parents that have children with differences or disabilities, from there it went viral… Afterwards, there was way more people that could relate to it than I ever would’ve imagined.’
The haemangioma was virtually non-existent when Charlie was born – the left side of her face was just a bit pink – but in the first two weeks it grew rapidly. An MRI scan at 6 weeks confirmed it was a haemangioma – which occur in early pregnancy, with no known cause, and they usually fade away over time.
Both Katie and her husband Tyler, who also have Charlie’s big brother, Grayson, believe that people with features that differ from the perceived norm, should not be made to feel different. ‘I don’t want Charlie’s beauty defined by her birthmark,’ says Katie. ‘Charlie is a healthy baby girl and we are blessed. Her haemangioma is just as insignificant to who she is as a freckle on her arm.’
Dad Tyler couldn’t agree more: ‘She’s just a normal little girl who does everything every other baby does. Except that she’s cuter in our eyes.’