Someone recently commented on one of my posts and questioned why I only showed photos of the left side of Ralphie's face. I know I've mentioned Ralphie's little birthmarks here before, but I haven't gone into any detail about them. This commenter wanted to know if the birthmark on his cheek was a sensitive issue for me, and in a way, asked if I was trying to hide it.
And it made me feel so sad.
Because the last thing I want to do is come across as ashamed or embarrassed of my baby. The truth is, there's a little bit more to it than just a tiny round birthmark on his cheek.
Let's start here: Ralph has not just one, but five birthmarks. They're called strawberry birthmarks (hemangioma is the medical term.) They usually appear on babies around 3-4 weeks of age, grow rapidly until around 6 months, and then gradually fade away, most of the time leaving behind no mark. Usually, by the time the child is 2 or 3 years old, the birthmark is completely gone. They're painless, harmless, and fairly common. But because of the number of Ralphie's birthmarks (five, instead of the usual one or two) and the location of some of them, there's a greater risk for other, more serious complications in the future. Ralph's doctors have told me that the chances of these complications are slight. But they're there. And that's the part I've been struggling with.
I know that having a blog means I share a whole bunch of stupid stuff going on in my life with a lot of people I don't know. But I sure don't have to share everything, especially the parts about my baby's medical issues. I've been writing this post in my head for a long time, going back and forth, trying to figure out which parts to share on my blog, and which parts to keep private. Ralph's birthmarks and the way they look aren't a big deal to me. I love them. But, like I said, there's more to it than just a few birthmarks and I was waiting to share that part on my blog until I had the right words and more information. The thing is, I'm afraid that while I've been figuring this out, I've come across as secretive or ashamed of Ralph's birthmarks to some of you.
So, are his birthmarks a sensitive issue for me? No, not really. Of course, I'll admit that it was alarming to watch them grow so rapidly over his perfect newborn skin. I fretted over them, and there were days where I worried over what people would say. I don't anymore. Am I ashamed or embarrassed over them? No. No no no, not ever ever ever. I love every inch of my baby.
Duh. Who wouldn't.