Once upon a time, my daughter had a hematoma birthmark on her forehead.
The birthmark first appeared when the Bump was about three weeks old. It grew bigger and darker until she was about five months old. Being just above her eyebrow, and a deep raspberry colour, it became the source of much discussion among family, friends, and strangers. Every few days I found myself defending her, reiterating over and over that it wasn’t permanent. That it would disappear by the time the Bump went to school. That even if it didn’t, no one would notice or care. That I wasn’t going to have it removed.
It got to the point where I started telling people that the Bump’s birthmark was an in-utero scar from where I’d burnt myself with a hair straightener, right on my forehead, in the last few months of my pregnancy. That was a strange enough response to make most well-meaning but condescending people stop talking.
I remember being so frustrated by it all. So alarmed at the world I was bringing children into, where a three month old baby’s physical appearance was already treated like a commodity. I wondered if the reactions and suggestions would have been different, had she been a boy.
It’s all kind of irrelevant now, anyway. At almost four years old, the Bump’s birthmark has faded to the point where I forget, often, that it used to be there at all. It’s still slightly raised. You can spot it if you’re really looking for it and you brush her wispy, messy hair of her face first. But the vivid colouring has faded almost completely, just like the specialist said it would. (But what would he know, really? Ha.)
I still don’t understand why it was such a big deal in the first place. My fairy girl is beautiful. With or without her birthmark. Just the way she is.