Imagine learning while you’re pregnant with a beautiful baby that he or she was developing a capillary hemangioma on their face. First, let me explain what a capillary hemangioma is. They are vascular tumors that can range in size and shape. Essentially, it’s a birthmark and there is no known cause or prevention for these “strawberries” as they are sometimes called.
Learning this news is exactly what happened to Katie Crenshaw early in her pregnancy with her daughter Charlie. While Charlie’s vascular system was developing, the defect occurred. It is now 5 cm x 6 cm and the doctors have ruled it as only cosmetic, meaning that it’s not harmful in any way. They do, however, have her taking daily medication to prevent it from growing any larger because, if it does, it could potentially block her vision.
Despite the daunting outlook that some people might have while having a child with a condition like this, Katie Crenshaw is not ashamed of her beautiful daughter. In fact, she is quite the opposite. She has a blog, Twelve & Six, as well as an Instagram where she not only posts pictures of her beautiful Charlie, but writes about her story and life. She wants to share Charlie’s story with the world so that people will understand that we should not be ashamed of things like this in our lives. We should be proud of ourselves, and our families, no matter what they look like. She shares on her blog that there is nothing wrong with Charlie’s face and that it’s just part of who she is.
As you can imagine, her daughter gets many strange looks and comments from people because they obviously don’t understand what it is. Sadly, Katie has heard comments such as, “I’m praying that it goes away,” “turn her to her good side,” or “too bad, she’s so pretty otherwise.” Katie understands the people are only curious about the condition and want to help, but as she states on her blog, “It’s a part of her unique beauty. It may never disappear, and guess what? It doesn’t have to. I would much rather chat about her latest milestone achievement, her amazing smile, or how gorgeous her eyes are…We see past the color of her face. Charlie is Charlie and it’s part of who she is.” It’s wonderful that her parents see past her physical looks and focus on what matters most.
If you browse Katie’s blog and Instagram you’ll find some amazingly beautiful photos of sweet Charlie. Katie admits on her blog that they don’t pay attention to what side of her face is showing in pictures, and that they don’t retouch her face in any photos, either. She says, “Her entire face is my sweet Charlie, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like.”
Katie doesn’t write about Charlie’s story or share her photos because she wants pity. She simply wants to share with the world that they are proud of their daughter, no matter what she looks like. She hopes to encourage other mothers out there with children that have disabilities, as well as those who have disabilities themselves, to not be ashamed of who they are. She considers their family blessed with a beautiful baby girl. In fact, she urges people to, “…instead of praying it will disappear, pray that she grows into a confident girl who loves herself no matter what she looks like. Pray that constant comments and opinions from friends, family and strangers will end before she’s old enough to overhear them. Pray that she will be a strong person in the in an age where we are bullied for any number of reasons.” Isn’t that so beautiful and profound?
It’s a shame that we live in a world where people feel the need to bully, comment, and put others down for the way they look or act. Hopefully, by Katie sharing Charlie’s story, she will inspire others to do the same so the world can grow to be a kinder, more understanding, and more accepting place.