As you may have gathered, Leila has a strawberry birthmark on her forehead. It wasn’t there when she was born, appeared as a tiny red dot when she was three weeks old, and then grew quite rapidly. Cue much wailing, gnashing of teeth, ill-advised googling and general melodrama from me, along the lines of: “my baby is not perfect! But wait! How horrible am I to think she’s not perfect because of this?! Am bad mother! Oh but other people won’t think she’s perfect!!! What if she gets teased?! What if it takes over her face and her body and MY SANITY WAAAAAAAH!!”
These days, I am at peace with the strawberry. I even quite like it. It’s Leila’s trademark, and maybe I’ll be a little wistful when it disappears. Maybe. I can honestly say that I don’t wish, as I did before, that she didn’t have it. Granted, it seems to have stopped growing at a reasonably bijou size, the doctor says it is showing signs of regression already, and it hasn’t crept towards her eyes or obscured any of her features etc etc. It is, in effect, an oversized bindi. And, well, she’s still outrageously cute, with or without the strawb. So perhaps I give myself too much credit in believing I’ve come over all zen about it- turns out there wasn’t that much to be upset about after all. If it started growing again perhaps I’d fling myself to the ground in a fit of the screaming dibdabs.
But Leila’s strawberry, though fairly small, is very noticeable. It also sticks out- a tiny little horn, like a unicorn. We have run the full gamut of comments from “oh! Can’t they zap it?” (because cosmetic surgery for babies is cool) to “but she’s a giiiiirl!” (er…), to “makes them sleep better when you drop them on their heads doesn’t it?” (Ha. Ha.) . Sometimes I clock people- especially very new mums, who are probably imagining if their baby grew one- looking ever so slightly aghast. So perhaps I should give myself a modicum of credit for overcoming my wibbles.
And alongside the tactless nincompoops, there are also people who make lovely comments like “ooh, you’ve got a little cherry on top!” or rush over to tell me that their child had one and it was gone before they were three years old. The fact that it has elicited kindness as well as annoyingness, and the fact that it has taught me not to be so shallow- both of these things are perks of the strawberry.
The point of this post is to reassure any feverishly googling new parents of a babe-with-a- strawberry-birthmark that it is all going to be fine. Really really fine. Not only do they disappear eventually, but they are really not that big of a deal (complications withstanding) whilst they stick around.
In fact there’s only one thing that bothers me about Leila’s birthmark now. Like most people, I try to avoid regrets, but I do regret the time I spent sobbing and worry-warting over this inconsequential and actually rather attractive little splodge (the birthmark, not the baby). It was a waste of time. Time that should have been spent doing more things like this: