Those Aren’t Bruises… They’re Birthmarks

 

 

When George was placed onto my chest after I had given birth to him, I was so completely overwhelmed. He had his cord wrapped tightly around his neck and I had been in labour for days. These two factors combined with the usual clamour of congratulations from the midwives and ‘I love you, well done’s from PB, all meant I didn’t quite register the bruise type birthmarks on George’s back at first.

 

But, as they wiped him down and lifted him off of me to be weighed, I caught sight of them and instantly felt a pang of sorrow and guilt for him. I honestly thought he had been hurt, either by my body as it had pushed and squeezed him out or by either myself or the midwives as we had held him and rubbed him to help his breathing. I felt terrible, until my midwife turned to me and said ‘Have you seen these markings? It’s all a birthmark called Mongolian Blue Spots. Very common and nothing to worry about. But we have to make a note of them as they look very much like bruises.’

 

Such a relief! I exhaled so hard that it made her reach out and reassuringly pat me on the shoulder. He was dressed and then whisked off to the special care unit before I could get a real chance to see his birthmarks again.

 

It was a full week before we were home, and the first thing I did was to give him a bath and explore the little unique pattern he was sporting and completely oblivious to. No surprise there really, he didn’t even know where he was let alone what his skin was doing!

 

What are Mongolian Blue Spots?

Mongolian blue spots, as the midwife said, are harmless birthmarks that babies are born with. The blue colour is caused by melanocytes, which are the cells in skin that contain melanin, that are located in the skin’s surface.  These cells are in the deeper region (the dermis) which results in the deeper pigmented spot. Usually, they are seen as multiple spots or one large patch, which covers one or more of the lower back, the buttocks, sides, and shoulders. It results from the entrapment of melanocytes in the lower half to two-thirds of the dermis during their migration from the neural crest to the epidermis during embryonic development. They are completely harmless and cause no pain or discomfort. They can fade over time, usually by the time the child reaches puberty. But occasionally they last for life.

 

So, where have they come from.

We believe that George’s resulted from his genetic history. His Daddy, PB, is mixed race from Caribbean descent and these birthmarks are very common with mixed race backgrounds. We are so proud of the Caribbean roots that the boys and PB hold, and even our eldest Teddy has a tiny strawberry birthmark on his hip too. But George’s are much more prominent and their colour make me wish to raise awareness of the cause of these marks.

 

There are some alternative explanations. Mostly folklore stories and old wive’s tales, that depict that the marks happen after spirits whom are guiding the mother and baby through the birth, give the baby a whack on the behind to hasten their entrance into this world. I especially love that because George certainly took his time to get out of my womb. To all intents and purposes, he was in all senses ‘evicted’ from me at two weeks over being full term. So, who knows? Maybe someone was stepping in to hurry him up!

 

George’s Birthmarks

 

He has a cluster of Mongolian blue spots dotted all around his back. Mainly to his left hand side, at the base of his spine. Then they lead up sporadically to his shoulder blades. They are quite faint, only really showing up prominently in certain lights. And sometimes when he has had a warm bath and boosted his circulation.

 

 

 

 

I love them. They’re a part of him and he is a part of both myself and PB. It would be ridiculous to say anything to the contrary! There are pitfalls that come with having them though.

 

Avoiding Misunderstandings

 

One example would be that medical records have had to be made to note down that the birthmarks exist and have done since birth. I even have a diagram in George’s little red book that the midwife doodled during one of his earlier home visits. This is to ensure that there are no misunderstandings if we ever take him to see the GP or (heaven forbid!) A&E or somewhere like that. The last thing you want is for authorities to accuse you of beating your baby!

 

Which leads me on to other scenarios that can be quite awkward. Take swimming for example. I am still yet to take him to a pool. And whilst I have had to avoid it because I can’t take a toddler and a baby swimming single handed, it is also because of fear. I fear that someone will see them and assume the worst. If someone challenges me about them and insinuates that I have caused him harm, it could make for a pretty awkward time. Possibly even break my heart.

 

I do worry.

 

There have been times when I have changed him in front of people and they have, quite understandably, reacted with shock and concern. I’m always quick to reassure them that all is well and hasten to explain what they actually are. I have been diagnosed with PND and PTSD this year, so I’m extra self conscious and eager to clear up misunderstandings. Crazy Mama on the brink who beats her baby is not a label I wish to be given!

 

My main worry if for George though, not myself. Human nature is cruel. I fast forward a few years to when he is paddling in the sea or swimming in a pool. Or running around with his shirt off in the summer time. And I worry that he will be ridiculed and questioned unfairly over his birthmarks. Even the idea of people staring makes me wince a little. But, having such a negative and fearful mindset is not the right way to go. I have to own these birthmarks alongside him. Show how it is just a part of him that makes him special. Who wants to be ordinary after all?

 

No, I shall help him be proud of them. They are a sign of his lineage. His history shining through in physical form. It is the way my body grew him and, for that alone, I am so proud. He is a beautiful boy. And, like I say, these birthmarks are just one of the things I love about him the most.

 

#ablogginggoodtime

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Comments

  1. October 12, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    I have never heard of these sort of birthmarks before so this was a fascinating post and it’s great that you are sharing information on this because I think education – as with all things – is the key. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xoxo

    • mebeingmummy
      October 31, 2017 / 1:52 pm

      Thank you lovely! Not many people have heard of them so yes, information is needed xxx

    • mebeingmummy
      October 31, 2017 / 1:49 pm

      Not many people do so am glad I have written about them to help spread awareness 🙂 xxx

  2. October 14, 2017 / 10:44 am

    Ah bless him. He’s just too cute!!! I’ve never heard of these and I’m really glad I did. Thank you.
    #blogstravaganza

    • mebeingmummy
      October 14, 2017 / 12:32 pm

      Thank you! You aren’t the only one not to know about them, they aren’t very spoken about. Am so pleased I wrote this post as it is so important to raise awareness about things like this. It helps avoid any misunderstandings xxx

  3. October 14, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    oh wow I have never heard of these types of marks! Thank god they were noted down at birth, imagine the horror of being accused of the worst when quite clearly you’re an amazing mum!! also, who doesnt love a photo of naked babies on a rug =] #ablogginggoodtime & #coolmumclub

    • October 18, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      Popping back from #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

      • mebeingmummy
        October 22, 2017 / 12:15 am

        Definitely darling! Shall be there xxx

    • mebeingmummy
      October 31, 2017 / 1:49 pm

      It’s unthinkable! Ahhh, gotta love a naked baby shot. Have kept his dignity intact though… his future self shall be grateful!haha! xxx

  4. October 15, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    This is so interesting, I’ve never seen this before! Well done you for raising awareness! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

    • mebeingmummy
      October 31, 2017 / 1:48 pm

      Thank you lovely! xxx

  5. October 16, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    first time I have heard of this as well. I can imagine there must be a lot of worry about judgement from others. I’d just tell them that his grandfather was a smurf. #anythinggoes

    • October 18, 2017 / 4:29 am

      back from #triumphanttales and it occurs to me that my previous comment may come across as flippant. I certainly did not intend to make light of your childs condition

      • mebeingmummy
        October 22, 2017 / 12:20 am

        Haha! Do not worry at all! I understand the light hearted humour and think he would make an amazing genetic link to the Smurfs. Jokes are usually my go to when trying to alleviate other people’s concern so shall have to remember that one. Thank you for your comments my lovely xxx

  6. October 17, 2017 / 5:13 am

    Thank you for sharing. A lot of people don’t know about these relatively common birthmarks, but I became familiar with them while working in daycare. Parents would ask us if a baby was abused when they would catch glimpses of the marks. #AnythingGoes

    • mebeingmummy
      October 22, 2017 / 12:33 am

      It’s no surprise that they would ask about it… they are just so similar to bruises! But then, a closer look would show a happy child moving around without any problems or signs of pain. But first impressions are the longer lasting ones aren’t they? They’re relatively common but not spoken about very much. I never knew about them until I had my sons. Xxx

    • mebeingmummy
      October 22, 2017 / 12:30 am

      Oh thank you! Am so pleased you liked it and found it interesting lovely. Xxx

  7. October 17, 2017 / 5:43 pm

    oh he’s so adorable!! And I’ve never heard of these! I had to go and read more about them, because I’m a geek like that! It’s a shame that although they make him even more unique than he already is, that they do give you the concerns you’ve raised here-which I completely understand. But I’m sure you’ll have given him the confidence to rock his marks!! I had a huge strawberry mark on my arm, which had faded to nothing by the time I was about 7. I was a little sad when it went, because other children had been fascinated by it, and it made me feel important-I don’t actually remember anyone being nasty about it!
    #bigpinklink

    • mebeingmummy
      October 22, 2017 / 12:27 am

      Hehe, thank you! That’s so reassuring as it really is my only worry that he will be ridiculed or something. I don’t really care as much what people may think of me, it’s his feelings I am most concerned for. But Yes, he is going to rock his marks! Xxx

  8. October 17, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    I have never heard of this, so thank you for sharing. I can imagine being scary when you first saw it. I must say he is a gorgeous boy X #twinklyTuesday

    • mebeingmummy
      October 22, 2017 / 12:25 am

      Aww thank you so much. Am very proud of him. It was very worrying but my midwife was so good at reassuring me so I was soon alright again. As alright as you can be after giving birth! Ha! Thank you for commenting lovely xxx

  9. October 19, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    Well done for raising awareness of this condition. I have 3 birthmarks, the largest is a large brown birthmark on my leg that I was teased about when I was a child but now have accepted as a quirk of nature 😦 #bigpinklink

      • mebeingmummy
        October 22, 2017 / 12:06 am

        Xxx

    • mebeingmummy
      October 22, 2017 / 12:13 am

      Aww, I’m sorry you were teased lovely. I think birthmarks are so interesting, no two are ever the same xxx

  10. October 19, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    I hadn’t heard of this and I think it should be more widely discussed. People are always quick to assume the worst and knowing that a birthmark that so closely resembles a bruise is a possibility, it could definitely help reduce any awkward situations.
    While I would never accuse someone of harming their baby, I admit that I would have seen those and assumed he’d had an accident or something and it’s good to know that they’re actually not painful or anything for him.
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

    • mebeingmummy
      October 22, 2017 / 12:10 am

      Yes definitely! They are so like a bruise, it is understandable that people would think he was in pain or injured. I think I will have to try and write more about them… keep raising the awareness. Thank you for hosting and commenting lovely! Xxx

  11. October 20, 2017 / 10:53 pm

    I haven’t ever heard of these! Thanks for sharing lovely #TriumphantTales

    • mebeingmummy
      October 22, 2017 / 12:04 am

      I hadn’t either until I had our babies, they’re very striking and can lead to misunderstandings so I don’t think many do speak about them. Xxx

  12. October 22, 2017 / 1:42 pm

    What an adorable little guy! That face! M’wah! I can see how you would worry. I had never heard of these before either – make them like in my little pony, they are his and his alone, his ‘cutie mark’! Kids can be cruel, so power him with the gift of retorts that are empowering! #triumphanttales xxo

    • mebeingmummy
      October 31, 2017 / 1:46 pm

      Awww, thank you lovely Lisa. His own ‘cutie marks’… I love that!! xxx

  13. November 1, 2017 / 11:43 am

    Oh I think my son might have these too. He’s mixed race and has a slight blue patch on the skin at the base of his spine. I’ve always wondered what it was! It’s always covered by his nappy so it’s not very visible.

    • mebeingmummy
      November 1, 2017 / 9:14 pm

      Sounds very likely that he has them! It is most commonly found at the base of the spine too 🙂 xxx

  14. November 1, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    What an adorable little cherub x I have read about Mongolian bluespots before but I can imagine being overwhelmed by it at the birth x my little take one has a strawberry on the base of her back. Even though it is harmless, I had to have it checked.

    • November 1, 2017 / 12:15 pm

      #fortheloveofBLOG

    • mebeingmummy
      November 1, 2017 / 9:13 pm

      I had heard of them but I think in the moment I was just on high alert and thought the worst! But my midwife was ace at reassuring me. Strawberry marks I have heard of and seen before too, I find them all so interesting… it’s lovely that they have little quirks to their genetics that make them even more special to us. xxx

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