My children both have birthmarks that I stupidly confused for other things for months and, in one case, YEARS. How can a mother be so ignorant? We’ll explore my stupidity today and tomorrow.
When Rose was born, she had what seemed to me to be a tremendous birth bruise on her poor little bottom. I felt horrible that she’d gotten squeezed so tightly on her way out. The bruise looked so painful! But none of the doctors ever said anything about it, so I figured she would probably be ok.
Days passed, then weeks, then months. The bruise didn’t seem to be healing. We’d been to the doctor for check-ups without the doctor noticing the bruise and I kept forgetting to bring it up, but I was starting to worry. All of her other birth scrapes and bruises had disappeared. I couldn’t figure out why this giant, purple and grey bruise wouldn’t go away.
Finally it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t a bruise. I googled it.
And it wasn’t a bruise at all. It was a Mongolian spot (click to see how much these things look like bruises), a type of birthmark so common among Asians that it actually has an Asian name. In fact, 90% of Asians are born with Mongolian spots. Mongolian spots look so much like bruises, that some parents in the US have been accused of child abuse because of them. You are actually supposed to have your pediatrician document Mongolian spots just in case someone tries to claim you’ve been hitting your kid.
Um, somebody needed to warn the white girl giving birth to a half Asian baby about these things. I had no clue. None. It seems like something I should have known. Maybe my husband’s parents just assumed all people had or knew about Mongolian spots, but no. I didn’t know. My husband was ruefully ignorant of all things baby, so he didn’t know about it either.
I felt so dumb when I found out I’d been mistaking my daughter’s birthmark for a bruise for MONTHS. (But not as dumb as I felt when I realized something I thought was dirt for YEARS was a birthmark. More on that tomorrow.)
The good news is that the bruise birthmark should fade by the time Rose goes to kindergarten. It’s already faded a bit since her baby days, but it still very much looks like we’ve been beating her.