When Tanya and Adam Phillips welcome their daughter Honey-Rae into the world, joy was coupled with worry.
The UK-based mom of four shares she felt heartbroken when she saw the mark and realized that her baby girl would have to live with it for the rest of her life.
“She struggled to breathe when she was first born, and was rushed to the special care unit. When I went to see her she was just lying in a little incubator and that’s when I saw it,” recalls Tanya. “I just sobbed and sobbed.”
“Like any mom, I didn’t want her to be different. I wanted her to be exactly the same as every other healthy child. And as much as the birthmark isn’t dangerous I knew it could have a huge impact on the rest of her life.”
They feared that the strawberry birthmark, which covered practically the entire left side of her body would cause her to feel isolated and different from the other kids as she grew up.
Thinking that it was in their power to stop this from even happening early on, the UK-based couple devised a sweet and creative way to make Honey-Rae feels like she fits in.
So the pair got matching tattoos in the shape and color of their daughter’s birthmark.
“Most people might think it’s very extreme, but to us it was the natural thing to do to ensure our daughter never felt different or alone in the world,” mom of four Tanya told The Mirror. “Mommy and Daddy now have the same permanent markings as she does.”
She paid to have his done last Christmas, and Adam gave it as a 40th birthday present to Tanya.
photo: Mirror UK
‘Garish’ results but no regrets
Even though both tattoos took four hours each and that the end result is “garish”, the couple have absolutely no regrets.
They were planning to get the matching tattoos for some time but what really pushed them to do it was one stranger’s reaction to the birthmark.
While at the grocery, Tanya noticed a couple whispering and staring at Honey-Rae.
“I was distraught,” confesses Tanya. “It was first time I had taken her out without covering her up and it confirmed all my worries and fears. People are cruel without even realizing. And I knew if adults could be that insensitive, then kids at school would also be unintentionally mean.”
Now at 18 months old, Honey-Rae’s birthmark hasn’t faded and it often appears darker on some days.
“Although in our eyes she was perfect, I knew other people would cruelly point and stare at her. I didn’t want sympathy or pity or people feeling sorry for Honey-Rae. Adam and I decided straight away that we wanted Honey-Rae to feel special, that her birthmark was something to feel proud of and not embarrassed by.”
From the moment their daughter was born, Tanya and Adam did everything they could do to make her feel beautiful and accepted.
This sweet gesture is just further proof of how much her parents love her.
“When the swelling went down, I showed Honey-Rae, and she gently touched it and smiled as she said ‘match’, pointing to her own leg,” Tanya told the Mirror.
“If I’d have needed any reassurance that I’d made the right decision that was it,” affirms Tanya. “She now constantly touches mine and Adam’s tattoos then her own birthmark and giggles. I couldn’t be happier.”
READ: Have birthmarks checked! Woman’s birthmark explodes because of her pregnancy
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