When it comes to children, parents are known to be overly protective of their little ones.
One mum was left wanting to hide her baby from the cruelness of strangers after multiple people near her home began calling the 14-month-old names like ‘Rudolph’.
Samantha Edmonds has since hit back at those who have criticised her child’s appearance, because of a red birthmark on her nose that is shaped like a strawberry.
When the 30-year-old gave birth to her third child, Clara, she noticed a tiny, pin-prick-sized red dot on her nose.
They initially thought it was just a bruise from labour, but it ended up growing and turned out to be a haemangioma – a collection of blood vessels under the skin.
Samantha, who lives in Yates, Bristol, said: “A lady in the shop near where I live said she looked like Rudolph which really upset me and I didn’t take her out for a week after that.
“Another woman also said she would be really beautiful if she didn’t have the birthmark on her face and lots of people think she’s hurt herself and caused the mark somehow.
“It makes me feel really upset and insecure for her.
“I worry about what people might say to her as she gets older and especially when she starts school, in case she’s bullied because of it and I know girls care a lot about their appearance.
“But she’s my beautiful strawberry baby and it just makes her unique – I buy her outfits with strawberries on because it’s a part of who she is.”
Clara’s birthmark caused a number of problems for the youngster in her first few weeks, as she began struggling to feed and breathe properly.
Doctors discovered that the blood vessels causing the birthmark were also restricting her airway as well as an underdeveloped windpipe – revealing the mark as a haemangioma.
The baby had to have emergency surgery to cut the muscles in her windpipe and open it up fully and was immediately put on medication to shrink the birthmark and help her breathing.
Samantha explained: “She was rushed to hospital three times struggling to breathe which made them realise it was more than just a bruise.
“Doctors said haemangiomas tend to stop growing when the baby is eight to 10 weeks old but she had to be put on medication to shrink it faster because it was affecting her breathing.
“She was also losing a lot of weight because she couldn’t feed properly.
“The medication will shrink it and leave loose skin but I’m going to wait until she’s older to decide if she wants to have surgery to remove it completely because that would leave a scar.
“I see it as part of her now and I’ll miss it when it’s gone.”
A dermatologist is now monitoring Clara’s birthmark, which has a special meaning to the family.
Her mum added: “Her mark makes her more beautiful and a lot of people say it’s like a kiss from an angel.
“We lost my grandad before she was born and she’s the only grandchild he didn’t meet – we see him in her facial expressions sometimes so if it’s a mark from an angel it’s definitely from him.
“Her sisters Aurora and Freya also call it her ‘special mark’.”