Honey-Rae Phillips was born with a strange giant strawberry birthmark, and her parents wanted to show her she was just like everyone else. So, both her father and mother got huge red tattoos on their legs, which was definitely beyond what the most caring parents could ever think of doing.
Adam and Tanya Phillips printed their legs with gigantic tattoos, perfectly imitating the blemishes that run up the right side of the body of their 18-month-old daughter.
Although the odd-shaped strawberry birthmarks were completely harmless, Honey-Rae’s parents got the same tattoos to make her feel the she belonged.
The supportive parents even constantly tell their 18-month-old baby that she is beautiful.
In 2013, the proud couple from Grimsby, Lincolnshire, were in tears when they first saw Honey-Rae. Even if her strawberry birthmarks are not harmful, her parents believed that it might possibly affect her confidence when she grows up. So, they did what they thought was right.
When Honey-Rae was almost a year old, Tanya was concerned that folks were pointing at her, whispering comments to each other about the birthmark. So, for Christmas, she paid for the £80 procedure on her husband’s leg. Adam, on the other hand, repaid the favor ahead of her 40th birthday.
Mrs. Phillips said, “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”.
Recalling the moment when she first saw her daughter’s birthmark, Tanya said:
“She struggled to breathe when she was first born and she 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. It broke my heart. I just sobbed and sobbed knowing my baby was going to be permanently marked for the rest of her life.
Like any mum, 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.
Although in our eyes she was perfect, I knew other people would cruelly point and stare at her. For the first few months of her life, whenever we went out, I made sure her legs were covered up. I couldn’t cope with stranger’s curious glances or whispering comments.
I didn’t want sympathy or pity or 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 she was born, we told Honey-Re she was beautiful and constantly covered her in kisses”.
When she noticed an elderly couple staring and whispering about her daughter, Tanya was alarmed and decided she needed to take action.
“It was the 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 be so unintentionally mean,” she said.
She also added, “We had talked about having duplicated tattoos done for a little while, but that day, my mind was made up. We knew we had to do something to ensure Honey-Rae grew up knowing she was very much loved”.
Tanya also remembered how painful the tattoo procedure was, especially that she had a flower to cover some of her old star tattoos. Nonetheless, she believes every second of the pain was worth it.
“When the swelling went down, I showed Honey-Rae, and she gently touched it and smiled as she said ‘Match’,” said Tanya. “If I’d have needed any reassurance that I’d made the right decision that was it. She now constantly touches mine and Adam’s tattoos then her own birthmark and giggles – I couldn’t be happier”.
Although some people will say that their tattoos are odd, the couple still thinks they have done something right. They believe that because of what they did, Honey-Rae will never feel different.
Even if they already had tattoos on their legs, none was extreme as imitating the birthmarks.
Honey-Rae’s condition is medically known as haemangiomas. It is a case, where abnormal cluster of blood vessels form under the skin. It got its other name, which is the strawberry birthmark, from the pattern and colors that are similar to the summer fruit.
While some are permanent and do not need to be treated as they are harmless, other types of haemangiomas will fade away over time. Often times, birthmarks have to be treated, especially if they develop into ulcers or block the airways. For others, they want these to be removed for cosmetic reasons.
Whether or not Honey-Rae decides to remove her birthmarks in the long run, one thing is for sure. She has loving parents, who are always there to make her feel special and not different from the rest.
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