Birthmarked

This is a post about my birthmark journey. My blog is about embrasing your beautiful no matter your shape, size or skin and this post is my story of my birthmark. It’s not intended to get sympathy or anything just a little insight into me.

As I mentioned in my last post I was born with a large port wine stain birthmark on the left side of my face, this stretches from my eyebrow to the lower part of my cheek. What is that? You’re not the first person to wonder. A port wine stain is a capillary malformation in the skin, made up of tiny capillaries with a pink,red, or purple color to it. It can appear anywhere on the body but mainly on the face and happens every 3 out of 1000 babies. It’s something I’ve struggled with throughout my life and sometimes still do. I know the first thing people see when they look at me is my birthmark and I know it’s because they assume I’ve been in a fight or a fire.

img_20160412_220446.jpgThat’s me as a baby.

When I was a baby there was no treatment available in Northern Ireland for port wine stains so my parents had to do fundraising with the hopes of getting a laser treatment machine and facility. They did this while they both worked full time and had to look after me and my older sister Aine. AND IT WORKED!! My first treatment happened when I was about five. My parents managed to raise enough money to  get me laser treatment. To be more specific, pulsed dye laser, which is the most common type of laser treatment. Brief explanation is : The laser passes through a fibre optic cable, on the end of the cable is a device that looks like a pen. This is gently held against the surface of the skin and a button is pressed, which sends a beam of light to the skin.  The light goes less than 1mm into the skin and is then absorbed by the blood vessels just beneath the surface, causing it to heat up. The heat damages the blood vessels, which creates a bruise.  After treatment my face was like a little valley of circular bruises.
My mum tells me that I was at my treatment while she was due to give birth to my amazing little sister, unfortunately Niamh had to wait a day to be born! (Sorry Niamh). My treatment days as a child would consist of being nil by mouth from the night before and an entire day in the hospital before being put to sleep before my laser. This would be every few months and made my skin even more sensitive to light and sore. This meant that I had to be extremely careful, which for a child like me was difficult because I had also Inheriting the clumsy gene and being told not to fall was not easy!   What made my treatment easier was the staff, they could not have been nicer and are definitely part of my inspiration to be a nurse. They knew me and my whole family by name and I was with the same staff until I was about 15. I pretty much grew up there and having my same consultant taking pictures of my birthmark to track my progress was great. To this day I still continue with my laser treatment, although now I can no longer have sedation (due to the amount I had as a child) and as you can imagine being awake for this treatment is excruciating. On top of that pain I also have to wear cling film on my face. (Which isn’t very attractive) However, although I am now used to that I still remember the embarrassment as a 16 year old putting cream on her face an hour before the treat my so it would numb and covering it with cling film but I always tried to see the funny side of this. Occasionally my consultant will take out my pictures and talk about me growing up and how it’s changed so much.

I probably didn’t start caring about my birthmark until about 12 years old. Before then, I was to busy being a normal kid, Yeah I had to go for scans, treatments and appointments more than the average kid but I have been doing that since I was a baby so it was normal for me.
During my childhood I think that my parents probably had it worse, when I was a baby I didn’t know any different and would have been oblivious to any passing comments or views. When parents have a baby, they love them no matter what but other people can be very opinionated. I will always remember my mum telling me a story about when she was approached by a woman who had a little girl with a small birthmark behind her ear.  This woman went on to tell my mum that I was deformed and should have “THAT” covered up. Mum always tells me how hard it was to contain her anger.  My parents are the most amazing people that I know and having to fundraise for me, attend scans, treatments and consultations left, right and centre with me as well as looking after my older sister, my little sister and my little brother.

Getting older was defiantly harder. Kids are cruel, they tease and they can be brutal. I realised some kids didn’t like the way I looked, and it confused me.  Why? Why was it my face that was different? Why we’re my friends teasing me because of my face? Then came the days of name calling. “Tomato face” the constant “are you crying”, “what happened”, “why do you look like that”  and “who punched you?”.  Some of the children would  avoid me in the hall at school because I had a “disease”. It’s hard not to take these things personally I don’t know how many times I cried or felt down about this and as a child you don’t know what to do other than take it personally.
My little sister Niamh also knew how to cheer me up, in primary school she was told to write a story on someone she admired the most. After sitting through all her shows and all of her stories about people she loved I never thought anything off it until mum showed me. This story was about me. My amazing little sister chose me. There it was with her little drawing of me, birthmark in check and a story about how she admired me,  how I was always smiling and how I have a birthmark. Making less of my birthmark than anything else. The first time I read this I cried, obviously I didn’t tell her this but made fun of her like sisters do. To this day I think about that, When I’m feeling down, hating myself or putting my hand over “that” side of my face it makes me feel happy and confident. Even if I don’t have that confidence I know I can stop crying because I never achieve full coverage because I have too. My little sister looks up to me even though she wrote this as a child and she’s now an adult as an older sister I think I should show her that okay life isn’t always perfect and neither is skin but we should be confident women.
Getting older my doctor started to tell me about other forms of treatment in which he thought would work and this is when the First discussion of skin grafting took place, luckily that was taken off the table as quickly as it was put on. I told the doctor I was happy with who I was and my mum told me how proud she was. She told me I was beautiful and it made me feel so safe. The next treatment he suggested was a Chemical face peel and boy was that a mistake. For days all I could smell and feel was my face burning. This was probably the most horrible thing that I’ve ever had which is strange because I’m used to that.  How people do that for purely cosmetic reasons I will never understand.  Not recommended by me because I had no results from this treatment.  Thirdly was liposuction.  When I heard that my ears lit up but then I found out it would only for my face, to try and get rid of the access skin under my eye.  Because this is extended my consultant hoped to reduce this.  After this I had to wear bandages on my face for a few weeks but unfortunately this wasn’t successful.

After that makeup became my safety blanket. Which I’ve been wearing since I was about 16 religiously, admittedly not very well for a years but a safety blanket none the less.  For those of you that know me you’ll  know I’m very bubbly, outgoing and generally make a joke out of things. At home since i moved out everyone tells me of how quiet it is without me but sometimes  without makeup I will be a completely different person.  I  want people to know me for my personality not my face. Getting recognised is something that I think everyone with a birthmark will encounter.   Make up or not people recognise me and that’s fine. In fact it’s  great if your out in a club with your friends talking to a really cute guy who recognised you from the teenage disco in the church hall  ( who then said he had a crush on you 🙊) but not so great if that one time you told a girl to stop bullying you recognises you in work.

Okay so enough of that fast forward a few years to now. I’m 25 and I’m doing a degree for my dream job and I am madly in love with make up.  I think its unfair that the only people who blog about skin and beauty are those who have perfect skin and natural beauty. That’s why I started this blog, I just want to help those who aren’t sure what to do, how to start or get through the journey with a birthmark as well as exploring makeup.  I know the struggles of watching a tutorial or looking at pictures of makeup with your face not being totally symmetrical and that’s OK. A  birthmark is beautiful, it is unique, and it makes me… well me!

So that’s my story! I hope it was a nice insight into not only me but what it is like to have a port wine stain as a woman. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you comment me any thoughts or questions you have about anything I’ve said. There are lots of pictures on my Instagram of my birthmark and I really look forward to hearing from you guys

Aisling 😚😚

Just a reminder that my Instagram is bigbeautyaisling and I’ve updated all my social media’s in my contact section.

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. Claire Hunter says:

    This is AMAZING! you should be totally proud of yourself for letting everyone in and showing this side of you. Most people find it very hard to let their walls down and letting people in and showing their true selves the good, the bad and the ugly and most struggle with this but its a very brave move to show and explain something that is so personal to you and i think its great as you are inspiring others who may have skin issues or insecurities too and have sonewere to go and read your blog about your tips and advice and it will def make them feel better about themselves hearing it all from a real woman who knows the score herself 🙂 ive known you since school and i didnt even know what your birthmark was called and to be honest i never questioned it, a birthmark no matter the size does not define who you are, you have always been a strong beautiful woman and im really proud and excited your doing this and i just cant wait to read more! Keep it up! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Claire this is the most amazing thing you could have said thank you so so much. You truly are an amazing friend. Opening up has always been hard for me but I thought if I started this it has to be honest and like you said the good the bad and the ugly. So many people are afraid to ask what my birthmark is and I’m happy to answer questions to anyone that wants to know. And I thought before I started getting into my quest for the best makeup I should defiantly let people know about it and where I come from.

      It was definitely an emotional thing to write because I never sit down and say this to people but it’s having friends like you that really inspires me to be who I am. And I love you. Thank you so so much for your time reading and writing on my blog I really do appreciate it 😚😚😚😚 💟

      Like

  2. Claire Hunter says:

    No problen at all i really enjoyed reading it and i couldnt belive about all the treatments you tried and it was really lovely hearing how much your family supported you it def struck a cord with me and felt a little lump in my throat (i will not get emosh and cry lol) you really opened up and im sure uts theraputic for you to sit down and write all about your story through all the highs and lows you have come across and it will inspire… it already has! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I’ve tried so much and was really not for me. Honestly my family are the best and I did try not to get emotional too but my years got the better of me. It took me two days to write this and there were lots of tears and little breaks to calm down but I got there in the end ☺ I’m so happy you liked it! It was kinda therapeutic and thinking back on good times was really good too!
      I honestly forgot how much my parents do for me and they really are the best! Xx

      Like

  3. Annette Myford says:

    Hello, my name is Annette and I am 54 years old (I consider myself still young)…I read your post and everything you wrote connected with me and my background. The only difference, I decided not to seek treatments, I’very used several types of makeup and consider myself a professional, but not working in the field.

    You have wonderful parents and I love your outlook on life living with a birthmark. You have nothing holding you back from being successful with academics, careers, love and a family of your own.

    If I can be of any help to you, please don’t hesitate to email me.

    Best wishes,

    Annette Myford
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Annette!
      Your only as old as you feel! And early 50s is not let’s leave the O word for people in their 100s ☺
      Thank you so so much for your beautiful and wonderful comment. I love that you didn’t seel treatment honestly it shows how strong a person you are! I’ve been having mine since I was little so it’s normal for me and it hurts. It really hurts.
      But that I’d amazing I would love to pick your brain about make up if you’re wouldn’t mind.
      Aisling 😚😘

      Like

    2. Patty says:

      So what make up do you prefer?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s depends what coverage I want. I’m currently searching for the best makeup so keep an eye on my blog for more information on makeup x

        Like

  4. Jo says:

    True inspiration! Fair play xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Girl you are beautiful no matter what 🙂 truly inspired !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading my story. Your comment is so sweet xx

      Like

  6. I loved reading about your journey in ‘dealing’ with this, especially back to the parts of your life where it never affected you. I also envy our ‘perfect skin’ gurus, but nothing should limit anyone. I had the experience a few years ago as a photographer to work with a semi-professional model with a port wine stain from her ankle midway up her back and she is one of the most beautiful people I have met, inside and out. No size, shade, birthmark, scar, or feature should allow judgement. Someday we’ll get there. Thank you for putting your story out there to be an inspiration for so many girls struggling with this and other things that never should have made them insecure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so sweet of you to say! I wasn’t sure if it would be well received but uI thought if I was gonna blog then I would have to be open about myself xx

      Liked by 1 person

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