‘They think she’s cursed,’ says heartbroken dad of mean comments about his toddler
A dad has posted pictures of his daughter who has a birthmark that looks like a black eye in a bid to educate bullies who say the two-year-old is cursed by God.
PHOTO: Magazine Features

A dad has posted pictures of his daughter who has a birthmark that looks like a black eye in a bid to educate bullies who say the two-year-old is cursed by God.

Project manager Nathan Whalen (38), from Calgary in Canada, was shocked when he first learned that his daughter, Samara (2), had been born with a black mark across her face.

He initially mistook it for a bruise but doctors assured him it was a birthmark. Unfortunately doctors couldn’t remove the birthmark as Samara might then lose her eyesight and possibly develop glaucoma, an eye condition where the optic nerve is damaged by the pressure of fluid in the eye.

While Samara has shown no sign of even being aware of the birthmark, she occasionally rubs her eye as hair growing from it irritates her.

Now Nathan wants to get rid of the stigma around birthmarks, and regularly posts stunning shots of his daughter.

“I want the world to become desensitised to birthmarks, so they aren’t met with criticism when people see them,” he says.

“I feel hopeful because society is becoming more accepting towards differences. But I’m also feeling concerned because bullying on social media is rampant among kids and teens.

“Some people think it’s a black eye and are concerned, others think it’s make-up and laugh. Some people think she’s cursed by God and some even say that she’s being punished for something I may have done in the past.”

There’d been no indication on prenatal scans of the birthmark.

“We had no idea there was anything wrong as doctors said she was perfectly healthy girl, so this came as a shock,” Nathan says.

“I thought it was initially a bruise from travelling down the birth canal. I thought she was hurt, so I was yelling at the doctors to get her help.

“When I told my wife that Samara has a birthmark on her face she began to weep, until the doctors wrapped Samara in a blanket and put her on my wife’s chest. My wife immediately started kissing her face and telling her she’s beautiful.

“After the shock wore off my wife and I looked at each other and made a promise to be proud and content that she was beautiful and healthy.”

Because surgery might cause Samara to go blind, Nathan and his wife have opted not to let her have the surgery.

“It can grow larger as her face grows. It will get lighter as it stretches out. She can develop glaucoma in her left eye from this and there’s a small possibility she can lose her eyesight if we attempt surgery,” he says, adding that she can have surgery when she’s around five years old.

The treatment will consist of seven to nine surgeries over a five-year period. There’s no guarantee that the birthmark will be completely removed.

Samara has already suffered ridicule from other kids at nursery who point and laugh, and she’s had to learn to hold her own.

“Some kids run away from her scared – it pains me to see that. But some kids walk up to her and say she’s beautiful and unique. That melts my heart,” Nathan said.

Children usually start developing self-awareness around the age of four, which is when Samara might become more aware of being different.

“Funnily enough Samara shrugs her shoulders and doesn’t care what they [other kids] say. She’ll play by herself if no one wants to play with her.

Nathan says he often worries about her confidence and whether she’ll ever date or get married.

“I just want her to live a normal life. Sometimes we just want to blend in and Samara can’t ever just ‘blend in’, even for a minute.

“I want to say that there are children in the world with health problems, abnormalities, diseases, and dysfunctions.

“Luckily Samara’s birthmark is not life-threatening, but I still want people to know skin conditions can cause major psychological damage and shouldn’t be ignored or understated.

“People with skin conditions tend to retract from society and this is detrimental to anyone’s health and well-being.”


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