Adam and Tanya Phillips’ daughter, Honey-Rae was born with a severe birth mark that covers the right side of her body, and has grown in size as the 18-month-old has grown in age.
Mom Tanya describes it as “bright red” and says “it covers half of the right side of her body [and] stretches from her toes to her lower back. It hasn’t faded with time. In fact some days, it looks darker than others.”
When Tanya first saw the mark, she was heartbroken.
“I just sobbed and sobbed knowing my baby was going to be permanently marked for the rest of her life” she recalled. “Although in our eyes she was perfect, I knew other people would cruelly point and stare at her,” adding that althoug “the birthmark isn’t dangerous, I knew it could have a huge impact on the rest of her life.”
So for a while she kept her daughter covered up and tried to keep her safe from the stares, scowls or pitying looks of strangers, there finally came a time when she and her husband realized they wanted their daughter to feel good about the skin she was born in.
“We wanted Honey-Rae to feel special, that her birthmark was something to feel proud of and not embarrassed by.”
So in addition to constantly covering her in kisses and telling her she’s beautiful, the couple decided to go the extra mile and got tattoos to look just like their little girl.
“We knew we had to do something to ensure Honey-Rae grew up knowing she was very much loved” she said of the decision for both mom and dad to get inked.
“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.”
Last Christmas Adam got his tattoo done and more recently Tanya got hers as part of her 40th birthday celebration.
“It was incredibly painful, especially as I had a flower to cover some old star tattoos, but it was worth every second of the pain” she says.
As for the daughter’s reaction, it could have been more perfect.
“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 explains.
“If I’d have needed any reassurance that I’d made the right decision that was it.”