Carolina Giraldelli doesn’t want her one-year-old son Enzo Cestari to ever feel like he has to hide away the dark birthmark that covers most of his forehead and stretches down one side of his nose.
Giraldelli, 26, from Cáceres, Brazil, said that at first she found it difficult to cope with strangers’ reactions to seeing Enzo, explaining that people would look at her son with “pity, contempt, scare [fear] and sometimes disgust”.
“If someone feels revulsion, curiosity or fear, we try to make him understand that he, despite his mark, is a normal boy who is much loved, just like others,” she said. “But even though it is not easy, my husband and I act normally and we will always show him as he is. I have never treated him as different - I see him as a normal baby and I want to show him to everyone.”
And that is why Giraldelli asked her friend, Elaine Ricci, who is a professional makeup artist, to create a replica of her son’s birthmark on her own face.
“I love his birthmark so much; so much so that I wanted, at least for a moment, to have that mark on me too,” Giraldelli explained. “I wanted to show Enzo this love, so I asked my friend who is a makeup artist to create exactly the same look that Enzo has on my face.
“After the makeup was complete I was very moved because I felt like the most beautiful woman in the world.”
An adorable video (above) shows Enzo grinning when his mother revealed her matching mark. “When I got home, Enzo’s reaction was complete joy - even though he did not completely understand. I’m sure he loved my attitude,” Giraldelli said. “We took lots of pictures and our morning was a lot of fun.”
Giraldelli then spent the day wearing the makeup at work so she could get firsthand experience of how people react to her son. “Several people looked at me with many different looks, but I was very calm because I felt like the most proud mother in the world,” she said. “I kept the makeup on until I went to bed that night, but how I felt has stayed with me ever since.”
Enzo was born in May 2017 via c-section after a scan revealed his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice.
Giraldelli said she first realised something was different about her son due to the “frightened” looks on the medics’ faces. Initially she thought it was a “little bit of dirt”, but said when she realised it was a large birthmark, she was just grateful he was born healthy and crying.
“I decided that from then on I should become another person who was much stronger, fearless, brave, and ready to face all the obstacles that would now be presented to my son,” she added.
When he was five-days-old Enzo had to undergo surgery to check the birthmark - called Congenital Melanocytic Nevi - was harmless.
“The result arrived and we could verify that the spots were only, in a colloquial sense, nothing more than like paint on his face,” said Giraldelli.
Giraldelli shared her photos and video on social media and said the support she received has been overwhelming.
“The words of comfort, encouragement and the wonderful comments were so many that my emotions just took over,” she said. “I believe countless mothers had these same feelings when they saw the picture with my son.”