Each of us is unique and special, in our own way, and it is this uniqueness that makes us different. Appreciating diversity from an early age therefore means growing up in harmony with everyone and being proud of one’s uniqueness. That’s what Nicole Hall is trying to convey to her little girl for her life with optimism.
Winry Hall is a 13-month-old with a distinct facial characteristic. The little girl was born with an ᴇxᴛʀᴇᴍᴇʟʏ ʀᴀʀᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ called ᴄᴏɴɢᴇɴɪᴛᴀʟ ᴍᴇʟᴀɴᴏᴄʏᴛɪᴄ ɴᴇᴠɪ (CMN). The patch of skin extends over a quarter of her face; it covers the bridge of her nose, over her eye and forehead, and onto part of her cheek. As Winry grows, her mom, Nicole Hall, is dedicated to celebrating her daughter’s unique beauty and one way she’s different than others. Her older siblings call it her “special mark” and that is exactly how we see it too, is special. She is even more beautiful with her ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ and we will make sure we tell her that every day.
Ebony and Jamie, 34, met in 2016 and have a son, Harley, aged three. Jamie also has an older daughter, Hollie, nine, from a previous relationship. Winry joined their little family in September 2020, weighing 8lbs 4ozs. Ebony says: “The ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ went well and Winry was delivered by planned ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ. When she was born, Jamie said to me: “She has a really big ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ on her face. When I saw her, I was speechless. I couldn’t believe that half of her ᴇɴᴛɪʀᴇ ғᴀᴄᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴄᴏᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ. I was in sʜᴏᴄᴋ, I think, and it wasn’t until about two weeks later that I just sat down and ᴄʀɪᴇᴅ my heart out. I wasn’t ᴄʀʏɪɴɢ for me, but I was ᴄʀʏɪɴɢ for Winry and for all the ᴘʀᴇᴊᴜᴅɪᴄᴇ she will face in the future.”
She added: “I ᴡᴏʀʀʏ so much about her starting school and how ᴄʀᴜᴇl people can be, children as well as adults. Specialists have told the family that the ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ is a Cᴏɴɢᴇɴɪᴛᴀʟ Mᴇʟᴀɴᴏᴄʏᴛɪᴄ Nᴀᴇᴠᴜs, and a ʟᴀʀɢᴇ ᴏɴᴇ ᴏɴ the face is so rare that it is happens to 1 in 20,000 births. Luckily, it is simply a ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ and it is unlikely to cause Winry no serious ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜ ɪssᴜᴇs, though she will have further tests. She has other smaller ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋs, known as satellites, around her body, but these too are ʜᴀʀᴍʟᴇss.”
The couple were offered the option of sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ to remove the ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ, which would involve sᴋɪɴ ɢʀᴀғᴛs and inevitably be a ᴘᴀɪɴғᴜʟ ᴘʀᴏᴄᴇᴅᴜʀᴇ involving scarring. Ebony says: “The ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ has faded a little since she was born but it will never fade completely. We’ve decided to leave the sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ until Winry is old enough to make up her own mind. It’s a huge undertaking and she should be the one to decide. For us now, it’s part of her and we can’t imagine our daughter without it. Her development is perfect and she’s a really cheeky, mischievous little girl.”
People are much more than their outward appearances, and it’s Winry’s personality that makes her unique. Hall shares: “She just radiates joy. She’s almost always laughing or sʜʀɪᴇᴋɪɴɢ. She is just the happiest baby I have ever seen. She’s a big talker already. We haven’t got a whole lot of words out, but she tells you like it is and she’s already getting a little bit of sassiness, so I think we’re gonna have a lot on our hands. Her big brother and sister adore her and call her ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ; “the special mark.” I know life won’t be easy for Winry, she will face a lot of challenges. But it’s our job to make her feel special and to make her see that the ʙɪʀᴛʜᴍᴀʀᴋ makes her even more beautiful.”