Monday, October 31st, 2005
Living with Congenital Dermal Melanocytosis
Little Miss was born Congenital Dermal Melanocytosis. The condition is genetic. There is nothing we can do about CDM. Her pediatrician acts like it is no big deal, but we have come to terms with the fact that she will die one day.
My daughter’s affliction is better known as Mongolian spots.
These spots are bluish-grey blobbish markings on the skin that appear shortly after birth on a baby’s back or buttocks. They are completely harmless.
If I snagged you with my initial subterfuge, you’re probably part of what one web site classifies as "well-meaning white people."
The spots are common on African, Asian and Latino babies and as many as 10 percent of Caucasian infants. The birthmarks can be mistaken as bruises, and sometimes result in
child abuse allegations. I admit, when I saw the marks on the first or second day, I thought they were bruises. We haven’t had any accusatory woes, although my mother
did ask about the spots and I felt compelled to send her a web link to
assuage any doubt.
The birthmark is caused by trapped melanocytes (pigment) in the skin and should completely fade within several years.
Above is a photo of Little Miss’ spots as they appear today at 16 months. They are well faded and hard to capture on camera, but easy to notice in person as you view them from differing angles. (Oh, and yes, that is a Wonderoo pocket diaper you see in the photo.)
Mongolian spot diagram [National Institutes of Health]
Photo of Mongolian spots [dermatlas.org]