Salmon Patches and Angel Kisses

By , October 15, 2009 5:51 pm

We took Zeke’s one year pictures today.  Well, to be truthful, we took his one year picture today at 14 months of age, but who’s counting?  I try not to, but every time we take pictures of this incredibly cute little blonde boy, I get a little nervous.  Zeke was born with a large “V” birth mark on his forehead and red splotches above his right eye.  When he is irritated or cries, these marks turn a dark brick red as if I stamped the letter on his forehead or his brother socked him in the eye.  He’s beautiful to me with dark red or soft pink blotches, but it’s been an emotional process handling other people’s reactions.

When Zeke was born, at first sight of the marks, I thought I pushed him out too hard.  Seriously!  After two gigantic pushes, he catapulted into the doctor’s arms so fast that I turned to Hubby holding him and said, “I just can’t push anymore.  He’s got to come out.”  After his first bath, one of the nurses handed him to me and said, “Oh look! Angel kisses!”  Angel kisses?  Seeing my puzzled look, she explained that about 1/3 of babies are born salmon patches or red birth marks on their skin (nevus simplex is the medical term).  A patch on the face was nicknamed an “Angel Kiss” and back of the neck patches were called “Stork Bites.” Sure enough, after examining every little bit of my sweet boy those first few days, I discovered Zeke was blessed with red marks on his forehead, eyelid, and the nape of his neck.

After the marks didn’t fade in the first few months, I started to worry and with the worry came truly insensitive comments from strangers.  “Oh, you’re the one with that kid that has the “V” right?”  “Do you think he’ll be stuck with those marks forever?”  I felt like everyone that met my baby wasn’t looking at him, but at his birth marks.  To make matters worse, I researched studies connecting the cause to the mother’s hormone levels during pregnancy.  GREAT!  Let’s just load a little guilt on my worry.  I was sure I had caused the marks stressing during my pregnancy.  I was also convinced that Zeke would be labeled “that kid with the ‘V.’” This unhealthy pattern of thought continued until I was talking to a friend about taking my boys to my parent’s Idaho farm for a few weeks during the summer.

“I don’t want any of my parent’s friends to meet Zeke,” I lamented.  “They’re going to make comments and I’m just so sick of people implying that having a kid with birthmarks means you have a kid with something wrong with them.”

Thank goodness for amazing, brutally honest friends.  “You know, Alyssa,” she told me.  “You’re never going to be able to control what people say about Zeke.  He may always have those birth marks, have them for the rest of his life.  But does that really matter?  Does it change anything about who he is or how much you love him?  Do you really care that much about what strangers say about your kids?”  I swallowed.  She was right. Was I embarrassed that there might be something different about my kid?  Were my insecurities at fault? She continued, “Just because other people label him doesn’t mean you do.  What a lesson you can teach your boys through all of this, that people are different, and God blessed them that way.” Insert tears here. I’m still crying now reading her words.  I always thought I was accepting of “different” people, but I don’t think I was being honest with myself.  I accepted that other people were “different” but struggled that MY kid was different.  I hadn’t even considered that Zeke had been blessed to be different.

So I got a little nervous today taking pictures, nervous that all of those depressing thoughts would flood back into my mind.  They didn’t though.  As I watched my precious 14-month-old rustle through fall leaves and pose for the camera, all I could think about was how blessed I am to have him.  Sure, he’s got birth marks. He also has an insatiable hunger for graham crackers, a bubbly chuckle, and sandy blonde hair that always smells like lavender.  Those angel kisses may never completely fade, but it doesn’t matter to me. He is different and God made him that way for a reason.

Sweet Zeke

Sweet Zeke


© 2009 – 2011, FROM MILITARY TO MOM. All rights reserved.


28 Responses to “Salmon Patches and Angel Kisses”

  1. Lindsey says:

    I love how you write…. you are such a great writer! When my oldest started talking he had a stutter and I was devestated. I knew he would be made fun of and life is hard enough without having things like that to deal with but then I thought it doesn’t matter what other people say to him… my love for him will be enough. No matter how hard his day may have been he is always surrounded with people who unconditionally love him and that will be enough. He has since grown out of the stutter but this post made me think back to that. Your son is beautiful regardless of any birthmarks!!

  2. Davina says:

    Alyssa – you are very gifted and we are very blessed to get to read the thoughts you put down. My Lyndie was born with the same patch of Angel Kisses and both my kids have the Stork Bite =-). You reminded me of how I felt when I saw my sweet little baby girl wrapped up in her soft purple blanket and looking at her thinking, “I sooo hope that goes away. What are people going to say? Jesus protect her.” I too had a friend tell me, are you wanting God to protect her or you? It really made me think. The DR told me chances are as she gets older it will fade and well for the most part it has. I choose that day back when my friend gave me a gentle slap – to look at my beautiful daughter and see her beauty and her beauty marks, because that was how God choose to design her. Lyndie is 4 now and the marks only appear when she is apparently and vividly upset…it’s just a reminder that she is my unique and wonderfully made Gift from God.
    Zeke is a very handsome little guy with beautiful eyes!!!

  3. Amy says:

    I love you little man Zeke!!! And just wait until your Auntie Amy gets her hands on your cute little self. The kisses, the squeezes…just prepare yourself. I love you little man and just like your momma I think you are absolutely perfect. Keep on rockin’ those angel kisses.

    Love the post, Lyss. Something we can all relate to with our kids and a great reminder that our Creator only makes that which is beautiful, perfect and exactly what He has designed. Just makes me wish I could see this sweet boy and YOU soon!!!

  4. Alyssa says:

    Thanks ladies! I feel encouraged receiving these comments from such wonderful mamas!

  5. Ang says:

    Hi Alyssa,
    This is Amy’s friend Angela. Don’t know if you remember me. I wandered over to your sight after Amy blogged about your homemade laundry detergent. ( I am buying the ingredients today!) Anyway, I saw the post on your sweet little man. I was born with both Angel kisses and stork bites. I have one right between my eyes. I think it’s faded, but it’s a dead give away when I am mad or embarrassed. ;-) Looking at Zeke, all I see is a beautiful blue eyed little man!!! He is adorable!!! His big baby blues are captivating! He is just perfect.

  6. MELISSA says:

    Omg you do write so beautifully. And Your baby is so cute. I to have a son with the angel kiss on his forhead and a stork bite on the back of his neck. He is 17 months now and its still there. It is faded. I to have people that say stuff not in a rude way but ask like is that a birthmark? When is it going to go away. To be honest with you I wonder the same thing. I wish it would I don’t want him to be teased in school he’s already being teased now he just dosent know it. I love him with all my heart. Does that make me a bad mother.

  7. Alyssa says:

    Nothing bad about loving our kiddos. Zeke is 18 months now and the marks are still pretty dark depending upon his temperament. I realized that there are about a hundred other things besides his angel kiss and stork bites that he could be teased about later in life. His differences will only make him a stronger person in the long run. Thanks for the comment, Melissa. You must be an awesome Momma!

  8. Secret says:

    My son is 9 mon and has the same red V inbetween his eyes. I was actually looking on here because I was hoping that it would go away because sometimes they do fade. I just don’t want people to poke fun of him. He’s so handsome though. He also has a stork bite on his neck and little spots on his nose. You really can’t see them in his pictures though. He’s still beatiful though.He’s so joyful. I’m just happy that he’s healthy. I know how you feel though. People will judge my child if he had the red V or not because that’s just how people are.

  9. Marisa says:

    My daughter was born with an “Angel kiss” right between her eyes on her forehead in the shape of a heart. When she cries I kiss it to make it feel better. When she was first born I thought the same way you did, felt the same way you did. People would ask me and I would explain to them that it’s not permanent. The doctor even said it will fade, maybe one day it will and I will be able to tell her stories of how I kissed her angel kiss to make her feel better when she was upset or crying. Now when people ask I just say, she’s been kissed by an angel. She’s 5 months old now and there is soo much more to her, she’s soo sweet and loveable, she smiles at anyone who comes near, she laughs at her older brother when he entertains her, I wouldn’t want her any other way! We are all blessed with beautiful and healthy babies. Your son is gorgeous, congrats! =)

  10. Alyssa says:

    Thanks for your comments, Marisa and Secret! Zeke just turned 2 in August and you can hardly see his little “kiss” now. It’s such a wonderful part of him that, to be honest, I’ll be a little sad when it completely fades away. Hugs to you and your sweet babes!

  11. Joanne says:

    Hi Alyssa,

    You have an adorable son! I’ve just delivered my baby boy last week and I was abit worried that he had the exact angel kisses like Zeke. But I was happy that he’s a healthy boy. Though people will ask the question – why is there a big birthmark on his forehead?…

    I was unable to answer that as well… Doctor did say that it will fade away when he reaches 2 year old, or else it will stay permanent for the rest of his life. Hopefully, other people won’t tease him.

    Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter to me at all! That makes my baby unique! :D I just loved the way he smiled at me after he finishes his milk..

    Congrats to Zeke now that he turns 2! I have still a long journey to go…


  12. Alyssa says:

    Joanne- Congrats! Zeke still has a little redness even after two but it fades more and more every day. Hang in there as you will find that with every new day enjoying your baby boy that his little birthmark becomes obsolete!

  13. English guy says:


    I googled Stork bites and got to you. Yep, I’m a Daddy in the same position. He’s 14 months now and although they are fading, the V is still quite prominent. My wife really isn’t concerned by it, she knows how lucky we are and I’m kind of getting to understand. I suppose I’m selfish because i don’t want him to be commented on. We were at a wedding and a woman asked when he bumped his head….which is about the 300th time someone has said the same thing. I tell them what it is and then I get the reply I dread…..”they will fade away though right?”…..erm…..possibly not.

    Still, he’s happy and heathly and i’m being the over protective Pappa. Thanks for the article, I find it hard to find advice and people in my similar position.

    thanks a mill

  14. Alyssa says:

    English guy- my husband, who has an interesting sense of humor, used to say to people that asked about the “bump”, “Oh that’s not a bump on his head, we just smacked him this morning and it still hasn’t worn off.” You should see the look in response! I used to explain Zeke’s “V” but then realized people only ask me about it when they are uncomfortable. Now I smile and say, “Oh that’s an angel kiss, we’re hoping he keeps it forever.” Thanks for stopping by and congrats on your beautiful boy!

  15. Mandy says:

    I too googled salmon patches and found your site through the images. It immediately made me smile seeing your son! I remember when my daughter was born 7 months ago, I thought she’d been malpositioned & that caused the mark on her forehead. I was worried at first. The next morning they told me what they were (she had one on her neck, 1 on each eye & the “V” on her head). Since that moment, I’ve loved it. I love differences. I love it about her. I’ve never actually met another baby with the mark, which is why I googled it. Like I said, it made me smile to see the picture. It made me smile to see that there are other babies that look like my beautiful baby girl. :) Zeke is beautiful and beautifully unique…well, as unique as 1 in 3 babies can be. Do all of the other mom’s hide with their babies because I do not see them at the grocery store! Anyway, I enjoyed finding your site!

  16. Alyssa says:

    Thanks for the comment, Mandy. I was just telling someone yesterday, Zeke wouldn’t be Zeke without that “V”! I don’t see that many salmon patches, but when I do it always makes me smile.

  17. marianne says:

    Hi, what nice to read your blog, altough it’s almost 2 years later :) I’m from the netherlands and also have a birthmark. I’m 30 now and only know since a year of 2 that it’s also called an angels kiss. So today I googled to see if other people had one similar like me. I saw the little picture of your child and thougt it was fake, because for me it looked like an angel; two wings and a small head. Then I read your blog and saw the big picture. I saw it more clear but I still see an angel in it. But now I understand that it is real, so I had to write it because it’s so special. Sorry for my english, it’s not so good.

  18. Alyssa says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Marianne and thanks so much for seeing a sweet angel on my little boy’s face!

  19. Charlie says:

    Both my little boys have them my youngest has quite a few marks. They have never really bothered me until a few weeks ago some 1 asked how he .banged his head! I was heart broken. He is a beautiful little boy and I like to this that his angel kisses are some very special people watching over him.

  20. Alyssa says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Charlie. I like to think Zeke’s angel kisses make him even MORE adorable! Bet it applies to your cutie, too.

  21. alex says:

    Hi Alyssa, have loved reading this. My daughter was born in Jan 2009. She was born with patches over both eyes & a angel kiss between her eyes. She’s now coming up for 4 & the eye patches have gone. But the angel kiss is still there. It has faded loads, but when she gets upset it flair up. She’s never mentioned her mark to me & I’ve never spoken to her about it. But I’m now thinking about mentioning it to her as she’s starting school in Sept, & I’m worried that the other children might start ppoi.ting it out to her. Any tips or any ideas would be great. X

  22. Karla says:

    My daughter has the same V and at 31 I still have traces of it. Mine is not very obvious and I was never picked on. I had never really noticed mine until I saw my daughters. Then I noticed that my mother has it as well. I think it is cool. It is like a little mark that makes us special and unites us even more. My daughter’s V has faded a little and she is only 8 mos. old. I don’t expect her to have any problems at school because I never did.

  23. Alyssa says:

    I wouldn’t mention it unless she asks. We never have for my Zeke and one day we overheard him telling someone about it. We didn’t make a big deal and figure if anyone ever teases him about it we will talk to him about mean kids just like we would talk to him if someone calls him a name. I think pointing it out would make him feel like it is something he should be ashamed of and I think quite the opposite. His mark is something to be proud of. Hope that helps!

  24. ToniBaybie says:

    Hi Alyssa, Thank you so much for writing this post. I too have an amazingly beautiful little boy that was born with angel kisses and a stork bite. My little guy is 5 months now and I hadn’t really thought much about it because the hospital staff responded to the marks very positively and with complete assurance that they will fade/disappear. He’s 5 months old now and they have faded a little off his face but not his neck. He’s completely bald and with his marks he looks real hardcore… Like he has little baby tattoos lol. But I started to get upset because I kept seeing all these babies born with a perfect complexion and was convinced that maybe my son was the ONLY one with these marks. Your post and all of the replys have given me a new perspective. As a matter of fact I dated a guy a long time ago with the stork bite on the back of his neck and I always thought it was sexy. I’m no longer gonna let my babies marks make me feel insecure. Thank you very much.

  25. Katie says:

    Hi Alyssa! I love the way you write your blog. Im from the Philippines and my son, who is now 2 months old has the same ‘V’ mark on his forehead and just awhile ago I learned about the so called ‘Angel Kiss’. Just like you, I was so worried about his birthmark and it even made me cry. I eventually learned to accept that my darling son has been blessed with that mark. How I wish that it’ll fade before his school-age. I don’t want other people to make fun at him. God bless you and your family. Kisses to lil Zeke :)

  26. Aussie family of V's says:

    Wow nice to see others out there with similar experiences.
    I gave birth in 2011 to my second son and he had a V birthmark on his forehead, then in 2013 my little girl was born with it. It wasn’t until my son came out with a prominent mark that I noticed that I too had one. Such a weird feeling that I’d had it my whole life and never ever noticed it. When looking back at old photos I can just see it in my wedding photos!!! On talking with my mum about it she mentioned that she too has it. I’d never noticed it on her either. When she was born her mum was told it was a mark of V for victory as it was just after the war ended in 1943.
    It’d be an interesting topic as I was just listening to A This American Life podcast and they were talking about kids with temptress and how this particular child had this same mark that would glow when the child was throwing a tantrum. My son and I too have a quick temper so wonder if this is related? It would be interesting to see.
    Thanks for your blog about it. He’s a cutie!

  27. Aussie family of V's says:

    And I just saw the update….. Feel free to move this to there if you’re able :) you’re little boy is even cuter as he gets older!

  28. Elizabeth says:

    So cute x

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