Psychological Challenges Associated with CMN
Having a mole that covers a significant part of your body can be a challenge. Most of the time, visible large moles or birthmarks are both unusual and noticeable. They definitely look "different," and especially draw attention when they're on the face. Other people sometimes react, without considering how they come across to the person with CMN or their parents.
Reactions from the Outside
People with large moles get more than their fair share of looks, stares, whispers and finger-pointing. Teasing and bullying can be ongoing problems for children who look different from their peers.
These reactions are not limited to peers. Adults can also react in immature ways when they come upon a child, or another adult, with a visible large nevus. Experienced parents can help with coping strategies to handle these reactions from the outside. Join the Nevus Outreach Facebook Group to ask other parents how they deal with these situations.
Reactions from the Inside
Because of the way they are treated, and/or the way they perceive themselves, a person with a large nevus may suffer from anxiety, depression or a self-esteem deficiency.
Children with large nevi may act out their frustration in all kinds of different ways.
Adults with large nevi, who have suffered under more negative experiences than they can comfortably manage, face a significant challenge. They may prefer to rule their own lives instead of allowing their life to be dominated by their nevus, but may feel they are not succeeding.
It is not uncommon for family members, especially older generations, to either truly believe or delude themselves into believing that a birthmark will “fade.” Some birthmarks do fade. Some large nevi lighten over time, but not to the extent that they go away.
It is also common for grandparents or aunts/uncles of newborns with large nevi to hit the books and champion their grandchild’s cause. (We hear from these relatives-on-a-mission all the time, and we love it. NOTE: This can overwhelm the parents of the newborn! Consider your timing.)
Some family members may insist the best thing to do is hide the child and deny there is anything wrong. Psychologists identify this as a self-centered response rooted in their own subconscious discomfort at being related to someone less than perfect. Perhaps they should look in the mirror.
Unfortunately, new families are still commonly told to take their little disfigured bundle of love home and love on them because they are not going to live very long. Unless they have symptomatic NCM at birth (most don’t), usually nothing is farther from the truth.