Getting Sacred. Getting Inked.

I got my first tattoo when I was 21. In a moment of college spontaneity myself and 6 of my closest college buds decided to commemorate the summer of 2002 forever.  The pisces fish now swim in circles for all time on my lower back. To this day I still love my ink. Even after one of my 3rd grade students asked me why I had a whale sticker on my butt. Even after the great zodiac change of last year (where technically I should now be an Aquarius). My ink marks my entry into adulthood and the freedom of self expression that I so desired at that time in my life.

I didn’t think I’d ever feel the need to go under the needle ever again.

Until we lost Bella.

After losing her I felt an intense desire to find some way to keep her with me. With pregnancy loss being such a taboo societal topic it felt so so lonely missing her and not being able to talk about her. At work all the other moms would tell stories about their children and go to pick them up at the end of their day where all I had were my own haunting thoughts of Bella’s birth and death as I drove back to am empty home. All I wanted was to be able to share stories that were supposed to be.  I wanted her here with me. And since that was impossible, I decided I wanted to carry a constant reminder that she existed.

About a month after Bella was gone a girlfriend and I went to the city and I got up the nerve to walk into a tattoo shop. I spent about 30 minutes browsing the walls of flash. I knew I wanted a rose (Bella’s middle name). It needed to be small. I needed to be able to see it at all times. I wanted it on my wrist. I chickened out. Nothing spoke to me. To pick a rose, off the wall of flash, and spontaneously ink my wrist for all eternity just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t special, it wasn’t sacred, and it wouldn’t be the memorial that my daughter so deserved.

I walked out of that tattoo shop and back into my life for the next two years.

Fast forward to just 2 months ago. I discovered it fascinating how many of my Illuminate class members had their own memorial tattoos. And the feeling of wanting my own came back stronger than ever. We began a discussion thread about tattoos after loss during class. We talked about what makes them so special, and why they seem so common in the baby loss community. And I longed to finally make my tattoo a reality.

And then in an odd twist of fate, I got an email the next morning from a blog idol of mine, Danielle La Porte, with the subject line clear as day: Do NOT Get a Tattoo. I almost fell over in my chair right there. How Danielle La Porte managed to read my mind I’ll never know.  The email linked to THIS blog post.  And I discovered the article is not against tattoos. Far from it. It details why it’s important to choose wisely when it comes to ink.

Go sacred or go home.

~Danielle La Porte~


I knew what I had to do.

She recommends sitting at least 2 years on the thought and design of a tattoo. And it if still speaks to you after 2 years, go for it.  Bella’s 2nd birthday is coming up Sunday. We now have a 2nd living daughter Brielle who shares a middle name with her sister. I still want a rose to signify both of my girls. I still want it on my wrist so I can hold them close to my heart when I need to. And after extensive research I’ve found the shop and the artist who are going make it happen. I just scheduled the appointment yesterday.

I am giddy (and nervous as hell) that this is finally going to happen.

I’ve thought through what it might look like 30 years from now.

I’ve thought about what my husband will think.

I’ve thought about what Brielle might think.

I’ve thought about what my parents will think.

I’ve thought about what society might think.

I’ve thought about it all.

But you only live once, and I need the reminder of my two girls with me more than I need to worry about what others might think.

Anyone else out there with a tattoo in honor of your angel? Anyone else planning to get one? I’d love for you to share a little about it in the comments below. Or even better yet, share a link to an image of your tattoo with us. I’ll share mine once it’s done if you share yours. xoxo.