Unexpected Grief

I took one last deep yoga breath before stepping into Inksanity Tattoo Company on Friday night.

The emotions and adrenaline pumping through my body in that moment felt so familiar.

The nerves, the huge pit in my stomach, the uncertainty. They were all the same feelings as I set foot in the hospital’s labor and delivery wing the day we had to say goodbye to Bella 2 years ago.  I tried to focus on how this would be a piece of cake compared to losing her. Even still, I was worried about the design. And about the pain. And about the change my body would undergo forever.

Then, just as the nurses at the hospital were able to put me at ease during Bella’s birth, the kind staff and artists at Inksanity knew just the words to say to make me feel comforted. My artist was prepared with print outs of the inspiration images I had sent and then I waited as she worked her magic. So much waiting. It felt like hours when it was really only minutes.

After only one revision there is was. Her rose. Bella’s rose.

It was bigger than I had initially planned. But Bella’s legacy has been bigger than I ever imagined it would become, so bigger in the end felt better.

More waiting.

As she prepped needles, and ink, and drawings, and tables I held Brendan’s hand and remembered. And worried about the pain I was about to undergo.

My mantra: “This can’t hurt as much as birthing your dead child”.

And sure enough it didn’t.

But oh my goodness, the low low low I felt after it was over. I wasn’t expecting. I thought I’d feel this immense sense of closure. A chapter of her story closed. Instead, I felt emotionally drained, cold, tired, sad, and uncertain. I kept looking at my wrist mourning her and not celebrating her. I couldn’t sleep that night. There was anxiety. Panic.

It was if I had been transported right back to 2 years ago. It was the exact same cycle. I was grieving the loss of her. I was grieving the “loss” of my body. Those same stages of grief sneaking in again.

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression.

And Acceptance.

Maybe that’s what I was subconsciously looking for through this whole experience. To re-live those emotions. Because now two days later I am in love with my art. I am in love with my wrist. And I am so happy that I now get to carry my girls Bella and Brielle Rose with me each and every day.