Precursor: (1) I am not the type of person to get a tattoo on a whim. (2) I am not to type of person to spend money on a tattoo - I have 4 kids and I just feel my money is better spent elsewhere.
A week and a half ago I received the call that my grandfather had passed away. I was actually in the middle of Birth Boot Camp Doula training. I knew this was coming, but I didn't expect it so soon. So, when the doula training ended, I hopped in my car and made my way to be with my extended family. We grieved together: lots of weeping, lots of hugs, lots of holding hands. But we also celebrated my grandfather, we honored his life, we found joy in the memories - we have AWESOME memories!
My brother, who lives in Italy, flew in to be with us. He had the grand idea to go get a tattoo... he wanted to get swallows to signify the miles he has traveled at sea (Navy thing). My dad also had a special tattoo he wanted to get. Then they turned and looked at me.... next thing I knew I was getting a tattoo.
Well, not exactly the next thing... there was a lot of thought about putting a permanent fixture on my body. I had to check in the the husband, see what he thought about it. For people who know me well, they know there is a very special verse tattooed on my heart (my spirit heart, not my physical body)... they know I have a journal page that sits on my dresser (see the picture below), that same picture is the wallpaper on my phone (and has been for years), they know the first thing you see when you enter my house is a giant script on my wall with this verse. So choosing what my tattoo would be was simple; I have wanted this tattoo for a while.
I didn't have any tattoos up to this point. I had virgin skin! The biggest thing going through my mind was "Is it going to HURT?" "How PAINFUL was this going to be?" "What if I CAN'T take it?" (How many first-time moms say these exact same phrases when they prepare for their birth!) But, I had the TATTOO DOULA with me, my Dad!
My Dad is pretty legendary! He served 30 years in the United States Navy. He was a Deep Sea Diver - he has some pretty awesome sea stories! He has 13 tattoos; 2 he had removed before we moved to the Middle East (and not with a laser, with a scalpel) and he had one covered with a whole new tattoo (the old tat was scary). Tattoos were pretty commonplace in my home as a child. The tattoo my dad got during our family session is below.
He knows how it feels to get a tattoo. He knew what to expect. He has processed all the thoughts that I was having, many times over. He knew what the recovery would be like. He may have a rough and tough exterior, but he is a doula at heart. Just like I am a birth doula - I have been there, done that, got the t-shirt, maybe even the hoodie! I have compassion for women who birth, I understand what they are feeling. My dad had compassion for me.
My dad sat next to me and held my hand. He gave me words of reassurance. He informed me of the process. He helped me find confidence and security. He helped me remain calm. All the things a doula does. He helped the fear disappear which made room for excitement.
I must add that my sweet cousins and brother were also sitting in the background (not allowed to be close), giving me words of encouragement. My Cousin Jess kept saying things that helped distract me from the pain. She was one of my unofficial doulas during my third birth; she did hip squeezes and helped me find comfort. She was getting a tattoo as well, but she was experienced, having previously gotten a tattoo. Her description of the pain was SPOT ON!
So, I did it! I got a tattoo! The pain wasn't bad, but I was blessed to have the TATTOO DOULA by my side. My tattoo is below; 4 arrows representative of my 4 daughters. It reminds me that I am charged to raise the very best children I can. What good is an arrow if it is not straight? What good is it if it is not sharp? I am not a perfect mother, but this is a reminder to do my very best. My girls are blessings from the Lord and my quiver is full of them!
Huge shout out to Charlie Forsyth from Amulet in Saint Petersburg, Florida. I seriously wouldn't consider stepping into most tattoo parlors, but this place was more of a studio; super clean, incredible classy - probably the only one of its kind around. Charlie was so incredibly helpful and accommodating to our family. He did a wonderful job making me feel at ease, especially considering I had never gotten a tattoo before. He was attentive and gave us great professional advice, and his designs were beautiful! I also loved that they had an ALL NATURAL tattoo ointment!!! You can find Charlie on Instagram by clicking here.
I am a birth doula, childbirth educator, wife to an amazing man, and mother to four beautiful girls. I love serving families as they bring new life into the world!
Serving Virginia's Shenandoah Valley & West Virginia's Panhandle
Winchester // Stephenson // Stephens City // Strasburg // Berryville // Purceville // Leesburg // Inwood // Gerrardstown // Shepherdstown // Martinsburg // Charlestown // Middletown // Front Royal
Doula // Childbirth Educator // Placenta Encapsulation Specialist