It took almost 5 years after K was born for me to learn to prioritize certain things. Getting a tattoo finished was one of those.
I remember the day after she was born, one of the nurses who’d been in the room while I labored and witnessed the glory that was naked screaming me, asked me how I stood the pain of all those tattoos.
I almost fell over laughing at her question, and no it wasn’t because they gave me the good drugs for pain because I refused those in favor of the ever difficult attempts to breastfeed my baby. I laughed, I laughed some more, I chuckled, I guffawed, I giggled and finally I asked her if she had ever given birth. No, apparently she had not. I told her she should never ask a woman who had endured 3 days of labor and a non functional epidural about the pain of getting a tattoo. It was just not comparable. She should instead ask how I managed not to faint from the agony of squeezing a 5 pound kid out of what was formerly just a very pleasurable space for me.
She smiled, looked at me apologetically, told me she thought my tattoos were beautiful and went on her way.
Flash forward almost 5 years to me laying on my side with a leather pillow wrapped in plastic under my rib cage trying to withstand the pain of getting my back piece finished. I thought about the question she asked me that day and realized that pain can fade from your mind so easily. That was a few months ago. After a 3 hour tattoo session I had to go home with half my back still unfinished. He finished the other side a few weeks later.
I’m thinking of this now for a multitude of reasons. Partly because my good friend is finally getting a tattoo she has wanted for years. She hasn’t been tattooed in all the time I’ve known her so I wonder how clearly she remembers the pain. I also wonder what a difference it makes getting tattooed so close to your ribs. Also because a month ago I had to cancel an appointment to get a tattoo I had planned to get for my 30th birthday. I got a bad case of the stomach flu hours before my appointment and spent the next 24 hours sick, sick, well you know SICK. Maybe the biggest part of it though is that I am thinking what I went through to bring K into this world wasn’t so bad after all.
When I was back on that tattoo table the pain was overwhelming and I know I could never endure it for as long as I did childbirth. But is it all because of the reasons? I get tattooed for many reasons, things that are important to me, to who I am, to what I like. But I had K to make the world a better place, to see a little piece of Mr. Kaos and I live on forever, to complete our family. When K was coming into this world I knew that this one little person would become bigger than life in my eyes and in my heart.
So, once upon a time when I was a bad ass and some one asked me if it hurt to get tattooed I would roll my eyes at them and walk off or just snap “what do you think”.
Now I think it’s all a matter of degree and being mommified has made me kind of a bad ass sissy…