Let's talk about baby memorial tattoo ideas

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By: D. Sharon PruittCC BY 2.0
I had my first miscarriage June 21, 2011 at 16 weeks. I didn't get the chance to find out the sex of the baby, even though I always felt it was a girl. She was my butterfly, for she was always kicking. She would have been born around December 5. My second miscarriage was April 15, 2012 at 11 weeks. My football, that wonderful weight cradled in my pelvis, would have been born around October 20. Again, I didn't get a chance to find out the sex, but I felt like it was another girl, so I named her Thing 2, and her sister Thing 1.

I've already got a couple of tattoos, and now, I want memorial tattoos for my babies. I'd love to know what ideas you guys have for memorial tattoos, and what some of you have used in the past. — SnowQueen

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  1. I have an oldschool swallow tattooed on my right shoulder. It is pink and purple. I had a strong feeling she was a girl, that is why i choose the colors.I named her Nova, which means "new". Why i chose my tat: The swallow stands for faith and returning, i thought that would be a fitting image plus i really really like swallows and the freedom they respresent. We have a lot of them flying around here and every time i see one i think of my daughter. The swallow has a little key in it's mouth which symbolizes the "doors being opened" this has to do with the fact my husband and i are infertile and have to go through treatments to get pregnant. I am 40 weeks pregnant with my second daughter right now (a surprise without hospital help!) and everytime i look in the mirror and cradle my belly i see little Nova peeking over my shoulder looking at her little sister. I think the tattoo has brought me peace and reminds me of her in a happy way.

    37 agree
    • This is really lovely. Thanks for sharing. I had my first miscarriage recently and I would like to do something to remember her (I also felt like she was a girl). I'm incredibly blessed to have a happy and healthy one year old already, but lately, everytime I see him, I think of the one we lost :(

      4 agree
  2. I got a line from one of the poems that I read repeatedly while grieving and healing. I like it because although I got it to symbolize my miscarriage, it's still really personal and secretive.

    4 agree
  3. I am so sorry for the losses you have suffered. I had a miscarriage at 9 weeks a few months ago. My entire, albeit short, pregnancy I craved strawberries. Even before I had a positive test. As a chef, I have eaten some amazing things in my life but nothing ever tasted better than a strawberry slush when I was pregnant. I got a memoral tattoo of a winged strawberry, it is bright and happy – like I was those few short weeks. I asked my artist to take some freedom and make it fun, the wings are more cartoony and childish than a typical angel tattoo. I couldn't be happier with it.

    I had it placed on the top of my foot, so I can always see it but I can also easily conceal it if I am having a day where I don't feel like talking about it. It has been healing to me to have something tangible to remember the life that won't be.

    14 agree
  4. I got pregnant with my first child February of 2012, only to have a miscarriage on April 12, 2012. A few days later I got a memorial tattoo. It's about the size of a quarter near the fold of my arm. It's a beautiful illustration of a baby at 9 weeks, it looks almost like a watercolor painting, and around the embryonic sac I have the words "Forever in my arms" and the date of the loss.

    Even though the loss was devastating, I was surprised at the beginning of May that I was blessed once again with a tiny miracle… I'm due in about 6 weeks. :)

    12 agree
    • That's lovely. We were about a month apart, you and I, I conceived in January and lost my little one in March. I'm due now in April, so happy and healthy thoughts for you & your sweet pea!

      1 agrees
  5. I'm planning on getting a string of morning glories to represent my son Foster who was stillborn at 39 weeks in March 2010. The morning glory was used as a flower on the graves of children in the UK and it seems fitting. It'll happen some day – I'm in no rush.

    9 agree
  6. Here is mine http://statigr.am/p/334218286649084903_1897593
    I got it after a miscarriage and failed frozen embryo transfer. The physical pain was helpful – centering almost and I will always have this tribute to the baby that couldn't be. It was also helpful to be doing something I couldn't do if pregnant. I also thought of doing poppies for remembrance.

    4 agree
    • That's really beautiful. I miscarried at 7 weeks this summer, and have thought about a tattoo, but it's still so raw. I think we are close to stopping treatment, so maybe when we decide, a tattoo to symbolize that closure in general will suggest itself.

      1 agrees
      • I like that idea too – of symbolizing closure. American culture does not have ritual associated with miscarriage, and often even stillbirth, as we do with deaths in general. Just as funerals, wakes, etc. help the grieving move on, I felt like this was a symbolic ritual that helped me move on.

        6 agree
  7. What a beautiful idea – thank you for sharing!

    1 agrees
  8. I had a miscarriage at 21 weeks when we found out that after 3 boys, we were having a girl. I have 5 snowflakes tattooed on my shoulder since we named her Eira, which in Norse means Pure as Snow and because I was 5 months when we lost her.

    2 agree
  9. http://www.flickr.com/photos/amalaafish/8292101384/

    This is my tatt for my daughter I placed for adoption. A cross because the whole situation brought me to God, of course her name I gave her. A yellow (this was years after and it has faded a bit)and pink rose because in my family that symbolizes love and family. I sewed a yellow and pink rose onto her quilt I made her as well. And on my left side to always be near my heart.

    I haven't yet decided what to do for my last 2 babies I miscarried in the past 5 months, but I will incorporate in into/near the tatt for my daughter.

    2 agree
  10. My memorial tattoo isn't for a lost child but for my younger sister for whom I was a "second mother". I got a series of three stars on my ankle, since she always used to draw stars on herself, and three in honor of the triple goddess, since my sister, mom, and I always felt like together we embodied that triumvirate.

    3 agree
  11. This is an extremely moving thread. I have been thinking very hard about similar issues this last year as my sister had 2 miscarriages at early stages and then gave birth to Henry, my nephew, far too soon for him to stay with us. I want to do/make/buy something for my sister which commemorates all of her babies (she has 3 children already, and they are beautiful beyond words). I loved them all from the first moment I heard that they were coming and I will love them all till the day I die and I want her to have something that will remind her of that since she often feels that the world thinks she has three children and she doesn't really know how she feels about that. I'm not contributing to the thread really am I. I'll be following it though to hear your inspirations.

    2 agree
  12. A pair of extremely well-written and moving blogs penned by a husband and wife features their memorial tattoos incorporating elements of a constellation. Their son died after only a few hours. His middle name is the name of the constellation, which I believe is prominent in the sky where they live during the time of year when he was born.

    3 agree
  13. I had two miscarriages in amongst three beautiful babies. I am planning a twig with three open flowers and two unopened buds..I think its nice to commemorate miscarriage this way. one of the hardest things for me was that noone talks about miscarriage.

    30 agree
    • I talk about miscarriage. Mostly because people don't, and its very easy to feel alone in that sadness. I have had three (before one successful pregnancy), and I feel no shame in telling people of my history. Much the same as I feel no shame in telling people just how hard and scary I found the first month of my beautiful son's life. I've had people thank me for my honesty because it's very easy to think that everyone else is coping better than you are.

      6 agree
  14. i got a dandelion flower "wishing flower that looks like its being blown and in the seed, pieces of flower being blown there are two birds in flight and underneath it says "As long as I live, you will live. As long as I live, you will be loved. As long as I live, you will be remembered." it is to remember my twins i lost

    8 agree
  15. Since sending in this question I've decided on and started drawing my memorial tattoo. It's a placental tree of life: rainbow "leaves", a simple drawing on a woman instead of the "trunk", 2 small fetuses in the gaps in the foliage and their information written around the top. I'm going to get it on my back, basketball sized.

    4 agree
    • I miscarried at maybe 5 weeks. I'm still not sure how to talk about it. It was a blighted ovum and I only found out what that meant over two years later, so I wasn't sure what to think. Was it a miscarriage? I ended up preferring to grieve over "nothing", as my then-boyfriend called it, than not grieve over someone. I still don't know how to think of it.

      In any case, before the miscarriage I'd decided to get the hanzi for my Chinese zodiac on my back. I wanted to put my future children's zodiac animals underneath in a horizontal line, when the time came. I wanted to get a memorial of some sort for my … well, my baby, but I didn't know what to get. I didn't have any clear picture in my mind and the only memories of "being pregnant" involved worrying about whether I was, failed pregnancy tests, then a trip to Accident and Emergency. I wasn't sure what to do. I just wanted something to look at, to think about something happy.

      I met my now-husband and when we got engaged I eventually decided to get his zodiac underneath mine, then the baby's. One day we'll have children whose animals can be added as well.

      I asked a friend of a friend, who's Chinese, to triple-check the hanzi for me (I had tried every resource I could think of, but you never know) and he was very critical. I hadn't explained to him what they were for, or maybe he would have understood and not just dismissed me as someone following a trend with no thought to the language.

      It does worry me that I have something in Chinese/Japanese and that I look like just another trend-follower, but I have been studying Japanese for some time and have made sure that I know what they mean as best I can.

      In the end, this felt more meaningful to me than getting a picture or a name. I like my zodiac animal, I like Japanese (although the characters are originally Chinese, but they mean the same in both languages in this case) and if someone asks me the story and still dismisses my tattoo choice, that's their problem, not mine.

      Sorry about getting all defensive; I say to people I have a Chinese/Japanese tattoo and their eyes roll :-/

      3 agree
      • (Not that there's anything wrong with getting pictures or names. I just like Japanese, myself)

  16. I have a horseshoe with a tiger lily in the middle and wings coming off each side, on my right rib cage.
    I got bucked off a horse and broke a few ribs, and part of my pelvis. I was also 14 weeks pregnant.
    It was the most painful event of my life, and I got it in a place that I knew was going to hurt (ALOT). It was really therapeutic.

    3 agree
  17. I don't know if this would be worth sharing, as my memorial tattoo wasn't for a miscarriage but an abortion…but it helped me just the same. My boyfriend (now husband) and I were just in college and though it was the right decision for us at the time, we both mourned not being able to keep the baby. I got a plain little black heart on the inside of each wrist to mourn her, referring to the song "Little Black Heart" by Early November .. it helped me have closure. Hoping you can find peace as well for your losses.

    12 agree
  18. I have two children (a girl of 3 and a half and a boy of 8 months) but between them I lost two babies. The first was a misscarriage at only 7 weeks, the second was at 11 weeks and was only discovered at the scan. I had to have an ERPC for that one. They would have been born in September and November respectively and I felt strongly that both were boys. I call them September and November (original, eh?). My plan is eventually to have a bunch of flowers on my back, including my, my husbands and my two childrens birth flowers (a poppy, a rose, a larkspur and a daisy). I also want to add two flowers for Sept and Nov; a forget-me-not and a chrysanthemum, only these two will be smaller and in bud form. That way they are always symbolicly part of our family.

    3 agree
  19. We had a "missed" miscarriage diagnosed at the 10 week scan, that we induced at home. The whole experience was part of my grieving — having the opportunity to induce at home, saving the placenta and remains to cremate, and scattering the ashes during our (delayed due to the miscarriage) honeymoon. I actually don't have any tattoos, but I strongly considered getting one to remember the baby, who I thought was a boy. I was going to get a little comma behind my ear, because that was the shape and size he was when he died, and I also like the imagery of a comma, causing me to pause and take a breathe and reflect a bit about my life. I still might, some day. For now, three months after the miscarriage I was blessed with another pregnancy, another baby boy, and now he is 20 months and wreaking joy on our lives!

    10 agree
  20. I dont have a tattoo for a lost conceived child. But I have one that I got when I found out that I would never have biological children. Its of an egg shell broken in two.

    9 agree
  21. I never considered getting a tattoo for the baby I lost at 7 weeks last year. I've just been dealing with it as best I could. Getting a tattoo might just be what I need. Thank you.

    5 agree
  22. It breaks & mends my heart all at once to read all these stories; thank you all for sharing.
    My fiancé & I miscarried earlier this year, at 8 weeks. It was an unplanned pregnancy & there were many uncertainties, but carrying (& later, losing) that little one changed both of us & our relationship undeniably.
    As others have said, it's difficult to know how to grieve this kind of loss, this "almost-ness". My fiancé always just says, 'It was our bird, & it had to fly away.'
    We are pretty heavily tattooed, & it made sense to keep the memory of our bird alive on our bodies. Now, we both have bluebirds. Mine is on my thigh, in a pose that is (depending on how you look at it) either just taking off or beginning to land. His is incorporated as part of his right arm sleeve, flying out of a laughing Buddha's hand.
    The tattoos were & continue to be cathartic & bonding for us. My sweet man told me recently that he uses his as sort of a worry-stone or rosary.
    With a miscarriage, you don't have a grave to visit, ashes to spread, or objects to keep in memory. My tattoo gave me something to hold onto, a ritual to mark the passing, a way to record that little soul's presence in this world, however brief. It has helped me say, as Gwendolyn Brooks wrote in her poem 'the mother': "Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you…"

    4 agree
  23. April 12, 2012: At 24 weeks, I lost identical twin girls. The hospital where I delivered them was kind enough to provide "newborn" photos and footprints of each girl for my fiance and I. On my left arm, I have a tattoo of an angel with her head bowed in grief on a tombstone. The twins' footprints are tattooed onto the tombstone, and there are three purple and pink roses underneath. It turned out beautifully, and now I carry them with me everywhere I go.

    I found out I was expecting again on 11/24/12. Our excitment was quickly dashed though, as last weekend I went to the ER with cramping and bleeding. I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum, and miscarried a few days ago. I'm thinking about getting something – but since there was never an actual baby, I'm not sure what.

    I also have a "tree of life" with a motherhood celtic symbol in the trunk for our son who was born 10 weeks early (due date was 4/2/2011, he was born 1/19/2011). He's my little miracle child, and I hope that each of you will have yours someday too.

    2 agree
  24. I had my miscarriage at 13 weeks and always felt that I was going to be having a boy so I had already decided to name him Wolf. I got a pawprint on the inside of my wrist with his name in the smaller pads of the paw and a baby curled up inside of the main part of the paw. He may have only been a part of my life for a short time, but he changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. My memorial tattoo reminds me of the magic he brought into my life.

    2 agree
  25. A year after my son, Jonathan, was born still, I got a tattoo of the Egyptian goddess Isis releasing a butterfly. Isis is/was the goddess of motherhood (among other things), and I've always liked butterflies. My initial scrawl had her arms around the butterfly, but the artist changed it so that the arms were open – much better than my initial idea.

  26. I terminated a pregnancy and was surpsringly sad afterward. I have a beautiful thigh piece dedicated to it, a bird cage on the side of my hip (sort of lined up with my womb) and a bird spilling out of it around my leg. It's framed by a soft filigree. I love it.

    1 agrees
  27. I am planning a tattoo of my daughter's flower. She is named Lavender (age 5), and my original plan was to have bees or other small insects incorporated into the drawing–one for each miscarriage. As I've just had my third loss, however, I'm beginning to wonder if this plan will change. I wanted to wait until I was done having children before getting the tattoo since if I have another girl, I'll also name her a flower and incorporate her into my tattoo plan, or a boy would be something else like a dragonfly, etc. So, I guess for now that is still my plan, but if I have many more losses, I don't know that I'll want to have one for each one; I fear it may be more painful than cathartic that way. I may choose one thing or a bird's nest in another place, for example.

    1 agrees

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