A life-lasting decision like a tattoo isn't to be taken lightly, but body art as meaningful as something that symbolizes your children is definitely a worthy contender when you're making tattoo decisions. What could ever be as important in your life, after all, as your children? Parenting will always be one of the biggest, most important roles you've played. It makes sense to commemorate this period of your life with a tattoo that represents your child.
Even so, there are some situations in which it might not be the best idea, at least at this moment in time. No matter which tattoo you're considering, careful thought and planning should be employed before you fully commit to this body art.
10 Get One: When You And Your Partner Want To Share The Experience
Getting matching or coordinating tattoos is one of the most intimate ways to share an experience, which is why it's the perfect reason to get tattoos that represent your child together with your partner. It's always going to be an experience that you shared, no matter what happens down the road, so if you're the kind of person who loves to include your big life events among your tats, this is one that shouldn't be missed.
You could design a tattoo that matches when you put them together, get your child's footprint in the same spot, or even have your child design something for you to share.
9 Don't Get One: When Your Child Is A Baby
The excitement of a new baby is enough to make anyone giddy, or even anxious, which is why this isn't a great time to get a new tattoo. For starters, keeping it clean is going to be a pain, especially if your baby gets a random bug and you find yourself mopping up vomit with a new tat on your wrist. And with your lack of sleep, you may not even remember to moisturize it properly, which is going to result in edges and other complications.
It's also a time when emotions are high, and your body is recovering not only from birth and possible surgery, but hormonal changes. It's better to wait until your body and hormones settle down a bit before getting a new tattoo.
8 Get One: When You're In Good Health
Pregnancy sometimes comes will illness, injury and even postpartum depression, making it difficult to take care of yourself, let alone your child. Some of these issues may last for years. Even during your child's toddler or elementary school years, you may find yourself handling health issues that add more challenges. These are obviously not great times to get a tattoo.
Focus on regaining your strength and improving your health before you add something else your body needs to recover from, if you can. This will help ensure that not only you focus on the most important things in your life, but that your tattoo looks beautiful on your healthy body.
7 Don't Get One: Based On Your Child's Personality
Getting a tattoo based on your child's interest or personality seems like a wonderful idea, especially when it reminds you of your child every time you look at it. But this may not be a lasting personality trait. In five to ten years it may not even remind you of your child anymore, making you think about changing it.
If your child is a big talker, it may not last forever. The same goes for any other trait, from shyness to athleticism. Many kids retain these traits but some don't, which is just the nature of life. There's nothing wrong with it, but if you want something that's going to always represent who your child is, you might want to come up with another idea.
6 Get One: When It Commemorates A Memory
While basing your tat on your infant's preemptive ESTJ personality isn't a great idea, creating a design based on one of your favorite memories as a parent is. This will always be yours, no matter if Junior leaves to study rain forest animals, joins a Cthulu cult or otherwise has a complete personality shift from childhood into his adult years.
Basing your tattoo of your favorite memory with your child at the beach, under a starry night or enjoying time at home together is also a good way to ensure that your tattoo is unique and timeless. You can choose a special image that will always look beautiful.
5 Don't Get One: Based On Your Child's Interests
Like your child's personality, their interests are bound to change significantly over the years. Littlest Pet Shop critters might sound like cute tattoo fodder, but in three years your kiddo will probably forget what they even were. Toy trends certainly fade, but so do interests.
4 Get One: Based On Your Own Feelings As A Parent
A tattoo that represents your own identity as a parent is a much better idea than one that represents your child as they are right now. Your own identity is going to change over your life; every parent knows that parenting changes everything. But this will always symbolize an important chapter that will always be with you.
This tattoo could be a symbol of your first experience with your child, the feelings you had when you first discovered you were pregnant or even the first time you lay eyes on your baby. This will make the tattoo represent both you and your child in a meaningful way.
3 Don't Get One: When It Might Impact Your Job Prospects
Whether you're a working parent or plan on returning to work someday, consider how a tattoo may impact your prospects. More employers are becoming accepting of tattoos, but some businesses still frown on visible body art.
If you think a tattoo might jeopardize your career, don't get one until you're sure it won't be an issue, or consider getting one on a part of your body that will also never be visible in this field. If it's easy to cover up with clothing, it might still work out, but test it first to make sure it's fully covered and won't get you into trouble.
2 Get One: When You Are Symbolizing The Loss Of A Child
Losing a pregnancy, baby or child is one of the most difficult life experiences that anyone will ever have to endure. Many parents find healing in commemorating their lost child in a loving tattoo, whether shared with a partner or not. Some parents include the child's name and birth date, if applicable, while others include a footprint, a healing image like a dove or heart, or something else to create a lasting impression of the child.
If the child is older, a favorite toy could be inspiration for a sweet tattoo, while something simpler for a baby could also work well.
1 Don't Get One: Immediately Following A Loss
It may be a good idea to wait a little while before getting this tattoo, as fresh grief may impede your thinking when it comes to tattoo aftercare. It's difficult to eat and sleep after this kind of loss, let alone remember to care for your tattoo. This is a time to process your grief and engage in as much self-care as possible, even if it means keeping yourself busy, going through the motions of each day or just resting a lot.
It's important to remember that everyone processes grief differently, so if you make this decision, there is zero shame in it. If you are thinking about it, however, you may want to sit on the decision, which could also give you more time to create a loving memorial for your child.