Image: iStock / Jodi Hall Photography
When you see a tattooed woman, you might think that’s one tough mother and you’re probably right. Getting a tattoo is painful. It takes stoicism, patience and vision. You have to make the sacrifice for the dream; the story you want to tell. It has a lot in common with motherhood in that way. Babies wait for no one and these birth photos that capture tattooed moms in all their glory may be one of the most beautiful things you will ever see.
In the past, the only people who had tattoos were criminals, bikers and ex-cons. Badasses. Tattoos were taboo. In that light, we just naturally associated tattoos with hardened people. People who had nothing left to lose and desecrated their body, their temple, at will. But that is not the case anymore. Maybe it never was, maybe society was just too ignorant to see the story these people were telling with their tattoos.
These days, tattoos are a pretty common form of self-expression and almost everyone has one or three. It’s not just criminals getting jailhouse tattoos, it’s college students, businessmen on Wall Street and mom’s in the check-out line at Whole foods. Tattoos are one of the most personal forms of self-expression there is. They tell our stories in a way that sometimes even our words cannot give justice to.
Tattoos are no longer just simple words or images they are now pieces of art, some closer to masterpieces than drawings. Fine artists are turning to the tattoo gun as their new medium of choice and those of us who dare to dream get the privilege of adorning our bodies in their masterpieces. In doing so, we become living art.
Giving birth adorned in our tattoos is telling our greatest story while the narrative of how we got to this moment plays out on our body. It is beautiful to behold.
Image: Instagram / @SantaCruzBirthPhotography
Many people say that life begins at conception and technically, that might be true but for many of us, it doesn’t all become true until it’s tangible. The moment they lay your baby in your arms, life changes. It all becomes real. That’s the moment you know that you’re a mom. That’s the moment you finally exhale. But then the reality hits you that you are tasked with keeping this tiny miracle alive and healthy. It’s a little overwhelming. It’s a lot scary. If you’ve ever brought a newborn home for the first time, you know exactly the moment we’re talking about. That moment that they first latch onto your breast for nourishment and it works, that’s the moment you feel empowered. Breastfeeding really does feel like a superpower sometimes. This is when you start feeling confident in this new role as a mother.
Image: Instagram / @Amba.Photo
That moment after all the contractions have passed, the umbilical cord has been untwisted and removed from your baby’s neck and the baby is no longer purple. After the APGAR and placenta have passed, there is a moment after the chaos of bringing your baby into the world and before the beautiful chaos of well-wishers and loved ones coming in where you breathe. It’s only for a moment but it feels incredible. That moment of just you and this new human being that you have fallen so deeply and madly in love with that you are terrified, where you just breathe in perfect synchronicity, two heartbeats beating as one, as it has for the past 10 months. It's home.
Image: Instagram @SantaCruzBirthPhotography
It takes a minute to realize a dream has come to fruition. We remember looking around the room and being shocked into reality. The entire birthing process is so internalized for some of us that we can barely speak. We focus inward to get through each moment; each contraction. Bringing life into the world feels a lot like a near death experience. You’ll probably never experience anything as painful or fulfilling as bringing a baby into the world. But when that baby is safely in your arms after a stressful birthing process, it’s like waking up from a dream. It’s nearly unbelievable and so you stare and count fingers and toes and daydream of the future.
Image: Instagram @MilkandHannah
We all know how to get pregnant. Hopefully, our mothers had that talk with us when we were in middle school. But that’s not where your partner’s part in pregnancy ends. Back in the day, women were from Venus and men were from Mars. Now, we’re all from somewhere in the middle.
When we were born, moms were knocked out for birth and dads were left to worry in the waiting room alone. It wasn’t a village kind of situation, at least not during pregnancy and labor and delivery. Dad got mom pregnant and then mom did the rest. Not now.
Now, partners are not only allowed but expected to be there physically and mentally. They are our support system. Maybe they can’t push the baby out but they can be there to hold our hands, feed us ice chips, put cool rags on our heads, rub our backs, encourage us and even get in the tub and hold us. Most importantly, they are expected to love us unconditionally and be our biggest cheerleaders and believe us when we tell you that is one of the most important jobs of your support system when you are in the throes of giving birth.
There is something magical about seeing the man you love fall head over heels in love with the baby the two of you created together. It’s hard to explain but let’s just say, it’s one of the only times you don’t mind not coming first to your partner. In fact, you love him even more than you ever thought you could in the exact moment he is loving your child more than everything else in the world. It is just another part of the miracle of bringing a child into the world. There is nothing purer and magical as the love of a parent for their child, it transcends all time and space.
When you’re dating, there is autonomy. Once you exclusively and completely commit to another person, you’ve made a conscious decision to be each other’s “person”. The lines of he and I or you and me begin to blur. You become so much of a “we” that sometimes it really is hard to remember life before that person was a part of it. That is never so evident as when women are going through labor and delivery.
This is the real deal and in these moments are when you see how your mate will react in a crisis. This is when you find out how dedicated your mate is to you. During delivery, laboring moms lose all modesty. We say whatever we want to. Labor is like a truth serum. It takes a strong partner to stay by our sides and weather the things we say and do during those moments of hellacious pain and suffering while giving birth. Kudos to the men who stay put, don’t take it personally and support us on the hardest journey of our life.
Image: Instagram @Doulachrista
There is nothing as badass or empowering as giving birth. Even though we are vulnerable and, in some respects, at the mercy of our body, we are at our strongest, fiercest and most beautiful when giving birth. We’re not talking about beautiful in the sense of Instagram beauty. We’re talking about beautiful in the way only a human being bringing life into the world can be; it’s almost surreal. And strong and fierce in a way that we dig deeper than we even knew we could to bring forth life into the world. There are so many moments during birth when a woman wants to quit and say forget it, I changed my mind but that’s not an option and really, not any of us would ever give up our child for that pain to stop. We know at the end of it all, we will be meeting the person we love most in the world.
Image: Instagram @cradledcreations
It doesn’t matter who you are or how tough you think you are when you look down and see your child looking back at you, peering into your soul, you will feel small. The universe will rise up and swallow you whole at that moment. It will encapsulate you in a love bubble so thick and noise canceling that nothing else in the entire world will matter, let alone register into existence. It will be a world of you, your baby and your partner and at that moment, everything will feel right in the world. You will feel safe and loved and you will exude love. This is pure joy.
Image: Instagram @taviaredburn
Those minutes that you are in complete awe of the fact that you just brought a human being into existence. It’s a weird phenomenon because you knew you were pregnant. You embraced it in all of its glory. You read all the books. You went to all the classes. You learned all the stuff there was available to know about motherhood and babies and yet, here you are feeling the disbelief of this truly awesome moment. Feeling helplessly empowered and determined to love this baby with more fervor and fierceness than you’ve ever known. It feels as if your heart is about to burst and as if t is physically impossible to love someone this much, yet, you do completely.
Nothing, other than giving birth previously and even then every single labor and delivery is different, can prepare a woman for what laboring and delivering really feels like. I’m not trying to frighten anyone but it is definitely one of the most painful things you will ever experience. However, with great pain comes great, fulfilling relief. Nothing will ever feel better than pushing your baby into the world on that final push. If you are having a vaginal birth, the moment you push that child into the world right about the time all the warm and fuzzies hit you all the pain subsides. We’re not sure if it’s the love canceling out the pain or if simply the fact that the baby is out instantly stops the pain, either way, sweet relief to the rescue. However, don’t believe that lie that you forget that pain. You don’t. The benefits just outweigh the pain.
Image: Instagram @mumsgrapevine
There are moments during labor and delivery where the agony can be so excruciating that you want to give up. Like quite literally, grab your sh*t and go home and forget about it but that’s not how this bringing life into the world gig works. It’s not how any of it works. Just always remember whatever goes in has to come out eventually. Some women get that glazed off look and start plotting how to jump out the window in the hospital room out of a desperate need to stop the pain. Well, that’s a rumor we’ve heard. But women are strong and we face things head on. We focus on the end game and we get it done. It doesn’t matter how hard it is or how tired we are, we bear down and we get through it. Badass level 1 million unlocked.
Image: Instagram: @OperationMama
Some women scream out in pain while others quiet themselves and be still to face their pain. Both are ways to survive labor and delivery, neither is better than the other and no one knows which classification they fall into until they are laboring. While quiet fortitude may seem like the stronger woman’s choice, make no mistake most women don’t choose quiet, it chooses her. The reason for the choice? She is in such pain that she can’t actually make noise. When contractions are strong and less than a minute apart, it’s nearly impossible to catch your breath let alone hold intelligible conversations or scream out. She turns inwards to steady herself for the task at hand. She takes deep breaths and laser focuses on delivery, doing everything in her power to stay in control of the situation because that’s what moms do. Her determination to meet her child is stronger than her fear of any pain to come.
After hours of laboring and finally delivering your little one something crazy happens, you get to hold your baby in your arms after 10 months of holding them in your heart and feeling them move on the inside. Maybe it’s the sweet relief of the pain ending, the knowledge that the pregnancy has officially ended, the hormones or maybe it’s the feeling of overwhelming and all-consuming love that washes over you but you might find yourself simultaneously laughing and crying hysterically. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Take it all in and be present in this moment because it will forever be one of your sweetest memories. Go on mama, you deserve it.
Image: Instagram @doulachrista
Apparently, some women feel actively affectionate towards their partner while laboring. These women are givers and they are amazing. Some of us couldn’t see through the fog of our own pain and misery to actively love on anyone. In fact, some of us were in such pain that we couldn’t make eye contact with anyone in the room. We remember specifically asking our partner to please not touch us. We weren’t mean but we weren’t throwing around kindness like confetti either. We were too busy trying to survive to be there for anyone who wasn’t actively trying to come out of us. So kudos to the mamas out there who have sex and even orgasm during labor. We were trying not to throat punch people.
Image: Instagram / @itsejgonzo
The moment that you actually give birth is one of the most awesome moments of your life. Some women use mirrors to help them visualize the baby’s head to help with pushing. If you are giving birth in the traditional, laying on your back position with an epidural, we would recommend this for focus.
However, some women are wonder women and choose to go pain medication free and give birth in tubs using only their own eyes and hand to guide the baby into life in the world and that is about the most bad ass thing you can do. It’s no easy feat. We’re fully aware there are no awards and your kid won’t love you more because you went epidural free but to commit to that choice is one of the bravest things a mom can do. We once gave birth unmedicated on accident and we know how badass it really is. On a scale of one to ten, it’s about a fifteen.
Image: Instagram / @julianahopexox
That moment when you look at your partner and you realize, we made this. We are no longer just you and I. Together we created a miracle, together we brought that miracle into the world and from now on, we are tasked with loving and raising a good human being.
This is the moment when you realize that you are no longer a we, you are an us. This is the day that your new life begins. This is the moment that you are changed forever. This is love and every single contraction, worry and morning sickness filled day up until now was worth it.
These are just a few birth photos that capture tattooed moms in all their glory. Warriors come in all sizes, shapes and colors and most of them don't wear capes but a lot of them wear tattoos. Do you have a tattoo? If so what is it of and what is the meaning behind it?