The last bit of my surprise Dida-day gifts was completed over the weekend. I finally got my new ink done! I love tattoos and I think they’re an excellent map of my life.
There’s a lot of debate about whether breastfeeding women should get tattoos or not, but I have yet to find any evidence to back up the nay-sayers. If you only ask mothers you’re bound to get a whole heap of answers in both camps that are mostly based on personal opinions or hearsay rather than facts. As for the tattoo artists it’s a matter of preference, as far as I know. Some prefer not to do it which is perfectly fine. Personally I don’t think it makes any difference if you breastfeed or not as long as you’re healthy. If you’re not going to take care of it anyway then of course you’re going to get yourself into trouble, but I don’t see how the boob tube plays a part in that. I should add that it goes without saying that you get it done in a good, clean shop. You’re probably more likely to pick up hepatitis at the dentist than you are at a good tattoo shop. If you get ink done in a dodgy place, well, then I’m (not so) sorry to say you’re just plain stupid.
The only argument I can think of is that if you get new work done and you breastfeed you should consider the placement before going ahead. Can you guess that I didn’t really think that one through when I put it on my lower left arm? Oh well, what’s a couple more days of discomfort in the world of mothers and babies anyway, right? If I can give birth without pain relief I can manage Anakin rubbing his head against my sore arm for a bit. (I find that the whole birth experience helps give perspective to a lot of things now.)
I always find it amusing how people like to tell you that it’s going to be painful. “Oh you’re getting there, that’s going to hurt. Good luck with that.” Sorry, buddy, but I don’t find tattoos to be very painful. Mind you, placement and tolerance does play a big part in that. Another argument that really gets my knickers in a twist is “You should think about what you’ll look like when you’re old, you might regret it. What will your kids think?” When I grow old(er) I will no doubt look at my tattoos and think “Boy, I had lots of good times!” I’ll tell my kids and my grandkids how I got this one in St.Petersburg, Russia, that one Texas, this one in Drammen, Norway, this one, that one and these ones in Melbourne and tell them all the stories that go with the tatts. There is no reason to underestimate a person’s ability to be rational and think things through just because they have tattoos.
This new piece will always remind me of a grand gesture by some very excellent friends, my work, my cultural background and my love of fairy tales. It’s an illustration (with colour added) by Theodor Kittelsen, one of my favourite illustrators, to the Norwegian fairytale “Reve-enka” (The Fox’s widow). I grew up with this tale and I’m currently using it, and other tales collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe, and illustrated by Kittelsen, in my postgraduate research and photographic work. Seems only suiting that it forever holds a place on my outside as well as my inside. I plan on becoming one of those old ladies that have ink all over (no, not literally) and a lot of my future tattoos will be fairytale illustrations.
Thanks again, lovely friends! I absolutely love it! And a big thanks to Dan from the Sweet Life Tattoo shop for doing such excellent work.