Everyone reacts to loss in different ways. When a California woman miscarried her first child at seven weeks pregnant, she went out and got a tattoo.
Rather than trying to forget the experience, 31-year-old Joan Bremer decided to leave a lasting mark on her body as a reminder of what she went through.
“For me, all the tattoos I have signify something, and even though this was a painful time, I still wanted to be able to remember it in some way,” said Bremer.
“I wanted to get a tattoo to kind of remember and be able to heal and move on. It would be my tribute to this baby that we wanted but unfortunately didn’t last.”
Bremer went on to share a photo of her miscarriage tattoo on Imgur. The design is simple and beautiful. You can clearly see the outline of a pregnant mother and the baby she is carrying - each with its own red heart.
Bremer already has additions planned for the tattoo. If a future pregnancy leads to another miscarriage, she will add a second heart. If a baby is conceived, a rainbow will be added "... just like how something beautiful can come after a storm.”
The image is powerful, and Bremer's story has resonated with other moms, who have gone on to share their own stories of loss and ink.
Many women, it seems, have chosen to pay tribute to lost children through tattoos, though none quite as directly as Bremer's.
While I personally don't have any ink, I can see how the ritual of putting something permanent on your body would be instrumental in the healing process.
Much of the pain of miscarriage remains hidden. While more celebrities opening up about their experiences, on the whole, people still don't talk about it. Life goes on. And you are simply expected to bounce back and move on, which must be hard.
“Losing a baby, even if it's early in pregnancy, is just so difficult,” Bremer said. “I know there is a certain silence about miscarriages and pregnancy losses, but I am not ashamed that this happened to me. That was one of my motivations for getting the tattoo in the first place - I really think it's healing to be able to talk about it.”
The odds of miscarrying early in pregnancy are high - one in five, according to BabyCentre Canada - but as Bremer can attest, the experience is still traumatic and shouldn't be discounted.