Peanut's Maternity Photo with Tattoo
Peanut’s Maternity Photo with Tattoo (Two Little Starfish)

I have a tattoo at the top of my right rib cage. When I was pregnant with my son, this was his favorite place to poke me. It started with his bottom; I would feel this hard, round pressure. I pushed back sometimes. It felt like a game. Towards the end of my pregnancy, he flipped over entirely. I was awake when it happened; it felt so strange. After that, he started kicking me, still in his favorite spot. Sometimes it felt as if he was stretching out his entire length, head in my stomach and feet in my ribs. He was so active. He was is so loved.

After he died, I felt phantom movements for a while, often in that same place. It was like my body still remembered, still held onto him inside me. I decided to acknowledge it. I had his footprints tattooed on my ribs. I used a special ink that incorporated his ashes. It was his special place. He is under my skin, now, forever.

I am pregnant now, for the second time. Twenty-three weeks, and she is so active. I feel her movements, almost like dancing, and every day I fall deeper in love. And then today, and it feels like she is punching me. I put my hand to my stomach, and I feel her under my palm. And she is pushing on the spot that Adrian loved so much.

I don’t know if this is “normal”. As a second-time mom, I feel like I still don’t know anything. Do all babies find this place underneath the right side ribs? Do all babies dance and sway, and make me fall in love? Because I love her; because I love them both. I carry them both in my heart. And for this moment; for these nine months, they both also live under my skin.