I never used to think of myself as much of a tattoo person. I like to look at others’, and have always been amazed by the talent that the artists display, probably mostly because my drawing “talent” consists of things like stick figures and smiley faces (if you ever consider that art).

About 6 years ago, my husband at the time had recently gone on a year long deployment to Korea. We married young and I had never really had to learn to *really*survive on my own. I went straight from home to husband, and that year I was left to fend for myself. The idea of that really scared me, even though I knew deep down I’d be fine. Not long after he left, I got a tattoo on my back of a butterfly, chosen to represent my ability to “fly on my own” while he was gone. And when that marriage ended, the symbolism turned into something bigger – from flying on my own temporarily to permanently. Divorce was truly one of the hardest things I’ve been through. Even though that tattoo didn’t originally stem from the divorce, I still consider it my symbolism of beauty through independence and strength.

After finishing my first marathon, I briefly contemplated a marathon related tattoo. For some unknown reason, I didn’t feel like I could get it until I ran more than one marathon, and also honestly it wasn’t something I really felt driven to do.

Then infertility popped its ugly head into my life. I began this blog writing about the training of that second marathon and the journey that has been infertility. I blogged once about infertility being like a marathon in that you spend so much time training, your whole life ends up revolving around it, and how during the race itself you find yourself wanting to give up. But at the end, when you finish, suddenly all the time, effort and hard work is totally worth it.

Since then I’d toyed with the idea of a tattoo that resembled both infertility and the marathon, but had no idea how to put the two together in a way that I’d be satisfied with having on my body permanently. I wanted the two connected somehow, linked, because both of them have made me such a stronger person and both running and infertility have been important in my life – much like my independence. At first I thought I’d simply get the 26.2 somehow connected with the infertility ribbon:

This, but much smaller (image credit)

But then I came across something else, and with the help of a friend at work (thanks Jamie!!) a whole new idea was created:

If you look carefully, you can see giving the arm rest a vulcan death grip

Jamie had suggested using the infertility awareness heart as the main point, creating a key chain like effect so I could dangle the 26.2 from it. At first I didn’t think I wanted infertility as the focal point (I think about it enough as it is, right?) and was going to do the 26.2 with the heart and circles as the dot. But the more I thought about it, the more sense Jamie’s idea made. Like the butterfly, the heart can grow with me. Right now it represents infertility, its tie to a marathon and how the two have made me stronger. Infertility will always be a part of my life even after I have children, however, when it is no longer in the forefront of my life it can serve as a symbol of things that are important to me. Running will always be. Infertility will always hold its place. The idea is that I can add things, namely a mark of my future children (a baby foot or birth stone) or anything else that happens that holds a great deal of significance. Plus I’m turning 30 in 3 weeks and figured what the heck.

Heart derived from the infertility awareness heart.

As we are getting ready to journey down the road of our first IVF, I have a mix of emotions ranging from excitement to nervousness and everything in between.

No matter what happens, I am strong.

My foot says so πŸ™‚