I gave birth to my son, Colton Sterling, just a few short weeks ago. It was a bit traumatic, ending in an emergency C-section after laboring for what seemed like an eternity. But here I am, feeling so compelled to write that I’m typing this one-handed ’cause my little guy is congested and won’t sleep anywhere but in my arms today. For all the profanities, contractions and pain it has cost me thus far, I’m so proud to be this little boy’s mom. I. Noelle Ritter. Am a mother.
Motherhood has caught me by surprise. My sister was always the one to play with dolls and show the natural motherly instincts. I, on the other hand, baby-sat for the money and never really considered myself a “baby person”. I used to say I wish I could pop them out at age twelve so we could have conversation from the get-go. But when my son was put skin-to-skin with me fifteen minutes after my C-section in recovery, I became a “baby person”. Thus began my love affair with Colton, but with motherhood- I wasn’t so in love yet.
My post-partum experience has been anything but rainbows and butterflies. Of course, I was “so healthy” and an unlikely candidate for anything to go wrong at birth. Strike one. And the whole nursing thing . . . talk about the hardest thing I’ve ever, EVER, done in my life; a seriously painful act of love in these first few weeks. So not prepared. Strike two. And the hormones? Move over first trimester — post-partum takes the cake on this one. I feel so trapped in this strange skin trying to claim this new so-called life as my own while crying at every commercial that has a mother and child in it.
But, as I’ve been told, this whole mom thing gets better. And really, now that the initial shock has worn off, and I’m done taking pain meds, I’m not minding the whole process. It’s been like a painful growth spurt. Mothering is not for the faint at heart. But it’s not for the strong either, ’cause it will break you. God has and is using this change in my life to break me and make me new. It’s not that my identity has changed completely, but all of a sudden I have this new little life that chooses me. He picks me over anyone else. My smell is comforting to him. My voice soothes him. My heart beat calms him when he is against my chest. He is completely dependent on me. And . . . I love it.
It scares me to think about how much Colton depends on “his new mom”. And it’s not the “mom, do you have a moment?” kind of dependency. It’s the life-sucking, “right now or I’ll scream bloody murder” kind of dependency. And I’m left asking myself: am I doing all I can for him? Am I good enough? What if I fail him?
Just some raw thoughts as I march, eyes half-mast with reheated coffee in hand, forward. I usually write about things I know. Conclusions found. What I can teach others. This time, all I know is that this IS a calling, and I know I have been called. Called to be Colton’s mom. Like I said, I’m already head over heels for him. And wouldn’t you know that, slowly but surely, I’m falling in love with the idea of motherhood too.
Feel free to comment below on your first month of being a mom: insights learned and memories made. Oh, and happy Mother’s Day to y’all. I have a whole new respect for the holiday.