Sincerely, A New Mom (Typed One-Handed)

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.

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9 Responses to Sincerely, A New Mom (Typed One-Handed)

  1. Jenny C says:

    Oh Noelle – My first month was so hard as well. Motherhood does break and reshape you into a new woman. Those first few months for me were the hardest. I had a breast abscess from mastitis being mistreated. I was so incredibly sick. Looking back, I am so proud of myself and now I feel I can take on anything. I have also learned to be so patient…. babies teach us that don’t they. It all gets easier, just a very steep learning curve. You will grow as they do and learn to see the world in a different way. My son has taught me to see beauty in everything around us. I look at a bird like he does as something fascinating and new. I cherish every little moment I have with him because I know it goes by all too fast. And years from now he won’t be calling me “mommy” anymore or wanting me to hold him close in my arms. So I embrace the crazy : )

  2. Megan Reid says:

    I am so happy for you guys! I know I taken by surprise when our little guy came into the world early and can relate to everything you said. I thought I was not ready but that all changed when Cayden came. I agree post pardom was the hardest part, I cried more than I have my whole life. But looking back its amazing how much joy has come into my life through all that pain. Colton is so cute!happy mothers day!

    • Noelle Ritter says:

      Thanks for the kind words Megan. More tears of joy than pain as of late… 🙂 He is indeed SO worth it.

  3. April says:

    I just love hearing from new moms! Welcome to the club, friend. There is nothing like becoming a mother. And a great big congrats! If your parenting follows the cues from the rest of your life- I would say you are going to be an amazing mommy!

  4. Faith Gong says:

    Congratulations! And honestly, the fact that you were able to write such an eloquent and insightful reflection one month into motherhood is fairly amazing. Your story reminded me very much of my first month of motherhood (except I wasn’t writing ANYTHING then!), which — from the birth experience on — was all about letting go of MY expectations, MY sense of control. Things I’m still re-learning every day, 5 years and 3 (soon to be 4) kids later! Between you & God, you’re going to be just fine. Before you know it, you’ll be the experienced one offering support to new moms 🙂

  5. Bryna Ramones says:

    What a great description of that first month! You really brought me back to bringing Tatum home, and the shock and horror that soon followed! Ha! I really had NO idea that it was going to be so challenging, OR that other women were challenged by it as well. Who woulda thought that breast feeding could be so hard? Don’t you just put your baby up to your boob, and they do the work? But, I will say, that those many tears that I shed out of frustration, fear, sheer panic, and incredible love (all at the same time!) are now just a distant fuzzy memory. The overwhelm will turn to peace, the awkward with turn to comfortable. And yes, you will be able to cook a decent dinner again (and enjoy it again!). Life will be normal again, I promise. a New normal if course, but normal nonetheless. With each baby after Tatum, it got SO much easier as too! You are doing an awesome job Noelle (: I can’t wait to meet your little man someday!

  6. Lisa Redfield says:

    Motherhood is not only the MOST difficult role you’ll ever “grow” through in life, but also the MOST rewarding. NOW you have a much better understanding of what pain God, the Father, experienced when He gave up His ONLY SON for the whole world. I remember well that awesome insight when my first, also a son was born. Fortunately, we forget the physical pain, or no one would have more than one child!
    My four children are all in their 20’s, but I’ll always be “mom” and they still depend on me. WHAT they depend on me for changes as they age, but our relationship only deepens and as you know, since we are “ancient friends” of your folks and knew you before you were born, that we are all the more extremely blessed as time goes by and we are close friends with each of our adult children. Though you’re ALWAYS a mom to them, you grow, change, improve, have your “rough edges” sanded off (yes, it’s OFTEN painful ~ and the emotional pain is far worse than the physical) and definitely become more like Jesus due to this “calling!” Embrace and enjoy every moment. Life zooms by way too fast and every stage they go through is precious and a blessing in it’s unique way. I love you, Noelle and pray for you, Chris and now Colton lots. We moms need to support and encourage each other…. It’s great to see you are already doing that, even if more slowly, with one hand!

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