In spite of all obstacles before them, one mom and her precious bundle of joy plan to look at life’s many blessings throughout 2021 and well beyond
Kerri Pittman, mother of this year’s Herald Baby of The Year, Noah, has a motto and it’s this: ‘Don’t take life for granted. There’s a positive in every day.’ That has certainly served her well.
‘A ray of hope’
There’s a few things to know about Pittman and her smiling, active, bundle of joy. Noah John David Pittman, who was born on February 16, 2020 at 6:16am, has been more than a little ray of sunshine to his mom and those around him, he’s also been a ray of hope.
“When he entered this world, almost instantly he was smiling, and he’s been putting smiles on people’s faces everyday since,” mom begins.
Weighing 7 lbs 12ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long, mom shared Noah was “bright eyed and alert and he was perfect in every way.”
Upon his arrival, pre-COVID, he was surrounded by a number of his family members. However, there was one important person missing; his daddy, John.
John Pittman died from heart complications quite unexpectedly – shortly after finding out his wife was pregnant – on June 26, 2019; one day shy of celebrating 19 years together.
The love story between Noah’s parents began June 27, 2000.
“John and I met in 2000 and began dating shortly after meeting. We married in 2007 and like most marriages, we had our ups and downs,” she began candidly.
‘Wasn’t in the cards’
The two had hoped to have children but came to believe that simply wasn’t in the cards. “We accepted that after nearly 19 years together and approaching 40 years old we were only going to be dog parents,” she shared with a laugh.
Then, on June 19th, 2019 she found out she was pregnant.
“We were so excited, but also emotionally cautious. It was only early on in the pregnancy and we knew anything could happen. We did pick out names though; Noah for a boy and Cassie for a girl.”
While cautious, their dreams had been answered and they looked forward to the future.
A week later on June 26th, Pittman returned home a little later than normal from her part time job.
“I crawled in bed and an hour later when I woke I found John face down on the floor. Paramedics were called, but unfortunately they could not save him. It was later revealed he died from a blockage in his main artery, so a massive heart attack. He was 38 years old.”
Silence. Times, she admits, were difficult. Still, she stuck to her motto and tried to remain positive.
“Throughout my pregnancy there was a tremendous amount of support from my family, friends, coworkers, former schoolmates, doctors, and even people whom I’ve never met. They all helped me navigate through my journey ensuring that Noah could be welcomed into this world perfectly healthy. To say his arrival wasn’t bittersweet would be a lie, but I was comforted by the fact that I was surrounded by those I loved most and that I was looking at a piece of John I would have forever. Noah was my little miracle. My piece of John.”
‘An unexpected surprise’
Of course, in the year that was 2020, things can never be simple and Noah John David Pittman made his appearance in this world smack dab in the middle of Snowmaggedon and the global onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Thankfully, because of his timing, family and friends that were living in the province were able to meet him for the first time. He is the last grandchild on his Pittman side and the first grandchild, great grandson, nephew and great nephew on my side. He is special in his own right because he was an unexpected surprise and the backstory of Noah and how he came to be is merely a part of that specialness,” she continued.
Noah is now 10 months old. On the day of the Baby of the Year photo shoot, he was animated and smiling and filled with joy. Social? Oh yes! Mom is over the moon proud.
“He loves splashing in the water, listening to music, dancing, playing ball and crawling around chasing his two puppy dogs, Harley and Finnegan. He’s smart, inquisitive and his expressions remind me of his father daily, especially the one he gives when I say “no, no, no” and he turns and grins and does it anyway.”
Laughter in dark times
There’s so much laughter thanks to Noah in what could be very dark times.
“He has brought so much joy, comfort and a newfound energy into so many lives. He is blessed with a wonderful group of grandparents who love him dearly including my grandmother, his great grandmother, Cassie who is 91 years of age. She livens up and has a new pep in her step whenever Noah is around and it’s truly heartwarming to witness their relationship unfold.”
Always looking for the positive, Pittman says she looks for the light at the end of every tunnel, and Noah has certainly brought much light into her life.
“He’s been the best distraction and pick me up during such tumultuous times and has brought smiles and laughs to people near and far both in person and online.”
When Pittman posts pictures of her wee one, she knows she is enriching lives and giving hope to others, jut like her late husband did.
“When John passed away, the number of people who reached out to say that he made a difference in their day simply by the positive, short but sweet comments he posted on their Facebook posts was unbelievable and I’m receiving the same type of feedback with respect to my posts of Noah laughing, smiling or just styling and being silly. Because of this similarity I like to think that Noah is simply picking up where his daddy left off.”
As to what’s next? It’s one day at a time, she shared. “I’m not sure where our journey will take us, but it’s important to me that no matter what Noah will always know who his daddy was and he will remain a huge part of his daddy’s family because they are not just a family I married into, but a family who has stood by me through the worst of times and a family who loves Noah to no end. He will always know that he is supported and loved by so many people and I will do everything in my power to make sure those contagious smiles continue for all of his days.”
Love from all sides
There’s so many to thank for their love and support. From grandparents Judy Pittman and the late William Pittman, to Barbara Stone and Dave and Della Ivany, to Pittman’s mother Barbara and Pittman’s step-mother who have both always been there, including being in the room when Noah came into the world. But the thanks go beyond her family. “The nurses at the Janeway were
incredible, comforting and supportive. When Noah arrived the feeling was bittersweet. I was overwhelmed with a flood of mixed emotions. Happiness, joy, relief, love, but also some sadness and a little bit of anger because John wasn’t there and it wasn’t fair how it all turned out.”
‘My little miracle’
But again, she looked for the bright side, no matter how difficult.
“I decided early on for the sake of Noah and myself I would change my thinking about the situation and focus on the fact that Noah was my little miracle, the best distraction from all my emotions and if John couldn’t be here he left me with a little piece of him to always have. He is our sunshine after the rain and there hasn’t been a day since he’s been born I haven’t smiled or laughed.”
This is Pittman’s and Noah’s story, one that has only just begun.
“Noah is The Herald’s Baby of the Year, but he’s our ‘Baby of the Year’ for so many reasons and his smiles will continue to spread happiness to all he is in contact with. He is a rainbow after so many storms and a gift sent to us that we are all so thankful for.”
Pittman smiles as her son bounces joyfully in her arms. “My hope for him is that he grows up knowing how far a smile or a laugh can stretch and how that can make all the difference in a day.”
As to what’s in store as 2021’s calender pages turn? She’s willing to wait and see, taking each day as it comes.
“I could never say 2020 was a bad year for me because it was all overpowered by the brightest and best ray of sunshine that is my son.”