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The [M] Word: A Girl Has Many Names

1
To my Rambino, my Bean, my Beanie, my Little Bird, my Birdie, my Feral Beryl, my Robster, my Robs, my Robyn…

A girl has many names. In fact, I could probably think of one you’ve been given for every week of your life, all 52 of them, but I won’t. You probably wouldn’t thank me for it, Stinker.

Today is your first birthday, and a day shared with the anniversary of me becoming a mother. Bobs, it’s been both a whirlwind and a marathon, the longest and shortest of years, and the truth is, that while some are in high def, some parts are

SelfishMother.com
2
missing all together. But, we’re here. We made it.

You made it.

It was raining on New Year’s Eve 2017. Your Dad and I snogged by the ambulance bay of the hospital after one of our many slow waddles through the endless corridors while we waited for you. Our first midwife, Fiona, bore an uncanny resemblance to Kim Woodburn, which was strangely reassuring to me. We heard fireworks over Nottingham at midnight while I rode the waves of my contractions, and Dad left our labour snacks in the car, but did bring board games. You’ll get more context to

SelfishMother.com
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that in years to come, I’m sure.

You tore your way into the world at 3.37am on New Year’s Day, the first baby born at Queen’s Medical Centre in 2018. You didn’t cry and neither did I. Not then.

The crying – mine, not yours – started on day three, like clockwork. Since then, this year, I’ve cried more than any other year of my life. Hysterical, primal, guttural sobs, and snotty, joyous, elated ones. Silent streams in toilet cubicles and huge, fat tears that dropped from my cheeks onto yours.

Your tears are yet to flow freely like

SelfishMother.com
4
that. In fact, I think I can probably count on my fingers the number of times you’ve really, really cried, and for that I am thankful. Nevertheless, the guilt I’ve felt – I feel – clings to me like static.

The first few weeks were tough (I recounted that as a whole separate saga here), but since then I’ve poured over the trajectory of your growth chart, holding back tears at ‘self-weigh’ when you’ve not gained as much as your Red Book tells me you should have. I’ve beaten myself up for days when I accidentally knelt on your foot while

SelfishMother.com
5
playing. I’ve felt like an abject failure when I’ve, yet again, resorted to a Baby Sensory video on YouTube to keep you occupied while I make the dinner, and cried in the shower when I’ve felt I’ve not made you laugh enough during that day. I’ve accepted help from others, and then longed to have you back in my own arms when I’ve seen you with them in case you feel rejected by me, and – right now – I’m wrestling with the knowledge that, next week, you will start going to a childminder three days a week when I go back to work and exactly
SelfishMother.com
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what that means for us both.

Oh, the guilt. It wouldn’t be anything without it’s compadre, anxiety. We were already acquainted, of course, but our relationship reignited this year, although I’m pleased to confirm that I stopped recording every feed (time, quantity, exact details of food consumed once we’d started weaning), nappy (time, contents, any important notes) and sleep (time, length) a couple of months ago. Yes, I did it for 10 months, and yes, I made your Dad do it, too. I know that those around us thought it was overkill, but they

SelfishMother.com
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would never know quite how effective it was at keeping some of those intrusive thoughts at bay.

Does it ever lessen? Will you, one day, be able to tell me to stop fretting, that you’re fine, and that you love me despite these things? I hope so.

That aside, any guilt, anxiety or rage (there’s been a fair bit of that, too) falls away next to the immeasurable joy you bring me, daily. Your smile is so broad that it looks like it should make your cheeks ache, and you have just this week added an extra feature of screwed up eyes and wrinkled nose to

SelfishMother.com
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go alongside it. Your ‘vocabulary’ is extensive, and you do excellent impressions of both a boiling kettle and a seagull. You can blow raspberries continuously for hours. Your favourite food is blueberries, although you rejected the blueberry cake I made you for your birthday, which pretty much illustrates exactly how you like to keep me on my toes.

But here’s the real thing. You’ve only been here for a year, but I cannot, and will not, remember who I was before you. You, Bezza, give me life in a way I could never have imagined. You push me to

SelfishMother.com
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my very limits, and, even when my eyes feel dry and bulging from lack of sleep, you manage to make me laugh until my ribs hurt.

Thanks to you, I’ve met new friends who I really, truly love and hope will be in my life forever, and their children who I really, truly love and hope will be in both of our lives forever.

Through you, I have found a deeper level to my relationship with my own Mum, a new appreciation for her sacrifices and the extent of her love for me.

Because of you, I have seen the man I love blossom and bloom into something else

SelfishMother.com
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entirely – a gentle, humble, fun and devoted father who recognises the importance of his example in your life.

And you, Ramlet, have uncovered in me a tenderness I never knew was there.

Robyn, you’ve had many names this year, and I’ve only had one. The best one: Mummy.

Thank you for introducing me to myself.

SelfishMother.com
Meg Ramsell

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- 1 Jan 19

To my Rambino, my Bean, my Beanie, my Little Bird, my Birdie, my Feral Beryl, my Robster, my Robs, my Robyn…

A girl has many names. In fact, I could probably think of one you’ve been given for every week of your life, all 52 of them, but I won’t. You probably wouldn’t thank me for it, Stinker.

Today is your first birthday, and a day shared with the anniversary of me becoming a mother. Bobs, it’s been both a whirlwind and a marathon, the longest and shortest of years, and the truth is, that while some are in high def, some parts are missing all together. But, we’re here. We made it.

You made it.

It was raining on New Year’s Eve 2017. Your Dad and I snogged by the ambulance bay of the hospital after one of our many slow waddles through the endless corridors while we waited for you. Our first midwife, Fiona, bore an uncanny resemblance to Kim Woodburn, which was strangely reassuring to me. We heard fireworks over Nottingham at midnight while I rode the waves of my contractions, and Dad left our labour snacks in the car, but did bring board games. You’ll get more context to that in years to come, I’m sure.

You tore your way into the world at 3.37am on New Year’s Day, the first baby born at Queen’s Medical Centre in 2018. You didn’t cry and neither did I. Not then.

The crying – mine, not yours – started on day three, like clockwork. Since then, this year, I’ve cried more than any other year of my life. Hysterical, primal, guttural sobs, and snotty, joyous, elated ones. Silent streams in toilet cubicles and huge, fat tears that dropped from my cheeks onto yours.

Your tears are yet to flow freely like that. In fact, I think I can probably count on my fingers the number of times you’ve really, really cried, and for that I am thankful. Nevertheless, the guilt I’ve felt – I feel – clings to me like static.

The first few weeks were tough (I recounted that as a whole separate saga here), but since then I’ve poured over the trajectory of your growth chart, holding back tears at ‘self-weigh’ when you’ve not gained as much as your Red Book tells me you should have. I’ve beaten myself up for days when I accidentally knelt on your foot while playing. I’ve felt like an abject failure when I’ve, yet again, resorted to a Baby Sensory video on YouTube to keep you occupied while I make the dinner, and cried in the shower when I’ve felt I’ve not made you laugh enough during that day. I’ve accepted help from others, and then longed to have you back in my own arms when I’ve seen you with them in case you feel rejected by me, and – right now – I’m wrestling with the knowledge that, next week, you will start going to a childminder three days a week when I go back to work and exactly what that means for us both.

Oh, the guilt. It wouldn’t be anything without it’s compadre, anxiety. We were already acquainted, of course, but our relationship reignited this year, although I’m pleased to confirm that I stopped recording every feed (time, quantity, exact details of food consumed once we’d started weaning), nappy (time, contents, any important notes) and sleep (time, length) a couple of months ago. Yes, I did it for 10 months, and yes, I made your Dad do it, too. I know that those around us thought it was overkill, but they would never know quite how effective it was at keeping some of those intrusive thoughts at bay.

Does it ever lessen? Will you, one day, be able to tell me to stop fretting, that you’re fine, and that you love me despite these things? I hope so.

That aside, any guilt, anxiety or rage (there’s been a fair bit of that, too) falls away next to the immeasurable joy you bring me, daily. Your smile is so broad that it looks like it should make your cheeks ache, and you have just this week added an extra feature of screwed up eyes and wrinkled nose to go alongside it. Your ‘vocabulary’ is extensive, and you do excellent impressions of both a boiling kettle and a seagull. You can blow raspberries continuously for hours. Your favourite food is blueberries, although you rejected the blueberry cake I made you for your birthday, which pretty much illustrates exactly how you like to keep me on my toes.

But here’s the real thing. You’ve only been here for a year, but I cannot, and will not, remember who I was before you. You, Bezza, give me life in a way I could never have imagined. You push me to my very limits, and, even when my eyes feel dry and bulging from lack of sleep, you manage to make me laugh until my ribs hurt.

Thanks to you, I’ve met new friends who I really, truly love and hope will be in my life forever, and their children who I really, truly love and hope will be in both of our lives forever.

Through you, I have found a deeper level to my relationship with my own Mum, a new appreciation for her sacrifices and the extent of her love for me.

Because of you, I have seen the man I love blossom and bloom into something else entirely – a gentle, humble, fun and devoted father who recognises the importance of his example in your life.

And you, Ramlet, have uncovered in me a tenderness I never knew was there.

Robyn, you’ve had many names this year, and I’ve only had one. The best one: Mummy.

Thank you for introducing me to myself.

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Meg Ramsell

Mum to Robyn, wife to Mark. Professional organiser, part time volunteer, expert level worrier.

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