“Now my friends are wearing worried smiles, living out a dream of what they was.

Don’t you think it’s sometimes wise not to grow up?”

–Rolling Stones, 100 Years Ago

In terms of blogging years, I’m practically a geriatric and I often have to stop myself from being all “IN MY DAY, BLOGGERS WERE HONEST AND DIDN’T EXPECT…” so I can safely say things like, “normally in my New Years wrap-up posts I say something about how happy I am to kiss the year goodbye” because I’ve had enough of them to choose from.

This morning, I sat here trying to figure out what I wanted to do for my New Years post because it felt weird to not mention that today is the last day of 2009. Normally I do the only meme that I ever do, but today it just didn’t feel right. Then I thought about doing a year-in-review-through-posts and that didn’t sum it all up either because seriously? January and February alone could have each had 10 or so links to posts.

So instead, I’m going to be uncharacteristically honest about my year.

2009 was not the worst year of my life. I don’t know how a year that started by bringing my last child, my daughter Amelia Grace Sherrick Harks, into this world could possibly be a bad one. I was so proud to finally have a daughter and nearly a year later, I am still so proud to have a daughter that even as I type this, my eyes fill with tears.

She was born with an undiagnosed neural tube defect, yes, an encephalocele and I very much feared that I’d birthed her only to send her in for neurosurgery to sacrifice her on the operating table, but would I have traded those three weeks with her? No. Even if she’d passed, I wouldn’t have traded those minutes with her. She’s my daughter.

Amelia, all 8 pounds of her didn’t pass on the table and she’s gone on to beat all of the odds of her grim diagnosis and has proved to me that just because someone tells you that you shouldn’t be able to do something, doesn’t mean that you can’t. It’s a lesson we all could stand to remember now and again.

While Amelia has thrived and continued to place at or above level for every single test that she’s been given, I’ve sort of managed to tread water this year managing to keep my head mostly above water. Lately, I’ve been drinking gasoline to keep warm.

I’m not sure it’s working.

I was diagnosed with PTSD stemming from her traumatic birth and I don’t know if it’s that, or PPD or some other weird acronym, but I’m not sleeping well or eating well, and some nights I manage fight off the demons and others, I’m slain by them.

But I’m hopeful. I’ve been here before and I’ve always managed to claw my way back out of the hole and into the light again.

So I approach 2010 full of renewed hope for the future, because no matter how full of the darkness I feel, I can feel the light on my face and I know it’s all around me. Soon it will be within me.

I am hopeful.

I have hope.

Happy New Year.


117 thoughts on “What Tender Days We Had No Secrets Hid Away, Now It Seems About 100 Years Ago

  1. That’s a beautiful post AB, I hope 2010 is a lot less stressful on you. I never belived how much kids would change my life, but I can understand your feeling about not wanting to trade a minute of the time you had with your daughter.

    Happy New Year.

  2. Your daughter is beautiful!

    PPD is so tough. Keep clawing, it’s the only way out! I too have been there. Sometimes it seems like all I do is try to pull myself out of that hole. I have made it every time, so will you!

    Happy New Year Aunt Becky!!

  3. OMG your daughter is adorable!!!!! But yes, I too and glad to see another year come. I am hoping it is one filled with love, laughter, and life.

    I think I may have had PTSD and I still think my husband does but does not admit it.

    Let me ask you this, I still have terrible dreams that relive what happened in the hospital the day the baby was born. Is there something I can do to make this stop? Is this something you experience as well?

  4. Awwww. What a beautiful, honest and down to earth post. I really enjoy your tweets and will tune in to your blog more. Have a great New Year’s eve!

  5. You have no idea how happy I am for you. And I think PTSD is probably the right diagnoses. PPD would have been over months ago.

    Look at that beautiful face. How worth it. All babies are worth it. And look at you. Jumping up and giving it all. This decade is for you AB.

  6. When I think back on 2009 I can see all kinds of things I could bitch about, but they all fall away when I look at my girl.

    I can’t wait to see what the new year brings with her. And can’t wait to hear more about your girl too.

  7. I think it was Seneca who said, “There is no genius free of the tincture of madness.”

    I have a few acronyms myself.

    For you, I have hope. You are not your acronym, you are Aunt Becky. Or BECKY. Whatever. And you will kick any acronym’s ass. Hang in there.

    Your daughter is beautiful, and so are you.

    Have a happy and healthy New Year 🙂

  8. Gorgeous little girl.

    And, I understand, in my own small way. I cannot pass the hospital without thinking of that helicopter, flying my little boy away, in the dead of the night. I just can’t.

  9. I have to disagree with one of the other posts, Melissa said that PPD would have been over months ago just isn’t right. I had PPD with my second Daughter and I finally resurfaced when she was closer to 18 months, mostly because I didn’t seek help as I probably should have. I can completely see the addition os PTSD also. I know that a tramatic birth no matter how it ends can really stay with you for a long time afterwards. I feel horrible that you are feeling so horrible right now. It is a time that all of us whether you know us or not IRL can stand behind you and support you but it is all up to you on a daily basis to fight with it.

    I hope the year that comes brings you many happy things that take the PPD and PTSD and bury them deep to never be found again.

  10. 2009 was the year I found you, Aunt Becky, during a very ‘down’ time for me, and reading your wonderful stories helped me to cheer up & get back into the light. You touch many more people than you know. Thank you for that.

    Happy New Year to you, The Daver, the Sausages and Mimi. May 2010 be an incredibly blessed year for you all.

  11. Happy New Year my friend. I am glad the light is shining through now and I hope that 2010 brings you and that spitfire Amelia nothing but laughter and loads of love.

  12. I’m sorry to hear about your traumatic birth and subsequent uphill battle with PTSD or PPD. I too had PPD and did not feel like “myself” again until my son was around 2 years old. I finally found a good therapist who was educated in dealing with mood disorders associated with motherhood and birth and I hope you find the same.

    Best to you and yours on this New Year’s Eve.

  13. Happy New Year, Becky. I understand the PTSD/PPD/WTF it is. Keep clawing, hon, and I’ll claw right beside you.

    By the way, your daughter is gorgeous!


  14. I just love that photo of Amelia. She looks so strong, and sure of herself.

    I have a strange question and I’m asking the question basically because I was sort of there. The place you go when your infant is in surgery and you don’t know anything. You’re sleep deprived from having a baby, and you’re crazy with worry for the future of your child. The place I went was what if he dies. What if my son dies in surgery. What am I going to do? I decided right then and there that NO mother should ever have to lose her child and that if the unthinkable happens and my son passes during surgery, I would donate any organ that would save the life of some other child.

    Did you ever think that? I don’t know why, but I feel like maybe I had given up on him and that’s why I had that thought…to give away his organs. That makes me feel a bad mom. What do you think?

    1. It is absolutely NOT a bad-mom thing to think. To decide, in the midst of the very real threat of your son not making it through surgery, to make the best of a terrible situation and give life to someone else who is facing the same threat, is a sign of personal strength, and your son should be proud to know that his mom was so strong during a time that could easily break your spirit.

  15. I can’t say I know exactly how you feel, because I haven’t had to deal with any major crisis with my children. But I can sympathize with you on what you are experiencing, depression-wise. I lost my mother in a tragic way 2 years ago and sometimes it gets me so down I don’t know how I manage to bounce back. I try to just think of the positives in my life, and that somehow gets me through. You have a beautiful baby girl, and I’m so glad she is beating the odds. I hope your new year is filled with more progress and lots of happiness. Your posts bring a smile to my face every day, and to the faces of everyone who reads you! You have a real talent, and I’m glad to have found your blog!

    *I seem to be having a corny day today. I think the whole new year thing is making me get all sentimental and shit. I will end my comment now before I totally embarrass myself and say I love you or something equally tacky.

  16. Such a beautiful, honest post. God I can only imagine what you’ve been through – and my, what a little fighter your baby girl is! Happy New Year and I wish you and your family the best in 2010.

  17. Ditto-ing Lori to say I hope that 2010 is boring and wonderful for you and your family.

    And I hope the PTSD or whatever fades into the background soon.

    So glad I found your blog in 2009, looking forward to reading your 2010 posts. 🙂

  18. That photo is heart clutchingly beautiful! I’m glad you’ve fought hard and slated dragons and will reap your rewards. I think we all have bright ideas and hopeful wishes for the new year. I definitely wish those things for you. Happy New Year!

  19. Happy New Year!

    I get that whole PTSD/PPD thing. They lines blur together. We thought that my daughter had CP and that first year kicked my ass. Once she was discharged from her neurosurgeon, I fell apart and took the next year to get well. But I did get well, and I know so will you! Keep clawing; you’re loyal readers are right there with you!

  20. Your daughter is an Amazon Goddess, not to mention absolutely beautiful.

    Enjoy every damn minute of every day with your kids.

    Happy New Year, wishing Joy & Abundance your way!


  21. I just found your blog yesterday and have been having an Aunt Becky reading fest. I love it. I hope for only the best for you and yours in the new year. Hope is forever. P.S. Your family is beautiful.

  22. I think you are amazing. I cannot imagine what you have gone through. You have a gift of humor that will always help you through whatever challenge you face.

    Never lose hope.

    May your light shine bright in 2010!!!

  23. I love your honesty Becky, as always. I wish you and your family the best in the new year, and will be clawing my way right along with ya! 🙂

  24. Aww. Just aww. That’s all. I want to hug you but you know, cooties and all.

    This has been a shit year for me so good riddance ‘aught niner I say!

  25. Beautiful post. We lost our son to leukemia after a 2 year battle. It’s been 10 years and I still don’t sleep without help. Your little girl is beautiful, I pray a happy and healthy new year for you and your family!

  26. I raise my orange cream soda to you all – that’s triple sec and cream soda. mmm. Would be good with a little rum too.

    I completely get how both PPD and PTSD could be trying to tear you down. It took me forever to understand why I couldn’t let go of the traumatic birth experience that I had with my son, even though the end result was a very healthy baby. Nothing can truly take away a visit in the wee AMs by a pediatric specialist explaining why your newborn baby wouldn’t be rooming in with you – and would instead take up residence in the NICU.

    I think every year has ups and downs, and sometimes the downs are so bad that you must struggle to find the ups. I’m so happy that my Aunt Becky has such a wonderful ‘up’ as that gorgeously kissable baby girl!

  27. Happy New Year! Amelia is definitely her mother’s daughter…just keep treading water till you remember how to swim. I’ll be dog paddling beside you.

  28. You’re an awesome woman! Reading your posts these few months (I’m relatively new to your blog)has made me laugh, cry and occasionally spit on my keyboard. You are an amazingly strong woman and I admire you and your hopeful outlook.

    Bless you Aunt Becky!

  29. She’s beautiful, and perfect, and I love each and every entry you write. Sometimes I’m rolling in laughter, sometimes (like now) I’m tearing up, but always, always, I read on.

    Love & luck to you in 2010.

  30. You are AMAZING, Becky. I’m happy that in 2009 I had the chance to meet you via the Internets. I hope that 2010 is peaceful and full of sunshine and rainbows with your beautiful daughter because you SO deserve it. 🙂

  31. Hey you! You with the pretty words I read on this blog! I love ya and I don’t even know your face. Happy New Year to you and yours Aunt Becky! May 2010 be better brighter and way way more fun.

  32. 2010 (or almost 2010) is when I delurk to say thanks for being here. A fellow mom pointed me to your blog about a year ago to read an old post – I think it was about the truth of pregnancy and childbirth. I hadn’t even thought about reading blogs before – heard of them but never understood why *other* people would read them. Well…
    From there you became my nightime nursing companion. While hubby snored on, and baby fed again and again in the wee hours of the morning, I read your archives, and then daily posts, by the dim light of the blackberry.
    Thanks for always being there for me in the middle of the night, for daily postings to keep me company (and keep me awake!) and for always making me smile.

    That is a GORGEOUS photo of Amelia.

    (Going back to lurking)

  33. I think I will label 2009 as The Year I Got Anxiety. Maybe it’s just something in the air. Seriously, I’ve never been anxious in my life (other than the first couple months after my daughter was born, but that was obviously hormonal), but now every creak in my house makes me think someone is wandering around. Maybe we can both find a sympathetic doctor who will medicate us into happiness. 🙂

    2. Our daughters have the same middle name. We must have excellent taste.

    c. Happy New Year, and I hope the PTSD subsides. Imagine how horrible it would be if you were still a nurse and having to show up at a hospital every day!

    Penultimately, what did you do to Mimi to make her give you that look? You will see that again when she’s a teenager. She’s still adorable, though!

    Finally, Good night!

  34. Hey Aunt Becky, Happy 2010!

    Amelia is beautiful…and I wish her ever-improving health this coming year and beyond….

  35. Happy New Year Becky. I hope that 2010 brings you nothing but joy and happiness. Even after 3 years, I still fight with the demons of PTSD/PPD after birthing my daughter 9 weeks early and then “re-living” the experience with my son in November 2008. Here’s to a year of healing and happiness. (((hugs))) and best wishes for 2010.

    P.S. Amelia is beautiful, I just wanna reach through the computer and give her a squeeze 🙂

  36. Happy New Year, Becky! I love your style (or lack thereof), your humor, your love for babies and House MD. You are an inspiration to all of us just starting to write and find our voices.

    Nothing but good things to you.

  37. That’s very brave and insightful to recognize that although this year was full of terrible, scary times, it was the year that brought you sweet Amelia. It’s sometimes hard, in the middle of things, to recognize all the good we’ve had. I’m so proud of your little girl for showing them all what she can do. That’s a powerful way to remember 2009.

    1. I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself or hearing about how other people feeling sorry for themselves and not seeing all of the good. Because there’s always so much good. Always.

      Happy New Year, my friend. xoxo

  38. As my GP once said to me, “After what you’ve been through, if you weren’t [PPSD] there’d be something wrong with you.” You’re just safe enough now to feel the true horror of what might have happened is all.

    Anyone strong enough to survive what 2009 threw at you is strong enough to fight her way out of PPSD.

    All hail Aunt Becky!

    Also hugs and smooches and wishes for all that is good in 2010.

    1. You know? Having someone say something like that to you, I bet that helped to hear. Because that helped me to hear it from you. Does that make sense? Having someone acknowledge it just..helps. So thank you.

      Happy New Year, my friend. 2010 is going to be awesome.

      1. It sure does! It really did help to hear that my reaction was normal and I wasn’t just being weak or “too sensitive” which is what my mother always told me I was. I had a good ol’ heapin’, helpin’ of Superwoman foisted onto me as a kid. No matter WHAT happened, I was not to react, I was to just soldier on. Luckily for me, nothing truly horrid happened or I’d probably be locked up today, but just once being allowed to own my feelings and have a good cry would have been nice. Not her fault. It was how she was raised, plus she lived through the Great Depression and WWII and you didn’t get through either of those by being a crybaby. Still there are times for tears and times for legitmately feeling down and just burying it all deeper and deeper is not healthy.

        Just read the following comment comparing trauma to a church bell ringing. It IS a good analogy. Although my life feels more like the Gong Show most days, than a church bell…

        Hang in there, Bex! We’re all rootin’ for ya!

  39. I almost feel as if, when something really traumatic happens in my life, that I’m like a big churchbell that has just been rung. What I am trying to convey is that it takes a long time for those reverberations to fall away. Just when you think it’s totally done ringing, the bell clapper hits again and it goes on and on. Or maybe it’s a bit like a ripple in water after you throw in a stone. I can only hope that you experience a fading away of those feelings over time. Keep on keeping on! because it’s all you can do, some days.

    1. That’s an awesome analogy. Thank you for that. I’ll remember that when I beat myself up for not feeling BETTER ALREADY because I should be BETTER by now. Thank you. Seriously.

  40. Oh, Aunt Becky. I hope your new year brings peace to your brain and your body. It is hard to grasp that things are ok when they are finally ok.

  41. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful, the product of a very strong mama! I can only imagine how horrible it all was for you, I’m praying that it gets easier for you with time. All the best in 2010.

  42. You are just plain magic.

    You never know just what you’re capable of until you have to do it. I’ll say it again, while the shit that doesn’t kill us doesn’t really make us stronger, at least it doesn’t kill us.

    Here’s a big inappropriate slurp for 2010.

  43. Ahhh Aunt Becky.

    I wrote about hope:

    Everyone hopes, at some stage in their life.

    Sometimes the hope is fulfilled.

    Sometimes not.

    Sometimes it is achieved in a way we didn’t expect it.

    And sometimes, just sometimes, it is the hardest thing to cling to.

    I find hope to be my demon, my lover, my motivator. I have never much liked hope. It hides when I have needed it the most. But there are times, a few gorgeous moments, when I know what is like to have hope on my team. And even better, to have it fulfilled.

    ~Me: January 23, 2009~

    So yes. I know what you mean.

  44. I love you. And your blog! Great summary post, and best wishes for a faantastic 2010!

    I went back to your earlier year-in-review posts and have ‘borrowed’ some of the questions for my own first year in review type thing I am writing today – will credit back to you for the questions.

    Love you, love the blog!

  45. What a sweet, sweet, post. Fvck-though- I get the “i don’t know whether it’s PPD or what-but I can’t shake it deal,” It sucks, huh? I hope that you figure out how to slay that feeling (or lack of feelings?!?!) for good.
    I love having a daughter. There’s just a connection there-and it really goes beyond her strange need to wedge her hand in my amble bosom when she is tired.

  46. Amelia is so precious she makes my heart ache (in a good way)!! That picture is beautiful.

    PTSD is a pain in the ass. It’s difficult to explain and even more tough to pinpoint when you’re living it. If you need an ear, we are always here.

    Here is to 2010, I toast you with cup of coffee in hand.

  47. Aunt Becky, seriously. You have such spirit. Such an outlook. That I managed to not realized that it was *just this year* that you went through so much with your sweet girl. How very remarkable that *you both* are such fighters and have come out so incredibly to the other side. Props to you.

  48. Becky, I’m rooting for you. That 2009 could be both a terrible year and a wonderful year is one of those annoying truths of adulthood, isn’t it? Nothing’s simple anymore. In any case, I wish you a quick return to normalcy, and thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter’s photo with us.

  49. I’m sitting here catching up on all your posts from the past week, and this one? This one slays me. You are an amazing woman, mom, and writer. I’m so lucky to know you, Becks. Happy New Year. You will rock 2010, Miss Thang. *frickin’ allergies* *sniff*

  50. I’m just catching up on some of your recent posts, and this stopped me dead. What a wonderful and challenging year you’ve had. But now that your beautiful, brilliant girl is thriving, you can focus on you. I’m sending you a giant, slightly creepy virtual hug from a stranger – Happy New Year to you and your family!

  51. She’s beautiful, but you already knew that. And hope is a good thing. What a year it has been and what a year I hope this will be for you…

  52. Aunt Becky I am crying at work….all I can say to fend off said tears is “wanna make out”? Happy New Year

  53. Awww, shit, that totally sucks about the PTSD! getting meds for it? I’m in love with my Cymbalta.

    On a happier note, miss Amelia is such a bright shining star. Those eyes get me every time!!!

  54. You have so much more than just hope.

    You have that precious girly, 2 fabulous boys, the irreplaceable Daver, more talent than I can shake a stick at (whatever that means), and a kind and generous heart.

    I wish only good things for you in 2010, my friend. You deserve them.

  55. A belated Happy New Year to you, Becky- I just know 2010 is going to be a great one for you, and for me too. What we both deserve is the most boring year in history, with no dramas whatsoever, so we can just hang out and watch our miracle girls grow up and complain about everyday life instead of the world almost ending.

    Thanks for being you- it’s been a privilege to get to know you this year.

  56. o.m.g. i had to put down my beautiful 6 wk old baby to reply. wow. this was a good post and i hope so much that ur year is improving. 2 of my (4!) children had to fight for their lives at first and this just brought it all back. 10 years ago my son had open heart surgery at 5 days old and then we had to wait 48 hours post to see if he’d survive or not. i fully recall sitting out on a picnic table at the hospital completely questioning everything i’d ever believed. it was so scarey and hard. i’m happy ur beautiful daughter is alive and well and u are continuing on! happy way late new year and congratulations!

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