Kara’s Postpartum Depression Story

Here is a heartfelt and emotional postpartum depression story by Kara Wellman of Moms Gone Outdoors.

Kara’s struggle will resonate with a lot of young mothers who never expected postpartum depression to happen to them.  She didn’t start getting better until she decided to take control and put effort into her treatment, finally finding something that worked for her.

Accepting and acknowledging postpartum depression is the first step on a long road to recovery.

I hope you are inspired by Kara’s story…

A guest post by Kara Wellman of www.momsgoneoutdoors.com

*This post may contain affiliate links* *This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of www.runningintriangles.com. Due to the nature of the topic, this post may contain graphic details that some may find disturbing.

My story of postpartum depression started in a quiet hospital room, early on a Thursday afternoon in May. I was twenty years old and had just finished my last final of the semester the morning before. It was 2:24 pm when they handed her soft, tiny body up to me. I had barely felt the labor, and I barely felt anything as she rested on my chest.

I remember thinking that I should be crying, like all the beautiful women captured in the first moments of motherhood by birth photographers. I didn’t have one those. I just had my husband to one side, my mother to the other, and my 17-year-old sister hiding behind her iPad since attending the birth was just barely better than a day stuck in school.

It’s not to say that I didn’t love her then. I mean, she pooped all over my hand and I didn’t even care. If you knew me, you’d understand how big of a deal that is. I loved her, but I was young. I was still trying to fathom the gravity of what just happened.

As all my friends were gearing up for a summer of secret night-drinking and lazy river-beach days, I was learning how to breast feed and budgeting diapers out of our paychecks. They had their lives in front of them, and I had my daughter’s in front of me.

The PPD was something that snuck up.

I didn’t have a history of mental illness, and that fact made it very difficult to recognize the symptoms. The first time I talked to a doctor was when she was six months old. I had what I thought was a panic attack during our road-trip to see my husband’s family in Montana. I was given an anti-anxiety med to take as I needed. I think I only ever took three pills from that bottle.

Later, I’d find out that what I experienced then, was nothing compared to what I’d let myself go through in the future.

As life moved on and my beautiful little girl grew, so much of my life crashed down around me. I’m a perfectionist by nature, which I fully believe was one of the biggest contributing factors.

I felt I needed to be super-human, super-mom, super-student, super-everything.

At one point, I maintained a 4.0 in college as an English major, worked three part-time jobs, did all the cooking and cleaning, and raised my daughter.

But, my credit score was plummeting as I charged my over-expensive organic grocery bills and filled my closet with clothes just because getting a package in the mail gave me a joyous rush.

My weight jumped up and down as I’d binge for a few weeks, then starve myself for others.

My marriage started to crumble, as my husband didn’t understand why I was so upset all the time and was preoccupied with the recent death of his mother.  I even told him I didn’t love him anymore. I realized later that it wasn’t that I didn’t love him, but that I didn’t feel anything anymore.

we often push away the ones we need the most

I went to the doctor on and off. I went to a counselor on and off. I took different medications. I tried different forms of birth control. Nothing changed. I’d have high-functioning anxiety during the semester and crash into depression during every break.

It got to the point where I held a knife blade to my wrists after one grueling week of work, and bills, and papers due. I pressed lightly as tears streamed down my face, chest heaving. It was the lowest I had ever felt. It was about 3:45 in the afternoon. I had to pick up my daughter from daycare at 4. It was the only thing that made me fold the knife back, and set it on the table.
I held her extra close that night. I knew I needed to do something to help myself. If not for me at that point, then for her.

I went to a new doctor and was given another brand of medication. I also started to put effort into researching different options. I didn’t want to be on a daily medication forever, so I started a yoga practice and promised myself I would get outside to walk more.

I didn’t feel much of a change until we went on another road trip the following summer— this time to the Oregon coast and through Montana on our way home. We hiked every day, by the ocean, through tall pine forests, and to waterfalls hidden in the mountains.

I was exhausted the end of every day, but I felt happy. It was a genuine happiness that I hadn’t felt in years. I knew I had found my saving grace.

The mountains, rivers, plains, and trees. They were what I needed. Each step I took on those days brought me closer to the point of healing. While I will never assume what worked for me will work for everyone, nor that getting outside is all that is needed to heal a major depressive disorder, I know it can help. And I think it can help everyone. Bathing in the glory of nature can help start the healing processes.

I’m 24 now. In September, I gave birth to my second daughter. I’m still young, but this labor, I felt everything—every moment, every pain, every burn. I cried as she laid her head on my chest, with her dark eyes looking up at me.

I have every second since I decided to put that knife down to thank for that quiet, beautiful moment with her. I can’t say that PPD won’t recur this time around, but never again will I let it try to take my life. My girls, my husband, and I have too many trails left to see.

[Read more from Kara at www.momsgoneoutdoors.com]

If you have a postpartum depression story to share, Running in Triangles wants to help.

Submit a your postpartum depression story to RunninginTriangles.com
Click here for more information

The Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression vs. No Postpartum Mood Disorder

I’ve given birth to three kids, experienced three similar pregnancies,  labored through three natural, drug-free births, but ended up with three very different postpartum recovery periods…

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

**Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

The Baby Blues

Shortly after the birth of my first child I experienced symptoms of what I believe were the “baby blues.”  They didn’t last long and they didn’t disrupt my life (much).

The dogs and kids get along great now!

The mood swings were my first indicator.  I remember watching my husband interact with the baby while our two dogs sat at his feet watching.  I thought about how the dogs had no idea how much life was changing and I instantly burst into tears.  I’m not usually a sensitive or emotional person so this was a sure sign to me that I was experiencing some type of hormonal imbalance. It was very similar to the mood swings I experienced during pregnancy.

The sleep deprivation added to my emotional state.  The way someone would feel after staying up partying all night long (which may or may not be a familiar feeling for me *wink wink*).  I felt irritable and edgy but sleep (when I could get it) was welcome and helped to alleviate the stress.


I blamed the extreme “mom brain” on the sleep deprivation as well.  It was probably one of the hardest symptoms for me to manage as someone who prides themselves on having a great memory.  Suddenly I couldn’t multi-task because I would forget what I was doing in the first place.  I wrote down absolutely everything in a log book, significant or not, in a vain attempt to remember when I last fed him.

I felt an overwhelming urge to protect him and I worried a lot about everything he did.  I worried about holding him too much, or not enough.  I worried about the way others were holding him.  I worried about his diaper being put on properly.  I worried about such small and insignificant things (in addition to all the normal motherhood worrying like how much he was eating, pooping and sleeping).

I didn’t bond with the baby as much as I thought I would.  I spent a lot of time talking to him but the lack of a response discouraged me.  I wasn’t absolutely head over heels in love with him the way motherhood is portrayed in the media.  While I didn’t have any negative feelings, I felt very indifferent towards him.

We didn’t get out of the house much at first.  I was extremely overprotective of him and convinced that he would contract bad germs from strangers.  Aside from worrying, I honestly just didn’t feel like leaving the comfort of my own home.

Carseat "No Touching" Sign
Wish I had one of these signs from NikkiDanielDesigns on Etsy.ca

It eventually went away on it’s own.  Similar to a really bad case of PMS, I started to feel “normal” again.  I didn’t cry at the mere thought of something sad and I couldn’t wait to get out of the house and socialize.  By the time he was 2 months old he was smiling, making eye contact and interacting and I did fall head over heels in love with him.

Postpartum Depression

After the birth of my second child, things felt a little bit different.  That first baby that I didn’t bond with?  Well he was two years old now and the absolute center of my world.  So for the first couple months, things were monotonous and scheduled and boring – as long as the baby was concerned, at least.

She had basic needs and I didn’t try too hard to bond with her.  I knew that would happen eventually so I didn’t put too much pressure on myself this time.  The first two months after her birth were extremely busy in my social life so I didn’t have time to stew over the fact that life as I knew it had completely changed.

But when the dust settled and I was left at home, alone, with a toddler and a newborn who wouldn’t stop crying – things changed…
Read my full story here

I was tired and emotional but this time I couldn’t sleep no matter how hard I tried.  Every time I closed my eyes I thought I heard the baby cry and got up to check on her.  Sometimes it was 15 times in an hour but I couldn’t stop myself because I knew the one time I didn’t check on her would be the time something bad happened.  If someone else offered to look after her while I took a nap, then I would lie in bed for 2 hours worrying if she was alright.

In hindsight, I should have taken the help

The mood swings were extreme and uncontrollable.  As the weeks went on, I started to despise her.  I blamed her for everything I was feeling.  She felt my negative feelings and cried harder and longer which made me dislike her even more.  But then I would think about how I’ve always wanted to have a daughter and I would suffocate her in love – until she started crying again.  The slightest things could send me into fits of rage and I got offended and jealous very easily.

I was terrified to leave the house with her.  I was certain she would cry and I wouldn’t be able to handle her and everyone would stare at me and think I was a horrible mother.  So I stayed in my house where no one could judge me.  I avoided contact with almost everyone.

It’s not easy to admit

And the worst part of all was that I lied about what I was feeling to everyone.  I felt humiliated and inadequate and worthless but I hid it the best I could.  I dressed the baby up in cute outfits and took cute pictures of her to post on social media.  I posted captions about how much I loved having a baby girl and how all of my dreams had come true but in reality I just wanted to rewind life to a time before she existed.

The more I tried to “fix” things, the worse they got.  Even when I tried to “snap out of it” the baby was still reacting to my negative energy and crying all day and night.  My brain was full of terrible ways I could get her to shut up but instead I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for what seemed like hours.  The guilt eventually built up huge walls that closed in on me.

For months I battled in silence, not knowing it was postpartum depression.  I kept waiting for this funk to pass, waiting for the “hormones to regulate” but they never did, not without help, that is.

Find out if this is the right option for you

For more information about postpartum depression and other maternal mental health disorders, check out this comprehensive guide from Parenting Pod.

No Postpartum Mood Disorder

Considering I went to hell and back with my last baby, I must have been absolutely crazy to have another one, right?  The postpartum depression was forefront in my mind but this time I felt more prepared.  I knew what to look for, and I knew that I needed to speak up if I felt something was even a little bit off.

Perhaps it was because I WAS prepared for it, that it never came.
How to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression

The first time she was placed in my arms, I felt it.  That immediate love that legends were made of.  I couldn’t wait to hold her and I didn’t want to do anything else except just stare at her perfect face.

The early days with her were peaceful and calm – despite the sleepless nights.  The other two children often played with each other and so I had her all to myself.  The fact that she couldn’t talk back to me actually made me want to spend MORE time with her!

Trying to balance three children was definitely a challenge, and extremely overwhelming at times, but instead of being afraid and nervous and frustrated –  I felt excited and determined to make the best of it!

I felt like I could control my mood.  Even on days when she was extra fussy or I was extra tired, I always managed to stay calm and relaxed around her.  I never felt a sad or negative thought about her.  And she was a calm and relaxed baby because of it.

Initially I worried about how the older children would handle the new baby.  But they never once showed any signs of jealousy towards her and completely welcomed her into our family.  I cried more tears of joy in her first few months than I ever have in my life.

I worried about how much she ate, pooped and slept and whether she was hitting her milestones on time.  Mostly because I was always comparing her to the other children.  In an attempt to get things right this time, I asked a lot of questions, I sought a lot of help and I socialized as often as possible.

I took all three kids out as often as I could.  It was next to impossible to manage all of them in public (and it still is) but I sure didn’t want to get stuck inside the house with them!

I can’t say for certain what factors affected these different postpartum outcomes but this is the way it worked out for me.  After my battle with postpartum depression, having another baby was not in the plans but she surprised us all and I’m glad she did. 

Submit a your postpartum depression story to RunninginTriangles.com
click here for more info
When I think about life with a newborn, I try my hardest to reflect on the happiness of my last one, but will never forget the darkness that came before.
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Here’s an example of the different emotional intensities!

The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression
The baby blues vs postpartum depression
The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression vs No Postpartum Mood Disorder The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression vs No Postpartum Mood Disorder