Postpartum Before & After: Mental Health Edition

I've had a pretty cool physical transformation in the past two years or so. I've given birth to 2 kids in 2 years - one at the end of 2015, and another in 2017 - and here I am with my sometimes abs (if I don't eat too much Ben & Jerry's), and my pre-pregnancy pant size. 


It's great.

I worked hard, I busted my ass, I might've damaged my abs going so hard (another story), but I don't pee when I sneeze so there's that. 


What you don't see in my physical body is the mental health problems I struggled and still struggle with.

I got back in my pre-pregnancy jeans before I got back to my pre-pregnancy mental health and even now I'm not quire there yet - and may never be.

I've struggled with depression and anxiety for a while, since I was a kid, and I had really bad postpartum anxiety after my first child, my son, was born. But that felt more like, "Oh, I can do it all with no sleep, and no help! I am superwoman!" Until I crashed horribly, and burned...

But with my daughter, the beast that is postpartum depression felt like, "I can't do anything and I don't want to because this creature who is keeping me up all night long clearly wants me to die of sleep deprivation." And I couldn't sleep during the day because my toddler was up at 7 am (on a good day) seven days a week - my husband and I took turns letting each other sleep where we could, but to say it was hard is an understatement.

But the why isn't as important as the how. 

How did it feel? 

It felt like death with no afterlife. I believe in God, but this felt as if I would never be happy again, I was in a dark tunnel in which no light got inside, and no one could pull me out of the tunnel. No one could show me where to go to get the hell out. I had dug a deep grave, jumped inside, and now I was being buried alive. There was no help that I saw - and there literally was no professional help at all. My midwives tried as hard as they could, but the waiting list for a psychiatrist was months long and I felt I had hours left some days.

I was told I could drive myself to the ER for emergency services but I was too anxious to do that - I didn't want to be locked away.

I just wanted to be alone for a long, long time. Maybe forever.

So how did I get out of it? 

There's no set formula, no magic. This won't replace a therapist. I'm not a doctor. But I'm a real person who experienced the hell that is PPD. & this is how I survived.



  • Time, for one. This isn't what anyone in the thick of the beast wants to hear, but over time your baby will start sleeping longer. & when my daughter was old enough - as soon as she was old enough - we did the cry it out method and it was a lifesaver. Some people think this is cruel. I think going insane from sleep deprivation and therefore not being the best parent you can be is even more cruel.

  • I also got out of the house, without the kids. I took a shower, got dressed, and went somewhere close by - Starbucks, the park, whatever. I just got out.

  • Speaking of - get outside. Being in nature was extremely therapeutic for me and very healing. [Side note: This is a good reason people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD; from lack of sunshine and outdoors.] 

  • Writing was also very good for me during this time (& all times, really). I blogged, wrote in my private social groups, and journaled. Everyone can benefit from journaling. 

  • I cleaned up my diet. Eating well - vegetables, fruits, non-packaged foods - made me feel well. 

  • I blocked out negativity - I cut off anyone who didn't nurture my spirit. Some people believe this to be selfish. Sometimes you must be selfish to survive. 

  • I saw a therapist. Not a psychiatrist, who I was on a waiting list for, but a psychotherapist. It was very important and helpful for my healing process. We paid out of pocket and had to cut down on other areas of our finances, but it was worth it. Professional help is important.

  • I tuned out sad songs, sad movies, sad anything. Anything overly violent - ironically, even the book I was writing at the time I had to put on hold - I put it out of my life temporarily. This doesn't have to be a forever thing. But until your mind can create joy, don't stuff it full of artificial sorrow. 

  • Perhaps most importantly, I found reasons to live - my kids, my husband, the joy I knew was lurking somewhere around the corner. Joy that I had once experienced before and knew that, if I just held on, I would experience again. Even though I was in the midst of some dark shit surrounding my daughter's birth, I knew she wouldn't be this little forever. I knew I would miss out on being present with my children because I was surrounded by darkness. I knew that I would miss them, if I weren't here.

If you're suffering from PPD or postpartum anxiety, or really any type of postpartum mental health issues, send me an email. While I'm not a therapist, sometimes it helps to just chat. I won't try to sell you anything or give you wacky advice, but I will be an ear that's been there.

Most importantly, talk to your doctor or therapist. Talk to someone before it's too late. Don't suffer alone.



Five Quick + Dirty Fitness Tips


I heard on Live with Kelly + Ryan (the five seconds I got to watch before my son turned it off in protest to watch Curious George)  this morning that half of all people (I wasn't asked so they may have missed some folks) have quit their NY's resolutions by now. 

Since a lot of people make NYR about fitness + weight loss, it's safe to assume 50% of the population have thrown in the towel on their physique. Why? I'm no expert but I think one of the biggest problems is that people make unrealistic goals when it comes to health.

Never gonna eat fast food again. Never gonna have a morsel of sugar ever in my life again. Going to go to the gym an hour every single day. Liposuction tomorrow. Or something like that.

But fitness doesn't have to be a big scary thing. It can be incredibly simple (not easy, there's a difference). So if you're one of those who have dropped the ball on your weight loss or fitness goals, here are five tips to help you get back in the saddle (or on the treadmill or whatever). 

Move 30 Minutes/Day 

This can be a stroll around your office building. Parking at the back of the parking lot so you get in a few extra steps. Dancing in your living room. Yoga in your bedroom. Or yes, it can mean going to the gym and lifting some weights. But it doesn't have to be that if you're not there yet. Just move your body. We live in a time of sitting (which we are not designed to do for long periods of time), and all of us could probably move more.

Schedule Your Exercise

This can be in addition to moving 30 minutes/day. Being off your bum for half an hour really shouldn't be what you count as exercise. So building on that, schedule your work outs like an appointment. Find a realistic time in your day that you can manage a 30 minute or longer session, and put it in your calendar. If this means you've got to get up 45 minutes earlier, do that, too. Health is important (sleep is also important, so if you're sleep deprived, fit it in somewhere else). 

Swap Your Cereal for Protein

Cereal is not a good breakfast option. It's got about the same amount of nutrients as a candy bar - yes, even most of the "healthy" stuff. I don't always eat breakfast (it really isn't essential if you're not hungry when you wake up), but when I do, it's an egg, or a smoothie with spinach. This will keep your blood sugar levels even so you're not starving in an hour. You'll likely be able to make it to lunch without a snack - which are also not necessary, but that's another post for another day. 

Make Your Coffee At Home

Okay, this one won't apply to everyone. But I'm going to share my personal experience: Hi my name is Kali Rose and I'm a former Starbucks addict. Seriously. I prefer local coffee shops (so this applies to them as well), but there wasn't one super close to me, so I became addicted to the green goddess. It cost a lot of money, and a lot of calories. Any frappuccino at Starbucks is going to have more sugar than a cupcake, and the same usually goes for flavoured lattes as well. I ordered mine half sweet or with one pump, but it's still expensive, and excess sugar that I don't need.

I started making my own iced mocha at home - the beauty I dubbed the "Anti-Aging Mocha". Sign up for my TinyLetter and I'll send it to you. It's delicious, and actually good for you. 

If you're not into making lattes or mochas, brew your own coffee at home. Add your own sugar, milk, etc. At least then you'll know what you're getting and if you're a flavoured latte addict, it'll trim off a huge amount of calories (and money). 

Ditch Machines, Use Free Weights

So if you are at the point that you've incorporated weightlifting into your routine (everyone should do this, literally everyone), don't be tempted by the machines. Sure, they seem easier, they've got a nice little guide posted on the side of them, and they may even trick you into thinking you can lift more than you actually can. But therein lies they problem - weight machines focus on bigger muscles but miss smaller ones that you, ya know, you actually use in real life. You're only working 1-2 muscle groups at a time, whereas using free weights (and there's no shame in the 5 pounders, by the way) engages many more muscles including your core - which is essential for building strength all over the body. Here's a few workouts to get you started. 

Let's Talk About Living Your Life Without Labels


Sometimes while we are in the midst of living our lives, carrying on minding our own business (or not), we get something thrown at us. Sometimes literally, like that time someone tried to drop a water balloon on me in university but had really bad aim so it landed a foot behind me and I got the last laugh - yes, I saw you sucker). But in this case I mean not literally.

I mean a label. 

It can be from a doctor/psychiatrist: You're depressed. You're anxious. You're insane (sue them). It can be from a mean person: You're fat. You're too thin. You're stupid (throw a water balloon at them). 

Occasionally, we let these things roll right off of us like water on a duck (...). Sometimes, however, they stick. 

They could even be good labels: You're the smart one, or the funny one, or the beautiful one, or the writer or the painter or the musician or the fast food delivery guy. 

For a while, they're fun. Like yeah, okay, I like being smart. But then maybe they get tired of the smart label, like do your own homework please or no I will not edit your personal statement for the 100th time. Or maybe you're a musician who just wants to go corporate but your bros are giving you a hard time about it. Maybe you're the travel blogger who wants to stay home or the fitness model who wants to eat your weight in donuts and not lift things for a while before you get a hernia.

Maybe you're the mom, and that's a label that doesn't come off but maybe you'd like to, ya know, shower in peace or not change that poop-filled diaper or just go to the mall without your stroller. 

So here's how you do that:

You be you. (shower without baby: put them in crib)


It's so easy yet for some reason people are so afraid to step out of the box that other people have made for them. They're the anxious person so anything that will "trigger" you is to be avoided (I can say this. I was the anxious person.). They're claustrophobic so cave diving or elevator riding will never be an option. They're the mom so posing naked on the internet is forbidden (it's not). 

It's like we forget we have options but humans are multi-dimensional so really you can be whatever the F you wanna be at anytime. I wouldn't suggest bank robber or double agent because that could end messily, but anything else, go for it - even if it puts you outside of the hole you've been pegged into. 

I've struggled with this lately. 

That's obviously why I'm writing about it.

But then I was reminded life is really incredibly short and if you want to experience all it has to offer, you've got to shrug off your label and get down to business (or cave diving or elevator riding or whatever you want to do). 

Go for it.