top of page
  • Writer's pictureYour EmmaWell Team

Part 1 - You Are Not Alone: A Mother’s Story of Healing After Depression & Anxiety

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

By Karenann Narkiewicz

It was the spring of 2021, and I was at Whole Foods. It was the first outing for my baby after lockdown restrictions were lifted. As I strolled through the sliding doors, I thought about how wild this was. My third-born son at 10-months-old was a true "bubble baby" and this was the first time he saw more than 4 adults at a time. I thought to myself, "What an incredibly dynamic motherhood journey I’ve had in such a short period of time!"

I’ve had first-hand experience with postpartum depression and anxiety along with a multitude of physical and emotional challenges, and have come out on the other side stronger than ever. I am telling you this story so you know that you are not alone. Struggles and challenges can happen to anyone, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.



Studies show that prenatal anxiety occurs frequently, overlaps with depression, and increases the likelihood of postpartum depression. Anxiety was rampant when I was pregnant with my first child. Since my husband had recently started a new business and my consulting business was project-based, I realized we needed a consistent paycheck and healthcare for our growing family.

So after giving birth to our 1st child in 2015, I went to a job interview just 8 days later. I tried to squeeze into my business clothes with a belly that still looked pregnant, which was very uncomfortable. During the interview, I experienced a tornado of emotions and could only focus on my milk supply rushing in while a panel of 8 senior-level men asked me complex questions.

Needless to say, the entire interview was a blur and it didn't work out. I eventually found a job in an industry that I knew nothing about and began working at 6-weeks postpartum. Although I didn't want to go back to work right away after having a baby, necessity took precedence.

The rapid transition to working motherhood was overwhelming, but I had to stay focused. We needed a nanny for our baby, like yesterday, and it was very stressful coordinating meetings and interviewing candidates all while taking care of a newborn. But we lucked out and found a great person to help us.

My new job was in sales which required me to be on the road the majority of the time. At 10-weeks postpartum, an out-of-state training workshop required me to be separated from my son all day and most nights for an entire week, even though I brought him with me. I was sleep-deprived and was just getting my bearings as a new mom.

Over time, I had started exclusively pumping milk. I pumped in public restrooms while on the road. I pumped in a public restroom at my company’s headquarters which had no lactation room. It became very awkward with people walking in and out, so I turned my car into a “pumping station”. When I had to drive colleagues, I tried to play it cool by dropping them off at a Target or Starbucks so I could pump in the car. Due to an oversupply of milk (almost 60 oz a day!) requiring the purchase of a chest freezer for storage, I stopped pumping after 6 months since I had enough milk stored to feed my son for another 6 months.

I believe that sleep deprivation due to a colicky, inconsolable newborn, coupled with guilt from being away from him during the day and the pressure of a new job, led to a constant, dull depression that was hard to shake. Sure, I was still functioning, but not thriving. Since work distracted me, I didn't acknowledge or address my feelings of sadness. Sometimes the stress of work would make me irritable, causing me to yell at my son and be short with my husband.

In 2017, I grew more frustrated with paying someone to watch my child grow up while I was out worki