When Heidi Koss gave birth to her daughter, Elora, the experience wasn’t quite what she’d expected. “I just didn’t realize…how trapped people can feel,” she remembers.

Heidi Koss carries 11-month-old Elora on their trip to the Netherlands in 1996 to visit Heidi’s parents. Courtesy of Heidi Koss.

Without family nearby, Heidi was often at home alone with the baby. During the day, she managed to hold herself together and then at night, once Elora had gone to sleep, she could let it all out. “That was kind of my safe time to totally fall apart,” says Heidi.

In 2009 Heidi came to StoryCorps with Elora, who was 14 at the time, to tell her about how she survived those first years as mom.

Top Photo: Heidi Koss and Elora Koss-Nobel at their StoryCorps interview in Wenatchee, WA on June 22, 2009. By Whitney Henry-Lester for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired May 12 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.