The singer-songwriter just released Songs for Carmella, a collection of lullabies for her 1-year-old daughter
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Christina Perri is getting real about her life as a mom.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the “Jar of Hearts” singer, 32, opens up about welcoming her first child, her transition back to work — and dealing with postpartum depression.

On Jan. 17, Perri and her TV host husband Paul Costabile‘s daughter, Carmella, turned 1, and the singer had an extra-special gift for her first child: Songs for Carmella: Lullabies & Sing-a-Longs.

The lullaby collection — which includes classics, as well as a stripped-down rendition of Perri’s hit “A Thousand Years” — is the singer-songwriter’s first release since becoming a mom. And it was the perfect segue back to work for Perri.

Christina Perri and daughter Carmella
| Credit: Emily Winiker

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“My whole entire life changed,” Perri says. “The first nine months, the fact that I got to spend every millisecond with her meant the world to me. I know how lucky I am. A lot of women can’t do that. I did not take it for granted.”

Once she’d adjusted to parenthood, though, the star was ready to flex her creative muscle again.

“Carmella’s my favorite person to sing for. I thought, Wouldn’t it be cool if I could tiptoe back into being an artist?” says Perri, who began putting together Songs for Carmella last fall.

The singer says life, of course, is different now that she’s a working mom.

“When you become a mom, the extension of you is now your child — she’s my boss now, basically,” says Perri. “It’s so different. I’m onstage in front of millions of people on TV, and I’m thinking, ‘What about her dirty diaper?’ It’s really humbling.”

Perri’s journey as a mother hasn’t always been easy, though. The artist — who has been open about managing depression and anxiety — reveals she dealt with postpartum depression late last year.

“That got me the hardest when I stopped breastfeeding around Christmas. I was so sad and so dark,” Perri says. “We’re almost made to pretend it’s not happening, like, ‘It’s fine. I’ve got this.’ ”

After sharing her struggle on social media, Perri says more than 15,000 mothers reached out over Instagram, sending messages of support.

Today - Season 68
Christina Perri and daughter Carmella
| Credit: Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty

“What really helped was talking about it,” she says. “It was just overwhelming. It made me feel so much better. All the women said ‘me too, me too, me too’ and really got me through it. I’ve got my mommy tribe that got bigger because of that.”

Now happy and healthy, Perri is looking forward to what’s next.

“I got married , bought a house and had a baby the same year. Talk about blessings! That’s a dream,” she says. “All I ever wanted was a family, and that’s where I’m at now! It’s like a Disney movie.”

For more on Christina Perri’s life as a mom, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.