Why am I feeling so angry?
I lose my temper with my partner
I feel so frustrated with my child.
I should be happy right now, but I’m not.
Is this normal?
I hear these statements from many postpartum clients experiencing mood disorders. The expectations for new moms are not always realistic and not always applicable. Sometimes there’s unfair expectations for a new mom to be happy and smitten with their new “bundle of joy.” The postpartum period is filled with a wide spectrum of emotions. Some moms are overlooked because their symptoms don’t fit in the typical box of postpartum depression, or even anxiety.
Postpartum depression is the more widely known perinatal mood disorder – and even screened for in most doctors offices. However, the wide range of perinatal mood symptoms are not as well-known, and anger/rage as a symptom has been completely missed. Which means a mother’s rage and anger can go completely overlooked and dismissed. When really it should serve as a signal.
What does postpartum rage look like?
Perinatal mood disorders (more commonly known as postpartum mood and anxiety disorders) affects one in seven women. However, rates may actually be twice as much as is reported and diagnosed. Many women attempt to live with their symptoms, rather than seek treatment, typically because they aren’t aware this is a common problem and that there are solutions. (Source: PostpartumDepression.org). For many women with PPD, postpartum rage is a symptom. Rage comes and goes, which can make it hard to identify as something clinical.
On the surface, postpartum rage appear similar to regular anger or frustration. So, what makes it different?
Postpartum rage typical comes out from out of nowhere. It usually feels like a burst or rush of anger and is often described as “overwhelming” or “explosive.” It is usually triggered by something inconsequential – it might be something that would normally not bother you or just be slightly frustrating. While triggered by something minor, it’s usually a response to a layer of factors. The anger is in response to feeling overwhelmed, overloaded, and ill-equipped. It’s a deep sharp boiling emotion that just shoots out. It’s emotional. It’s signal that help is needed.
Maybe the anger is being triggered by frustrations with your baby and feeding or sleep issues, maybe it’s being triggered by other elements, or family members causing more stress on your already stressful role. Regardless of what and why, the anger is a mixed bag of sadness, anger, fear, etc.
Why is it important to talk about it?
Secrets are a sickness. The more you talk about something, the less power you give it. The more you share, you will like find other moms able to relate, and you realize that you’re not alone. We have a lot of “mom guilt.” And nothing causes more guilt than feeling angry with our children. Discovering that other moms may be in a similar boat as you may take some of the guilt away.
It’s important to share how you’re feeling with your support system, whether that includes your partner, your parents, your in-laws, babysitter or friends). If they don’t know what you’re going through, they won’t know how to react to your anger, or how to support you. They might also label your behavior as “ over emotional,” which is unproductive if they don’t understand the cause. The more your support system knows, the better they can support you.
Postpartum Rage & Postpartum Depression Treatment
- Talk Therapy with a Trained Postpartum Therapist
It’s important to work with a therapist who is trained to work with postpartum women and understands the complexities of postpartum disorders. They can educate you as well as help you take the steps and hold you accountable to working through your symptoms.
- Social Support from Family and Friends
This can take the form of many things – it might be a moms group with other kids your age, sharing your feelings with your trusted friends (who you might discover are experiencing something similar) or asking for help, whether it’s asking for someone to watch the baby so you can get a shower or even a short nap or asking for visitors to bring you a meal that you can eat while they hold the baby. (See my postpartum registry for more tips)
- Medication to help you through this transition.
Many medications are nursing and baby friendly. A skilled psychiatrist can help you integrate this into your treatment plan. Your therapist can help you navigate that realm.
- A little bit of Self Care goes a long way.
It’s often hard for new moms to leave their baby to do something for themselves. However, it’s important to take care of yourself. Depending on the support you have available to you, self care might be taking a yoga class while your partner takes a turn at the bedtime feeding or allowing yourself to squeeze in a guiltless nap while baby naps. Self care doesn’t “solve”
Kat can you add a number 5- Postpartum International is an incredible resource for moms and dads on all things postpartum. From articles, FAQs, and the ability to text with peer support. www.postpartum.net
Kat can you add number 6. Nutrition. Nutrition can play a big part in your healing. Making sure your are receiving the necessary nutrients is something that is in your control when postpartum. Finding mom hacks that work for you in still nourishing your body even as a busy and overwhelmed mom is essential to your well-being.
The bottomline is don’t keep this to yourself. You’re not alone, so don’t be alone with it. Get out, speak out. If you’re not sure of which step to take first, start by calling Aimee today, and she can help you find your way out of the darkness: (610) 608-0390.
For more information, click here for 10 facts about PostPartum Depression & Anxiety.