Angry Moms: Rage as a Symptom of Postpartum Depression
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
When most people think about postpartum depression, symptoms like fatigue, sadness, and hopelessness come to mind. What many people don’t talk about is another symptom that can sometimes plague women who have just given birth—anger.
Postpartum rage can often feel like a wave of overwhelming anger that seems uncontrollable. Because it feels like you don’t have a handle on it, it can also be scary to experience.
It can be caused by something that might not usually make you angry. Something as simple as your spouse not doing the dishes or having to stay late at work can trigger it.
Here are some thoughts on the reality of postpartum rage and how can you handle it.
Anger Can Be a Warning Sign
When you’re struggling with postpartum depression, anger can often be a warning sign of a deeper, stronger underlying feeling. Typically, it’s that you’re feeling overwhelmed and you don’t know how to handle it.
So instead of feeling depressed or sad, you turn to anger. Anger can make some people feel like they’re more powerful. At that moment, it can even make you feel like you have more control. Yet, that control quickly goes away once you realize that you’re not sure what caused your anger or why you’re blowing up on the people closest to you.
Anger can also manifest in postpartum depression through feelings of guilt, isolation, or not being appreciated by other family members.
If you’ve started to realize that anger is becoming a problem for you, you’ve also probably tried to get a handle on it. If you’re not a typically angry person (or haven’t been before), this can be a struggle. Sometimes, no amount of pausing, taking a step back, or even deep breathing can help you to control this kind of anger.
How to Manage Anger When You’re Struggling with PPD
It’s important to understand that even though anger isn’t often talked about as a symptom of postpartum depression, it’s a common one. You’re not alone in the way you feel. So, don’t feel guilty about it or feel as though there is something “wrong” with you.
You might be feeling angry and you’re not sure why. Pay attention to other possible signs and symptoms of PPD you might be experiencing (more about that here). If you have more than one symptom, the best thing you can do is to seek professional help.
Unfortunately, many women tend to feel embarrassed when they’re dealing with postpartum depression. Or, they think they can get through it on their own. You’ll have a much easier time when you seek the help of a professional. Plus, you can get through the struggles plaguing you at a much faster rate.
Paying Attention to the Warning Signs
If you do want to work on managing your anger on a daily basis, try to become more in tune with what your body is telling you. After all, you know it better than anyone else!
Everyone has certain “signals” when it comes to anger. Maybe your muscles tense up. Or, perhaps you get hot and your cheeks turn red. Some people even feel their heart rate rise in their chest.
Take these warning signs seriously. When you start to feel them, ask for help. Do what you need to in order to calm down. Alleviate the anger before you get to a point where you no longer have control. This daily practice, combined with therapy for PPD, can make a big difference in how you feel.
If you’re struggling with postpartum rage and are unsure what to do about it, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.
COMING SOON! A workshop for couples who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who are expecting a baby or who have children already. Based on years of research and experience and developed by the Gottman Institute, this 12 hour workshop is designed to repair communication skills and jump start your relationship with your partner. For more information, please click here.
Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!