Can a woman go crazy after giving birth?
The answer is yes.
Crazy as in mad and angry, in other words, postpartum rage.
As if it there weren’t enough postpartum symptoms to deal with.
I am a mad new mom – so if you want to hear stories of this sort you’re in the right place.
You’re not alone. You’ve got at least one companion: me.
Before diving in, I do want to specify that usually postpartum rage is considered a precursor to postpartum anxiety and depression.
If that’s the case for you and if you feel your rage is beyond control and worsening please sick professional help.
What is Postpartum Rage?
Before I mention why I am such an angry mom, let me first briefly define postpartum rage and outline some symptoms so I make sure we’re on the same page.
Postpartum rage refers to postpartum mood disorder which involves being overwhelmingly mad and angry about everything after giving birth. Pretty simple, yet emotionally debilitating.
Anger is a normal emotion though, just like happiness. Tell me someone who doesn’t get angry at some point?
Nevertheless, being angry is a sign of distress that brings a sort of conflict in your life: at home, at work, with your child, etc. You feel like a volcano about to erupt, or a bomb about to explode.
I think the latter describes me better.
Not many people talk about this. They talk a lot about postpartum depression, which of course is extremely serious, but this postpartum rage deserves some attention too. This struggle is real.
Why Postpartum Rage Happens
No, it doesn’t just happen to moms who have 5 kids and who go crazy because they cannot keep up with all the craziness in their life. It can happen to any mom for pretty much any minor reason, like dropping the car keys on the floor.
Or, if you want to go deeper than that, this type of anger can be triggered by the simple fact that you’re hungry but not being able to eat or cook because you have to carry your crying baby around.
You may also just go nuts when someone asks you how your day was.
Why am I a mad angry mom? I’m tired. All the time.
My daughter is 17 months old now so I shouldn’t be prone to any of that yucky postpartum symptoms but lately I’m just tired and mad. I barely sleep. I have a poor diet because I don’t find the time to eat or prepare healthy meals.
Sometimes I don’t even feel like eating. I’m just too physically and emotionally exhausted.
For the most part, I don’t feel appreciated for everything that I’m doing.
Being a mom is hard but being a first-time mom is harder because you don’t know what to expect and facing the mom struggles for the first time may be overwhelming.
Everything is new and before you come up with the perfect solution you make mistakes. Those mistakes cost you.
Guilt is another one of my mom struggles. I’m talking about the guilt of not being a good enough mom. I sometimes stumble upon this ugly thought of not meeting the universal expectations of being a mom.
This is the perfect moment to tell you what happened the other day while I was shopping with my daughter. She is hyper, in mom-terms fussy, agitated, aggravated and restless. She likes to throw tantrums in public.
It’s fine. I let her be. It’s worse if I try to fight her.
So I was in line for a coffee and my daughter started crying really bad. She was not hungry, not thirsty and she didn’t need a diaper change.
Who knows why she decided to cry like that? My guess was that she saw something and she wanted it. Not sure what though.
Anyhow, you understand I was having a hard time. My daughter was throwing anything I tried to give her: toys, random stuff from my purse, snacks. This lady approached me. She said: “Give her some biscuits. Oh, angel why are you crying?”
You, a complete stranger, come to tell me that the solution is giving her some biscuits? You randomly pop out and tell me I SHOULD just give her some biscuits?
That made me sooo mad, I can’t even explain. I hate when strangers do that. What also bothered me was the fact that she acted as if I was a being bad mom because my daughter was crying under my (adult) supervision.
Going back to feeling guilty, you can see that it’s very easy to believe you’re a failing mom and that can make you angry. Angry because you can’t do all the things you would like to do: nope, there was no time for laundry today.
Getting Help for Postpartum Rage
Before anything you need to know you’re not alone. I need you to erase all those moms you think are perfectly put together. This struggle is real and many suffer.
Once again, if you think you’re symptoms are worse please do sick professional help (OBGYN would be your first option). Reaching out for help and treatment is dreadful, but it’s the first step towards healing.
Tracking your episodes would be a good idea so you can pinpoint your underlying issues and triggers. What you need to look for is patterns in your behavior.
Once you detect a trigger, treat it. How? Let’s say you noticed you get really angry every time you see your husband made a mess again in the kitchen. You have to tell him that it really annoyed you and that he needs to chip in and give a hand with the house chores. Raising kids is teamwork.
Self-care helps too. If that means sleeping more then sleep more. Make that your priority. Give up other things (like house cleaning) and rest more. Forget about the overflowing laundry basket. Your sanity is more important.
Listen to yourself, your body, your mind. If you’re an angry mom then there must be a problem somewhere. The more you ignore it the worse it’s going to be.
I know it’s easier said than done. I will actually follow my own tips. But I know with me the biggest problem is sleep deprivation, so I’m willing to improve that. I try to put my daughter to bed earlier (6:45 – 7:30 pm) so I can give myself more time to finish whatever things need to be done before I go to bed myself.
Can Your Child Feel Your Anger?
It’s not easy to control my anger with my baby, which raises the next question: can babies feel your anger?
Yes. Studies show that babies can tell when you’re angry and they tend to make changes in their behavior to make sure they are not the target of your anger.
So next time when you want to yell in front of your baby think twice. Babies are smart, smart enough to pick up emotional cues. They can actually feel your emotions even in the womb. Never underestimate them.
Furthermore, they can sense your happiness or sadness even if they’re not next to you. It makes perfect sense now why my daughter cried for months when I dropped her off in daycare: because I was a wreck too.
Being a mom is not easy. this is not a complaint, but a true fact. Don’t let the silly daily nonsense take over the joy of being a mom.