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What New Moms Need To Know About Postpartum Rage

what is postpartum rage

We tend to think of the time leading up to and after a new birth as a joyous time full of new love and celebration. However, as any new parent can tell you, that isn’t always the case. Birthing a child is full of joy and celebration, no doubt, but it's also a time of exhaustion, stress, and, for some people, anger. 

Postpartum anger is one mental health issue under the umbrella of postpartum mood disorders, a collection of mental health issues that occur after a birth and include depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Anger is often a symptom of postpartum depression but can exist on its own too. 

For mothers who experience rage, irritability, or anger, it can feel like they are betraying their identity and their child. We are taught that mothers should always be serene, patient, and ever-loving. Postpartum anger can come over you so fast and leave you feeling so sick with shame, that it can be easy to blame yourself and personal failings. 

However, this is not the case. Postpartum anger is a result of a complex mix of hormones, stress, genetics, and environmental factors. It is not your fault, and coping and recovery is possible. Here is everything you need to know about postpartum rage.

7 Things You Should Know About Postpartum Anger

Postpartum anger is a terrifying and triggering experience. Anger has a direct and immediate effect on our loved ones. It can leave us feeling empty and hateful towards ourselves, which only serves to spiral us further into disordered thinking and feeling and exacerbate the symptoms. 

Know that you are not alone. Thousands of new mothers have experienced what you are experiencing and came out the other side healthy and loving their baby. This anger does not make you a bad mom, partner, or person. It makes you human. 

Here are seven things all new moms should know about postpartum anger. 

  1. Sleep deprivation, financial stress, and little support system can make anger episodes more common. If you can, try to build a strong support system before you give birth, and be sure to prepare your spouse for postpartum experiences. 
  2. Postpartum rage can come from nowhere and leave you shaken and upset afterward. It’s normal to experience rage in episodes that last a short while. You may not feel like yourself during these episodes, making it easy to feel like you’re going crazy. You’re not; you’re just experiencing postpartum rage. It’s uncomfortable and can be detrimental to your mental health, but you can recover and build the life you want. 
  3. It is common to feel like a failure after experiencing a postpartum anger episode. Remember that you have not failed as a mother. This is a well-documented, hormonal struggle that many women face. It is understandable, and you can take steps to help yourself. 
  4. It’s okay for your child to see you experience emotions. A lot of the shame and guilt around postpartum anger stems from expressing anger in front of your newborn. Obviously, we don’t want to direct this anger at our child but give yourself permission to feel things. It will provide space for your child to feel as well. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. 
    If you have been experiencing unwanted violent thoughts, reach out to a mental health professional right away
  5. Negative feelings towards your partner are normal. A common symptom of postpartum rage is feeling like you hate your partner. Don’t worry–you likely don’t hate them. In the midst of all the emotions, hormones, and lifestyle changes, they are the safest person you can vent your anger to. If you think you’re experiencing postpartum anger, communicate that to your partner. Ask them to do some research on it so they can be prepared and not take your anger too personally. 
  6. You aren’t an angry person. Often, postpartum rage can feel like it comes out of nowhere. Many mothers say that they’ve never been aggressive or irritable before, and they feel shame for feeling anger now, at the beginning of what was supposed to be a joyous new thing. Remember that postpartum range is usually a symptom of depression or a result of the high stress and hormonal shifts your body is going through. It is not a reflection of your true personality.
  7. It will get better. You will adapt to your new lifestyle, your hormones will even out, and your rage will pass. If postpartum anger is a result of depression, treatment can help you heal, recover, and learn healthy coping mechanisms for the future.

Symptoms of Postpartum Anger

Postpartum anger is different for everyone it impacts. If you recognize a few of these symptoms, it’s worth connecting with a mental health professional who can tell you more. 

Symptoms of postpartum anger include: 

  • Irritability or a quick fuse
  • Sudden feelings of anger that often feels all-encompassing
  • Screaming, yelling, or feeling the need to scream and yell
  • Cursing more than usual
  • Hitting walls or throwing objects
  • Crying for no reasons or seemingly out of nowhere
  • Sleeping more than usual and general fatigue and low energy when awake
  • Feeling guilty and worthless
  • Intense shame after anger passes
  • Feeling like there is something “wrong” with you or that you’re a bad parent
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

If you are actively experiencing violent thoughts towards yourself or your baby, call 911 immediately. If you have experienced these thoughts but aren’t currently experiencing them, reach out for mental health help; don’t wait. 

This is not an all-inclusive list, and you might experience other symptoms. In general, if your symptoms last longer than 2 weeks, it might be a sign of a mood disorder.

What is Postpartum Anger?

Perinatal, or postpartum, depression affects 1 in 7 new mothers. Anger can be one symptom of this depression, and when it is the main symptom or when it exists without other depression symptoms it can be diagnosed as it own disorder: Postpartum anger. 

If your anger lasts more than 2 weeks after giving birth or significantly impairs your life, relationships and mental wellness, you might have a postpartum mood disorder. Postpartum mood disorders are strained mental health after birth that go beyond the regular expected mood shifts. 

Postpartum anger can also exist on its own. One study found ⅓ of new parents experience “intense anger” after giving birth. 

Giving birth and bringing home a new child is a wonderful, terrifying, exciting, and often exhausting experience. It is normal to experience levels of exhaustion, anger, irritability, and sadness. However, for some mothers, it goes beyond the normal. Postpartum anxiety, depression, or psychosis add another level of strain on an already stressful transition. Luckily, postpartum mood disorders are highly treatable, and recovery is possible.

Treatment for Postpartum Anger

A protective factor against postpartum anger and other postpartum mood disorders is good self-care and rest after giving birth. A lot of moms are thrust into new parenthood without adequate time to rest and recenter themselves. 

Remember the 5-5-5 rule: Five days in bed, five days on the bed, and five days next to the bed. This progressive way of coming out of bed rest provides ample time for your body to heal and your mind to return to a normal state after the influx of birthing hormones. 

If you can, try to journal, meditate, and engage in low-stress hobbies during this recovery time. Your identity now includes mom, but don’t forget to care for yourself too. 

Not every new mother gets this opportunity to rest. For those who have no choice but jump straight into full-time parenting, we encourage you to reach out to your support group. Friends, family, a partner, work, a religious organization, or outside resources are all great sources to lean on. 

Finally, therapy is a great choice for moms dealing with postpartum mood disorders such as postpartum anger. Therapy can give you effective coping skills so you can manage your mood swings and anger in real time as well as address any underlying mental health issues. Many mothers who experience postpartum depression, for example, were already struggling with depression; they were just hiding it well. 

For more information about how mental health therapy can help postpartum anger, or to schedule an appointment today, contact our team below. 

Remember that you are not alone, and you got this! Anger does not make you a bad mom, it makes you human. Keep going one day at a time and don’t forget to look after yourself. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

 It is common to experience a range of emotions after giving birth, including irritability, mood swings, and anxiety. It's important to understand that these feelings are normal and often a result of significant hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and the stress of caring for a newborn. However, some women also experience postpartum rage, which can feel overwhelming and concerning.

 Postpartum rage, also known as postpartum anger, is an intense feeling of anger that can occur after childbirth. It can manifest as bursts of irritability, frustration, and aggression that may seem disproportionate to the situation. It can occur in addition to or separate from postpartum depression or anxiety and can be a sign of postpartum mood disorders.

 Symptoms of postpartum rage can include an intense and sudden feeling of anger, irritability, and frustration. In some cases, episodes of rage may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat or sweating. Women may also experience feelings of guilt or shame over their anger, as well as fear of harming their baby or themselves.

The duration of postpartum rage varies from person to person. Some women may experience it for a few weeks while others may struggle with it for months. It is important to seek help if postpartum rage is interfering with daily functioning or causing significant distress.

Dealing with postpartum rage can be challenging, but there are ways to manage these intense feelings. Seeking out professional support from therapists experienced in treating postpartum mood disorders can be incredibly helpful. Additionally, practicing self-care techniques such as good nutrition, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can help calm the mind and reduce symptoms. Seeking support from family, friends, or support groups can also provide comfort and validation during this difficult time. Remember, with the right support and self-care strategies, it is possible to recover from postpartum rage and live a bright life with your child. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of postpartum mood disorders, don't hesitate to reach out for help. At Lifebulb, we are here to support and guide you towards healing.

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