Why So Angry? The Deal on Postpartum Rage and it’s Link to PPD

It’s lunch-time and my boys are sitting in their high-chairs, munching on the remnants of cut-up PB&J and apple slices.

My youngest begins to slam his sippy-cup up and down on his tray-table, declaring that he wants more food.

I’m in the process of cutting up the rest of the apple when he keeps knocking his cup up and down, up and down. It’s getting louder and now he is screaming.

“Okay, I’ll be right there.” I declare while cutting up the rest of the apple.

I can feel my blood begin to boil.

He is still screaming and now my oldest wants to join in.

I can feel my face getting hot, my heart is racing now.

“MAAAA-MAAAA!!!”

I try to remember to breathe

deep breaths…. 1…2…3.

 

That is an example of daily life in my household. I have two toddlers under three years of age, so of course there will be chaos and tantrums. And it’s difficult.

It wasn’t until after my second son was born when I began to experience the rage. It would feel like literally every-thing bothered me. Every-thing annoyed me. The things that used to have my patience and understanding would suddenly make me snap and growl. I felt like a chihuahua; always ready to snap and bite someone’s ankle.

I felt totally and completely awful for snapping and I would have immediate regret– yet, no matter how hard I tried to maintain my rage, it was very hard to control.

What was happening to me?! This was supposed to be the BEST time of my life….but why am I so angry??

I’ve never been such a ragey person before so this was totally not like me. I needed answers and I needed to know how to control it because I was acting (and felt) like a monster. A momster, if you will.

 

 

 

 

The deal on postpartum rage.

Maybe you are dealing with the very-same angry and rage like I have once experienced and you want to know why this is happening to you.

Postpartum rage is like postpartum depression’s close cousin. If you have postpartum depression, then you will most likely experience the rage that comes along with it.

 

 

5 thing i want moms with postpartum depression to know

I want you to know these five things if you are going through postpartum depression.

 

 

What does postpartum rage look like?

Postpartum rage can be found in many ways– here are three of my personal examples.

It can be the unexpected outburst. I’m walking the dog and she won’t stop pulling. “stop pulling! can you just stop it?!” The fact that the words did come out of your mouth take you back and you instantly regret it.

It can be the lack of patience. My four-month old won’t go back to sleep; he’s making soft whimpers and stirring. “can you please just go back to sleep?! please stop dropping your binkie!!”

It can be the anger. My husband does something minimal but to me, it’s much more than that. I say some choice words that I soon regret but the damage has already been done.

And then I’m left thinking, “what is wrong with me?”

That is just a glimpse at what my postpartum rage looked like. I felt like I had a ticking time bomb attached to me and at any second, I could explode.

 

A few ways I’ve managed the rage.

The moment I found out why I was always so angry was the moment I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders; learning that I had postpartum depression was the puzzle piece I had been searching for because remember: postpartum rage is postpartum depression’s close cousin.

Now that I knew why I was feeling this way, I had a better grip on understanding why I felt so angry.

 I want to share with you some of the ways I managed my postpartum rage.

  • identity what’s making you angry and learn how to prepare yourself for those moments.
  • talk to your doctor and express your concerns. you may also be dealing with postpartum depression and you don’t have to go through it alone!
  • take much needed breaks and remember that it’s okay to take care of you. I’ve put together a list of some great self-care ideas that you can begin to utilize in your every-day life.

 

 

excuse the mess self care guide ideas

grab your free self-care guide right now.

 

You are not alone!

I felt so much relief once I learned that, not only was my postpartum rage common, but that I wasn’t the only mom to experience it.

Phew.

If you’re currently beating yourself up about your postpartum rage, I want you to know that you are not alone in this.

I’m no-where near perfect and I still have my moments, but I feel like I have greatly progressed over the last year and with that being said, I want to tell you that the postpartum rage will not last forever.

You can get past this and fight like the badass mother that you are.

 

Have you experienced postpartum rage? I want to hear all about it! Shoot me a comment or be a guest writer. <3

 

Resources.

a description of postpartum rage can be found here.

 

All About Postpartum Psychosis and Resources for Help

I didn’t know any-thing about postpartum psychosis until I saw the movie Tully (not giving away any spoilers!) and did a little research. Man, was I surprised– sometimes, I feel a bit ignorant when it comes to women’s health and the dozens of postpartum issues I have once failed to acknowledge. A lot of people may be blindsided or even unaware of what postpartum psychosis is and that’s why this post is so important to read and share with ANY and ALL of your soon-to-be-mama friends.

I need every women out there, pregnant or not, to read this post and absorb what this condition is about– because frankly, it’s downright frightening how dangerous postpartum psychosis can be, and there needs to be talked about.

 

 

 

 

What is postpartum psychosis?

 

 

All About Postpartum Psychosis and Resources for Help

 

 

 

there is a dramatic difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression. you can read about them here.

 

 

 

What are the symptoms of postpartum psychosis?

 

All About Postpartum Psychosis and Resources for Help

 

 

 

in one of my recent posts, i talk about postpartum anxiety and how to cope. you can read about that here.

 

 

 

 

Did you know that women with bipolar disorder are more prone to postpartum psychosis?

 

 

All About Postpartum Psychosis and Resources for Help

 

 

 

Prevention for postpartum psychosis.

For women with known bipolar disorder, taking medication during pregnancy as well as immediately after, greatly reduces the risk of postpartum psychosis.

And while there is no data to guide women whether or not medication should be taken, it’s best for doctors to monitor women that have a bipolar disorder. It’s especially important to be monitored postpartum and for a trusted person to know about your condition.

 

 

How postpartum psychosis is treated.

In many cases, hospital admission is necessary where the proper medication can be distributed.

Family support can be available through therapists and family counselors.

 

Resources.

this is an amazing resource guide. there is a list of doctors for the United States, Canada, and Australia.

 

this is where you can find statistics on postpartum psychosis.

 

this is where you can find information on postpartum psychosis.

 

You are not alone.

While this may feel like an extremely lonely and scary time for you, I want to reassure you that you are not alone.

Struggling with a postpartum issue is one of the most daunting things that I have been through…I want you to know that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you or someone you love may believe to have postpartum psychosis, PLEASE seek out the appropriate help– there are people out there that will help you, and there are people out there that NEED you! <3

 

Help is there for you.

 

 

 

Have you seen the movie Tully? If you have, what do you think of it? I want to hear your thoughts on it and if you believe that it was a good portrayal of motherhood/mental health.

20 Reasons why Moms Don’t Speak up About Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 women the first year following birth.

For many moms that struggle with postpartum depression, there are many reasons why we don’t speak up about our postpartum depression– I say “we” because I know all too well about hiding my postpartum depression.

 

My postpartum depression story.

After my second son was born, my experience was completely different. I felt very depressed and not myself– but why? I Googled postpartum depression so many times and read a ton about it…yet, I still couldn’t bring myself to reach out for help.

 

In this article that was featured in Scary Mommy, I open up for the very first time about my battle with PPD.

We all have our reasons

We all have our own reasons why we don’t speak up about postpartum depression. Below I listed 20 reasons why moms don’t speak up about postpartum depression.

 

 

 

1. We feel like bad mothers.

2. We have so much guilt.

I know all about the mom-guilt. I talk about it here in Scary Mommy.

3. People will think that we don’t love our baby.

4. We think that it will go away.

5. We listen to our family or friends say that it’s just the baby blues.

There’s a huge difference, mama.

 

6. We feel like nobody will understand.

You are certainly not alone in your postpartum depression.

 

7. We don’t want to burden anyone with our problems.

8. We feel like we can handle it all.

We are the mother and we feel like we are supposed to keep it together for our family.

 

9. We fear that our children will be taken away.

10. We don’t want to be labeled as crazy.

11. We believe that these feelings are our new normal.

We hear other mamas talk about how motherhood is an emotional and over-whelming experience, so when these feelings surface, we think that this is our new normal.

 

12. We don’t know how to reach out.

Most of the time, we simply do not know how to make that first step in asking for help.

Here are some great online resources that can help:

13. We don’t want to be loved any less.

14. We want acceptance.

In a society where mental illness is a stigma, we just want to be accepted.

 

15. We’re in denial.

16. We just want to be that picture-perfect mom that does every-thing right.

17. This was what we wanted, so we’re not supposed to feel depressed.

We wanted to be a mama. We wanted to have babies. So, we’re not supposed to feel depressed. Why should we?

 

18. Everyone keeps telling us that we’re so blessed…making us feel even worse for our depression.

 

19. You don’t want your partner to love you any less.

You’re afraid of what your partner will think of you– what if he/she stops loving you because of your postpartum depression?

 

20. You didn’t have it with a previous child and you feel absolutely guilty.

I know this all too well because I didn’t have PPD with my first son…but I did have PPD with my second.

 

There can be many reasons why moms don’t speak up about postpartum depression. If you have postpartum depression and you can relate to a few or even all of these reasons, I want to tell you– you’re not alone!

Can you relate to me, mama? I would love to hear what your reason for not speaking up about postpartum depression is… leave it in the comments below or shoot me a message.

There are resources. There is help out there. We can battle this, together.

The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety and How to Cope

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to be honest with you right now. My life dramatically changed after having babies. I know, huge shocker, right? But no, really. It did. In more ways than one.

If you’ve read my story about my struggle with postpartum depression, then you know my struggle there; but something I haven’t really talked about yet is postpartum anxiety.

 

 

You may be wondering: what is that? What is postpartum anxiety? How is it different from regular anxiety?

I’m here to share that with you today– because, well, I didn’t fully understand either. I never even knew that postpartum anxiety was a thing that, you know, moms get.

Postpartum anxiety is a real-thing and it actually affects way more moms than I thought. In fact, postpartum anxiety is more common than postpartum depression and not enough women know about it.

What is postpartum anxiety?

 

 

When is it not just worrying?

Being a mother means taking on the burden of responsibility and caring for another life. So, It’s common to worry about things like your sick baby or the dirty laundry you didn’t get to yet– but what makes your worrying cross the line to PPA?

According to parents.com, postpartum anxiety is when you dread everyday situations such as driving (with baby inside your car) or if panic attacks come that disrupt your whole day. It’s when your constant fear of harming your baby play over in your mind.

How does postpartum anxiety happen?

Postpartum anxiety happens thanks to the hormonal shift after giving birth and the various triggers that follow– sleep deprivation, caring for a newborn, and lifestyle changes. Any new mom can experience postpartum anxiety but those with a family history of anxiety or a previous experience with depression are especially vulnerable.

How to get help for PPA.

If postpartum anxiety is affecting your daily life to the point where you find it difficult to care for your child, please reach out and seek help– you are not alone!

Resources:

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Postpartum Progress is an amazing resource for finding a specialist near you.

 

How to cope with PPA.find a trusted person to confide in.

*find a trusted resource and reach out.

*medication/talk therapy.

*meditation/deep breaths.

*write your thoughts in a journal.

*know that you’re not alone!

YOU are not alone.

Maybe you’ve been feeling a little ‘off’ since your baby was born….you know, not quite yourself; your more anxious, worry-some, and panicky. Perhaps you even feel like you’re the only one to ever feel like this and if you told someone you’re thoughts and worries, they may label you as crazy. OR, maybe you just assumed that these feelings are NORMAL for a new mom {or mom in general}.

I was in your shoes. I know the feelings. I’m here to tell you that you’re not crazy and you’re not alone. Postpartum anxiety is normal and treatable. There are resources and there is help out there. It won’t be like this forever.

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS:

From postpartum.net,

Postpartum Support International is not a crisis hotline and does not handle emergencies. People in crisis should call their physicians, their local emergency number or one of the National Emergency Hotlines listed below.

CRISIS TEXT LINE:

  • Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.

 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Website

  • 1-800-273-8255
  • www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org Call for yourself or someone you care about; free and confidential; network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide; available 24/7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda’s Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Story

Amanda’s story

{previously featured on Legally Mommy}

 

 

 


 

I never wanted to be a Mother.

I never fantasized about baby names, or nursery décor. I didn’t swoon over infants. In fact, I was terrified of them (and still am).

I had grown up, an only child, in an alcoholic and abusive home. To this day, I remember virtually nothing about my childhood: it’s been completely erased in my mind. I grew up quickly, with an insatiable (and unrealistic) desire to succeed. I was a perfectionist in every sense of the word.

The law school days

When I was accepted into law school in 2011, my boyfriend (now fiancée) and I decided that I would move 3 and a half hours away to another province to attend school while he’d stay here in the house we had bought the year before. I was excited to begin a new adventure. I knew I would miss him, but I (mistakenly) thought I was strong enough to get through the year on my own.

Once I moved and began school, I experienced the crushing loneliness and abandonment I had experienced in childhood all over again. I was alone, and I had no one. I was miserable, and quickly fell into a depression. I had always been prone to anxiety and depression, so this came easy to me – and without much warning. I began to fantasize about what I presumed would be my ‘happily ever after.’ For the first time in my life, I wanted to be a Mother. It was foreign and new, but I adopted the idea with my usual fervour. I wanted someone to need me, and to never leave my side. I thought having a baby was the answer. After my first year of school ended and I moved back home, we started entertaining the idea of starting a family. The timing was horrible, but my desire consumed me. I thought I was ready.

Weeeeeee’re pregnant?!

Fast forward to October 10, 2012, a day I’ll never forget.

As soon as I saw “YES +” glaring back at me on the pregnancy test, my stomach instantly sunk. It was not at all how I expected to feel, but in that moment I had absolutely no control over my emotions.

We had wanted this. In a sense, we had planned this – I just didn’t plan on it happening so quickly.

I instantly began to feel anxious. I dismissed it as normal pregnancy nerves. In hindsight, I should have talked to someone about it right away. We also found out that my maternal serum screening numbers had come back a bit high, and we’d have to have a “level 2” or higher risk ultrasound done. We were lucky to see our baby girl at 10 weeks and again at 12 and 20 weeks. At our 20 week ultrasound, they noticed some spots on her heart: a ‘soft marker’ for Down Syndrome. They said it was likely nothing, but they offered us an amniocentesis just in case. We opted not to. They sent us home, and told us that these ‘bright spots’ were fairly common. My fiancée spent the rest of my pregnancy with “99.6%” written on his arm in permanent marker: the chance our baby would be born without Down Syndrome.

The odds were definitely in our favor, but I was still terrified. Not only because of these markers – but also because I didn’t feel one bit ready for motherhood. No amount of reading, nursery prep or prenatal classes changed that. I never once had that ‘peaceful’ feeling. I was terrified for 100% of my pregnancy. As I mentioned, I had always been an anxious person, but pregnancy (and – as I’d later learn – Motherhood) amplified that anxiety past the point where I could handle it on my own.

Absolute denial

As my due date approached, I was in complete denial. And when I went into labour five days past my due date, I tried to convince myself that the painful contractions I was feeling were just braxton hicks contractions. I was SO not ready.

My labour was fast. When I reluctantly arrived at the hospital, I was promptly admitted when they discovered I was 7 centimeters dilated. There was no time for an epidural. Labour was the easy part, even completely un-medicated. Our daughter was born four hours later, perfectly healthy. I felt numb. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing a million miles a minute.

Life after baby

Things got even worse when we left the hospital. My daughter developed a particularly awful case of acid reflux, and she was nursing around the clock. When she wasn’t nursing, she was crying constantly from the pain. She barely slept. When she did, I tossed and turned in bed beside her – anxiously anticipating her next cry and my next session of breastfeeding torture. I spent more nights than I wanted to hunched over her on the couch, trying to get her to latch until the sun came up. I barely ate that first month. Or slept. I just cried and cried. And that sums up the first month of her life.

The sadness and anxiety just wouldn’t go away. I was terrified to be alone with her. I refused to go out in public because I was constantly fearful that I would be judged for being a terrible mother. I felt zero connection to my beautiful daughter. I became resentful of my partner, and it almost broke us. I made plans to run away. I knew I couldn’t go far, but I just wanted to disappear and start over again. I tried to explain how I was feeling to my best friend – anyone who would listen. But no one could understand what it was I was going through. I searched high and low for support, and googled “Postpartum Depression” more times than I can count, only to be left in the dark. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. It was like a bad dream that never ended. I came across this list and instantly recognized myself in all the symptoms of postpartum depression.

Reaching out for help

Finally, a lifesaving Public Health nurse told me to head to the hospital and see the on-call Psychiatrist. I waited there for hours in the family waiting room, crying as I watched infomercials about sick babies as part of a fundraiser for a local children’s hospital. It was one of the first times I was away from my daughter, and I panicked knowing that she was low on pumped milk and would soon need to be nursed again.

When the Psychiatrist finally emerged, she told me I had three options: to be admitted, to take medication, or to do nothing.  She admitted that she had zero knowledge of how the drugs she was prescribing me were secreted into breastmilk, and told me I would have to discontinue breastfeeding immediately. She prescribed me Zoloft, a sleeping pill and Ativan. I debated and cried and cried some more. I hated breastfeeding with a fiery passion, but it felt like the only thing I was doing right – even though my daughter still cried in pain most of the time. But she was growing and it was because of me. I immediately stopped breastfeeding. I felt numb. Like a failure. Relieved. All at the same time. To this day, I still well up breastfeeding posts and photos. I feel like the world’s biggest failure. I even tried (unsuccessfully) to re-establish my supply when my daughter was six months old, because the guilt was all-consuming and exhausting.

Over time, after taking the Zoloft and talking with a therapist weekly, I was able to function a bit better. I was still paralyzed with anxiety, though, at times. I didn’t like leaving the house. I didn’t like when my daughter cried in public. I constantly felt –  and still do, sometimes – that I was her babysitter, and I was waiting for her real Mom to come pick her up. I sometimes forgot that I was even a Mother. I didn’t feel like one at all. I kept wondering: “when will things feel normal again? When will I get my old life back?” And I couldn’t, for the life of me, accept that this was my new normal. Every piece of my life was unrecognizable. I was a mess, and I hated every minute of it. Still, to this day, I can’t stand it when people ask: “Can’t you just not remember life before her?” Because all I CAN remember is life before her. It’s life AFTER her that’s a blur.

I have a long way to go, but I’m slowly getting there. And my beautiful daughter, who I love more than anyone else in the world, is turning 2 today. She’s the reason I will continue to fight for support for women like me experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety.

 

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