"Sharing is caring" is a phrase that comes to mind when I chat with friends about pregnancy, motherhood, and the bits in between. There’s usually no detail left out as we compare scars, share birth stories, and laugh about exploding nappies.
Motherhood is a sparkling mess we are very eager to talk about, and most of us think we are wonderfully honest about this massive shift in our lives. But the truth is, there are many conversations left only to be whispered or not talked about at all. Postpartum rage is one of those side-lined chats.
It doesn’t seem suitable to talk about while sipping coffee and breastfeeding. Still, postpartum rage is a very real, raw, and somewhat complicated part of maternal mental health.
What Is Postpartum Rage?
One in five of us will experience a mood disorder more severe than baby blues in the fourth trimester. For many, this may verge towards depression or anxiety. For others, anger is the primary emotion that creeps in during those first few postpartum months. Intense outbursts of anger which are uncharacteristic, are a prime example of postpartum rage. It can also appear as:
- An inability to control your temper
- Violent thoughts towards yourself or others
- Physical actions such as punching or throwing
- Increased screaming, shouting, or swearing
- Anger triggered by frustration or overwhelm
Why Don’t We Talk About It?
It’s only in recent years that we are opening the conversation on maternal wellbeing. Our mental health is still stigmatised, and after we have a baby, there is an unnatural presumption that we should be happy and content with the joy of being a new mother. Suddenly we feel intense rage, followed by guilt and an overwhelming downpour of emotions as the shame and stigma associated with fierce anger unfolds.
This stigma doubles when it comes to what is considered excessive and burdensome behaviours such as rage. And so, postpartum rage remains a part of the stigmatised narrative. We appear overwhelmed, overly emotional, and irrational, but behaviours associated with mental health are a part of the illness. The more we talk about this part of motherhood, the less power we give it.
How Can We Handle It?
"Handling" anything in motherhood is perhaps not the best way to put it, but postpartum rage falls under the umbrella term of postnatal depression. Getting support and help in managing our mental health postpartum includes the trifecta of:
Talk – Tell a friend, a family member, your GP how you are
Ask for Help – You are not in this alone. Take and get all the help
you need, whether that is someone to wash the dishes or medication from your
Love Yourself – Self-care goes a long way.