Annoyance. Anger. Rage. I’ve wanted to address this topic for months now, but I haven’t. Have I been embarrassed? A little. Ashamed? Yes.
I was aware of Postpartum Depression (PPD). I was told to look out for the signs: anxiety, sadness, no interest in the baby, thoughts of hurting yourself or baby. No one mentioned “rage” or feeling entirely out of control.
I never experienced any of the PPD symptoms following the birth of my twins in 2014. I did not expect to have any signs this time around either.
Adjusting to life with three children (ages 3 and under) was difficult. I was tired. I had an extended hospital stay due to ileus. Things hadn’t gone as planned. I assumed my anger was justified.
It got worse though. I would scream. I am not a parent that screams at her children. I would lose* it with my husband for no reason at all. That also was not in my personality.
I would yell and then cry because I felt guilty for yelling. I would hit the wall because I felt such rage in my body that I needed to release it. These feelings terrified me.
I needed help.
After six weeks of these intense feelings, I told my OB at my postpartum checkup. She told me that it wasn’t uncommon to have these feelings. She, herself, had experienced them. She informed me that “rage” is a symptom that some women experience postpartum. I was offered medication to help stabilize my symptoms.
I was reluctant at first, but after a couple more days experiencing my anger, I agreed to try it. I have seen such improvement since I began medicine. I am so glad that I finally admitted to myself and to others that I needed help. I didn’t understand that my anger was connected to postpartum depression.
Anger is a Symptom of Postpartum Depression
1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression.  Contrary to popular belief, postpartum depression is not the same as the “baby blues.” Baby blues is believed to affect 50-85% of women and does not require medical attention.  It is considered part of the standard adjustment period following birth lasting only a couple of weeks.
Symptoms associated with baby blues are sadness, impatience, crying for no reason.Postpartum depression, however, is an anxiety or mood disorder that follows birth. Symptoms typically arise within a few weeks of giving birth.
Such symptoms include feelings of despair and hopelessness, difficulty sleeping, scary thoughts and mood swings. 
There are several terms to define postpartum conditions. As mentioned above, there is baby blues and postpartum depression. There is also:
- Postpartum Stress Disorder (constant feelings of distress, feel pressure to be the “perfect mom”)
- Postpartum Anxiety (feelings of doom, racing thoughts, uncontrollable worries)
- Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (unwanted impulses to hurt baby, obsessive-compulsive rituals, preoccupied with thoughts of harm to baby)
- Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (flashbacks or nightmares of a traumatic event) 
- Postpartum Psychosis (rare: .1-.2% of women, hyperactivity, hallucinations, paranoia) 
Causes of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression results from a combination of factors. Hormones and life history play a part. Sleep deprivation, anxiety and feelings of overwhelm with your role caring for a newborn can all play a part.
Any woman can be affected by postpartum depression. However, there are risk factors that make it more likely for some to experience PPD. Such risk factors include:
- Depression during pregnancy
- History of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder
- Stressful life events 
Treatment for Postpartum Depression
There are treatment options for postpartum depression. Antidepressants or psychotherapy or a combination of both may be prescribed. It’s also essential that you take care of yourself. Incorporate self-care into your life. Working out has been a big help for me.
What to Do If You Think You May Have Postpartum Depression?
If you think that you may be suffering from postpartum depression, you need to talk to someone. Tell your partner or a trusted friend how you feel so they can hopefully help you with some day-to-day things and alleviate some stressors.
Call your doctor ASAP and let him or her know what you are experiencing. They will help you find a treatment plan that is right for you.
If you are experiencing rage and uncontrollable anger, contact your doctor. My doctor told me that it could escalate very quickly and I was not willing to find out what exactly that meant. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed by how you are feeling.
Postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness. Discuss options with your doctor to find the best treatment for you.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, immediately seek help from a medical professional. (The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK)
It is so important that we get rid of the stigma of postpartum depression. I believe there is such an unrealistic expectation of what a mom should be. A mom should have it all together. A mom should never lose* her cool.
A mom should keep a perfectly clean home. A mom should get a shower every day and be dressed to the nines. A mom should make fantastic family dinners every night and greet her husband with a smile and a cocktail when he comes home from work. But that is not reality. Life is not a sitcom.
As women, we need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and realize that it’s ok to ask for help. Being vulnerable is ok. It’s ok to admit we have these feelings of despair, depression, or in my case, rage.
It wasn’t until I spoke to some other women, that I realized how common it is to have these feelings. Having these feelings does NOT make you a bad mom. It makes you human. And it’s ok to admit that we are all human.
Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock.com
Inpost Image Credit: Shutterstock.com & Pacificcollege.edu