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Postpartum Anger - Putting Out The Fire

posted Oct 13, 2014, 8:08 PM by AndrewandSarah Witzel
A couple of years ago I was discussing perinatal mood disorders with a former colleague, a mother of two. “I didn’t have postpartum depression” she said. “I had postpartum RAGE.” While there is no specific mood disorder called postpartum rage or anger, I feel that these emotions merit a closer look because they can be felt and displayed so intensely by women dealing with perinatal mood disorders. 

In and of itself, anger is a normal emotion and is often felt for justifiable reasons, in proportion to the trigger. Anger, rage, and irritability that are excessive, unprovoked, or not typical of your personality can be a sign of problems, though. Remember that not all women with mood disorders feel “sad” and instead can instead display various other emotions.

Do you, or have you, experienced anger that frightens or worries you? Learning coping techniques and talking to your healthcare provider or counselor are important steps. Deep breathing, counting to ten, and removing yourself from a tense situation before it escalates are just a few ideas. For example, it is perfectly fine to put your crying baby in a safe place like a playpen or crib and go to another room to calm down for a few minutes. If you are getting agitated while talking to a family member or your partner, taking a few minutes to yourself can help you think more clearly and calmly. Activities that reduce your overall stress are also important. For example, try exercise or yoga.