Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Postpartum Stress Syndrome: Angry New Mom?

As mothers, we are all familiar with postpartum depression.  Most hospitals make us speak with a social worker before granting us release.  This is supposed to ensure we are aware of the signs and know whom to contact to get help.  When my daughter was born, I was so incredibly happy to have a healthy baby (after a problematic and terrifying delivery) that I couldn't even fathom being depressed.  Since Emma's birth, I've found myself increasingly happy when with my child.  I've battled depression my entire life, but Emma has finally taught me what it feels like to literally be OK.  When I'm with her, for the first time EVER, I am honestly 100% happy.

The second I put her down and attempt cleaning, cooking, tending to my blog, perusing my Facebook, leaving my house, or even look at my dog... I am overwhelmed with anger.  I just assumed my confrontational side had gotten worse as a result of being cooped up in the house all day and being away from all friends and family.  Because my husband has to work diligently to manage his anger as well, I decided to do some research about teaching children how to cope with anger issues.   If Emma is anything like her parents, she will need to know how to express herself in healthy ways.

However, while researching, I found a link to "Is Anger a Sign of Postpartum Depression", at BabyCenter, and began reading.  Oh my goodness!  Apparently, if you are experiencing anger without the other major symptoms of postpartum depression, you could be dealing with Postpartum Stress Syndrome.  Why haven't I heard of this before?  Why didn't the social worker or doctors mention this at the hospital?

If you think you might be dealing with an uncharacteristically new anger problem, visit the link above.  There is a thorough description about the stress syndrome and many firsthand accounts from other moms who have responded to the link.

My Personal Struggle:
I never get angry with my baby; I do find myself frustrated with my husband; but most obviously, I HATE everyone else in the entire world.  I absolutely have no tolerance for ignorant comments, "friends" who don't talk to me for more than a day, anyone who posts a stupid (and I am the only authority on what is appropriate and what isn't) status on Facebook, dramatic girls, exaggerations, gossip... ANYTHING.  The slightest movement, unnecessary noise, annoying voice, or even an idiot walking down the street causes me to lose it.  This evening, it took every single bit of will-power I had left in me to refrain from yelling through my window at this moron in my neighborhood.  Why?  Because he stopped and petted my neighbors' dog for far too long.  I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but honestly, I was shaking with anger as I watched him.  Oh, and the pitying looks I receive from neighbors as I take my daughter for walks?  **Shutter**  Yes, because staying home with my child must mean I'm lonely and depressed.  I want to punch them in their ugly, condescending faces.  There is so much rage in my body.  I've been saying for weeks that I just need to find a good fight and get it out of my system.  I'm attacking people (verbally) left and right for no reason at all.  Well, I think I have adequate reason, but no one else seems to agree.  I just feel like I have gone insane and lost all control of myself.

What bothers me the most is that I've lost the person I used to be.  I deeply care about everyone I come in contact with, and I have a huge heart.  If I'm around someone who is sad or crying, I'm sad and crying too.  I think I empathize with people very well.  I'm always the first to defend others and try to rationalize why people act the way they do....  What is happening to me?  I'm turning into an angry, cynical, judgmental psychopath.  I don't want to be this person.

I know I should be embarrassed about the way I'm feeling and keep it to myself, but if there are other moms out there who are in similar situations, I want you to know you are not alone.  Seeking some sort of therapy is crucial to overcoming this issue.  Obviously, if you are taking the anger out on your child or even in front of your child, finding a way to help yourself is extremely urgent.  If you have no idea where to turn, try to find all of the stuff you brought home from the hospital.  There are phone numbers to call in all of those packets.  If you don't find what you're looking for on the first try, I'm sure the people you speak to will refer you to someone who can help.  If you have no numbers to call, Google your city, "postpartum", and "psychologist".  You'll be able to find something.  Lastly, if you're like me and can't get to a therapist for help, try to Google coping strategies and do your best to practice them on your own.


  1. Hi there,
    I just wanted to say thankyou for shaing this on your blog. In finding it, I have finally found what it is I have been experiencing as a first time mum to my now 8 month old daughter. Unfortunately the anger affects how I am towards her but in discovering 'postpartum stress syndrome' I hope to talk to my GP. I just knew i wasnt suffering postnatal depression. I was and am just really angry and get really angry at everyone around me. Your blog helped me to know I'm not alone. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. x

    1. im also experiencing this Postpartum stress syndrome...and my baby is also 8months old now. it's somehow a relief that i find people having exactly the same thing as i have now. i thought i as really just going crazy.
      i hope you feel better now. :))

  2. My wife is going through the same things!! What can we do?

  3. Thank you sooooo much for sharing this. I most definitely am going through PSS. My most ridiculous outburst was at a woman in a store. As I was talking with a manager trying to find a product they had on the web site, this lady literally pushed her cart into me (even though she could have navigated around). I lost it on a far far inappropriate level considering she was around retirement age. Oddly, she laughed at me which made me even more angry.
    At this point, my child has not witnessed any of these outbursts, but if I continue this way, he will eventually catch a glimpse of his lunatic mother.
    I have gone to therapy – dr. immediately wanted to put me on prozac. But my mother started reading about nutrition and found an article on magnesium deficiency. When I take supplements twice a day, I am significantly calmer. When I skip them, I'm back to being forgetful, overwhelmed, full of anxiety, hostile, restless, can't sleep but always tired. If you try this, know that it is recommended to take B-complex as well to aid in absorbing the mineral. And if it doesn't work, hey, you just took some inexpensive vitamins and are no worse off.
    Good luck to you all.

  4. That's awesome advice! Thanks! I'll definitely keep the magnesium supplement in mind if I have another child. I had never heard of that. Very good to know. Thanks again!

  5. I have an 8 month old daughter, my second. Before I even read this,few months earlier I already noticed that I easily get angry at my husband, my first child and sometimes even my baby. I don't like it and have been telling my husband, he also noticed it.I know I was extremely stressed... taking care of two kids on my own... as my husband is not much of a help...

    I came across this article and I hope it would be a great help to us mother's who are experiencing the same feeling... "Because it is essential to know and acknowledge what is wrong with ourselves before we find a means to treat it-BGC" Here is the link: http://www.mobimotherhood.org/MM/article-PPD.aspx

  6. Thank you for sharing your personal experience,im not a first tym mom but still i have this post partum depression,this is my third daughter now but on those pregnancies i always feel the same depression its just that its much complicated now because my first child was becoming my anger outlet,im beginning to yell at her for simple reasons and im spanking her behind much harder now.then after that sudden outburst im beginning to realize that im spanking a 4yr old kid and shes my first born,then after realization i will begin to cry un-endlessly.then i will remember that time again i will begin to cry again until i sleep.i dont know what to do.

  7. I wanted to say thank you. I'm having a really difficult time right now with anger. I've always been an angry person but it never controlled my life like it does now. I found the same article you found and kept searching online to find out more about PSS. Your blog made me realize I'm not just tired and a little crazy but that I need to talk to my doctor. Thank you for being honest about your feelings. I'm certain more parents are grateful for your post then you know. Thank you.