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.