6 CAUSES OF POSTPARTUM ANGER AND WAYS TO DEAL WITH IT
If you experience waves of frustration, irritability, or anger during postpartum, know that you’re not alone. Baby blues, postpartum rage, anxiety, and depression are a thing, which are words thrown around too loosely these days and at the same time experiences still not often enough spoken about. I can only advise you to open up and seek professional support if you think that might be something you’re experiencing. Once again, you are not alone, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Know that you do deserve support and understanding.
In this post, however, I am referring to waves of emotions that you can gain control over by yourself. All you need is to identify their source and then follow simple solutions.
If you experience moments of feeling frustrated and temporarily angry remember that:
x you are not the only mama feeling that way
x you should not beat yourself up, feel ashamed or guilty
x it does not make you a bad mother
x you’re body, mind, and soul went through A LOT during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, cut yourself some slack
x you can use it as an opportunity for growth
x you should not bury those feelings; suffering in silence does not make you a better mother, facing them however will plus if you ignore them, you might actually explode with rage one day
x there are many reasons for what you’re going through, often more basic than you may think
x there are things you can do about it and steps you should take to prevent anger to arise in the future
Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your basic needs met
Let’s take a look at 6 different possible sources of your postpartum feelings of anger and discover what you can do about them.
1. Sleep deprivation
As a parent of a newborn you’ve got no sleep schedule and you probably feel extra tired, which I believe we can deal with tho and somehow naturally adjust to. At least well enough, to remain sane and function somewhat normally.
If you, however, feel extremely drowsy you should not ignore that. Despite slowing down your recovery process, it can definitely be a source of anger. You will be less patient, easily irritated, physically weaker to take care of your baby, which will lead you to feel like a failure, which then might cause anger. A vicious cycle. You need sleep!
Solution: make taking a nap priority, period.
Yes, during the postpartum period you should rest when the baby is sleeping anyways, but when you start having symptoms of sleep deprivation and experience waves of anger, there can’t be any excuses or more important things to do. You need to get a good nap in as soon as an opportunity for taking one presents itself. If you’re lucky enough to have someone around who can watch the baby while you sleep, ask them for help asap.
You will feel recharged, relaxed and might not even understand why on earth you could have felt so angry before.
Like the lack of sleep, hunger can be another major, basic source of your frustration.
Solution: eat, but EAT NOW and drink plenty of water.
If you’re so hungry that you’re feeling angry, that is not the time to plan, cook and wait until you can eat that full, nutritious, healthy, warm meal. It’s time to eat something right away, anything, as long as it’s edible of course. Grab a bar, a banana, a piece of chocolate, a slice of plain raisin bread, anything really. And drink some extra water, a cup of soy milk, or juice, or whatever (nonalcoholic) else you can get your hands on. Also, keep some snacks on your nightstand.
3. Lack of self-care
Your baby is your priority and you might have very little time (and energy) left to take care of yourself. You may even convince yourself that you’ll be fine skipping another shower, not putting make-up on (if pre-baby you did like doing that), or even being too tired to brush your teeth. But if you never take time for self-care you will feel very poorly and most likely very frustrated rather sooner than later. Mama, it is so important that you feel good, physically and mentally. You need to take care of yourself to feel…well, human. Do it for yourself and for your baby. Feeling fresh and put together will boost your mood, your confidence and will make you a happier and more patient mama.
Solution: you might not have time for a full-on spa day, but you’ll have time to do something for yourself, anything! You can put on some bb cream and pick an outfit that actually makes you feel more put together if only you make it a priority. Of course, if your partner, a family member, or a good friend is at home with you, make sure to communicate your need for a little self-care moment with them, so they can watch the baby in the meantime.
4. Change in routine
Your daily routine has changed big time and you might even feel like there is no routine at all since baby. This can make you feel very out of control, frustrated, and even angry.
Solution: You cannot plan out your days and nights with a newborn, what you can do, however, besides embracing this phase of your life for what it is, is to incorporate some of your previous daily habits into your new life. For instance, if you used to take some me-time and read in the morning, you can start reading while breastfeeding, you can still listen to your favorite podcasts, etc.
Your partner might be the source of your frustration and anger and I’m not talking about some underlying bigger problems. I’m talking about reasons for anger that can be easily avoided if only you’d communicate more openly. Your partner does not know how your body feels postpartum, he might not think about all the ways he could support you better, don’t blame him.
Solution: Before you let yourself resent him and walk around angry all day, tell him how you feel and what you need. There’s a good chance he’ll gladly do anything he can to help you out, to show more compassion, and to be more understanding.
6. Disorganized home
Few days or even weeks might have gone by since you became a mama. You might have a little more energy now and slowly checking back into reality realizing your house is a bigger mess than you’d like it to be or rather can accept it to be without feeling totally frustrated.
Solution: Don’t beat yourself up. It’s good that you’ve prioritized rest, eating proper meals, and some basic self-care over cleaning. If you can get help, get it. If not, do not freak out and try to do it all at once. You will exhaust yourself, feel overly tired which again, will contribute to greater levels of irritability and anger. Just tackle it step by step, one task, one day at a time.
To prevent heightened levels of stress, irritability, and frustration in the first place don’t underestimate the points made above.
Next time you feel anger arising, pause and try to identify the source of it. Then apply the right solution to eliminate it before you freak out or start overthinking and blaming your hormones, your partner, your changed body, or even your baby.