Here’s my experience with the not so common symptom of post natal depression….ANGRY MAMA
Many years ago my sister suffered post natal depression and although I don’t know all of her symptoms, I thought that there might be a genetic predisposition for me to experience this also. So after having my babies I checked in on myself and checked again, to make sure I wasn’t getting the normal depression symptoms – tears, smothering sadness, a weight that feels that it cant be lifted. I had a beautiful post natal experience after my first born. No problems that are noteworthy. After my second born, I kept checking for the normal PND symptoms…..
I was good 🙂 No tears. Nothing like that. I got up in the mornings, I cared for my 18mo toddler. I continued to run my fledgling small business. All was good…..but…
And this is the biggest but of all, at bedtimes (this was my trigger) my anger would just blow up. Like, in less than a millionth of a second I would go from super calm, rancho relaxo mama to Satan’s right hand man, burning white hot anger…no, FURY! I was a raging monster. It just came from nowhere.
So, with a newborn and a toddler, their sleep times were on different schedules. Buggar! One had three naps, the other had two. One had bedtime at 8pm, the other was closer to about 10pm. And whilst ever mother of two under two experience this conundrum, I also had the added difficulty of a FIFO hubby. (hubby flew in flew out to work interstate, and was away 50% of the time, whether it was 2weeks/2 weeks or 1week/1week or larger, it still amounted to 50% – actually a bit more taking into account the travel in and out)
Anywayy, whilst putting toddler to bed, I would have to literally put baby in the bedroom furthest away the kids room (SAFELY) so toddler couldn’t hear. But toddler could take 45-60 mins to get to sleep. I sort of considered myself a “gentle” parent. Extended breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping etc and I most definitely hated to leave my babies to cry under any circumstance, so this whole time I was trying to get toddler to sleep, I was ultra stressing, because I could still hear the cries of my darling little baby from 3 rooms away. So, consequently, I was rushing toddler to sleep and then if he didn’t sleep by “time’s up”….I’d get angry.
And when I tried toddler bedtime with baby in bed with us, and baby was demanding attention and making noises so toddler couldn’t sleep…..I’d get angry.
Like I said before, this wasn’t just angry. Or even really angry. This was a monster from the bowels of hell angry. I couldn’t control it. It would flare up, quick as lightening. My trigger was sleeping mostly. But I could feel this rumble of flames in my belly all day long that would glow like a solar flare in a heartbeat.
And then to add to all this stress and wondering what in the name of hell is this anger…..my biggest BIGGEST fear was that in this uncontrollable rage, I had a very real and very frightening worry that I would hurt my babies. And with hubby not there to make me feel like I was being supervised (not that I was but I got that comforting feel when he was home), I can assure you I was terrified I would hurt them and even more scared that it could possibly be to a point of no return.
This isn’t a “oh my god, you left your toys out and I stepped on them and broke my foot….I’m gonna kill youuuuuu” (actually I did do this…the broken foot on a toy part 🙂 )
And its not even “for crying out loud, if you don’t stop crying I am so gonna kill you!”.
I had a very real and, I believe, a really valid worry that I could actually hurt the boys….badly. It was an irrational anger. And I simply could not control it. I was afraid of myself. I was afraid of what might happen.
Even to this day, with my youngest turning 4 years old next month, I still have some angry pirouettes. Where something that didn’t bother me last week, is full bore Shouty McShout worthy this week. But i am getting way better. NOW I know what caused this bizarre anger. I realised it was part of the collective symptoms of Postnatal depression.
There isn’t a whole lot of written information around, really, about the ANGRY MAMA postnatal depression symptoms, so this is why I wrote this today. However, just knowing WHY I was all of a sudden full bore angry mama, I was able to begin my management of this condition, slowly.
So my advice to you, is, if you feel anything weird…ANYTHING, that you kind of think “whaaaaa? where did that come from?”. Just mention it to your GP or Health nurse. Or even call one of the many agencies that specialise in Depression. Just to check. That’s all. Its OK. And its also OK to be not OK x
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For some real life tips on managing PND and some further expert advice, please visit this site
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COPE- Centre of Perinatal Excellence