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Ashley on postpartum anger and rage and finally asking for help

mom taking a selfie with a newborn - essay on postpartum anger

Content warning: Discussion of postpartum depression, birth trauma, domestic abuse or other tough topics ahead. If you or someone you know is struggling with a postpartum mental health challenge, including postpartum depression or anxiety, call 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (tel:18009435746)—The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline This free, confidential service provides access to trained counselors and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, Spanish, and more than 60 other languages. They can offer support and information related to before, during, and after pregnancy.

This photo was taken exactly three months postpartum. I was tired, so tired. The days were long and the nights were even longer, even with my “village.”

I had support. I have a loving husband, parents and in-laws who help as much as possible. But I was still tired. I was angry. I was impatient. I wasn’t rational. I cried a lot for no reason. I was everything I’ve never been. I chalked it up to “baby blues” and it’ll go away soon—it’s just my hormones going back to normal.

With my first son, I “bounced back” physically and mentally within a few weeks. I’ve just had two kids in 22 months. Of course I need time to get my body back to normal. My boys are healthy. And I was physically healthy. Why was I so angry? I had everything “they” say you need after child birth.

Related: My mom rage is a product of overstimulation

There were nights that I held my oldest boy while he slept apologizing for being so angry and explaining to him that mommy is going to get better so he doesn’t have to see me be angry with him anymore.

I’m strong. I always have been, but I needed help. I realized that something was really wrong and I needed to catch it before it got worse. I contacted my employee assistance number to get in touch with someone and their counselor told me and I quote word for word, “sleep when the baby sleeps, put your feet up when you can, and take up something relaxing like yoga.” OK…thanks for the help.

I contacted a second person through the provincial health care number, and the nice gentleman said he could relate because his wife had just had a baby around the same time. OK… not exactly what I’m looking for.

I gave up. The mental health assistance was not working. I can do it by myself. I’m strong, remember? I made it two more months feeling “fine,” still a little short at times, but I figured that was normal with a toddler and a new born.

Related: The medical community does not listen to women—and it’s killing us

It wasn’t until we were on a family trip and my husband asked a simple question and I snapped. I was rude. I didn’t see that he was just trying to help. I needed help and I couldn’t wait any longer.

I wasn’t strong anymore. I felt defeated and tired. My mind was tired and my body was tired. I was scared. Irrational fears. Scared that my boys would be taken from me because I was temporarily unwell. Scared that I was too much to handle and I would end up alone. And scared that I was never going to get back to my normal self.

My husband helped me. He helped me realize there was no truth to my fears. He spent so much time one evening consoling me, assuring me that nothing would happen or go wrong. I felt relieved.

I’ve found a professional that has been successful in helping me and I’d say I’m pretty much back to my normal self. You are not alone. Ask for help. You are strong, mama.

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