Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common form of depression affecting many new mothers.
During both my pregnancies, my doctors and nurses always kept me informed and monitored for PPD. Thus, I can safely say that many of us today are very much informed about PPD and its symptoms/treatments.
After having baby #2, I kept my eyes open for signs of PPD. Infact I was ready for it. I was damn sure I was going to end up with PPD or even some symptoms of depression.
Because I had a 3-year-old and now a newborn and I was anxious about how everything would work out. Two kids, work-from-home and getting work done, balancing home and just about everything else; you name it, I was anxious about it all.
But my postpartum PPD checklist showed no signs of PPD!
Instead I had postpartum rage!
I have heard that anxiety can often bring about anger. Because come on, if you are worried and anxious about something, you are bound to get pissed off when the littlest of things go wrong.
What is postpartum rage?
Postpartum rage is feeling angry so intensely and so suddenly that you feel like you will explode. One minute you are folding laundry, and the next minute screaming at your husband because he left 1 cup in the sink. Seriously not kidding here!
But my rage was not towards the baby, no! Not at my oldest, never! And not at my husband either. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or tiredness, or something else. Nevertheless, I was angry, irritable, and just pissy at everything and anyone.
I am a keep-everything inside type of person. That is my problem. I am sure my friends will disagree but that is the truth. I tend to keep a lot of things bottled inside me. This is okay on some occasions; other times it can be lethal!
For the last several years, the biggest beef/miscommunication/misunderstanding or whatever you want to call it I have had was with my MIL (mom-in-law).
Yep! The story of every married girl; or at least most!
We don’t each hate other; we just had a big communication barrier. If I didn’t like something, or disagreed with her ways/methods, I would keep it to myself and let her keep her throne as “lady of the house”. Oh, did I mention I live with in laws. A story for another day!
Anyways, for the last 5 years, I have kept all my opinions, explanations, annoyed moments inside my head. I do share some of them with my husband and he has spoken on my behalf a few times, but it never changes anything.
Then, one day around the 2nd month postpartum, we had a big disagreement in the house.
And instead of keeping my feelings bottled, I let everything out.
Yep! Here I was sleep deprived, exhausted, angry, aching everywhere, multi-tasking between both kids, and doing whatever I can around the house as well. And drama arises.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
The dam broke, everything I ever wanted to say came out. And let me say this, it came out nicely!
Haha so was I. Like I said, I don’t hate her; I just had to speak up and tell her exactly how I feel about everything and anything including things from the last 5 years.
And ofcourse she didn’t stop either. We both spoke our minds completely.
The one quality that both my husband and I have is that we never talk or discuss anything when we are angry. We stay quiet and speak only after our anger has subsided. This is to ensure that we do not speak when in rage because words spoken then can be hurtful, unintentional and often wrong. When we both calm down, we sit and discuss and resolve our misunderstanding. This works all the time and is a very healthy quality in our relationship.
The MIL “fight” happened for about 3 hours! Then a few days later, it happened again.
I don’t know if it was the hormones, or tiredness, or just plain postpartum rage, but I stood up and defended myself. I made sure my husband was present. I thought that this would only lead to more disaster and possibly end of relationships.
But, it did not.
Speaking my mind and explaining my side and how I think about things helped clear those clouds that have been looming for the last 5 years.
And I am not kidding here. I thought we both would never speak but my postpartum rage and its outcome changed my relationship with my MIL completely. We did take a few weeks cooling period and kept to our own side of the fence. But after that, it was business as usual.
Except, she knew who and how I was, and better yet, she was more welcoming of that fact.
She is not a bad person; we just never communicated our preferences.
I just did my part and let her do as she pleased. However, now I call on things I don’t like or agree with right away, and nicely, without rage. Well, I am always nice to her but in the past, I would continue to smile even when I was pissed off inside! Ugh so unhealthy!
So yeah, postpartum rage became my excuse to finally break the communication barrier I had with my MIL. And it was the best thing ever. I have been angry before, I mean who hasn’t right? But I often keep my anger in check and inside. Or I just vent it to the “wrong” people, like my husband or my friends.
Postpartum rage is a sign of feeling overwhelmed, resentment for underappreciation, isolation, mom-guilts, and/or the lack of support.
And in my case, I had it all. To make it worse, I had a head-on collision with my MIL.
Thankfully, the outcome was positive. Finally having an honest and open relationship with my MIL helped me get over my insecurities and misunderstandings I had with her. And this has created a much more open, and positive atmosphere at home, which has made it easier for me to focus on other important things like raising my girls and balancing my work and family life!