Postpartum rage is a complex issue that has the ability to trigger stress, guilt, and shame within the mother and family unit at large.
This has become a common experience in postpartum as women are left without the support and care they truly need.
In this episode, I am sharing my personal experience with postpartum rage and what you can do to start healing your marriage, your family, and most importantly, yourself.
In this episode, I am sharing:
- My personal experience with postpartum rage
- What are the symptoms
- Impacts of postpartum rage on relationships
- What can be done to address this and heal
Welcome to the Postpartum University podcast, where we support you and your provider in understanding the science, the art, and the sacredness of healing after birth. I’m Maranda Bower, your host, your postpartum nutrition specialist, and homesteading mom with four wild kids. It’s time to get you the holistic, whole-body healing that works.
Hello, welcome to the show. I’m Maranda Bower, your host and owner of Postpartum University. And I’ll tell you, I was recently working with a large group of women, and we were all having a conversation about some of the latest mental health challenges that have been hitting the media. And… It’s something that we need to take note of and understand that we actually don’t know much of anything in relationship to so many perinatal mental health disorders. One of the biggest components of this, as I was just teaching in my perinatal mental health certificate training, we just got done doing this for professional members in our program, is that the whole idea of PMADS in general are so new into science. I mean, mental health care in general is very new. If you think about it, forced lobotomies and insane asylums were still a thing in 1960. And we are just coming into a world that is starting to understand and support mental health challenges that much more. And one of the conversations that we ended up talking about, which I feel deserves so much more attention, is postpartum rage. And this is something that I really want to have a conversation about, especially how it impacts marriage and what we can do about having postpartum rage. What happens when it’s something that we have, and what do we do about it? How do we heal from this? How do we heal our marriage?
I’ll tell you, the birth of a child, as you probably know, is a massive time of excitement and joy. But for many women, this postpartum period can also bring intense feelings, just feelings in general, frustration of anger, of resentment. And a lot of those times, those feelings don’t necessarily go away. And what we end up having and what the word that I hear so often is this phenomenon known as postpartum rage, which just simply means that we don’t fully understand what it is and how it comes to be in the medical world. And I’m going to break some serious myths for you today and unravel the story, the true story about postpartum rage for you here. But also, I want to talk today about its impact on your marriage and your relationship. And more importantly, what you can do to heal that. I had experienced postpartum rage after the birth of my second. And it was incredibly out of control. I didn’t feel like I had any say in my anger whatsoever. It was something that just completely took over me and I said the stupidest things and I regretted them immensely moments after saying them, but it was like a freight train. I just couldn’t stop. And I often hear that from many of my clients and the people I’ve served over the last decade. It’s the exact same thing. It just happens. It’s almost like you’re a witness to it. You see it happening. You want it to end, but you don’t know how to make it end and then it happens and you’re just so upset and regretful over the situation. You feel shame for it and you just don’t know how to fix it and come out of it. And it happens again and again and again. Postpartum rage is a condition that affects postpartum women and not just in the first couple of weeks, but even the first couple of years after having a baby. And it feels like the sudden intense feeling of anger and frustration and inability. And it can happen in days, it can happen in weeks, it can be related to our monthly cycles, and it can be triggered by a variety of different factors. Some feel that they’re on the edge of like, all the time, a volcanic eruption. They feel like they’re going to burst at something that feels so small and insignificant. I had a client recently describe this to me where she was in the kitchen, she was cooking a meal, they were listening to music, she was dancing to the music. She was having so much fun. It was like she was having a great time and then her toddler dropped something. Something and it didn’t even break but the toddler dropped something the water fell out of the cup and it was immensely triggering for her and she went into a rage and her husband was running out the door what in the world is going on and she didn’t understand what was happening and why she’s screaming at her toddler for dropping a cup and it was just a really big deal and then when she was done, she was like, “Oh, my gosh, what trauma am I causing my children? What am I doing tearing apart my family like this?” And then enters the really ridiculous, awful thoughts of maybe I shouldn’t be here. Maybe I should leave this family and this relationship. I’ve seen so many clients have those thoughts. And I know them personally very well myself. And so we want to get to the root of this. Why is this happening for us? What is the cause of postpartum rage? And I will tell you in the medical world, it’s not fully understood, just as most perinatal mental health disorders are not fully understood.
And we know it to be related to this hormonal change. It’s really easy to blame anything really to postpartum on hormonal changes because we simply don’t understand the hormonal changes either. But really, when we get down to it, there’s such an immense pressure and stress, the lack of support, the lack of understanding, especially from our partners, because sometimes rage has a tendency to either blow up at anyone and everyone, or sometimes only particular people that trigger us, and sometimes often, especially if we’re holding resentment about something that maybe happened during the birth experience or an angry conversation we had before the birth that didn’t get resolved, that can lead to resentment and that can trigger your anger at very random times.
If you’re a birth and postpartum professional who wants to give the families you serve some solid holistic evidence-based information regarding nutrition, repletion, and nourishing your body after baby, this is for you. I have 18 beautiful pages in a handout form that is completely free. Free full guide to nutrition completion, common misconceptions, supplement support, favorite recipes, 30 healthy and quick snacks, and so many more. You can download your free collection with handouts at postpartumU, that’s the letter U.com/handouts.
We have to look at all of these components, lack of sleep, the lack of nutrition, gluten, we’ll cover that here in a second, and being a main factor. The reason is, for a particular person in your life, even your baby, maybe there’s resentment for not letting you sleep or for taking away your life. It might sound funny and we might, you know, if as a person who might not be going through it, say, how could we do that? But really, those thoughts are real. And they need to be acknowledged for exactly what they are. These are real thoughts. We are not bad people for having them. As a matter of fact, most of us, 80% of moms, report having these thoughts. So you are far more likely to experience them than not. But these are the things that happen. And again, the stress of new parenthood, of not understanding the level of responsibility and challenges. And we might think we know, but nobody ever really knows until you’re in the experience. That’s just parenthood in general.
I would never imagine raising a baby. I was a childcare provider for 14 years. I knew exactly what it meant to have a newborn and a family, but I didn’t know exactly what it would mean for me. And that’s a big, big change that can occur in those very early weeks and months and even years, because postpartum is always changing, we’re always shifting, we’re always growing, especially with that of our babies and family. So lots of things, you know, yes, there’s hormonal changes happening, but there’s this physical and emotional stress, the demands of childbirth, the demands of parenthood that puts a lot on our bodies and our mind. Sleep deprivation is massive. We don’t get enough sleep. And we absolutely positively don’t get enough nutrition. And some of the foods that we eat during the postpartum period can greatly exacerbate the symptoms of postpartum rage.
And then unrealistic expectations of motherhood or unsolved emotional traumas or challenges surrounding certain people, especially our partners. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the impacts of this on a marriage. Postpartum rage, as you can imagine, maybe you’re experiencing it yourself and you know firsthand, there’s a significant impact on your marriage and your relationships. And this is because of the intensity of the anxiety and the outbursts and the frustration, it’s very difficult sometimes for partners to understand what’s happening or what’s going on. And it does put a strain on the relationship, especially when we say things that we immediately regret or don’t understand why we would even say such a thing. I know that was often the case in my relationship, just saying something that was just like, I can’t even believe those words came out of my mouth. They don’t even believe them. To a certain aspect, this can become verbal and even physical abuse.
So a lot of women who recover from postpartum rage look back at their experience and see that they were being abusive to their partner. And so take that into consideration because so much of this just points to the fact that we need to do better for women’s health care. We need to do better by supporting you and your family. And we’re failing immensely as a society in doing that. But also that if this is something that you are going through, you must get support. And I’m going is a level of a B. that can go on and it leads to feelings of guilt and shame and that only damages a relationship that much more. So and it’s not just on the relationship at hand in terms of our marriage but also our children. Our children are watching us. They’re learning from us. So it’s not just a strain on our relationships with our partners but also with our families as a whole with our children. It can create difficulties bonding with our babies. There’s obviously an increased risk of depression and anxiety. Actually, one of the symptoms of postpartum depression is rage. And then it affects our daily life and our functioning of these of our life, these intense emotions can just make it really hard to perform daily tasks and responsibilities.
Okay, so let’s get into the good stuff. What can be done to address postpartum rage? And how do you repair a relationship after experiencing it? If you are experiencing postpartum rage, please seek help, right? Speak to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can really help you understand what’s happening and provide you with the support and guidance you need. And there’s also plenty of support groups and resources that are specifically designed for new moms and moms who are experiencing things like rage. So find one that works for you. And I will tell you if you can’t find one that works for you, just know that there is one out there available. You will find one. It’s not that you can’t, you just haven’t yet.
One of the great things about the growing mental health profession as a whole is that we are now giving people more access than what we used to have previously. So instead of waiting six months to a year or maybe even two years on a waitlist to see somebody locally in your area who may or may not be trained in perinatal mental health disorders, you can now go online and find support and meet somebody over Zoom or even the phone and have therapeutic conversations in regards to this. So seek out treatment, seek out support, seek out counseling, support groups, right? Have self-care and compassion. And I know that sounds a little silly when you’re probably having so much guilt and shame over feeling outburst in general. But self-care and compassion, understanding that, for one, this is not your fault. It is a society who has failed you immensely, hasn’t given you the tools that you’ve needed to heal your body, hasn’t given you the support systems to heal your body. And now that you know that something like this is possible, now that you know that something like this is almost taking over your life or interjecting itself where it doesn’t belong or taking control over, you have the ability to heal. It belongs within you.
So have some self-care, have some compassion, understand this is not your fault and that there are things that you can do to support you immensely and healing from this. Okay? So get that support, seek out health and support groups and really practice that self-care and self-compassion. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. That is a huge component. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, okay? So we’re addressing the root cause of postpartum rage and make sure that you’re eating nutrient-dense foods.
I will tell you one of the biggest things that I see in relationship to rage and the entire reason why I had rage was a gluten intolerance. I’m not kidding, I see it all the time, especially with women who are on the postpartum nutrition plan. This happens over and over and over again. As a matter of fact, I just got done doing a group coaching course for a multitude of women and several of the women who were in that group was experiencing postpartum rage and depression and their symptoms left when they went gluten-free and one woman was telling me that she accidentally ate her daughter’s chicken nuggets. It was like one of those moments where you just like, “Hey, you didn’t finish your food, so I’m just going to eat the food.” A standard typical mom thing to do. And then afterwards, she realized what she had done. She just had some gluten. No big deal except for a couple of hours later, her rage symptoms returned. And so she experimented with this. And sure enough, anytime that she had gluten, this is exactly what would occur for her. And he had another… mom do something very similar. She was cooking her children mac and cheese, and she had another meal for herself. She wasn’t gonna consume that, but she went to take a bite of the noodles to see if they were done. And there was her gluten, and all of a sudden, she became, within hours, very rageful to her children. I see this, again, over and over and over again. And you don’t even necessarily have to be… be a postpartum woman to experience this. My niece is a prime example. She has a gluten intolerance, cannot handle gluten whatsoever. And how do they know? Because her behavior, she becomes impossible to work with, to speak to, she’s angry, she’s frustrated, she can’t concentrate, it takes over her whole body.
So if you are somebody who is experiencing this, postpartum rage, eliminate gluten and eliminating gluten is not an easy process. We recognize how difficult that can be. And it takes a good solid four to six weeks to leave your body. So you have to be clear of that for four to six weeks before you might even see results of that leaving your body and no longer experiencing those symptoms. And it can be a really big deal or it can wreak havoc. It causes inflammation in the body and the brain, as well as the lack of nutrients. And we know how significant that can be.
And interestingly, everything that I’m sharing with you here is part of the framework that I share with you in my book, Reclaiming Postpartum Wellness. So, if all of this feels really challenging and where you don’t know, well, how do I get more sleep? What do I need to eat? How do I give myself better support and self-care options? That sounds so foreign to me. Go get my book, Reclaiming Postpartum Wellness. I go through all of those pieces for you and show you exactly how you can heal. Okay, so let’s talk about how we can heal that with our relationship.
I think one of the biggest components of this is one, seeking help, right? Absolutely seeking help, acknowledging that there is an issue in the first place. And taking responsibility, right? Like yes, the system has failed you immensely. Yes, you don’t have what you need, but yes, you’ve said some things that were not okay and you are in a place now where you don’t want to do that anymore. You recognize your actions, and you are apologizing to your partner, or even your children, or maybe it’s your mother, whomever it is, and saying, I am getting the support that I need, or I’m looking for, or I need help. Can somebody help me through this process? So that is a beautiful transition to really help you get to the support that you really need and then implementing those strategies. So taking that, that taking responsibility, that open and honest communication, letting them know what is going on and how things feel for you and how you’re going to make things better, just having those conversations and then making sure that you set yourself up to spend more time with each other. How can you spend more time with your partner doing the activities that you both enjoy? That build your relationship and maybe that requires having a babysitter so that you can focus just on yourselves during that time. So there you have it my friends, how to support your relationship, how to support your body, and when there is postpartum rage, and I really want you to walk away with knowing that it is not your fault and you are absolutely not alone.
The impact of postpartum rage is far-reaching, it’s affecting not only just mom’s mental and emotional health but also her relationships with her loved ones and her ability to focus on daily life but there is hope for moms who experience it. Seek out support, go to therapy and counseling, find the support groups, self-care and self-compassion, make sure you’re eating and sleeping well. And I promise you your symptoms will go away. They always do. And the more you support your own needs and get to the root of the problem, the better things will be for you. And from that space, you can go on to healing and recovering and repairing your marriage, which starts with open communication, spending time together, and maybe even couples therapy, where you’re able to really sit down without kids and have those conversations. That’s just so key. No matter what setting you are in, have the conversations, have that dialogue, make sure you’re communicating with one another, and enjoying the quality time that you set aside for each other and your relationships.
Love this episode. Let us know by leaving an amazing review. Your support is everything. Want more? Head over to postpartumu.com, that’s postpartum, the letter U .com, and explore how we support moms like you in holistic whole-body healing that’s specific for the unique needs of mamas in the years postpartum. See you there.
- Grab your FREE Provider's Postpartum Nutrition Toolkit
18 pages of PDF handouts that serve as your comprehensive resource for delivering whole-body nutrition care and achieving better health outcomes for the families you support.
- Learn what your symptoms really mean with our Postpartum Health Assessment
Postpartum depression, anxiety, depletion, and autoimmune issues have become a new normal.
Take the most comprehensive postpartum assessment to discover what your symptoms are telling you and even more importantly, what you can do to fix it for good.
- Get started on the path to holistic recovery with the Postpartum Nutrition Repletion Plan
- Come hang out with us on Instagram!
Feeling inspired and ready to learn more about how you can actively revolutionize postpartum care?
- Learn about the Postpartum University Professional Membership
- Stay in the loop about the Postpartum Nutrition Certification Program
- Check out our courses in Postpartum Mental Health, Postpartum Nutrition, and Herbal Care