I have not felt sad in quite some time and the random tears have stopped flowing, as have my meds. I was having some pretty junky side effects so even though they had put a lid, albeit a flimsy one, on my postpartum rage, I cut them loose. (Please never decrease or stop your medication without consulting your care provider) 🙂
My typical PPD symptoms may be gone the anger still lurks. I have what the pros call postpartum stress syndrome…I call it ‘feeling pretty pissed off with the world most of the time and having irrational outbursts before I even feel them coming on’. Clinically it is when you are so overwhelmed with the changes yet have such high expectations of yourself that it does not take much to push you over the top of angry mountain. Your baby could be having a day where they cannot be put down and the anger that grows and develops inside of you is insanely abnormal. It feels like I have to try to keep a snarl off my face on my bad days…horrifyingly real and upsetting…but this is me, for now. This is what some of us mothers deal with, and now without my medications, I wanted to focus deeply on what makes me feel better.
Here is what I have learned over the last months.
Go and speak with someone. A care provider who can see if medication, therapy or a combo of both is what you need. Both can help and you may need to just be told, “yes, you have postpartum depression but it is not the end. Here is an action plan…”
Diet. Gosh it makes a difference. I cannot give you a cut and dry, this is good, this is bad, because every mother is so different. You may tolerate caffeine well, or it may give you the jitters. Wheat might fill your belly and help you sleep, while others may enjoy bloating, gas or gluten rage. I can tell you straight up to cut down that sugar. It will make you feel better, I don’t care who you are.
Want to know what foods make you feel great and what makes you want to stick your head back under your pillow for days? The Whole30. It is an amazing elimination, healing month that takes your body back to basics. From there, after a clean 30 days, or 60, or 90…however long you need, you slowly integrate inflammatory foods back into your diet to see what makes you and what breaks you. For me it was grains and sugar. Major mood swings, crampy tummy and tiredness like you wouldn’t believe. So I work hard to keep those things out of our house because I suck at resisting food temptations. Check out their website here for more information. Feel free to message me if you want help in this area 🙂
Finally and truly this one thing has made the BIGGEST IMPACT in my daily walk with postpartum anger. Ready. Wait for it. Take it easy on the multitasking, BE PRESENT.
When you have PPD of any kind you need to stop multitasking. I am not kidding. It may sound irrational, unheard of, unfathomable, a mother who doesn’t multi task??
What does that even look like? Let me tell you.
It looks like a mother relaxing in a shower without scrubbing the walls of the tub between shampoo and conditioner.
It is a mother feeding her baby, looking into her child’s eyes and not the screen of her phone.
It is a mother cooking dinner and thinking about what she is making, keeping an eye on what ring or pot handle is hot and how long that garlic bread has been in the oven.
It is a mother sitting on the toilet and doing what she has to do…without restocking the toilet paper, picking up the tubby toys within reach or wiping up the pee drippage from the latest toddler toilet learning mishap. (Ok maybe that last one you can quickly take care of).
It is a mother pushing her child on the swing without doing mobile banking bill payments with her spare hand.
It is a mother cuddling up to her significant other to watch a movie and simply watching the movie, not picking up the last of the toys, sweeping up the living room, wiping down the tv and rearranging the cushions.
When we are not focused in on what we are doing our minds become overwhelmed by all the stimuli and the more stimuli, the more stress, the less tolerance and boom we are yelling at our three year old for not knowing how to put on their own coat.
When I am nursing my daughter and her teeth accidentally graze one of my more sensitive parts of my body two things happen. I am either focused on her, looking at her, talking to her and can without a doubt handle that unfortunate situation with a blink back of a tear, a stern word and a settling back into nursing. Or I ALWAYS FIND that if I am trying to respond on my phone to, say a breastfeeding client, and that teeth vs nipple thing happens I am sent to the top of that angry mountain within 3 milliseconds. Nursing session done, hot flash all over and eyes I am sure burning with stress. I overwhelmed myself. It was not my daughter or my son or my husband that set me off. It was my desire to be busy, to get things done and to do everything at once. Just stop it. Let’s stop glorifying all-day-everyday multitasking.
Life will look different, it will be slower, the house may take longer to clean, your facebook may not be visited as much and your friends may have to wait for a reply text. But your life will also feel more peaceful, more calm and more sincere.
As someone who daily walks with the ability to rage I am thankful for that. I am thankful for quiet, for focus and for the ability to just do one thing at a time.