That Pesky Postpartum Rage
"The myth of maternal bliss is so sacrosanct that we can't even admit these feelings to ourselves." -Anne Lamott
Lately the rage I became all too familiar with during my first postpartum year has been bubbling up inside me again. It comes up when I least expect it, turning everything red and hot inside my chest. It burns on the tip of my tongue and in my fingertips as I clench my knuckles and forcefully repeat “BREATHE” in my head.
I know I’m not alone. Or rather, NOW I know I’m not alone. When these feelings first started coming out in the first few weeks of my son’s life, I felt like a monster. Since then, I’ve learned this is a common symptom of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and honestly just a common symptom of motherhood and parenthood.
We need to be able to talk about this. Moms who experience rage aren’t monsters, we’re human. I tried for a long time to convince myself that my rage was something else because I was so scared to admit to myself I was capable of feeling so much anger towards my precious, perfect child. But if we can’t name or acknowledge it, we can’t tame it.
I’d like to share two must-read articles about this that have been hugely helpful to me: “Mother rage: theory and practice” by the incredible Anne Lamott and “The Rage Mothers Don’t Talk About” by Minna Dubin. These articles are over twenty years apart. Mother rage has always been, and still is, a thing we need to talk about.
Have you experienced rage? I know I’m not alone. Please help us normalize this and share your experience in the comments.