When you hear about Post Natal Depression, the first things that usually spring to mind are sadness, constant crying, feeling like a terrible parent, isolation, and loneliness. Anger isn’t something that most people reply with when asked what they know of PND. The NHS website lists ‘irritability’ as a symptom, but all-consuming anger is totally overlooked.
It isn’t even included in the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale screening tool despite being recognised as an element of Post Natal Depression, which is concerning. It’s important that mummies who are struggling as profoundly as I did know that it isn’t their fault, they aren’t being daft, and that it really is all down to the black cloud of PND. Latest research from the University of British Columbia suggests that women SHOULD be screened for anger as well as anxiety and depression after having a baby – this is promising, and I hope it becomes widely adopted soon, as it may help many women feel less ‘abnormal’ and guilty.
Out of all the symptoms I experienced, anger was definitely the most distressing.
Who wants to be angry at a small baby for needing something and crying for it? Who wants to be angry at their partner for the most petty & trivial of things? Who wants to fly off the handle at the tiniest trigger? Who wants to live on a knife edge, not wanting to go out and risk losing control in public? It was so embarrassing, even more so than bursting into tears in public! Who really wants to live like this…?
I know it makes for uncomfortable reading, no one likes to think about it, and as a result, it isn’t talked about anywhere near enough. It really should be. I am acutely aware that I am not the only mummy who struggled with this PND symptom, and who felt humiliated by it.
Here I am, 2 years down the line, pretty much my normal self again, and looking back, it is only now that I realise just how bad it is. Luckily, my relationships with my lad, my fiance, family and friends are unscathed, but I know lots of mummies unfortunately cannot say the same.
‘Momversation‘ with my lovely supportive group of friends has helped an awful lot too – never underestimate the power of a listening ear!
To me, it feels like that whilst the stigma around PND is going, there is still a taboo about being an angry new mother. If you share that you have PND, you get sympathy, positive comments, motivation and ‘I’m there for you’. Share that you feel like an atomic bomb about to explode at the slightest brush, you’re given the side eye, or even labelled a headcase who shouldn’t have had children (yeah, seriously), instead of given soothing words and calming support, because whilst people have sympathy for sadness that we cannot control, the same seemingly doesn’t apply to anger and frustration.
Mummies, we are only human. Anger is absolutely a factor in Post Natal Depression, which is becoming increasingly recognised. Please don’t suffer in silence – your GP can refer you for therapy, and help you find a medication that eases you back into feeling yourself again. You will get back to your old self soon!
I did, and I am so relieved.
Love from Katie. Xx