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Navigating Postpartum Rage: Understanding and Coping with Criticism

Navigating Postpartum Rage: Understanding and Coping with Criticism HomeBlogNavigating Postpartum Rage: Understanding and Coping with Criticism A new mom, known as “MamaJen” on TikTok, sparked a heated debate online with her unique way of coping with postpartum rage. In a viral video that has garnered over 14 million views,

A new mom, known as “MamaJen” on TikTok, sparked a heated debate online with her unique way of coping with postpartum rage. In a viral video that has garnered over 14 million views, she films herself aggressively throwing ice at her bathtub while screaming in a display reminiscent of a professional baseball pitch. Her growls and the ice shattering against the tub paint a visceral picture of her raw emotions.

The Viral Video and Mixed Reactions

In the video, “MamaJen” credits another TikTok user for inspiring her ice-throwing method to release anger. She captioned her video, “My biggest struggle as a new mom is my anger,” recommending this method to vent rage safely. She noted, “Completely satisfies that need to destruct!! (w/o being destructive!)”.

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The video has received thousands of comments, with reactions ranging from supportive to critical. Many viewers expressed empathy and validation, with comments like “Postpartum rage is normal,” and “Really smart! I didn’t realize how much I needed to see/know this!” One viewer praised her, saying, “Phenomenal! You recognized the rage and found a safe way to vent it away from the kids. I wish my mom had coping strategies like this.”

However, not all feedback was positive. Some criticized her method, expressing concern for her children. One commenter said, “Girl, so sad for your kids. I even get PTSD from watching this.” Another wrote, “Oh yea, this would make me never want to speak to my mother ever.”

Understanding Postpartum Rage

Experts point out that those who criticize likely do not understand the complexities of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). These conditions affect up to 20% of new parents and can include symptoms such as intense anger, which is often overlooked and not officially diagnosed. This rage can manifest in the weeks or months after childbirth and is typically a symptom of a broader PMAD.

In a follow-up video, “MamaJen” expressed guilt over her postpartum rage, explaining that she was unprepared for the intense anger triggered by certain situations. She described the unrealistic societal expectations that the postpartum period should be the “happiest time of your life,” which added to her emotional burden.

Causes of Postpartum Rage

Not all new parents experience PMADs, but for those who do, symptoms can vary widely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms may include sadness, lack of energy, and changes in sleep patterns. Intense feelings of anger can also arise due to hormonal surges and life changes. Risk factors include a family history of depression or mental illness, lack of social support, financial stress, and the overwhelming demands of caring for a newborn.

Jessica Pizzo, LCSW, PMH-C, a postpartum therapist, notes that many new moms experience postpartum rage while adjusting to new boundaries and relationships. This can be particularly pronounced in mothers who feel resentment over unequal childcare responsibilities or those who have had challenging birthing experiences and feel disconnected from their bodies. Sleep deprivation and sensory overload can further exacerbate feelings of anger.

Professional Insights and Coping Strategies

Allison B. Deutch, MD, emphasizes recognizing when to seek help. While severe symptoms like suicidal thoughts require immediate medical attention, subtler signs such as persistent anger, helplessness, or guilt should also prompt a visit to a healthcare provider.

Therapists like Pizzo recommend skills-based interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), to help manage emotions and identify triggers. These therapies can provide lasting relief by teaching new parents how to tolerate distress and regulate their emotions effectively.

Dr. Deutch adds that medication and psychotherapy can target symptoms and reduce the intensity of postpartum rage. She also highlights the role of sleep deprivation as a trigger for anger, suggesting that enlisting help to create a sleep schedule can be beneficial. Connecting with support groups can offer long-term support and validation.

Conclusion

The ice-throwing video by “MamaJen” underscores the genuine and often unspoken struggles of postpartum rage. While her method received mixed reactions, it highlights the importance of finding safe, effective ways to cope with intense emotions. Recognizing the reality of postpartum rage and seeking appropriate support and treatment is crucial for new parents. Whether through therapy, support groups, or personal coping strategies, addressing these feelings is essential for navigating the challenges of motherhood.

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