5 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Over Touched

A mother’s touch is known to have magical healing powers for a child.

The connection between a mother and their child is as physical as it is emotional.  They are a part of our bodies, we feed them from our bodies, and we comfort them with our bodies.  Our bodies are the go-to place for our children when they need to feel safe and secure. So at the end of a long day, mothers often end up feeling over touched or overstimulated.

The sensation of being over touched can have a big impact on our mental health.  With our skin being our largest organ, it’s no surprise that a large amount of extra stimulation can cause us to feel frazzled and overworked. We end up feeling irritable, annoyed, anxious or even angry.  It can cause insomnia and other sleep disturbances.   And feeling over touched can have an effect on our relationships as well because it’s unlikely we’ll want to be intimate at the end of the day, either.

If you are feeling over touched after a constantly caring for and hugging babies, try these five techniques to help reset your nervous system.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched *This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. Take a Time Out

It makes sense that if you’re feeling over touched, a quick fix would be to spend some time not being touched at all.  It’s easier said than done for a busy mom, however.  The sensation of feeling over touched on a regular basis can build up.  Eventually causing worse symptoms, such as anxiety or depression.  So it’s important to break that cycle of feeling over touched as regularly as possible.

Start by scheduling yourself some self-care time.  Pick a day when your spouse (or someone else) is available to watch the kids in the evening and take an hour or two to yourself.  Retreat to your bedroom or another comfortable space and focus just on yourself.  You don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to.

If you can make this a regular habit, whether daily, weekly or longer, then you can reset your sense of touch and feel refreshed and re-energized.  Having the kids crawl all over you may be unavoidable, but at least you’ll be better equipped to handle another round of it.

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2. Try Dry Brushing

Now, this one might sound like it makes a little less sense.  If you’re already feeling over touched, then wouldn’t brushing your skin just make it worse?

If you’re not familiar with dry brushing, it consists of brushing your skin with a dry, natural bristle bath brush to help stimulate blood flow and massage the lymphatic system.  It also has great skin exfoliation benefits, obviously.  You can read more about dry brushing in this detailed guide.

One of the benefits of dry brushing is that it stimulates the lymph system, which is the system that is designed to cleanse our body of toxins and waste.  Keeping this system moving throughout our bodies can actually boost our immune systems and keep us healthy.  Dry brushing can produce an almost instant energy boost just by helping to circulate our lymph.

Dry brushing the entire body can help to reset the sensation of feeling over touched.  It is a controlled and intentional way of stimulating the nervous system and sense of touch.  Unlike being tugged at and climbed all over by our kids, we are in control of how our skin is being touched and stimulated.

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3. Have a Hot Shower or Bath

Water can do wonders to wash away the feeling of being over touched.  A hot shower, especially one with a massaging shower head, is another great way to provide full body stimulation to eliminate that feeling of being pulled and tugged at.

Try alternating between hot and cool water to encourage blood circulation and give you an energy boost.  You can enhance the experience by using essential oil shower steamers or luxury soaps and body washes.  A shower is especially wonderful after you’d tried dry brushing, as it helps to wash away all the exfoliated skin.

If you’d rather soak in the tub, then add a scoop of Epsom salts to the bath water or try some relaxing bath bombs.  The magnesium in the Epsom salts will relax tired muscles and soften the skin.  You can even brush your skin during or after the bath, just add a bit of coconut oil, or other essential oil to your brush.

And most importantly, don’t forget to moisturize afterwards.  In fact, you should use a good quality moisturizer as often as possible throughout the day.  Dry skin is much more sensitive to being touched.  Winter can be especially harsh on skin, and if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, feeling over touched can contribute to other symptoms as well.

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4. Lie Under a Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket, like dry brushing, is another form of intentional touch. It might sound counterproductive to use deep touch pressure therapy (DTP) when we already feel so over touched.  But again, this is a different kind of touch that works like a giant reset button on our nervous system.

Think of a fussy baby being swaddled, or an anxious child being hugged tightly.  Steady pressure that consumes our entire body at once can make us feel calm and boost our serotonin levels.  But as an adult, it’s harder to find a way to create that sense of steady full body pressure.

Weighted blankets are an excellent solution. You can lie under a weighted blanket for anywhere from a few minutes to an entire night, depending on your preference.  You are in complete control of removing it, so you don’t need to worry about feeling trapped or suffocated.

Using a weighted blanket can be especially helpful if feeling over touched is causing insomnia or night time anxiety.  Over stimulation is a major cause of sleep disturbances.  Using a weighted blanket can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.

The hardest part about using a weighted blanket is trying to choose which one is right for you.  There are so many options in weight, filling, covers and sizes so how do you even know where to begin?  Here are some tips about how to choose the right weighted blanket.

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5. Sensory Deprivation Tank

This is, perhaps, one of the more extreme forms of therapy for feeling over touched, but it’s a luxurious way to relax and reset.  Sensory deprivation tanks, or “float tanks” are popping up everywhere now.  While it’s actually an ancient form of healing, they’ve become popular in modern society for their known benefits of relaxation.

If you haven’t heard of them, they’re basically a tank filled with water that is as close to your body temperature as possible.  It also contains a high amount of Epsom salts so that your body easily floats and remains suspended in the water.  It is designed to mimic the feeling of floating in space.  Here is a detailed article that contains more information about sensory deprivation tanks and how they work.

In addition to the water, the tank is in complete isolation, which means that it’s dark and you’re cut off from outside sounds and smells.  You are basically floating in complete nothingness.  By depriving the body of all of it’s senses, you can be in a state of mindfulness and complete relaxation.


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As a mother, you’re always ready and prepared to give the hugs and cuddles and be the rock for your children to climb on.  Even when you’re feeling over touched, you’d never want to deprive them of that.  But you can give better and stronger hugs when you’re feeling relaxed and rested.  This is why self-care is such an important task for moms.

If the thought of being touched makes you cringe, it doesn’t make you a bad mother.  While you may have to take a few additional steps to reset your senses each day, the feeling won’t last forever.  So take care of yourself, mama, and then hug those babies.  Because before you know it, you’ll have to chase them down just to get one.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched 5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched

Heather’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Heather’s Postpartum Depression Story”

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

The postpartum period is often synonymous with sleep deprivation…

But it’s usually caused by a hungry newborn. 

If that baby isn’t causing all kinds of sleep disturbances and mom still isn’t sleeping, then it could be a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Many mothers find themselves unable to sleep due to racing thoughts, unreasonable worries, and the inability to calm their body and mind at night.

Postpartum anxiety is a common condition that can affect a mother’s life in several different ways.  She may experience social anxiety and avoid leaving the house or interacting with others.  Anxiety can also manifest as anger and cause postpartum rage.  Often, mothers experience a combination of postpartum depression and anxiety.  But sleep deprivation can exacerbate all of these symptoms and cause even worse ones.  There are several ways to treat postpartum anxiety insomnia naturally and stop things from getting out of control.

Here are 15 ways to get a better night’s sleep for moms who are suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep *This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. Create a Routine

Just like sleep training children, a bedtime routine is important for encouraging proper sleep.  Going to bed at the same time each night and performing a few routine tasks will help train your brain and body to know when it’s time to go to sleep.  Rewiring the brain altogether is one of the best ways to help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.

Keep in mind that it may take a while for your body to adjust to the routine.  Depending on how bad your postpartum anxiety is, it could take months before you can regularly get a good night’s sleep.  And since postpartum anxiety can be a life-long battle, you should be prepared to make your bedtime routine permanent.

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2. Unplug

Social media is a huge contributor to postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Scrolling through Facebook or watching Netflix before bed will only fuel your racing brain with more needless worries and thoughts.  Make a plan to unplug from technology at least 1 hour before bed.  Turn off the TV and switch your phone to Do Not Disturb mode so that notifications aren’t disturbing you in the middle of the night.


3. Do Some Light Exercise

Don’t freak out – you don’t really have to exercise… I know it sounds exhausting.  The last thing I want to do after taking care of kids all day is exercise.  However, exercise has been known to have a ton of sleep-inducing properties.  So, if you feel like going for a run on the treadmill or doing some yoga, go for it, because it will definitely help fight off postpartum anxiety insomnia.

But if the thought of “working out” is causing you even more anxiety, then save it for the morning instead.  You can still get a serotonin boost by doing a few simple stretches.  Stretch your neck and shoulders, bend over and touch your toes or sit against a wall for a few seconds.  Postpartum anxiety causes a lot of tension in the muscles and stretching those out before bed will help you feel more relaxed.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched
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4. Take a Hot Shower

A hot shower is a great way to calm down before bed.  The steam and heat combined with the gentle massage of the water beating down will relax the muscles and help open up the lungs.  A massaging shower head is a bonus but not necessary.  This can be especially welcome if you’re feeling over touched at the end of the day.

Don’t feel obligated to do anything else except just stand under the water and enjoy it.  A hot bath can work in the same way, if you have the time.  Throw in some Epsom salts for an added boost of magnesium to help relax sore muscles, fight off depression and induce sleep.


5. Sip Some Tea

There are several herbal teas that can help fight postpartum anxiety insomnia.  Chamomile and Valerian Root are the most popular bedtime teas and for good reason.  Green tea, ginger tea and other blends are all great too!  Experiment with different flavors and combinations to find out what works.  Even some plain hot water with a slice of lemon will help you detox before bed.  As long as it’s hot and caffeine-free, it will help to calm and soothe your body from the inside.

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6. Meditate

Meditation is not for everyone.  But if you’re dealing with a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, it might help to try to cleanse your brain of the millions of thoughts floating around in there.

There are actually a few different ways to meditate. You can try using a guided meditation app to help you get started.  It’s also easy to practice self-guided meditation by setting a timer for a few minutes and sitting quietly as you work on eliminating all the thoughts from your brain.  Meditating before bed is a way to manage your anxiety before your head hits the pillow, so that once it does – you will actually be able to sleep.


7. Invest in a Good Mattress

Sometimes it’s not the postpartum anxiety alone that is causing insomnia.  A good night’s sleep begins with comfort and your mattress has a lot to do with it.  But mattress shopping can be really tricky (I know this because I used to sell them for a living!)  Lying down on a mattress in a showroom for a few minutes is very different than sleeping on it all night long.  You can try several different ones but eventually they all start to feel the same.  And then, once you get that mattress home with you – what happens if you don’t like it after a few nights – or worse, after a few months?

The key to making an important purchase such as a mattress is to look for one that will guarantee you a good night’s sleep.  Unlike big box stores, mattress companies that sell their products directly will offer a better satisfaction guarantee and stand behind their product.   The Nectar mattress, for example, offers a lifetime warranty, free shipping and is the only one I have seen that offers a free trial for an entire year!

If you’re not sure of whether or not your mattress is contributing to your postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s worth trying out a new mattress to see if anything changes.  Try a Nectar mattress for an entire year plus get $125 off using my affiliate link.

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8. Use a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets are all the rage right now.  They have proven benefits to reduce symptoms of anxiety and help improve sleep.  The best part is, they’re a simple tool that doesn’t require anything other than just cuddling up and getting comfortable.

The simple science behind a weighted blanket is that it creates a sensation of safety, similar to being hugged or held.  The heavier the blanket, the more it stimulates your skin and sends messages to your brain that you are safe and protected.  This allows the brain to stop worrying and rest for a while.

Consider purchasing one through Weighted Comforts.  Not only do they offer a wide variety at competitive prices, but they’re also sewn by refugees living in the U.S.


9. Grow a potted plant

There are several plants that encourage a proper sleep environment.  Having a potted plant on your nightstand or anywhere in your bedroom can purify the air and rid it of any toxins or negative energy.  Some plants with scented flowers, such as lavender and jasmine, can actually induce sleep.  This is a beautiful and easy way to encourage your mind to feel at ease enough to sleep.

Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have much of a green thumb.  Start with one plant and research it to find out how to take care of it.  Many houseplants are low maintenance, so as long as you don’t completely neglect them, they will thrive.  Be warned though, growing houseplants can become a very addicting hobby…

15 Soothing Bedroom Plants to Help You Sleep


10. Start sniffing

Using scents is an easy way to transition the brain into a relaxed state.  The National Sleep Foundation even suggests using scents to help you get a better night’s sleep.  In order to battle a case of postpartum anxiety insomnia, you should consider everything that you are inhaling in your bedroom – from dust and allergens that could be trapped in your carpet or mattress, to the fabric softener you use on your sheets.

There are several different ways to incorporate scents to help your mind and body relax so that you can not only fall asleep… but stay asleep!  Scents that are good for relaxation and inducing sleep include Lavender, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Valerian and Frankincense, but the list goes on.  You can try these in an essential oil (either a roll-on or in a diffuser), a linen spray, candles or scented satchets.  You can even purchase Lavender-scented fabric softener to use on your sheets!


11. Try some background noise

One of the biggest problems with postpartum anxiety insomnia is the brain being unable to stop spiraling at nighttime.  Something worth trying is distracting the brain through the use of background noise, such as gentle instrumental music or white noise like rain sounds.  You could purchase a sound machine, but there are also several white noise playlists on Spotify.  There are even apps that you can download that have a large selection of different sounds as well as other sleep aid features.


12. Don’t be afraid of the dark

Our brains are hardwired to associate sleep with darkness.  With postpartum anxiety insomnia, it’s easy to look around the room and find a hundred other things to worry or think about.  Reduce the amount of outside stimulation by making your bedroom completely dark.  You can install blackout blinds or wear a sleep mask.  Eliminate anything that your eyes can focus on, so cover up the blinking light on the TV and turn your digital clock around.  If you start to feel anxious in the darkness, remind yourself that you can turn on a light whenever you want to, and that you are in complete control.

Online Therapy
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13. Keep a bedside journal

It’s true that we often think of the most important (or completely unimportant) things while we’re lying in bed.  The thought of possibly forgetting about it in the morning can cause a certain level of anxiety and disrupt our sleep.

Writing in a journal or worry workbook before bed can help to eliminate some of the extra thoughts in our heads, but often we have a brainstorm as we’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep.  So keep a journal or notepad and pen beside your bed so that when these seemingly important thoughts come to mind in the middle of the night, we can write them down, go back to sleep and know they will be there in the morning.

14. Increase melatonin levels

Melatonin is a sleep-regulating hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies.  For a woman with postpartum anxiety, those hormone levels could be out of balance causing the insomnia.  While melatonin supplements are readily available, they run the risk of causing side effects, just as with any other drug.  They could also cause problems if a mother is on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds or breastfeeding.  If you plan to start a melatonin supplement for postpartum anxiety insomnia, always check with your doctor first.  However, there are ways of increasing your melatonin production naturally.

A lot of it has to do with diet.  Foods that are rich in magnesium can help your body produce more melatonin.  Pineapples, oranges, bananas and tart cherries are also rich in natural melatonin and make great bedtime snacks.

Months of waking up several times in a night to feed the baby or go to the bathroom during pregnancy, etc., can cause your natural melatonin production to slow down.  A change in seasons and increased hours of darkness can also have an effect. You can help correct this by exposing yourself to bright, direct sunlight during the day, and sleeping in complete darkness at night.

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15. Track sleep patterns

The best way to know if you are truly suffering from postpartum anxiety insomnia is to keep track of your sleeping patterns.  Tracking your sleep habits for a week, or a month or longer is a great way to help you identify what is keeping you from getting the best night’s sleep possible.  You can write them down in a sleep tracker log or  download an app that will track your sleeping patterns for you.

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Sleep deprivation is very dangerous to a mother’s mental health.

If you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep then you’re at risk for suffering from postpartum rage, intrusive thoughts and a variety of physical symptoms as well.   Consider trying cognitive behavior therapy if something specific is keeping you awake at night.  But if you’ve tried everything you can and still find yourself suffering from insomnia, make sure to speak to your doctor.

For more information about the effects of sleep deprivation, check out this guide from Yoo Health.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Katelyn’s Postpartum Depression Story

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6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Too many mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety put off seeking help or getting the care they need.  One reason for this is because they just don’t know where to go or who to talk to.  And even if they did know, the idea of leaving the house for appointments can be both inconvenient and terrifying.

The good news is that, thanks to modern technology, there are many ways for a mother to get online help for postpartum depression from the comfort of her own home.  Not only is it convenient, but it makes it easier to find the right person to speak to.  Instead of having to rely on resources available locally, women now have access to an international panel of experts.

Here are some ways that mothers can access online help for postpartum depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression *This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


Try Online Therapy

One of the best ways for moms to get help for postpartum depression is by speaking to a therapist.  But it’s also something that many women avoid doing for several reasons:

It’s tough to arrange for childcare during appointments, especially with a brand new or exclusively breastfed baby. 

There is a lot of stigma around “going to therapy” that may deter a mother from choosing to do it in public.  

With so many horror stories of mothers being treated like criminals, they may avoid speaking to someone without knowing how that person will react first.

Finding the right therapist can be difficult.  It sometimes requires a referral from a doctor, which can delay the process.

Having to make phone calls to set up appointments, get dressed to go out, interact with others socially and feel judged by everyone along the way is an exhausting task for mothers with postpartum depression.

Mothers don’t always feel at their worst between 9 – 5, Monday to Friday.  Some therapists might offer an emergency number to call but that would mean inconveniencing someone and mothers aren’t usually down for doing that, no matter how bad it gets.

Signing up for online therapy can solve so many of these problems.  On sites such as Online-Therapy.com, you have a better chance of being matched with a therapist that is right for you.  You have the ability to speak to your therapist through a live chat or e-mail, which makes it much more convenient.  You can even purchase sessions for just one week at a time, so there’s no huge commitment if you find it’s not for you.

With online therapy you also get a variety of other tools and resources at your disposal, 24/7.  You can access an online forum for therapy members, yoga and meditation videos, workbooks and more.  You get so much more than just a therapy session, and you can do it all right from home.

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Make a Phone Call

Sometimes, when you are having a really bad day, you just need to talk to someone who understands.  A helpline is designed specifically for that purpose.  While not technically considered online help for postpartum depression, it’s still something that you can do from the comfort of your own home and have access to 24/7.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to speak to someone urgently:

In the US: 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8225

In Canada: 

Call the National Crisis Services Canada Number 1-833-456-4566 and you will be connected with the closest provincial crisis center to your location.

Internationally:

On the Befrienders Worldwide website, you can search for suicide helplines by country.  The website is also available in different languages and provides resources and information about mental health.

For general information, support and resources:

Call the Postpartum Support International’s Helpline 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD) It’s a messaging system so you would have to leave a message and then someone would get back to you as soon as possible.  It is NOT meant for emergencies, but rather, to find out where and how to get help.

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Send a Text Message

Texting is a newer way that moms can get online help for postpartum depression and many support groups are making this an option.  It is so much easier for a mother battling a mental illness to send a text message when she’s overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings, rather than speak to someone over the phone or face to face.

In the US:

Text HOME to 741741 for any type of crisis and a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7.

In Canada:

Text HOME to 686868 to access the Crisis Text Line in Canada.  This text line is managed by volunteers and is a division of the Kids Help Phone.

Text Crisis Services Canada at 45645 anytime between 5 pm and 1 am and get a response from someone at the crisis center.  A live chat option is also available on their website (also between 5 pm and 1 am).

You can also text the Postpartum Support International’s Warmline at 503-894-9453 for information and to get support and resources close to where you live.

Many local support groups also offer their own text line, so make sure to find out what they are and store them in your phone for emergencies.

Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Join a Facebook Support Group

Facebook support groups are a great way to get online help for postpartum depression.  Not only will you be able to find some posts that you relate to, but you’ll see that you’re not alone in your struggles.

If you’re not big on communicating with strangers, it helps just to read some of the posts and comments.  If you have a particular question, you can search for it in the group and see if someone else has already asked about it.  It’s a great resource to get peer support and advice for postpartum depression and anxiety.

Some of the groups that I’m in and would recommend:

Postpartum Support International – Group Size: Large (8,000 + Members).

If you have a question about treatment options, symptoms, previous experiences – this is the place to go to get your questions answered.  PSI’s support group is a mix of health care professionals, therapists, sufferers and survivors.  If you have a question about anything related to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, you will find it here.

Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group – Group Size: Medium (4,000 + Members).

This group is a very supportive one and the perfect place to go and vent about what you’re feeling.  If you just need someone to talk to or share your story with someone who will understand, then the women in this group are here for you.

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group – Group Size: Small (3,000 + Members).

What I love about this smaller group is that you really get the chance to connect with other members.  If you’re seeking more than just a sounding board, and hoping to make friends and build a support system to help you through this difficult time, then consider joining this group.

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Hire a Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula is someone who comes to your house after you have a baby specifically to help you out.  They are not like a nanny, in that, they are there to support you and not simply to take care of the baby and the house.  They are trained to recognize the early symptoms of a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and can direct you where to get help.  Most can be hired to work a night shift so that you can get the sleep you desperately need.  I consider this a form of online help for postpartum depression because searching various websites is generally the best way to find the right doula for you.

There are several websites you can use to find a doula in your area:

DONA International

One of the most widely recognized doula certification organizations – you can search their database for a postpartum doula near you!

ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association)

A non-profit organization that supports doulas and other professional childbirth educators.  Their list includes both certified and non-certified doulas.

Doula Match 

You can search a database of over 10,000 doulas in Canada and the US and the best part is that you can enter the dates when you would need their services to make sure that they are available before contacting them.

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Download an App

There are so many apps available to help with almost any kind of problem you’re experiencing.  Online help for postpartum depression in the form of an app is so convenient and always at your fingertips.  Instead of scrolling through social media on your phone, download a meditation or self care app to use regularly instead.

PPD ACT

This is part of an important research study but also provides resources for women with postpartum depression.  Read more about it on the Pact For The Cure website.

MGHPDS (Massachusetts General Hospital Perinatal Depression Scale)

This is a good one for new moms who are concerned about developing postpartum depression or anxiety.  It contains questionnaires to assess your mood and stress level and will remind you to take them again every few weeks so that you can document any changes.  The questions are similar to those used by medical professionals to check for maternal mood disorders.

Virtual Hope Box 

This app was originally designed by the military to help patients coping with PTSD.  It’s recommended by therapists as a supplement to treatment for stress and anxiety disorders, but it can be a great tool for a mother battling postpartum depression.  You have the ability to add happy photos or video memories, favorite songs and quotes and access tools for coping with stress and anxiety.

Headspace 

Practicing meditation and mindfulness are great ways to help with postpartum depression and anxiety. This popular meditation app is easy to use and has sessions ranging from 1 minute up to 10 minutes.  It’s perfect for a busy mom with only a few minutes to spare.

SleepBot or SleepCycle

Sleep problems are a big component of postpartum depression and anxiety.  An app that tracks your sleeping patterns can help you avoid some of the nasty side effects of sleep deprivation.

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Online help for postpartum depression should never be a replacement for help from a medical professional.  Always make sure that your doctor knows what you are feeling.

But also, get educated.  Know who to call and how to take care of yourself.

When my battle with postpartum depression began, 6 years ago, I didn’t even have a smartphone.  Aside from a few brochures that I was given in my doctor’s office, I had very little information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  Now, almost anyone can access online help for postpartum depression.  There is so much more information for struggling mothers, that it would be a shame to let it all go to waste.

Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource Library
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Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression 6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

The Truth About Scary and Intrusive Thoughts

Scary and intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of postpartum depression.

Intrusive thoughts lead many women to believe that they are terrible people, unfit mothers or a danger to their children.  While many women experience them in some form, they don’t always recognize that they are intrusive or involuntary.  Instead, they believe that the thoughts are how they truly feel, or what they are thinking subconsciously.  They don’t talk about them for fear of what others will think of them.

It’s important to speak up about intrusive thoughts, but before a woman can do that – she needs to understand what they are, where they come from and what they mean.  This is the only way she will be able to accept that the thoughts she is having are not who she has become, but rather, a side effect of her mental illness.

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are an idea or image that come to your mind involuntarily.  The thoughts may be extremely out-of-character and can be shocking when they happen.  They are almost exactly the same as the thoughts and images that you normally have, except that they are not created nor welcomed by you.  Intrusive thoughts are a sign of mental illness and prove that your mind is playing tricks on you.


What are NOT Intrusive Thoughts?

They are not hallucinations.

They are not third party voices in your head.

They are not an indication of postpartum psychosis.

They are not subconscious thoughts or images.

They are not part of your normal train of thought.

They are not how you truly feel deep down inside.

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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Types of Intrusive Thoughts

The most common type of intrusive thoughts or images are of doing something bad to the baby.  They can be “what if…” type of thoughts such as “what if I drop my baby down the stairs” or “what if I stab my baby with a knife.”  They can also be images such as watching the baby drown in the bathtub or crashing the car with the baby in the backseat.

Intrusive thoughts can also be about harming yourself.  Many women experience suicidal thoughts but have no actual desire to commit suicide.  Postpartum depression can cause women to experience thoughts of running away, jumping out of a moving car or falling asleep and never waking up again.  Intrusive thoughts often make a woman believe she is unfit to be a mother and that her children would be better off without her.

Another type of intrusive thought includes harming a spouse or another loved one.  It’s normal to complain about the annoying things a spouse does and imagine doing something bad to them, but when it affects your relationship or comes out of nowhere it could be an intrusive thought.  Postpartum depression, and especially postpartum rage, are often misdirected towards spouses and partners – making a woman believe that she really does hate her husband.  Add in intrusive thoughts like running them over with the car and it’s a relationship nightmare…

Some intrusive thoughts are inappropriate and violent.  Many can be sexual in nature or include things like harming animals or setting the house on fire.

Basically, any thought or image that enters your head and feels scary and unnatural is an unwanted or intrusive thought.
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The Danger of Intrusive Thoughts

Thoughts and images alone are not dangerous.  But intrusive thoughts can cause several unwanted side effects that can become dangerous both physically and mentally.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Intrusive thoughts can cause a woman to develop postpartum OCD and become obsessed with certain thoughts and images.  If she imagines the baby dying in their sleep, she may stop sleeping in order to check on baby several times through the night.

Stress and Anxiety. Knowing that intrusive thoughts are a possibility is a big source of stress and anxiety, which can worsen symptoms of postpartum depression.  For a woman suffering from postpartum anxiety, scary thoughts can cause panic attacks and other symptoms.

Acting on Intrusive Thoughts.  It’s rare that a woman would go so far as to act on her intrusive thoughts but the danger that she might still exists.  Intrusive thoughts can even lead a woman to feel suicidal.

Stigmatizing.  Intrusive thoughts play a major role in the stigma of postpartum depression.  Many mothers who try to open up about them are treated like crazy people or seen as dangerous and suicidal.  If intrusive thoughts are confessed to a person (even a medical professional) without enough knowledge about them, the consequences could be dangerous.  Its important to find a safe place to discuss intrusive thoughts.

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal
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The Truth About Intrusive Thoughts

The truth is, they are not real.  They may stem from the feelings of inadequacy or overwhelm caused by postpartum depression but they are not part of the subconscious mind.  They are a figment of your imagination and a by-product of mental illness.  In order to eliminate them, and avoid having them control your life, you need to accept that they are coming from somewhere else, and not from what’s within your heart.

How to Get Rid of Intrusive Thoughts

As long as a woman is suffering from a mental illness, the intrusive thoughts will always be a possibility.  So the only way to eliminate them altogether is to treat the underlying condition.  There are still several things a person can do to keep intrusive thoughts from affecting their lives.

Document Them.  Writing down scary thoughts as they happen can help make them less frightening.  You can write them on paper, in a journal or workbook, on your phone or use an app.  If you really want to take a stand against intrusive thoughts and connect with other women who are having them, you could even consider blogging about them.

Release Them.  Intrusive thoughts are perhaps one of the hardest things to speak out loud when battling postpartum depression.  Many people are not nearly as informed about intrusive thoughts as they should be, and this makes talking openly about them risky.  The best place to express the scary thoughts you’re having is to find a safe and positive space, such as a support group. The Postpartum Stress Center offers a safe place online for women to anonymously #SpeaktheSecret.  It helps to read some of the thoughts other women have had, and even submit your own to release them from your mind.

Online Therapy.  Speaking to a mental health professional is always a good course of action for women battling intrusive thoughts.  With online therapy, you have the option to chat with your therapist anytime throughout the day, as opposed to waiting for a scheduled appointment.  This is a great option to be able to discuss scary thoughts as they occur.  (If this is an option you’d like to explore, you can get 20% off of online therapy using my affiliate link: http://runningintriangles.com/OnlineTherapy).

Online Therapy
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Meditation.  Clearing the mind on a daily basis can help reduce the instances of intrusive thoughts.  Meditation can also help to create mindfulness in general, making you feel a little bit more in control of the thoughts and images in your own head.  Meditation, either alone or while doing yoga, should become an important part of your self-care routine for battling postpartum depression and intrusive thoughts.

Positive Imagery.  Surround yourself with sights that make you feel happy.  You can put together a photo album of some of your happiest photos and look at it regularly.  Or keep flowers and plants in your home.  Hang motivational posters or family photos on the walls.  Subconsciously, your mind will soak up all the beauty around you and be a happier place.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways to Get Better Sleep
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Get Enough Sleep.  Sleep deprivation is known for causing all kinds of problems in new mothers.  From postpartum depression to anxiety and rage, a lack of sleep is like leaving the door wide open for intrusive thoughts.  If you need to, invest in a better mattress and look into other ways to fight off insomnia.

Distraction.  Keeping the mind distracted will allow less time for scary thoughts to creep in.  Music is an excellent way to keep the mind distracted.  Try playing music in the background while you’re home, call or visit with a friend, read a book or put on the television.  Maintaining a proper self-care routine can also help keep intrusive thoughts away.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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The most important factor in dealing with intrusive thoughts is to know the difference between your actual thoughts and the unwanted ones.  Having intrusive thoughts may make you feel like a bad mother with the potential to do something harmful but it’s not the truth.  Focus on the positive thoughts and try your best to ignore the ones that make you feel anything but joy.  Accept that they are a side effect of postpartum depression and not who you have become.  It may take a while for the thoughts and images to go away, but as long as you remember that you are still you inside, you can defeat them.

Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource Library
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Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.

The Truth About Scary and Intrusive Thoughts

How To Find the Courage to Talk About Postpartum Depression

Most women with postpartum depression know two things – that they should talk about it, and that they don’t want to.

New mothers are bombarded with information telling them that they need to speak up if they just aren’t feeling right.  But they don’t – and for several good reasons.  So how do we bridge the gap between the terrified mothers living silently in darkness and the concerned support system who can only help if they know what’s wrong?

Ending the stigma surrounding mental illness would break down so many barriers.  And more women talking about postpartum depression would help to do that.

The women who DO speak up, are courageous for doing so.  They have decided to ask for help and tell their stories, despite the barriers presented by the medical system and society in general.

Here are some tips for women who want to know how to talk about postpartum depression.


*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.
**Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


Read About It

Reading the stories of other mothers can help you figure out how to talk about postpartum depression.  Try to read as many stories as you can, because each mother’s experience is different.  You never know which ones will relate to you specifically.  And if you find a story that feels like the author took the words right out of your mouth – then save it and read it over and over again.  Share it on social media or with someone you love.  Let the courage of other woman inspire you to want to share your own story.

Find some stories to read in The Ultimate Collection of Postpartum Depression Stories

Postpartum Depression Blog Posts
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More of a visual person?  You can find hundreds of videos of women telling their postpartum depression stories on YouTube

Write About It

If you want to know how to talk about postpartum depression, then you need to practice what you’re going to say.  Writing it out is a great first step.  You don’t need to be a professional writer nor feel any obligation to share your story with anyone.  Write it just for you.

Write it out on paper, in pen, so that you can’t erase or delete anything.  You can scribble words out but they will still be there like an everlasting reminder that running away from your thoughts doesn’t help.

Write about the bad stuff that you’re too afraid to say out loud.  Write about the sad stuff and keep writing even when your tears soak through the paper.  Write about all the hopes and dreams that haven’t come true for you yet.

When you’re done writing it out – you will want to burn it or tear it up into a million pieces and flush it.  But instead of doing that, find the courage to keep it.  It will help you greatly when you are ready to talk about postpartum depression.

Bonus:  Download and print this free PDF workbook to write about your thoughts in.

How to Start Blogging about Postpartum Depression
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Help Someone Else

Helping someone else who is in the same situation as you are is a great way to learn how to talk about postpartum depression.  One way to do this by joining a private online support group where you can talk more freely with strangers.  Mothers are usually quite honest and open in these groups and ask questions about everything from medications to marriage problems.  If you don’t feel quite ready to ask your own questions, then start by answering one for another mother.

Supporting someone else is incredibly empowering and can give you the courage to talk about your own struggle with postpartum depression.

Here are some online support groups you can join: (I am a member of all these groups as well)

Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support

Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Anxiety Support Group

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group 

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Talk to a Survivor

No one knows how to talk about postpartum depression better than a survivor.  I should mention that, when it comes to maternal mental illness, there are no REAL survivors because there is no REAL cure.

What I mean by a survivor is:
  • A woman who has lived through the worst of it in the first year postpartum.
  • A woman who decided she needed help and asked for it.
  • A woman who spoke up about what she was going through.
  • A woman who made changes in her life to avoid the chances of a relapse.
  • A woman who has established a treatment plan.
  • A woman who’s mind told her to end it all but she didn’t.

Survivors are still battling the pain of postpartum depression and/or are at risk for a relapse.  But survivors have one thing that you don’t… they have spoken up about postpartum depression and lived to tell the tale.  So find a survivor and ask them how to talk about postpartum depression.

I am a postpartum depression survivor, and I am always available to talk!  You can also join the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide E-Newsletter and get e-mails from me about things that are important to woman fighting the battle.  Plus – you can reply to any one of them to chat with me directly!

Running in Triangles Postpartum Depression Survival Guide
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Don’t Do It Alone

Fighting a battle alone is never a good plan, no matter how much courage you have.  It is much easier to talk about postpartum depression when you have someone holding your hand.  Asking for help with postpartum depression doesn’t always mean asking for medication or therapy.  Asking for help can mean something as simple as helping you talk to someone about what you’re going through.

Who do you want to talk to about postpartum depression?  Your spouse?  Your doctor? Your family or friends?  Find a person or group to stand with you as you do it (physically or virtually).  Having someone else there for “emotional support” can give you the courage you need to speak up, and also hold you accountable so you can’t back out at the last minute.

Online Therapy
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One option to consider if you’d like help to speak openly about your postpartum depression to your family and friends is to access an online psychiatrist.  Thanks to the privacy and anonymity that it offers, you can speak to a licensed professional, on your own time, without anyone needing to know until you are ready.  To find out if this is the right option for you, read up on some more Reasons To Choose An Online Psychiatrist from Betterhelp.com. 

Consider the Worst Case Scenario

Make a list of all the things keeping you silent.  Which one do you fear the most?  Are you afraid you will be treated like a criminal or child abuser?  That your children will be taken away from you, or that your spouse will leave you?  Maybe you’re worried that someone will judge you, say insensitive things to you or avoid you altogether?

Now make a list of all the reasons why you want to speak up.  Are you struggling and don’t know how to cope?  Do you want to be a better mother and wife?  Do you want others to know why you’ve been acting strange?  Do you feel alone?  Are you scared of what you might do?  Contemplating suicide?

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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Which list is your worst case scenario?

Don’t wait for something bad to happen before you decide to talk about postpartum depression.  Think carefully about the consequences of staying silent when you should be speaking up.  Talking about it won’t be easy, and neither is battling in silence – but wouldn’t you rather have an army by your side to fight the war raging inside of you?

Make Plans For the Future

Thinking about the future can help you decide how to talk about postpartum depression.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the darkness happening right now, but the future is that light at the end of the tunnel.  Without help or a plan to get better, the future seems bleak.  It seems like a never-ending life of sadness and despair.

Imagine what you want your future to look like.  Do you want to have more children?  Think about watching your children grow up, helping them with homework and taking family vacations.  Aim to achieve it instead of mourn what would be.  So make a 1, 5, and 10 year plan for your life.  Having a future will give you something to fight for.

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The simple act of talking about postpartum depression can feel like an insurmountable task for many mothers. 

The hundreds of reasons for staying silent are completely valid and understandable.  Postpartum depression is a private matter and there is no need for the entire world to know about a mother’s inner most thoughts and feelings.

But the hundreds of reasons for speaking up are also valid.  It will take a lot of courage, and make a person feel exposed and vulnerable.  But it means that you won’t have to fight this battle alone.  And if you don’t have to fight it alone, you have a much better chance of winning.

Don’t wait for someone to ask you how you’re feeling, take matters into your own hands and find the courage to speak up.


Ready to talk about postpartum depression?  I can help you share your story!

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A Mother’s Guide to Postpartum Rage

Are you even a mother if you’re not constantly yelling at your kids for something?  Getting mad at your kids or spouse is one thing, but postpartum rage is something entirely different.

Mothers who find themselves suffering from episodes of postpartum rage may feel like they are just unable to handle the everyday challenges of motherhood.  Or perhaps they believe it’s a sign of trouble in their marriage and relationships.  Maternal mental health disorders can have a tricky way of making mothers feel like they are failing.  And postpartum rage is one of the scariest tricks yet.

A Mother's Guide to Postpartum Rage

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


What is Postpartum Rage?

As the term suggests, it is classified as feelings of uncontrollable anger in a mother who has recently given birth.  Usually set off by something insignificant (but also triggered by valid reasons), episodes of postpartum rage come on very suddenly and escalate quickly.  They are generally out-of-character for most women and can be especially frightening to those around her.

In most cases, women do not get violent, but because postpartum rage is uncontrollable, it can manifest in violent ways such as throwing or breaking things, swearing, screaming or threatening to do something worse.

Postpartum rage stems from maternal mental health disorders such as postpartum depression, anxiety or OCD.  Similar to anger management problems, postpartum rage is caused by an underlying issue that makes it difficult to control feelings of anger.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Rage vs. Anger

It’s called postpartum RAGE for a reason.  It’s more than just anger or getting upset over something valid.  It’s not deep-sighs of frustration or disappointment.  It’s not “mom’s upset because we didn’t put our toys away.”  It’s full-blown, blood-boiling, fist-clenching rage.  How do you know if you’re suffering from postpartum rage and not just a hot temper?

  • Reacting quickly and passionately over small things (like a spilled drink)
  • Heart races and blood pressure rises when you start to get upset
  • You cannot stop thinking bad thoughts about someone who wronged you
  • Feeling violent urges or imagining doing something violent to yourself or someone else
  • Screaming or swearing
  • Punching or throwing things
  • Unable to “snap out of it” and needing someone else to intervene
  • Inability to remember everything that happened during the outburst of rage
  • Immediately feeling regret or a flood of emotions afterwards
Pin it!

Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Depression (PPD)

If you’ve ever heard the expression “depression is anger turned inwards” then a link between postpartum depression and postpartum rage makes perfect sense.  Sufferers of postpartum depression are usually seen as having very little energy, lethargic, sad and quiet.  In many ways, the opposite of what we imagine when we hear the word “rage.”

Anger is actually a very common symptom of depression.  Postpartum depression brings with it a lot of guilt and feelings of self-loathing or hatred.  Mothers with postpartum depression tend to bottle up a lot of these unpleasant feelings.  All of those bottled up emotions can, and will, eventually come out, often in the form of postpartum rage.

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Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Anxiety (PPA)

This is perhaps the most common combination of postpartum rage.  Postpartum anxiety causes a mother to be worried, overwhelmed, and feel out of control, which easily opens the door to postpartum rage.

Postpartum anxiety can create situations of distrust and paranoia, which feeds the postpartum rage.  The more situations a mother is placed in where she feels out of control or overwhelmed, the more opportunities postpartum rage has to prey on her soul.  What’s worse is that simply knowing she is prone to postpartum rage can make her mental state much worse.

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Postpartum Rage + Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD)

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is similar to postpartum anxiety in that it leads a new mother to worry quite regularly.  The difference is that with PPOCD, mothers become obsessed about doing something to the point where they can barely function if it isn’t done.  For some women, it’s obsessively cleaning the house, washing their hands or bathing baby, but it can be any kind of obsessive behavior.

If a mother is unable to perform these tasks, it can lead her into a state of postpartum rage due to a loss of control.

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Postpartum Rage + Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Stress is known to have all kinds of detrimental effects on the mind and body.  Many mothers who suffered from PTSD after a traumatic pregnancy or delivery can develop postpartum rage.  This can stem from any resentment they may hold toward their experience.  They may feel sorry for themselves and be unable to move past the traumatic events.  Or, mothers with PTSD may feel hostile towards the doctors, nurses or anyone else who she believes may have contributed to her bad experience.

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How to Manage Postpartum Rage

Step 1: Remove yourself from the situation

As soon as you realize that you’ve lost control – walk away.  It’s important to tell your spouse or partner what you’re going through so that they can intervene if necessary.  Find or create a safe space in your home that you can escape to.

Step 2: Calm down

Take deep breaths, do some yoga, have a drink of water, get some fresh air.  Do whatever you need to do in order to calm yourself down and regain control again.  Sniffing some calming essential oils are a great way to calm yourself down quickly.

Step 3: Find another outlet for your anger

Anger is an important emotion and while you want to keep the postpartum rage under control, it’s imperative that you find another way to express it.  Exercise is a great way to burn off all the pent up energy, or you could focus it towards something creative.

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How to Prevent Postpartum Rage

Ask for help

Postpartum rage can get out of control very quickly.  Don’t wait for someone to ask you if you’re alright.  Make sure that your spouse or partner knows to get involved if you lose control, even (and especially) if it makes the rage worse.  There are also counselors, online therapists and support groups available for you to talk to.

You can find more information about how online therapy can help on BetterHelp.com

Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource Library
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Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.

Treat the underlying cause

Since postpartum rage is a symptom of a bigger issue, it’s important to establish a treatment plan to get your maternal mental health back in good shape.  Supplement your existing treatment plan with stress-relieving practices like yoga, acupressure or aromatherapy.

Online Therapy
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Track your moods

Keeping track of your moods can help you to avoid an episode of postpartum rage.  By tracking the fluctuations in your mood on a regular basis, you can start to notice any specific patterns or triggers that cause you additional stress.  Download a printable monthly mood tracker and keep it somewhere easily accessible so that you remember to track your mood each day.

16 Gifts that will Boost Anyone's Mood
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Let it go

Stop holding grudges against people who have hurt or offended you.  Let things that have happened in the past remain there.  Dwelling on a bad situation will only encourage that rage, so learn to just let it all go.  Practicing yoga or meditation, or writing things out can be a great way to release those feelings and let them go.

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Replace rage with laughter

Anytime you feel like bursting out in a fit of rage, just start laughing instead.  Yes, you will look like a crazy person – white walls, straight-jacket, insane asylum crazy person.  Laughter can release that built up energy in the same way that rage can, but it’s less frightening and makes you feel something positive instead.  Laughter really is the best medicine.

Avoid stressful situations

Stress is a big trigger for episodes of postpartum rage.  Try to avoid being put into stressful situations. If it’s the bedtime routine that stresses you out, then maybe it’s time to start sleep training – or have someone else put the kids to bed.  Stay away from online mom groups that discuss controversial topics and choose a support group instead.  You may need to re-evaluate your job, financial situation and/or relationships to see what is causing your stress and find ways to make it better.

How to Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
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Postpartum rage can be a terrifying thing to deal with.  It’s often misdirected towards spouses or children and can have an effect on those relationships.  It’s important to understand that postpartum rage is a symptom of something bigger and make sure that your loved ones know that as well.  The more everyone understands about maternal mental health issues, the easier it will be to recover from them and the less damage it will do to our lives.

If you find yourself suffering from regular outbursts of postpartum rage, make sure to speak to your doctor about them, even if you are already taking anti-depressants or some other form of treatment.  Certain medications can make postpartum rage worse, so you may need to experiment with what works for you.

Running in Triangles Postpartum Depression Survival Guide
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Additional Resources

Books:

Body Full of Stars: Female Rage and My Passage into Motherhood by Molly Caro May.  [Purchase it at Chapters or Amazon]

Articles:

The Scariest Symptom of Postpartum Depression – The Seleni Institute

Postpartum Rage: When You Start to Lose Control – Mothering.com

We Need to Talk About Postpartum Rage – And Why it Happens – Mother.ly

Anger Management: 10 Tips to Tame Your Temper – Mayo Clinic

Mental Health and Anger Management – WebMD

Jordan’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Jordan’s Postpartum Depression Story”