Research Identifies Anger As a Symptom of Postpartum Depression


Postpartum Depression pic
Postpartum Depression

Throughout her career as a nurse in Illinois and Wyoming, Judith Abraham has accumulated diverse experience in perinatal care. As perinatal case manager for Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, which honored her with its I’m Your Advocate award, former Wyoming professional Judith Abraham supported the development of a postpartum mood disorder program.

According to a data review recently published in the journal Birth, anger often coexists with mood disturbances in women who have recently given birth. There had previously been very little examination of maternal anger in the many research studies examining postpartum depression, perhaps because the stigma against the emotion in some cultures can cause women to hide it. However, because both events can put children at risk of later emotional challenges, it is important to examine the process.

To start the process of understanding postpartum anger, researchers examined 24 peer-reviewed studies that addressed postnatal depression and anger. The authors found that the two frequently linked emotions are related to mothers’ feelings of powerlessness in their relationships and financial situations, as well as to a sense that they lack the support that they need.

The researchers also associated anger to a disconnect between reality and prior expectations of motherhood. These expectations may be imposed by the mothers themselves or by their communities, which may pass judgment on bottle-feeding and other child care practices. Study authors believe that further research is needed to understand the connection between postpartum depression and anger, particularly as it relates to outcomes for mothers and children.