Is being Irritable and Sad Normal in New Mothers?

“For the last time Jai, I don’t know where your keys are!” Nia yelled and flung the door wide open as she stormed out of the house, her ears red with fury and her hands shaking.

She flung herself onto the white bench under the bedroom window and sat, her entire body tingling with anger.

What was with her?

All Jai had asked was where the keys were twice. She had been calm till then. Or had she?

Inside the baby started crying. Tears sprang into her eyes as her head still seethed with rage. In the distance, Jai, her husband quietly got into his car and headed to work. He just did not know what was up with his wife ever since they had had the baby. But he found it best to leave her alone when she was like this.

Nia had always been a calm and composed woman. Everyone loved how peaceful and friendly she was. So, when she started getting bouts of rage randomly, he first blamed it on hormones but when the symptoms refused to leave even after a year, he was starting to get concerned.

On the bench, Nia breathed heavily trying to compose herself. She could see their neighbour, Mrs. Srivastava looking at her.

Nia wanted to yell and throw something at her. How dare she go around spying on other people?

But what was this now? Mrs. Srivastava was walking towards her. She opened the gate and walked right in. She sat next to Nia who gazed dumbfoundedly at the middle-aged lady.

“My child,” Mrs. Srivastava said calmly, “Do you want to talk?”

It was then that Nia lost all her self-control. She put her head into her hands and sobbed her lungs out. Between sobs, to her shock she found herself telling Mrs. Srivastava everything. She just couldn’t take it anymore.

“I – I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Every other day, I just get so mad- so mad, I tell you. I’ll be calm the whole day sometimes- just doing laundry, the dishes, bathing and feeding the baby, then buying groceries. But then- then I’ll be making dinner and suddenly she- the baby- she’ll just crawl up to me to play and all I’ll want to do is scream and throw things… it’s just… I can’t explain it…”

“My child,” Mrs. Srivastava put her hand around Nia,” Have you heard of the term ‘mom rage’? It’s precisely what you’ve explained to me now.”

Nia looked up at her with wide eyes as she continued to explain,

“You see becoming a mom is no small thing. You’re suddenly made to put up with so many pressures, take care of so many things. You think you’re okay putting everybody else’s needs above yours but the whole time you’re just suppressing more of your emotions underneath. And one small prick- and pop- off you go like a balloon. And you’re afraid to tell anybody because you’re scared you’ll be labelled a ‘bad mom’ “.

Mrs. Srivastava held Nia’s hands in hers and looked at her warmly, “Dear, why don’t you see my friend? She might be of some help. Here’s her number.”

Nia took the card that was offered to her and gazed at the words engraved on it-“Dr. Meena Nambiar, Clinical Psychologist.”

“Let me tell you dear,” Mrs. Srivastava said firmly, “There is no shame in asking for help.”

With a resolved gaze Nia smiled at Mrs. Sharma through her tears, “Thank you. I’ll contact her for an appointment first thing in the morning.”


Author: Rachel Subash Thankachan, 3rd year UG student, Department of Psychology, Govt. Women’s College, Trivan.

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