The term Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome was coined in 1995 by June Bond to describe the anxiety, stress, and depression several adoptive parents go through after the adoption process is complete. This is a REAL concern and you are not alone. Adoption is a very emotional process that can be both exhilarating and incredibly exhausting.
It is common for adoptive parents to struggle with feeling resentful, guilt-ridden, depressed, and confused in addition to being overwhelmed with joy as they anticipated. Often people are at a loss on how to handle these feelings. Our experience has made us able to offer guidance, and support as you transition through these times.
Post-Adoption Depression is generally triggered by a few different key factors:
Recovering from Adoption Stress
Adoptive parents face all the same stressors that new biological parents encounter post -adoption. These include changes in their daily routine, lack of sleep, extra responsibilities, financial strain, and bonding/attachment challenges. While everyone knows that taking care of a child isn’t easy, most people are left overwhelmed when faced with the reality, which is often significantly more than anticipated. This is especially true for first-time parents.
One of my biggest suggestions for new adoptive parents is treat it as though you went through the birthing process. After labor/delivery moms are told to take it easy for 6-8 weeks; postpartum recovery. Even though you didn’t physically labor/deliver baby—our biggest suggestion is that you take a 6-8 week postpartum period. Rest when the baby rest. No heavy lifting. Call in ALL the support you can get!
Relationship With Partner
Not only do babies rock a relationship but add in the adoption process and well, it can be a stressor to your relationship. Make sure you are taking time for the two of you, and keeping the lines of communication open. It is okay to feel sadness and loss for the people you were, and still be extremely excited about your new life. Also, understanding that different people process things differently. Be there for your partner and be their safe space during this time.
It is not uncommon for the adoption to reignite feelings of loss and grief over their infertility problems. Wishing you could have carried that new baby in your arms or wondering if you will be able to have a baby again are all very real feelings.
Post-adoption depression can also set in. This is similar to the letdown that most people experience after achieving a great milestone in life, such as graduating from college or getting married. Your life has revolved around paperwork, survival, and risk… when your adrenaline slows down, and you slip into your new “normal” all of those repressed feelings can kick it into high gear.
Signs You Might Be Experiencing PADS:
If you think you might be experiencing post-adoption depression, there are several signs that you can look out for. These include:
· A reduced interest and fulfillment in activities you previously loved.
· A feeling of excessive guilt
· Difficulty making decisions or concentrating.
· A morbid sense of hopelessness
· Persistent fatigue and lack of energy.
· Notable weight changes (loss or gain).
· Lengthened sleeping hours or difficulty falling asleep.
· Feeling powerlessness
· Feeling worthless
· Increased Irritability
· Suicidal thoughts
How To Handle Post Adoption Depression
The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. Roughly 60% of first-time adoptive parents admit to having experienced post-adoption depression. Do not think there is something wrong with you or that you do not deserve the bundle of joy you have been blessed with.
The second thing you should know, is knowledge, education, and support can help you. Most adoptive mothers/ fathers recover from post-adoption depression after some weeks or a few months. Your recovery time depends on several factors and the approach you take in dealing with post-adoption depression. We have listed some excellent suggestions to help you overcome post-adoption depression.
Ask For Support – You Are Not Alone!
Yours isn’t an isolated case. As many as 60% of adoptive parents report feeling post-adoption depression. You have several people who have faced similar challenges or who are experienced with them. Connect with other people who have experienced this challenge. Talk to your family and friends for support. You should seek professional assistance if you feel it’s required. Do not shy away from help.
While self-care is essential at all times, it’s especially important when you’re experiencing post-adoption depression. Make out time to perform activities you love. Exercise, rest, take breaks, and ensure you get sufficient sleep.
Do Not Rush Bonding
While some people instantly bond with their adopted child the first time they see them, most of us require time. Attachment can be quite a slow process, be patient and give yourself time to bond.
One of the natural reactions to depression is withdrawing from everything, especially whatever is causing the pain. Most adoptive parents struggling with post-adoption depression might shy away from caretaking duties. While this is mainly done not to make the situation worse, the reverse is always the case. The months immediately after an adoption is completed are periods for closeness and togetherness. These are what is required to build love and create a bond between you and your child.
Talk To A Mental Health Provider
You are at greater risk if you are predisposed to depression. You should contact your doctor, counselor, or mental health specialist for professional assistance.
We want to end this article with a reminder. There is nothing wrong with you if you’re suffering from post-adoption depression. It doesn’t mean you do not appreciate the child you have been blessed with or aren’t “worthy” of the blessing. You will be fine. You are not alone. Visit our website here, call us at (321) 355- 2010 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our services and how we help you deal with post adoption depression.