Readers Share: Post Adoption Depression



It happened to me…
(Share your story below!)


When our daughter was about one year old, the euphoria of being a mother began to wear off, and I understood, for the first time, how difficult the loss was for our daughters birthmother. I felt very guilty and sad when I thought about breaking her heart. Our continuing contact has helped enormously. She has been unswerving in her conviction that she made the right decision; hearing her voice as she heals has been so helpful. I am a better parent, I believe, because I can convey both the sadness and the joy of adoption to my daughter. My advice? Recognize your sadness. Talk to others or keep a journal. Seek treatment if your depression interferes with life.
Amy W., via e-mail


Oh boy, did I ever have post-adoption depression. I was a brand-new mom, irritable and restless. I had no idea what I was doing. I cried a lot and slept poorly. I muddled through and finally started exercising more. Being able to talk to our daughters childcare provider, the mother of a child the same age as mine, gave me some sanity. With child number two, the depression was even worse. Everything set me off. Ultimately, I went on antidepressants. Im a much better mother, wife, and friend now. I wouldnt change any of what I experiencedit brought me here and I like where I am.
Janiece P., via e-mail


I had sudden onsets of sorrow, panic, and anxiety, and I was afraid Id never attach to my child. We had waited so long for this, so why was I sad? My supportive husband reminded me, gently, that we had spent eight years in infertility and two in the adoption process, and now, it was over. We had a beautiful daughter! We were parents! I was fortunatethe depression lasted only a few weeks, and I formed a strong attachment to my daughter very quickly.
Lisa S., Wisconsin


I found myself crying over my newborn son, wondering if his birthmother missed him, and feeling sad because I, and not she, was holding this beautiful little boy. My husband was patient but didnt understand. I finally got used to the idea of a new baby, and now feel our sons place is with our family.
Kris V., via e-mail


It was a mixture of sleep deprivation, grief for the birth
family, and the unreality of motherhood, after years of desperate longing for it. Bringing home a baby didnt erase the feeling of being an infertility patient. I became obsessively focused on the baby. I didnt eat, I didnt clean, I didnt do the laundry, I didnt leave the house. Finally, my mom came to help, and I began to sleep. The baby also began to sleep more and was easier to care for. She started smiling and responding to me. News came from our adoption agency that the birthmother did not regret her decision and was grateful for the pictures and letters. Gradually the depression passed. Support from family and friends was critical.
Tracey C., Georgia


Our first sons arrival, just before the holidays, along with jet lag and illness, set me up for depression. Fortunately, our adoption medical specialist recognized what I was going through immediately, and helped me through it. When our second son came home, I should have been ecstatic, but we had lost two referrals, as well as my dad, only months earlier. So, instead, I felt overwhelmed and unfit. Making matters worse, our sons foster family in Guatemala would have adopted him had they been able to afford it. Seeing their pain made it impossible for me to rejoice. This time, I sought counseling. I hired a helper. I made time to write, shop, and relax. My counselor said that adoptive moms seem to feel so lucky to be parents that we put our childrens wellbeing before our own. Its not good for usor our kids.
Shelli G., Ohio


We thank the readers of AF
for generously sharing these
intensely personal stories of the days
after adoption.


Copyright © 1999-2024 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

More articles like this