The adoption process is not an easy journey. It involves a lot of mixed emotions, high hopes, long waits, frustration, and excitement. After a child is placed with them, sometimes adoptive parents experience what is known as post adoption depression syndrome. Usually, it is hormone fluctuations related to birth that can cause postpartum depression. The truth is that every adoptive parent carries a big emotional burden before and after adopting, and this can impact the way they think and feel. If you’re worried you might be suffering from this condition, there is hope.
What is post adoption depression syndrome?
The term post adoption depression syndrome rocked the adoption community when it was first introduced in 1995, with the suggestion that adoption doesn’t mean instant fulfillment and happiness. One of the reasons this syndrome occurs is that during the adoption process, some parents feel that they need to prove they will be fit parents. Once their child is placed, they struggle with the fact that they don’t feel like they are the perfect parents they meant to be.
Once the placement occurs it is not unusual for you as a parent to feel like a failure or feel like something is wrong with you because you don’t instantly bond with your baby, but it is not healthy to hide your feelings and carry all that burden by yourself.
Most Common Symptoms
If you are worried you are experiencing post adoption depression syndrome, many who have suffered it report some of these similar symptoms:
- Feeling worthless, powerless, or hopeless
- Excessive guilt
- Feeling incpaable of raising a child
- Feeling depressed most of the day
- Inability to concentrate on everyday tasks
- Loss of energy and ambition
- Lack of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Changes in sleeping pattern
- Retreating from family and friends
How to Cope with Post Adoption Depression Syndrome
To deal with post adoption depression syndrome, your first task should be to seek support from others, and communicate with other adoptive parents since this is vital to your emotional health. Don’t be afraid to ask your adoption social worker for help. There are also some amazing books on this topic in which you can find inspiration, as well as a way out of your depression. You are not alone, so try to talk to your partner, friends, family, and other adoptive parents because different stories can truly inspire you and even help you feel less sad. However you do it, the important thing is to not keep your feelings to yourself.
It’s important to keep in mind that the connection with a new baby is not always instant, even for biological parents, and it is normal for it to take a little time to feel that special bond with your child. It’s also extraordinarily common for parents — however they came to be parents —to sometimes feel as if they aren’t doing a good job. No one is perfect.
It can be difficult for parents to admit to themselves and acknowledge to others that they are having a hard time with something they have wanted for so long. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your new baby and the rest of your family since it is difficult to beat those feelings of post adoption depression alone. If you think you can’t handle it any longer, take some time off and try to write what you feel, give your feelings a name, and acknowledge them. Take care of yourself and take as much time as you need to overcome the feelings of post adoption depression syndrome.