You Are Not Alone- Thoughts on Post Adoption Depression
From the outside, I had everything I could have ever wanted. Honestly, I had been on my knees in prayer for the better part of five years to have all I have now. I had a beautiful home, a husband, and a beautiful baby boy. However, it was not supposed to be like this and the reality of that almost broke me.
When we started into the adoption process, like many of you, our eyes were on the baby. That is all I personally thought about. It shames me deeply to say that but it is the truth. All the focus was on the baby. The weight of HOW I was becoming a mother hit me when we met our son’s birth mother. However, it REALLY hit me in the hospital... and it hit me even harder after the hospital.
The day I was handed our son is a day I will never forget. I was numb, I was broken. Watching his birth mother walk out of the hospital broke me. I did not know it at the time, but it did. After we got home, the weight of the grief was heavy. Knowing I had this baby and she was grieving was not something anyone prepared me for. I tried to fix it… I wanted to fix it and I could not. I wanted her to be okay and nothing I could do could take her pain away.
I didn't even know that postpartum depression could happen with adoptive moms… that is until counseling. I remember my counselor looking at me saying, “I think you are depressed, I think you have postpartum.” I looked at her like she had four heads. Postpartum is hormonal. I don’t have that? AND in fact, I have everything I have ever wanted so why would I be depressed?
Postpartum is more that hormonal friends. It happens when mothers experience extreme stress, anxiety, and life change. The stress of not being able to fix the pain surrounding me left me feeling inadequate, alone and isolated. After all, isn’t this why I was chosen? Wasn’t I chosen because on paper I could be the “perfect mom” and here I was failing in fixing pain... which clearly means I was not adequate for the job?
No, just no.
I am writing about this to bring awareness and encouragement to new adoptive mamas. I am writing about this to encourage agencies to prepare adoptive parents for what is to come. For a soul like mine, it was hard to handle. It was hard to handle because I truly loved and still love our son’s birth mother so much. It literally broke my heart to see her and her family broken… and I did not know how to fix it.
Here is what I know now. You can’t fix it.
What you can do is confirm over and over again that you are going to keep promises. Confirm over and over again that you love them. Over time, those promises will hold more because you keep them. That builds trust and love and both of those things can heal broken hearts. However, both of those also take time.
So if you are a new mama through adoption and you feel isolated and alone, know that you are not. Reach out. Find fellow adoptive mamas that can understand your pain and help you through it. Your tribe is out there ready and willing to help you. Hang in there, mamas. You have this. xoxo Jenni