Amy Rogers Nazarov recently shared her story of post-adoption depression at Slate. She describes what happened after adopting her son from South Korea in terms that I know many of you will recognize:
Not only did I obsess about the icy stairs, but I became preoccupied with how to defend Jake from imaginary carjackers. I started practicing unbuckling him quickly from his carseat. I began missing work deadlines, ignoring calls from friends, wearing the same ratty black pants day after day. Sleep was strangely elusive: Even at the end of an exhausting day caring for this bright-eyed, sweet little man, whose smiles were coming more frequently, I’d lie awake in bed as if my eyelids were screwed into the open position.
Along with her personal story, Amy shares information on adoption depression from a recent study that found some of the causes for this illness are, “… extreme fatigue, unrealistic expectations of parenthood or a lack of community support.” Somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of adoptive mothers may end up with post adoption depression.
In a piece for Adoptive Families, Doris Landry suggests that it’s okay if you don’t feel the “magic bond” you expected after bringing home your adopted baby or toddler, and that if symptoms of post adoption depression persist, such as irritability, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, or excessive worry, you should, “… ask your physician and/or your adoption social worker for a referral to a qualified mental-health professional who understands concerns surrounding adoption.”
We’ve shared a handful stories from mothers who have had adoption depression here at Postpartum Progress, and I hope to have more. Here are a few of them:
And as Amy shares in her Slate piece, there’s a great book written specifically for moms going through this called The Post Adoption Blues. Be sure to check it out if you’re looking for more information. Also, the Department of Health & Human Services has a special section on depression after adoption, with links to several articles that may be helpful. Finally, you might also enjoy this post from advocate Julie Gumm.
Photo credit: © Kheng Guan Toh – Fotolia.com