On January 18, 2017, was a morning like today. I woke up my Isabel and Elijah to get ready for school at 6am. While they got ready, I got ready. I had to drop off Ruthy at my sister’s so that I could be at court to hear the proceedings for my children’s case. I waved goodbye at my children on the bus shortly after 7am. Went inside and got Ruthy in the car. There was a lot of traffic. I must have dropped off Ruthy around 7:40am and tried to take the quickest route to court. Despite my efforts I made my way to the courtroom at about 8:05am.
The hearing was over. Yes it started at 8am. I tell you those court hearing can be very quick. My kids social worker came out of the room and greeted me. She told me my kids case plan had changed to severance and adoption. She then looked at me and said that I was in labor. I laughed and told her I was fine, just huge. Brycen’s due date was not for a couple more days and my doctor told me he would be a week late! Sure I had back pain, but that is normal when you are this far along right? As I started driving, my water broke. You can read the rest of Brycen’s birth story here.
That day I received two life changing news. The three kids we were fostering we would be able to adopt in the near future and we would have a new baby within 24 hours! Wow, crazy right? It is like something you hear about in the movies or shows.
However in the hospital, and the days, weeks, and months that came after I began to feel very much overwhelmed. Actually overwhelmed would not quite describe the emotions that overcame me. A dark cloud followed me around. I spent a lot of time in tears and when I was not in tears, I was angry. I felt absolutely incapable of anything. Everything stressed me out.
I was told that baby blues were normal after having Brycen, but this lasted more than a couple of weeks. It was also more than just Brycen that overwhelmed me. Sometimes I wished that I started my family the normal way… You know one pregnancy at a time.
I was overcome with guilt. How could I be feeling these feelings? I longed for these kids, I prayed for them, and waited for them. Now that I had them, I was having second thoughts. I kept these feelings hidden the best I could.
In desperation, when Brycen was 6 months old. I made an appointment with my doctor. I had to take all four kids to the appointment with me. I did break down in tears, but this was a new doctor I was seeing. The advice she gave me was to get a babysitter. At the time, this overwhelmed me more. I truly felt like a failure of a mother.
Overtime the cloud went away. I have to admit, it took months to go away. Brycen sleeping through the night probably helped the most.
I have learned a few things from this period of my life and thank goodness it is now in my past.
- PADS – Have you ever heard of it? Neither had I, until a couple of weeks ago. PADS stands for Post Adoption Depression Syndrome. Stress is a leading reason to PADS, especially when there is attachment and bonding problems. It impacts 65% of adoptive mothers and I might even add fathers. I believe Bryce went through this shortly after our kids entered our home. Something I found in adopting a child, it is like any other relationship… it takes work and commitment from both sides. Bonds might not happen over night. I cannot express enough, how important open communication is. There were so many times that I have apologized to my children and asked for their patience. I have shared a lot of my feelings with them as well, not sure if my children would understand. These conversations brought us closer together.
- PPD also known as Postpartum Depression – 20% of pregnant or new moms suffer from postpartum depression. Postpartum Depression is widely known and recognized. Some signs of Postpartum Depression include crying spells, hopelessness, irritability, anger, loss of appetite, feelings of inadequacy or guilt, severe mood swings, deep sadness, and so forth.
I never got diagnosed, but I think I had a little of both going on. The following are tips I did to help:
- I took things minute by minute. One foot at a time. Sometimes thinking about dinner, laundry, or other chores just paralyzed me. To the point that I would get none of it done. But if I tackle my tasks one bit at a time, it was a little more manageable.
- Get out of the house. Even if you have a number of chores to do, get out and do something fun with your kids. If your home is anything like mine, chores will always be there. Getting some sun and out of my house helped me breathe a little better. Read my post on Survival Guide to a New Stay at Home mom here to get more ideas of how to get out of our house!
- Join groups – I joined an adoption Facebook group and other mom groups. These helped me through some pretty difficult times. If anything, I did not feel alone in what I was feeling! I am learning a lot through the groups. The adoption group is where I heard of Post Adoption Depression Syndrome and immediately felt relief! I found others I could relate to! Sharing helps take the burden from my shoulders.
What I Wish I Would Have Done:
- I think the most important thing I wish I would have done is to find professional help. When I was finally brave enough to talk to my doctor, and I received the reaction that I did. I lost my bravery. I wish I would have continued to seek help from a professional I could trust.
- Taken more time for myself early on. It took months for me to speak up and ask Bryce to watch the kids so I could go to the store alone. I barely started doing things just for me. Recently I started arranging play dates where I could play as well! Sometimes moms are walking, while kids are riding bikes or moms are exercising while kids play! I love these mom play dates and wish I would have planned these last year!
- Get more sleep – Brycen crying caused me high anxiety that I would cater to him. I could not handle sleep training. It was not until he was 8 months old that I moved Ruthy back into our room, and Brycen in her room. He immediately started sleeping better.
- Eat Right – I skipped way to many meals and resorted way to much to fast food. You can read my post 5 Major Changes I have noticed in Meal Planning here!
If you are struggling with Post Adoption Depression Syndrome or Postpartum Depression know you are not alone or crazy! Seek out the help you need!