Q. I noticed a change in my sister’s mood after she adopted her first child. She seemed to be depressed, much like post-partum depression. The entire family expected her to be elated since she finally had the child she longed for. Is this normal?
A. What your sister is going though is similar to post-partum depression. It is very real and can diminish the joy she experiences with her child. It is important that her family and friends understand the reasons and not belittle her for these feeling. Depression can come from a combination of a number of events triggering what is called “post adoption depression”.
New changes to a lifestyle of parenting full time, a long drawn out adoption process, topped with years of infertility and lack of control in either of them can cause an onset of this type of depression. Be reassured not all mothers go through this, but with parenting comes challenges. Not all women find themselves depressed, but some new adoptive mothers start feeling the let down and the tension release of the entire adoption process soon after the child comes home.
Financial stressed from the adoption can make this time more stressful also. Many new mothers find staying home and the lack of sleep can contribute to her overall well-being. Many women are embarrassed to even mention their feeling. Often the comment I hear is “well you should to be happy now”!
If a woman continues to experience depression for more than a month, she should seek the advice of a qualified doctor who works with post-partum depression or a counselor specializing in adoption issues.
Surround yourself with positive people; get fresh air and good nutritious food. Put on some a little makeup during the day, even if you are at home. I found it helpful to get out and attend a comedy shows if you can just for fun. It sometimes is a comfort knowing other adoptive mothers have gone though this and are now experiencing the joy parenting can bring. It does get better.