It is not uncommon for women to experience a hormonal imbalance after giving birth. Moodiness, depression, anxiety, and fatigue are among the list of potential things she could encounter. Yet, when you think about what her body experienced for the last nine months, and all the changes the brain underwent to prepare her for motherhood, this is understandable. Depending on the severity of her symptoms, her doctor could say that she is going through the baby blues or Postpartum Depression.
But what if you’re a woman who didn’t give birth to your child? What if you were gifted your son or daughter through adoption? Is it possible to get the baby blues as an adoptive parent? As surprising as it may seem, yes. Even if you grew your family through adoption, adoptive parents are just as susceptible to experiencing the baby blues. Keep reading to discover what that means, what it may look like for you, and how it’s possible.
Definition of Terms
As an agency, Adoption Choices of Nevada believes that knowledge is power, and that shared knowledge is empowerment. So, in order to give you an accurate picture of what baby blues as an adoptive parent could be like, we want to first begin by defining the term itself. As aforementioned, “baby blues” is the phrase most frequently used with birth mothers. For adoptive parents, however, the hormonal imbalance goes by a different name — Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS). Its occurrence is just as common as that of birth mothers, but greatly less known, because baby blues is more recognizable.
The adoption process can take a long time, and many prospective parents spend various amounts of time waiting for everything to come to completion. All the while, their anticipation and desire for parenthood increases. Their adrenaline and emotional levels put the hopeful parents through a roller coaster effect. Then, when it’s all over…there’s nothing to sustain the ups and downs. Both the baby and brain crash into exhaustion, and sometimes disappointment, that the excitement is over. That there’s nothing else to “look forward to,” prompting them to descend into a sense of depression or PADS.
Baby Blues Symptoms
What do the baby blues as an adoptive parent potentially look like? Here are some common symptoms that are often paired with the baby blues:
- Depression — feelings of emptiness, sadness or bouts of crying — that occurs throughout the day or everyday
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Trouble focusing or concentrating
- A loss of interest in activities that you enjoy
- Thoughts of harming yourself or others
- Suicidal ideation
The symptoms most often develop within the early weeks after adoptions, when you’ve brought your son or daughter home and are redefining what normal looks like for you and your family. Perhaps unrealistic expectations you had during the adoption process finally register. Being a parent and bonding with your baby isn’t as easy as you thought it was going to be. As the adoptive parent training courses made it seem. Whatever the reason, your emotional and mental health start to slip and you start to really struggle. If not treated, your symptoms can deteriorate into Postpartum Depression, which is more complicated and longer lasting.
Don’t wait if you are feeling any of the potential symptoms listed above. Particularly because it not only affects you, but also the well-being of your child.
Baby Blues as an Adoptive Parent
Can you experience the baby blues as an adoptive parent? Absolutely. You will not have the same physical reaction as a birth mother would, but you can still struggle through the emotional and mental aspects. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, one in every five American adults experience some type of mental health issue. So, there is no shame in admitting you’re battling anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition. Talk to your friends and family. Your partner or spouse. Utilize your support system. This is one of the many reasons they are here.
Is it the same for every adoptive parent? No. Not at all. Each and every adoption story is unique. But it’s important to remain aware, just in case you notice you don’t feel like your usual self post placement. Don’t walk through the hormonal imbalance alone. Be sure to reach out to your support system, and schedule an appointment with your doctor.
We are also available to answer any questions you have, and to offer assistance in any way we can.
Adoption Choices of Nevada
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit the website here or contact us by 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
Nauert, Rick. “Postpartum Depression in Adoptive Parents.” Psych Central, 17 June 2019, psychcentral.com/news/2018/04/01/postpartum-depression-in-adoptive-parents/12519.html.