As surprising as it may seem, you can get the baby blues as an adoptive parent. Even though you didn’t give birth to your son or daughter, your body is still just as susceptible to the hormonal imbalance as the woman who did. However, your baby blues will look differently than her. While your child’s birth mother will experience more of a physical reaction, and will feel it more immediately, you are more apt to encounter emotional symptoms after you’ve brought your baby home.
Baby blues can affect both adoptive fathers and mothers, and can appear out of nowhere. One day you can be experiencing a cloud-nine sensation, where you feel overwhelming happiness and excitement. The next, you can be walking down the street, sleep deprived and wishing you had your old life back. But this is natural. Transitioning into parenthood is never easy — whether it’s your first or sixth time. Every child is unique, and requires their own set of needs.
So, if you feel those pesky baby blues nagging at you, here is what you can do to combat them.
1. Acknowledge it Exists
You may be familiar with the idiom, “admitting you have a problem is half the battle.” Well, when you are looking to combat the baby blues, this rings true. Fight the urge to shrug off your emotions or pretend like they don’t exist. Like they aren’t important or that they will resolve by themselves. The symptoms associated with the baby blues can develop into the dreaded Postpartum Depression, which is definitely not what you want. Instead, acknowledge that you are struggling and strive to find the best and most healthful solution for you.
2. Join Support Group
Symptoms of depression and anxiety can all too easily make us believe that we are all alone. That no one has ever walked this path before. But that’s not true. Many other adoptive parents have gone through what you are. The sudden onset of sadness. Sleep deprivation. Yes, even the loneliness. So, here’s what you can do to combat the baby blues. Join a support group specific to adoptive parents. Express your feelings. Share your experiences with those who understand. Resources like MeetUp, Healthfinder or Facebook can help you find support groups in your area.
3. Plan an Adoption Baby Shower
Another way to combat the baby blues is through having an adoption baby shower. If someone has asked if they can plan one for you, graciously accept. Let them know what dates would work for you, and if there are any baby essentials you haven’t been able to get yet. What better way to fight off feelings of loneliness and depression than to be surrounded by those who love and support you? To celebrate and be reminded what an amazing gift your baby is to your life and your family.
4. Seek Professional Help
Because the baby blues are categorized as a mental health issue, it’s important to research counselors or therapists in your area and make an appointment to meet. Counselors and therapists are equipped to help you overcome the baby blues. To dig up the root of the issue and help you find a solution that works best for you and your life. They may even suggest some lifestyle changes that will help you create a plan long term, and keep your symptoms from escalating into Postpartum Depression. Medication management, under certain circumstances, can be a potential answer as well.
5. Utilize Your Support System
Don’t face your symptoms or struggle alone. Reach out to friends and family. Those you trust, and who have been there for you every step of the way. Let them know what’s going on, and ask if one of them can come over and give you a break. See if any of them can help out by cooking meals, or helping you with housework you can’t get to.
6. Understand Things Take Time
Transitioning into parenthood won’t happen overnight. So, give yourself the time you need. Be gentle and patient with yourself, your partner or spouse, and your baby. Let the dishes, laundry and cooking slide if you need to. In the beginning few weeks and months, the focus should be on bonding with your baby and spending time with them. Establishing healthy boundaries and working to form your family unit. As aforementioned above, don’t hesitate to call in backup from friends and family. This is an ok time to take advantage of their generosity and helping hands.
Combat the Baby Blues
The baby blues, also known as Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS), can feel scary. Yet, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. The symptoms don’t last forever, and can often resolve on their own. However, there are things you can do to combat the baby blues to make it easier. It all starts with being honest with your friends, family, doctor and the mothers in your support group. Remember you are not alone, and are surrounded with people who have: 1) experienced what you have and 2) who are ready and willing to help you through it.
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.
“Postpartum Depression Facts.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml.
Rowe, Siobhan. “Recognizing and Coping with Post-Adoption Depression.” Adoptive Families Association of BC, 25 Nov. 2015, www.bcadoption.com/resources/articles/recognizing-and-coping-post-adoption-depression.