When me and my husband found out we could not have a child of our own the next natural step for us was adoption, we didn’t even look into IVF as we knew it wasn’t for us. We had our assessment and everything went really well, went to panel and everyone agreed that we would make good parents we were delighted and started looking for our child straight away.
It didn’t take long and just 5 months later we had a positive link with a little boy, things slowed down a little but he eventually came home after another 5 months.
When he came home it was wonderful, he was the perfect little child we hoped for. Both family’s just fell in love with him straight away and my husband took a few weeks off work and we settled into family life, it felt perfect. Then my husband went back to work and things started to change, the way I felt started to change.
I started to feel like a failure, a little lost, guilty and very sad. A failure as we had been through so much and this was the end result, I failed my family, my husband and this little child. Lost as I have worked since I was young, been around adults for all that time and now it was just me and him. Guilty because it was so hard taking this little child away from everything he knew to live with strangers and also we had fought so hard to get where we were how dare I feel this way! Sad for the life I thought I had lost. I found myself visiting people and going out most days because I didn’t want to spend time at home with him by myself. If we stayed in, I wouldn’t bother getting dressed and would spend the day in my PJ’s.
I could’t say anything to my husband because we fought so hard to be where we are, so I let it carry on. People came to visit and tell me how amazing it all was and I would smile and agree but all the time thinking how would you know, have you taken a child away from his life? Have you had to go through panels for approval to be a parent? I felt like I was alone, no one knew how I felt or what we had been through.
We still had a lot of social work visits and between been terrified that they would notice something was amiss with me and the fear they would take the little one away and trying to act like everything was fine, it was exhausting and I felt physically drained after every visit.
Finally I plucked up the courage to go to the doctor, told him everything and I was told “Just the blues after all the excitement of the adoption” and also “You need to get over it” so I left thinking I was the most selfish, horrid person in the world for feeling this way, how could I be a good parent to this little boy, he deserved so much better!
I eventually started to talk to my husband slowly and he didn’t push me as he knew I was struggling telling him and I also found a forum online that helped adoptive parents. I did lots of research and came across information about post adoption depression and recognised all the symptoms but at this point I had lost all confidence in the doctor and couldn’t go back. I found alternative ways of dealing with depression and eventually when I started feeling a little better it gave me confidence to parent this beautiful little boy.
I had to make an emergency appointment with the doctor recently and it happened to be the same doctor I had seen about the depression and he mentioned about the visit I had previously had and he said that only now has post adoption depression is a “recognised thing”. I pointed out that this is not just becoming a recognised thing and it has actually been recognised for a long time and I felt very let down by him.
I am pleased to say I am so much better now, I do still have low days every now and them but now I love spending time with my little boy, my heart feel like it misses a beat when I hear him calling me mummy!