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Post-Adoption Depression in Adoptive Parents

September 22, 2016

Many people have heard of Postpartum Depression, a period of depression suffered by a mother directly following childbirth. What many people don’t know is that a similar type of depression can affect adoptive mothers. It is estimated 18% – 26% of mothers who become parents through adoption suffer from Post-Adoption Depression. While there hasn’t been much research on fathers, the process of becoming a father through adoption is the same as for the adoptive mother. For this reason, it’s estimated that just as many adoptive fathers suffer from Post-Adoption Depression.

Many adoptive parents spend their time during the adoption process demonstrating that, not only are they fit to be parents, but that they can be super parents. When the child arrives in the home, parents can struggle when they don’t meet these unrealistic expectations they’ve set for themselves. Post-adoption depression can be induced by worries that you won’t be good enough parents, that you didn’t make the right choice, or from being overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities.

Most of the symptoms of Post-Adoption Depression are congruent with those of general depression and can include:

  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling of guilt
  • Lack of pleasure in activities
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling socially withdrawn
  • Feeling emotionally unconnected

If you’ve noticed that you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important that you seek help immediately – especially if you have thoughts of hurting your child or yourself. As an adoptive parent you may not have endured nine months of pregnancy, but you put just as much energy into deciding to adopt and completing the adoption process. Post-Adoption Depression is a common emotional response that can affect any new parent faced with the daunting task of raising a child.

During the post-adoption adjustment, your family will be going through many changes. Everyone is going to have to adjust to this new way of life and adapt accordingly. It’s normal for all the pieces to not fall neatly in place. What we want to do is help you nudge those pieces into their proper place. Feel free to call us at any time at our Mississippi Office 1.662.842.6752 or at our Tennessee Office 1.615.378.7099.