This is a fairly new concept for which there tends to not be much research mainly because it cannot be pinpointed by a drop in estrogen levels. We’ve all heard of Postpartum depression when it comes to mothers who deliver children in the “normal” sense. Adoption is an extraordinarily emotional process, by turns exhausting and exhilarating. For excited parents-to-be who are completely absorbed by the multitude of details involved in adoption—and eagerly anticipating the joy of their new arrival—one aspect of adoption can come as a shock when it hits: post-adoption depression (PAD).
PAD is relatively unknown compared to the widely publicized postpartum depression but it can be equally as difficult on new parents. When feelings of elation give way to the realities of life with a new baby in the days, weeks, and months following the adoption of a child, depression can creep in. Just like biological parents, adoptive parents must adjust to the exhausting responsibilities that parenting entails; feeling tired and overwhelmed in the early days of parenthood isn’t the exclusive experience of biological parents.
We all know the signs. Depression, feeling worthless, indecisiveness, suicidal thoughts, diminished interest in activities. Let me state for the record, that I am not feeling PAD whatsoever. I am completely overjoyed, have no signs of depression, and am feeling extremely confident and quick on every parenting decision that needs to be made. As well as confident in them.
Nonetheless, one issue in which accompanies PAD (but not Post Partum) is the feeling of possessiveness. This is something that I feel I slightly I have. I admit I have a tinge of selfishness within me when it comes to my daughter. As egoistic as it sounds, I feel I earned the right to that. We planned for her, we were the ones who lost sleep over the process, we did all the work, we earned and saved the money, and I educated myself on the way I wish to parent. This is certainly not something I am proud to say I have and and I do not wear it proudly like some badge of honor.
A man or woman grow up, go to school, date, meet their mate, marry, have babies. Its all the path they are suppose to lead down. For someone like me who was told from the beginning that they will “never have a family”, “never get married”, “die of AIDS”, “never live a full life” all because I am gay, I can’t help but fully own and grasp onto what I was told I would never have. I own my marriage and my relationship and want no one telling me how to be a husband. I work at it everyday to be a good partner, in-law, family member to his family. I own the fact that I am now a father and wish to make my parenting decisions because I was convinced I would never be able to. I enjoy researching and raising this little one who was only something I was able to day dream about.
Everything I read states that it will slip away over time. Certainly knowing the person that I am, it most certainly will. Don’t get me wrong, I am not the type of person who holds Reagan close to me and shoots daggers at anyone who looks at my child. I am more than thrilled to pass her to anyone who wants her. I love sharing my daughter with everyone. so when I speak of possessiveness I strictly speak of her well-being and nothing more.
in any event, Post Adoption and Post Partum depression is something to be taken very seriously. I have sisters in my life who are currently pregnant and would never want them to experience anything like that because they are wonderful woman who should not be clouded by something such as depression. They should be able to take their wonderful personalities and shower them directly onto their children, without pause.