Post-adoption depression is more common than many think. Both adoptive and birth parents can experience this hardship, and at first glance, resources for help may seem scarce. In order to dig deeper into post-adoption depression in birth moms specifically, Noelle posed a few interview questions to an anonymous birth mom.
What inspires you?
“In general life or in adoption? In general life, the desire to be a good person, do the right thing, go to heaven, that sort of thing. In adoption, other birth moms who walk the adoption journey. Without the support from other women who have walked in my shoes, this would be a lonely lonely life.”
How did you decide to place your baby for adoption?
“I was (sort of still am) homeless and abusing drugs. Living on the streets with a kid isn’t the most ideal situation. Besides, they would have taken the baby away at the hospital anyway. I’d rather her be adopted than go in the system and be in foster care.”
When did you first start feeling post-adoption depression?
“Probably before being released from the hospital. I got to hold her and spend some time with her. It was really hard letting her go. I felt like I was making the wrong decision and the right decision all at the same time. The next few days were hard too because everything hurt. And like, I didn’t have anything to show for it. But at the same time, it was bigger than me, ya know? I took the pain so she can have a good life and strong family.”
What kind of physical and mental exhaustion did you experience?
“Physically the pains after child birth. I can’t even imagine recovering through all that with a newborn! Hats off to moms, right? Mentally it was a roller coaster. I felt really good and strong and happy some days and others I cried. I felt like I was missing a piece of me. That faded though with time. Now I see her pictures and I know I did all the right things.”
Can you pinpoint a time through your experience that you felt supported?
“Really the whole time. The social worker with Adoption Choices give me anything I needed, even maternity clothes! I lived in a hotel like apartment and got lots of financial help.”
What does your support system look like now?
“It’s really just me. I’ve made some friends with some other birth moms and I keep in touch with my social worker sometimes. But I don’t got any family or anything.”
How is your treatment progressing?
“I feel a lot better. It’s been 3 years since the adoption and I don’t cry or anything. I’m really happy that she’s in a good life with a good family. I hope she will want to meet me someday so I can tell her why it had to be this way. I don’t want her to hate me or grow up sad thinking I didn’t want her.”
Are you comfortable openly discussing your post-adoption depression? Why or why not?
“Sure I guess. Mostly because other birth moms have helped me process different feelings and emotions so I want to help someone else too.”
What advice would you give to a birth parent placing their baby for adoption?
“Stick with it. You are choosing adoption for a reason. If you’re like me, they’re going to take your baby away anyway. You don’t want to put her through that messy life. Just give her a family that can afford to make her life good. Giving birth hurts, the books don’t express the pain. That could be another whole article! The TRUTH about giving birth.”
What do you wish you could change about your experience? What are you grateful for?
“I’m grateful that I found an agency to help me. I don’t know what I would have done, maybe secretly given birth and dropped the baby off at a safe haven. Man, that would have been devastating. But I’m so glad I had adoption as a choice and got to pick a family for her. I guess what could I change is never got myself in this situation to begin with. Either not been homeless and using or not gotten pregnant. But that’s not right to think like that. God makes things happen for a reason.”
The process of placing a baby for adoption can be an incredibly difficult and conflicting decision, which can ultimately lead to post-adoption depression. However, like the amazing birth mom above mentioned, the decision to place the baby for adoption could save their life. That being said, post-adoption depression is still real and can have devastating effects. That’s why it’s important to treat all birth and adoptive parents with kindness, respect, and gratitude for the brave decisions they make to ultimately try to make someone else’s life better. If you’re ready to choose adoption, contact Adoption Choices now!
Noelle Norris will be graduating in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and French from Regis University. She has been an English/writing tutor for two years and has loved writing ever since she could hold a pencil. Noelle lives in Denver and hopes to cultivate her passion for story-telling.