My Post-Adoption Depression: It was as crippling as postpartum, and much less recognized.
No one goes into adoption expecting to be the one in four or five adoptive parent who experiences post adoption depression. Here is a well-written piece from Slate, by a mom who experienced this after adopting her son.
For the first time ever, I was depressed. And as far as I knew, there was no name for the state in which I found myself. I couldn’t, after all, call it postpartum. I hadn’t gone through the hormonal roller coaster of pregnancy and recovery. I hadn’t experienced labor and delivery, nor was I breast-feeding, which some adoptive parents successfully train their bodies to do. Moreover, I’d had a clean bill of mental health as we moved through the adoption process. (In fact, any history of a prospective adoptive parent’s using antidepressants or receiving counseling of any kind, whether or not it’s related to depression, can derail their chances of adopting a child from certain countries, South Korea among them.) Nevertheless, I was in the throes of an adoptive parent’s version of postpartum depression.
It turns out I was not—am not—alone. A March 2012 Purdue University studysuggests that between 18 and 26 percent of adoptive mothers struggle with post-adoption depression, brought on by extreme fatigue, unrealistic expectations of parenthood or a lack of community support.