Friday, September 20, 2013

Dealing With Post-Adoption Depression For Birth Mothers

So just out of curiosity one night, I googled "post-adoption depression". I mainly found sites and articles about adoptive parents. "Many adoptive parents are suffering from a common complaint called Post-Adoption Depression. It's a real condition that many in the adoption community are unaware exists." That's valid, but what about birthmothers who are experiencing post-adoption depression? It's no secret that every birth mother grieves the "loss" of their child. But there's really no information out there on post-adoption depression relating to birth mothers. 

I was honestly shocked when I saw that. Without birth mothers, there would be no adoption! Sure, there's sites and articles about postpartum depression, but in a sense, that applies to mothers who are actually raising their children. I tend to stay away from that term. In this quote from the Mayo Clinic, "Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms — and enjoy your baby." The main thing that sticks out to me from that quote is to "enjoy your baby." But the truth is, I can't really do that. None of us can. 

Birth Mom Buds is a fantastic resource for us, I just wish there were more "medically accepted" articles for birth mothers to explore the disorder. Depression is depression, and you can call it whatever type you want, I'm not trying to take away from that. I just wish there were more medical professionals who acknowledged the loss we've all went through. There's so many articles on postpartum depression and even post adoption depression. The month after I placed, my adoption counselor recommended a therapist who specialized in placement depression with birth mothers. I recommend this to all birth mothers I come in contact with. (By the way, if you google "post-placement depression", it's mainly geared towards adoptive parents, too!) 

So, as of today, I'm creating my own diagnosis for our grief. "Birth Mother Placement Grief  Disorder." Sounds professional, doesn't it?! If any of you wonderful ladies would like to share your experiences with "Birth Mother Placement Grief Disorder", please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your stories/opinions. 

Until next week! 


  1. I cried everyday for a month, and if I wasn't crying I was forcing myself to sleep and refusing to eat, on the rare occasions I was even hungry. I had a break down one day and cried for 2 hours straight, I didn't know that many tears could come out of one person. I even broke down and cut my upper arm to make the emotional pain physical because physical is easier to deal with.

  2. That's a good point. I think birth others are viewed as red-headed step children, like an unwanted, but necessary part of adoption. When I speak at conferences about adoptions people never have questions for me when I finish speaking, it's like they avoid eye contact. But what I went through when I surrendered my daughter was very real and extremely painful. "Enjoy your baby"... Wouldn't that be nice, if only it was that simple.

  3. I'm about to graduate from nursing school, and I was really surprised to see this as an actual diagnosis in one of my textbooks. I have this "Nursing Diagnosis Handbook" and one of the diagnoses listed is "Giving a child up for adoption." While I have mixed feelings about the phrase "giving up", I was really surprised this was included in a textbook. Some of the sub-diagnoses it listed under it were "decisional conflict", "ineffective coping", "interrupted family processes", "grieving related to the loss of a child and/or the loss of a role as a parent", "insomnia related to depression or trauma from relinquishment of a child", "social isolation related to making choices that goes against values of significant others", "chronic sorrow related to loss of the relationship with the child", "Risk for post-trauma syndrome", "Risk for spiritual distress"

    I thought that this was pretty good for a textbook author that probably does not have first-hand experience as a birth mother. While it doesn't encompass all the feelings we go through...I just thought it might be of interest to share.

  4. I agree with this.

    Giving birth to a child and then placing it for an adoption is a very difficult situation for the birth mothers. Many birth mothers are suffering from grief after giving their child to those who want to adopt a child.

    Recently, I came across a site on internet named Adoption by Shepherd Care who is providing the service of adoption to parents and also providing the services of post adoption services to birthmothers.

  5. I completely understand. I've cried so many nights and it hasn't even been a month yet. I can't get her off my mind. Thinking suicidal thoughts and just crying and crying. I know it was for her best interest not mine but it hurts to not have her here with me, to love on her and kuss on her, to feed her and do everything a mother does. I feel like a failure as a mother but I also feel like it was my chance to save her from a mediocre life. I want for my daughter everyday, look forward to the day I can be with her.

    1. God bless you. My daughter placed her little girl right after birth with a wonderful couple, but she is still so sad and misses her baby so much. It is an open adoption so we are seeing the baby about every 3-4 months. She looks so forward to seeing her, and wants to see her so badly, but after the visit, she misses her even more it seems. I am hoping she will get some professional help soon. She has a counselor, but we both feel she needs more than that at this point. Another "syndrome" never talked about is the loss that grandparents feel. I also miss my granddaughter so much! My husband and I go with our daughter to see her baby, and I see what a beautiful child she is. I find comfort in seeing her loving adoptive parents with her, but I realize that I will not be able to spoil her the way I wish I could. My husband and I love her and truly miss the opportunity to be "real" grandparents to her. Right now, we must just try to take care of our own daughter. We are so proud that she chose adoption so that the child can have a wonderful life with all opportunities, and most of all a loving father in the home. That is why she chose adoption.

  6. Confused. I'm not even sure if it's post adoption or just normal postpartum depression. I've had some tears but mostly throughout the pregnancy and even the birth I was fine. But now I'm not so sure. Its been 2 weeks and I feel these awful mood swings. I have 2 other children (6 yrs & 17mo) And I feel overly emotional. Clips on Facebook and YouTube that normally would be funny or cute are absolutely traumatic for me to watch, usually ones involving babies. I feel so guilty. And my poor husband. I know he hurts and I can't make it better. I feel like it's my fault. If I hadn't gotten pregnant then we wouldn't have had to make such a hard decision. While logically I know it was for the best and my baby is going to have every opportunity in the world.... I just can't shake these feelings. And I know my family and friends are all watching me like a hawk waiting for me to lose it. My mother is a bipolar alcoholic who lost it when I was 10yrs old. Even though I've been told by professionals I'll never be anything like her that we are total opposites. So I've got all these unfamiliar emotions, hormones and whatever else coupled with not being able to communicate with those I'm close to out of fear that they may read too much into it and think I'm just losing it. And Google has everything in the world for the adoptive parents, and nothing for a grieving birth mother.

  7. To Mr. Jacko:
    "Post-adoption services"? Don't you believe it.
    That company gives as many post adoption services as an alligator gives "post-dinner services" to the victim.

  8. I know this is an older post but thank you. I was googling the same thing and couldn't find anything for birth moms until this post...

    My husband and I didn't want kids, at least not in our one bedroom apartment with barely enough income to take care of ourselves. But. Something about signing papers that give away all your rights to your child... It's so cold and formal. Like yup. You can't have him any more even if the adoptive parents die or for some reason are found unable to keep him, you can't get him back isn't that awesome?

    They live nearby. We see him once a week. Their parents live even closer and have invited us over for Easter. I thought that would make it easier, to see him happy. But it hasn't. I feel so inadequate. So unworthy. Like I gave up on him too soon or something. And I know he'll be ok I just wish I could have found some way to be the one to make him happy and ok.

  9. Ouch I remember the first month of misery. A week after birth I cried constantly, barely ate and tried to sleep all the time just as a break from the crying. Adoptive mom was not overly sympathetic either, has written me out of history now. Eight months later still really numb very rarely cry but have pushed everyone away and don't really know what happy is anymore.

  10. It's been 2 days since the last that I saw her... throughout the entire pregnancy I never wavered, even in the hospital where we were both kept for days post-cesarean and I had her in the room with me, doing all of the feedings, changing, burping, and consoling in the middle of the night due to highly unsympathetic nurses, I looked forward to the excitement I knew she'd bring into her adoptive parents' lives. They are overflowing with care and updates and pictures and support...but as soon as I'd been away from her for one full night of sleep, it's like the grieving switch just flipped. I feel myself sinking lower and lower, the last thing I want to do is pull her away from the future she deserves, but there's an empty space now that nothing fills...