Getting Ready for Change!

I read an article in Adoption Today (a magazine I get sent as a member of Adoption UK - well worth visiting the website if you haven't already) about Post-Adoption Depression.

It's a real thing apparently. A bit like post-natal I guess, as a result of the massive shock to the system suddenly finding yourself with a child despite all of the training and preparation, etc. that you undergo. And the fact that despite having to cope with being a new parent, you and your child don't necessarily "fit together" straight away, as you don't have that biological connection.

I think it's the one thing I am most afraid of. Though I imagine, it's something all new mothers worry about - realising at the end of it all, that you've bitten off more than you can chew! That all the preparation in the world, can't prepare me for exactly how I'm going to feel when I've driven home with "my" child, we've climbed the steps to my house and shut the door on the world behind us.

I know a lot of it will be instinct and gut feeling. I know that my instinct now is that I absolutely will not feel anything less for this child than I would for one of my own, which is probably an insane thing to say given I've never had one of my own. I'm not saying I will feel the way a natural mother will feel as I think physcially that may be impossible, but I know in my bones I will love the way a natural mother would. I know that today. When it happens though.. ?

The article says that mostly the depression resolves itself as you settle in to your new role, but can require more specific support to help you come out of it. How awful must that feel.. and lonely. To know that after you've spent probably a year telling everyone that will listen that you're ready and you want it, only to find that suddenly you feel you're not ready at all, that it's not how you imagined it would be. To be honest, I'm amazed it's not common.. for birth mothers and adoptive mothers.. I mean, how can you possibly know!?

I guess all you can do is try to think as much as possible about what it will be like. I'm reading books and books about adoption, coping with traumatised children. Even books on how to be a good single parent! A single parent friend of mine laughed when she saw it.. "you can't learn that from books honey" and she's right. I know she is, but any knowledge is knowledge worth having as far as I'm concerned. Even if I read the book and discard 90% of it.. if there's even a little that's useful - emotional or practical advice, I'm taking it!

I've started obsessing about how my life is going to change. I guess it's the only way to be able to properly think about it sensibly. For example - My house has 2 outside lights, but you have to switch them on from inside. I always forget and find myself getting home in the dark. I live a little out of the way and some nights it's pitch black - no street lights. I have to get through a gate, up steps and round a rose bush to get to my front door and most of the time if I don't fall up the steps, I end up crashing into the roses! When it happened the other night, I was suddenly struck with.. what if I had a child with me? What if I was carrying her from the car? With no one to rush ahead and turn the light on for me..

And today. I've been a little ill and started a course of antibiotics. Made me feel really groggy and I ended up falling asleep on the sofa for a few hours. What would I do if I had a child to entertain? Bad enough having to keep the cats happy. And with no one to take her out for a bit so I can get some rest..? I'd just have to battle through till bedtime of course but it's easy to see how you could end up feel depressed faced with exhaustion, illness and no one to share the load.

I know these things are no different for single mothers everywhere, not just the adoptive ones but I think it's still going to be an important part of the process to identify just how my life is going to be different. Else how will I know what changes to make in order to be as ready as I can be? Now I've thought about it, I can get the lights replaced with the ones that will come on via sensor. And I can start thinking about babysitters, or other forms of help.

I wonder what other changes I'll have made by D-day..


  1. Took the words right out of my mouth! I woke up last night in such a panic imagining there was a child asleep in my spare bedroom and the idea that I was all there was to protect her/him from a) running out infront of a car, b) getting some random nasty illness, c) any other random grim happening, had me in a right tizz. I guess like you say all first time parents have these fears but as singlies we'll have to take a greater level of responsibility and thus line up more back-up for ourselves so we can cope. And know that shit might happen but we'll manage.
    I'm a week away from telling my mum and dad, so am rehearsing confident lines like this!
    Cornflower x

    1. Oh good luck Cornflower! Are you worried about how they may react? Most of my really close friends know now. Just plucking up the courage to tell 2 of my co-workers as it's important for them to know for work but.. they're both blokes lol. Though parents admittedly.

  2. wonderful reading..thank you. i panicked the other day when i was out of breath carrying my dog up the hill, as she had hurt her paw. how on earth am i going to manage to carry a child ;-)

  3. Funnily enough I just wrote about this on my blog, it is very real but I didn't experience it until my second adoption.

    If you are ill, CBeebies makes a great babysitter! I had to have an operation within a year of adopting my daughter and you do cope, you di battle though, honestly!

    1. Yes I think I may have to invest in all those Pixar movies!

      Hang on.. what do you mean carrying!? I can barely lift my cats!.. Damn it.. better add getting back to the gym to the list.

  4. Actually there is NO difference from adopting to carrying a child. The 'panic' of having a little dependant to look after is STILL the same, the emotions still there, the 'fear' of have I made the right decision - still there!
    I carried a child for 9 months, and only after 'plonk' he arrived did I realise the full weight of what just happened and what I had gotten myself into. Enjoy this part, enjoy the preparations, and the nerves and the fears and ever single emotion 'rearing a little life' brings to you. It's all part of preparing your mind and soul for the changes to come. And they are good changes!!!