A Few Things to Expect After Adopting a Newborn
You’ve may have seen the movies, read the books, heard the stories, and know that parenting a newborn is no piece of cake. Adopting a newborn is something you might have waited awhile for, and finally receiving the call is exciting. But sometimes things don’t go as expected, and that’s okay. Here are a few things to expect when adopting a newborn:
Prepare for the questions
People are naturally inquisitive, and will love to hear about your baby. Prepare for the basic questions like:
- “How is life with a baby?”
- “Do they sleep well?”
- “Are they fussy?”
But also prepare for questions pertaining specifically to your baby, as people don’t understand that some questions can be sensitive. Aside from the basic baby questions, when adopting a baby, get ready for personal discussion like:
- “Where are they from?”
- “Do you talk to the birth parents?”
- “Will you tell them they’re adopted?”
After adoption, people tend to get curious about the process. The questions that may come your way are endless, but remember you’re not obligated to answer anything that makes you uncomfortable. Have a response prepared if you’re uncomfortable getting personal. When it comes to your child’s information, think about how you would feel if someone shared something sensitive about you, if you think it will embarrass or hurt them down the road, consider not telling people.
It’s normal for people to visit when you have a baby. With adopted babies, it can become even more intense, often with plenty of the above questions to follow. Having a newborn can be time consuming, and having constant visitors may seem inconvenient, but it can also be helpful.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and in some cases, that can be true. It can be helpful to welcome visitors, as you may need help. When people ask to visit, they will often ask to help as well, keep that in mind before you turn them down.
If you aren’t feeling up to it, or just plain do not want to, don’t force it. You don’t have to accept visitors every day, and you likely won’t. Having a newborn is tiring and you may often find yourself ready to relax.
Post-Adoption Depression is Possible.
Just like postpartum depression, post-adoption depression is possible. If having a newborn is not what you expected, or you’re anxious about the baby, consider seeing a doctor. Feeling depressed after adopting is not uncommon, and is likely due to stress. It does not at all reflect on an individual’s ability or desire to be a great parent.
Some signs you are experiencing post-adoption depression are:
- Excessive amounts of guilt
- Loss of enjoyment
- Feeling hopeless
- So many more
If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, here are a few things that may help:
- Self-care – Take time out of your day to be yourself. Having a newborn can be consuming, but don’t be scared to ask for help. Your mental health is important when raising a baby, and can be beneficial for you both.
- Don’t rush a bond with your baby – Bonding with your baby can be stressful, and it takes time for some families, it’s important to be patient.
- Connect – Find a group of people going through the same experience, the power of conversation can be powerful.
- See a doctor – Professionals can help. If you don’t want to go to a specialist, friends and family are your best bet. People often want to help, take advantage of that.
You know yourself better than anyone, and if you think you’re experiencing post-adoption depression, that could be the case. Get help if you need it, and know that you’re not alone as post-adoption depression is estimated to impact around 65% of adoptive mothers.
Enjoy your time with your newborn, because it will go fast. But don’t forget about your own health as well. Being a parent is a learning experience that almost never ends. Remember to prepare a response ahead of time for questions that may be uncomfortable, welcome visitors only when you want, seek help if you think post-adoption depression is something you’re experiencing, and spend quality time with your baby whenever possible.