Understanding Postpartum and Post-Adoption Depression

Adoption is hard. Adoption is beautiful.

A moment in time where heartbreak and euphoric joy collide.

For birth moms the grief can be all consuming, overwhelming and isolating. In addition to the loss and tearing of placing your baby is the risk of all pregnant related emotions including post partum depression.

Below, we examine the differences between postpartum and post-adoption depression. We also discuss the symptoms of depression and offer some coping methods.

Postpartum Depression
Any woman who gives birth can experience postpartum depression. It is a mood disorder caused by physical and emotional factors that occur after childbirth. More specifically, changes in hormone levels and stress are the leading causes of postpartum depression.

A woman who has a family history of mental illness may be more prone to this mood disorder. Birth mothers are also at higher risk due to the stress of unplanned pregnancy.

Every woman is unique. But there are common symptoms of postpartum depression:

-Depressed emotional state
-Extreme mood swings
-Excessive crying
-Withdrawal from typical social activities
-Changes in eating habits
-Noticeable shifts in sleep patterns
-Loss of energy and increased fatigue
-Lack of enjoyment in things that once created joy
-Extreme anger or -Irrational hostility
-Feelings of worthlessness, shame or guilt
-Difficulty focusing or making decisions
-Intense anxiety, possibly accompanied by panic attacks
-Thoughts of death, suicide or self-harm

Please seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed by depression or if you are having thoughts of harming yourself. Postpartum depression is a treatable condition and typically fades over time.

Post-Adoption Depression
The main difference between postpartum and post-adoption depression is the cause of the emotions. Postpartum depression is a treatable disorder caused by hormonal changes. And post-adoption depression is a natural part of grief that one endures with various coping methods after placing a child for adoption. Many of the symptoms and feelings are similar making it hard to determine whether you are dealing with postpartum depression or post-adoption depression. In either case, we recommend that you seek professional help.

Coping With Postpartum or Post-Adoption Depression
There are things you can do to cope with these issues. Below are some examples of what you can do to manage this condition.

Talk to Your Adoption Advocate/Counselor
Adoption counselors at Destiny Adoption are here to help you through the entire process. Your adoption specialist and/or counselor will help you prepare for the emotions you are likely to feel after placement. If you are experiencing post-adoption depression, they will provide guidance and help you find the tools to maneuver through the overwhelming emotions. It is important to communicate to your adoption advocate/counselor so they can help you determine if in addition to the adoption related depression you are experiencing post partum depression and need to see a doctor.

Speak With Your Doctor
Your doctor can screen you for depression and prescribe medications to treat it. Be sure to let your doctor know what is happening with you both physically and mentally.

Your Support System
You are not alone. The key to coping is asking for help. Whether you are dealing with postpartum depression or post-adoption depression, others can help you through it. Reach out to friends and family for help. Talking with people who love and support you can be instrumental to your recovery. There are also birthparent support groups to help you connect with others who have experienced similar situations.

Please contact us 24/7 for information and assistance by calling below or connect with one of our support groups HERE.

You can also find more resources HERE with Postpartum Support International.