Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Adoption Stress

Apparently there is such as a thing as post-adoption depression, which can be as crippling as postpartum:
A March 2012 Purdue University study suggests 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. 
In the course of interviewing some 300 women who’d adopted one or more children in the prior two years, Karen J. Foli, an assistant professor of nursing at Purdue, says that she and her team—including Susan South and Eunjung Lim—began examining societal assumptions about adoptive parents. Among them: the belief that the mother who doesn’t carry a child for nine months or doesn’t go through labor does not require as much help after the child comes home, does not need respite care, or someone to unload the dishwasher, or a few casseroles in the freezer.
Among the issues any new mother faces, whether she's adopted the child or physically given birth, is that expectations and exhaustion can lead to post-adoption stress, although there is uncertainty as to whether:
fatigue is a symptom of the depression or if it the parenting experience that is the source of the fatigue. It may also be reflective of a lacking social support that adoptive parents receive. However, a common thread of [the research] has been an assumption that if the mom didn't carry the child for nine months or go through a physical labor, the parents don't need help in the same manner as birth mothers do.
Now I can worry about not only this, but worry about receiving a complete lack of support because I probably won't physically give birth to a child.

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