Finally! After months or even years of waiting, after endless procedures, the long-awaited child has finally arrived. And yet, despite the joy of welcoming this new member of the family, the mother may sometimes become anxious and irritable after a few days. Can parents experience baby blues after adopting a child? It seems they can!
Becoming a parent is a major upheaval, regardless of whether the child is biologically yours or not. In Canada, it is estimated that more than half of all natural mothers experience an episode of postpartum blues, which manifest as tearfulness, irritability, sleeplessness, mood swings and a feeling of vulnerability. This episode of melancholy can be very short-lived or last several weeks. Fewer than three percent of biological mothers experience severe post-partum depression.
Just like birth mothers, adoptive mothers can feel isolated after the arrival of their child. While post-partum blues are mainly hormonal in origin, an environmental component can also play an important role, which explains why some adoptive parents can also experience the baby blues.
The good news is that you can prepare for the arrival of your child in order to reduce the odds that you will suffer from a period of melancholy during the adjustment phase. Here are some tips:
- Establish a social support network early on: friends, family, support groups for new parents… it’s important to surround yourself!
- Establish a routine that includes physical exercise and personal time.
- Sign up for a class and go to the library or the park in order to meet other new parents.
- Focus on short-term goals. Do something pleasant every day, like going for a stroll, taking a bath or talking to a friend.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you feel you need it.
It’s important to prepare for the arrival of a child well in advance. And if you believe a friend of yours or a family member may be suffering from post-partum depression, offer support and reassurance. She is not alone. Helping her feel less isolated is an important step towards recovery. Don’t hesitate to speak to your pharmacist, who can help you find resources that are available in your area.