Difficult post adoption transition is normal even if it isn’t talked about much. Post adoption depression is real even if it isn’t a formally recognized disorder. I don’t want anyone to think that those are not real possibilities of post adoption life. Prospective parents, just home parents, family and friend of these parents need to be aware and be prepared for it.
Now, I have to admit that I probably had some extenuating circumstances. I may have experienced the same difficulties, but it is possible that the various events in my life leading up to travel and the first weeks of home added to my difficulty.
Events that have at times left me feeling like I was living a bad soap opera. Events that happened one on top of another in such a short span of time that it felt almost ridiculous. Unbelievable to even me, the one living it.
If you read my blog, you’re already aware of the crazy 2011 I’ve been having. Here’s a quick recap in case, miracle of all miracles, I have a new reader.
- In March, my mom started getting really sick, but we all thought it was recoverable. Around the same time I found out that I was pregnant. First complication… we were expecting to travel to Korea to pick up Peanut anytime now. What were we supposed to do?
- Two weeks later, on the same day that I found out that my mom had advanced lung cancer, I found out I miscarried. Second complication, having to deal with the miscarriage before I could fly out to be with my mom.
- April 1, my mom dies, 9 days from diagnosis, 3 days after I got to Kansas. She recognized me, I got to say good-bye but she was too far gone for conversation or anything else.
- Two weeks after we bury my mom, we get the call to travel. We’re in air by May 1st, one month after my mom passed. One month after we buried my mom, we’re home with a crying, whining, grieving hard, not sleeping, not eating, etc baby.
Peanut’s difficult transition was hard to deal with, but pretty normal transition stuff. What was not normal was my ever-increasing difficulty dealing with Peanut. My out-of-proportion reactions. My plunging into despair mode to the point where I thought I had post adoption depression. Where I thought I was not only a danger to myself, but a danger to the baby. A foreboding sense that something was seriously “off” with me.
Remember 5 weeks ago when my doctors and I decided that some anti-anxiety medications might help? Remember I had a “new plan”? I felt so much hope because everything else we tried were not working. My emotions and reactions were riding on this erratic wave. I felt totally out of control. I was on the meds two days and they seemed to help. Then I had to stop for a reason.
I felt devastated because it seemed like every time I tried to save myself, I got knocked down. Then on top of everything else, I had an added complication to my life.
Now in the interest of full disclosure, I need to add one more event to my soap opera. Two days after being on the meds and feeling high on hope, I got what in all honesty was just horrifying news to me at the time. I was pregnant.
Yup. Seriously. You just can’t make this stuff up.
Do I have to enumerate why I was horrified? Just take some wild guesses.
I couldn’t believe I was pregnant. I mean I was already living a nightmare. When I got the confirmation, that’s when I thought in all seriousness that I was actually dead and in hell. Sounds so dramatic, right? I don’t write this lightly. Remember, I wasn’t thinking quite clearly and rationally at the time.
A week after that was my last meltdown and the realization that my life was on a path that I had no control over. That some of my reactions were probably do to pregnancy hormones. It wasn’t Peanut, and it wasn’t really me. I could only control my reactions and attitude. Accepting that sometimes life unfolds in ways that we can’t understand and that the only way to get through the difficult times is with as much grace as possible. Riding the waves instead of fighting them.
Still, the whole pregnancy news was hard to accept and be happy about. When I told my therapist I didn’t know what to pray for, she suggested that I pray for peace and continued acceptance of God’s will. So, I did on Sunday. I prayed to God to please give me the humility to accept His will.
Yesterday, I found out that I miscarried. I was sad, but I’m okay. Because last night, for the first time since we’ve been home, I held Peanut and thanked God for the blessing that is Peanut. Not a mistake, not a regret, but a blessing.
Because, in a normal course of things, another miscarriage would have wrecked me. And who knows, now that I’m all of sudden fertile, without Peanut in our lives, I would have lived out the rest of my thirties having one miscarriage after another in the hopes of another child. Instead, I have my second child, born from my heart and I will live my life without any regrets. Now, we’re truly a family of four.