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Many women who adopt feel post adoption depression. A new report from Purdue University explored the phenomenon and found that fatigue and unrealistic expectations may contribute to the stress.
“Feeling tired was by far the largest predictor of depression in mothers who adopted,” said Karen J. Foli, an assistant professor of nursing who studied predictors of depression adoptive mothers. “It also may be reflective of a lacking social support system that adoptive parents receive. However, a common thread in my 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.”
Another predictor of depression are the unrealistic or unmet expectations that a mother has for herself, the baby, family and friends as well as perceived support, self-esteem, marital satisfaction and mother/child bonding. This is based on a study of over 300 mothers who adopted children in the last two years. The average age of the children was 4.6 years.
Being aware of these predictors can help new parents who have adopted. “Bonding with the children often comes up in post-adoption depression. If adoptive mothers cannot bond to their child as quickly as they expected, they commonly report feeling guilt and shame,” Foli explained.
Depression was higher for mothers who had incomplete biographies for their children. This was true also for parents who later discovered their children had special needs.
Interestingly, racial differences between parent and child were not a contributing factor to anxiety or depression.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Purdue
photo by Brandon Connelly
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