I was talking to a group of moms the other day and the subject of Post Partum Depression came up. One of the moms told me she had heard of Post Adoption Depression and wanted to know if it was real. Without going into too many details with these women, I told them that it was very real, since I lived it. I have blogged before about how the first 8 months after returning home from China with Tahlia were difficult. Truth be told, they were some of the most difficult months of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I have even completely overcome it. I am still trying to come to terms with what happened to me and I thought that blogging about it once again might help me and maybe even someone else. Those first 6-8 months were supposed to be a time filled with happiness, new discoveries and love. I am not talking about love for Tahlia. I loved her since the very first moment she was placed in my arms. I am talking about a love or life, a love for motherhood and a love for myself. I had none of those. I used to rock Tahlia to sleep at night with tears streaming down my face and with me trying to hold in the sobs that I so desperately wanted to let out. But I didn't want to wake Tahlia and at first I was trying to hide my feelings from Matt. The lack of sleep took a major toll on me and the constant clinging of Tahlia even more so. I remember hearing about a case of Shaken Baby Syndrome and understanding how something like that could happen. I can so understand someone being pushed to a point where he or she just snaps. That might sound terrible to some of you, but I can see how it might happen. During those first 8 months, that used to be my biggest fear. I was so afraid that I was going to do something to hurt Tahlia. I remember Matt being out of town one week and we were still in that time where Tahlia would scream and cry for hours and hours at a time. It was about 3 A.M. and I had been trying to soothe Tahlia since before midnight. I was exhausted because she would do this every night. Matt wasn't there to help me and I was at the end of my rope. I remember putting Tahlia in her crib and going outside. I sat outside in my bathrobe, on the front porch just sobbing. I wanted to run away, hide in a dark hole and never come out. I don't know how I got myself together, but I eventually did and by the time I got back inside, Tahlia had cried herself to sleep. That morning I called our social worker to tell her how I was feeling and that I needed help. She got it for me and things got better.
It is funny how I can still feel all the emotions I had during that time. Just typing all this takes me right back there. Like I said, I am still trying to sort through all this myself...I recently read an article in Adoptive Families Magazine. The author was describing a very similar experience to the one we had. His newly adopted daughter would cry and cry at night and it all sounded so familiar to me: The tiptoe-ing through the hall after finally getting to Tahlia to sleep, being so scared to wake her up again. The holding of our breaths as Matt and I finally laid back down to go to sleep, because we were expecting Tahlia to start crying again any minute. The clinging to each other for hopes of Tahlia staying quiet...Tahlia has been sleeping through the night for several months now and the memories of those first months are starting to fade a little bit. I am loving life again, I love being a mother - well, most of the time ;-) and I am learning to love myself again. I am still struggling with guilt. Oh, the guilt that comes along with motherhood is something I just cannot describe. But then I look at a picture like the one above and I see a woman who looks happy. A woman with a few more wrinkles on her face than 5 years ago, but a woman with two beautiful daughters and one amazing and supportive husband. Together with her husband she is turning these two beautiful daughters into two great kids and I am proud of that.