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Really struggling

(45 Posts)
Whatutalkinboutwillis Wed 26-Feb-14 10:53:13

Our lo has been home 15 weeks now. We also have a bio ds with 3 years between them. From morning till night there is fighting and tears from one of both of them, they wind eachother up all the time but also wouldn't be without eachother.

I don't feel any further forward in my feelings for my new ds than I did when he came home. I look at him and see a gorgeous perfect little boy but feel no maternal love for him. I just don't know what's wrong with me I'm finding it all so so hard. My dh works a lot so it's just me with the boys a lot and I feel all I do is shout. I have turned into the type of mother I never wanted to be and ds1 is always saying please be happy mummy. It breaks my heart.

Since starting adoption leave I have gained a stone and feel fat and lethargic all the time. I constantly tired and worn down. I don't recognise myself right now.

I want to love this child and to be the happy family I always imagined. He has attached to us so well and seems to happy here. He trusts us and has settled no problem. The issue seems to be me. I just can't see a light at the end of the tunnel and am scared to ask sw for help incase they take him away.

When does the love come? I feel nothing but irritation and like its all pretend. Everyone keeps saying how wonderful he is and how happy we must be but the truth is so different. None of it is my child's fault he is the perfect child for us I know that much but I feel so numb towards him.

Is this normal?

notanothernickname Wed 26-Feb-14 11:25:57


I think that in lots of cases this is true and perfectly normal. We are currently waiting to go to matching panel and one of the social workers for the children asked us how we would deal with exactly the feeling that you are talking about - so it must be quite common.

I feel so sorry for you dealing with all the emotions that you're currently going through, but you should not feel guilty about it. It sounds like you're doing everything right - ie fake it until you make it.

Have you talked to your social worker about how you're feeling. I know that as part of our adoption preparation, and homestudy we also had to look at Post Adoption Depression, which is relatively common, so it might be that they can get you some help or a least someone to talk to about how you're feeling.

I'm sure that the love will come soon and in the meantime just keep on doing what you're doing.


Choccyjules Wed 26-Feb-14 11:29:52

Hello, I am still in the assessment/approval process so more experienced people will no doubt be along soon.

But I wanted to say that through our training and reading, there have been a number of times when post-adoption depression has been brought-up and it seems to be fairly common. You sound like you may be strugglig with this at the moment. I have had post-natal depression so I have some experience and your final paragraph really spoke to me, obviously that's only my take on how you are feeling.

I wouldn't expect your sw to be negative about you saying you had a problem, as I said, the issue seems to be being more recognised these days. However, as you say, they have the power so maybe you could ring the Adoption UK helpline instead? They have published articles about PAD so they know about it and accept it happens, quite a lot.

Anyway, wanted to say that from what I read, you aren't alone with these feelings. I hope someone comes along soon to talk to you about when the love comes. Take care.

Whatutalkinboutwillis Wed 26-Feb-14 11:48:31

Thanks both of you. Just knowing someone is out there listening and not judging me really helps.

I had Pnd with my birth son and when I look back the feelings are similar so that makes sense. I have the same feelings of isolation as I did back then.

We have not had the easiest start to my sons placement with a lot of family stuff going

Whatutalkinboutwillis Wed 26-Feb-14 11:51:29

Sorry posted to soon ...

Family stuff going on in the background which has made things harder. It also feels like when you give birth people make allowances for the fact you have a new child and need space to grow as a family. With adoption I have felt its just been like oh well get on with it. I don't think I have had one single person ask me how I am doing. Sounds so selfish but I want to scream help me please. Nobody seems to get that this is just as hard as when you bring a baby home from the hospital if not harder. Sorry I am rambling now it's just the first time I have opened up.

MyFeetAreCold Wed 26-Feb-14 12:05:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ghostinthecanvas Wed 26-Feb-14 12:06:19

Just flowers

We are 2 years in and really struggling which is probably not what you want to hear right now but the feelings of attachment are growing. Slowly. On both sides. I often feel we are simply a convenience, specially for the youngest. DH and I very recently realised he may be suffering from post adoption depression. He kept it bottled up though. You probably need RL help now too. It is great on here because people get it. Are you being honest with family/friends or do you feel they will judge you? I feel a bit stuck sometimes because this is my choice sad and I don't want to moan.
Meantime, don't beat yourself up. Start every day anew. Your DS1 sounds very attuned to you x Try to spend 10 mins a day as a trio doing a pleasant activity. Increase the time slowly. Be guided by the boys, when they start to grizzle, take control, positively end the activity. Reinforce how much you are looking forward to doing it again. Fake it til you make it as they say. Trust me, my stress levels rose just writing this so I know how hard it is but it works!

ghostinthecanvas Wed 26-Feb-14 12:08:25

X posts, sorry.
Do you have any friends who have adopted? Do you feel comfortable telling us roughly where you live, maybe an MN meetup would be helpful?

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Wed 26-Feb-14 12:21:01

<hugs> I'm sorry you are feeling like this

Not feeling love is normal, completely normal. You haven't known each other for long, and love is something that can take many months to develop. I have 3 children, and for my eldest 2 it took me well over a year to really feel love. It took less time with my youngest, but it still took months until I really felt that I loved him. So there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, if you don't feel anything yet.

With you feeling really bad, lethargic, and recognising these feelings as being similar to your PND - how long have you been feeling like this? If this continues, then I would say to go and see your GP. Post adoption depression (if you develop it) needs medical attention

I completely agree that people often expect you to get on with it when you adopt, and that's hard.

Hang on in there. If you need us to sound off too, we're here x

Whatutalkinboutwillis Wed 26-Feb-14 12:28:43

My feet are cold...... You made me laugh!! So I'm not alone in this then? Thanks all of you for your support and understanding.

Yes I have a dh. He works a lot though so not around that much. He is good at taking them out for a few hour at the weekend but that's normally when I get caught up round the house. Or I go with them as I feel it's the only family time we have together.

No I have not told any real life friend how I feel as frankly nobody has asked. Tried talking to dh but he quickly reminded me this is what I wanted! My mum and I have been kind of estranged since the day we met ds on intros but that's another story. But one i feel that has had a huge impact on my ability to relax with my new son.

That was good advice about spending time doing activities with both the boys. They are 3 and 6. I am going to really try tonight. I have become over reliant on the play station and tv as its the only think that stops the fighting and gives me a break. That in itself is so bad I know.

I just hate the person I have become. Moody and snappy and just a horrible mum. Neither of them deserve it they are just being kids and both have done so so well in coping with all the change.

We live in Scotland I have had a look for support groups but can't find any. Have barely seen my social worker since he came home I think just twice. She is great though and I know if I asked her to come she would but its not
Something I'm prepared to chance.

Whatutalkinboutwillis Wed 26-Feb-14 12:32:53

Sorry crosse post lilkas. I have been feeling like this probably to a degree since ds first came home but the tiredness and stuff probably more so the last month. I just can't seem to shake it off. None of my clothes fit I just seem to be piling on weight as my job was very active and I just don't seem to have the get up and go to do anything. (Apart from raiding the bloody fridge)

Thebluedog Wed 26-Feb-14 12:39:46

I think everything you are going through is completely normal.

We have a dd placed with us about 4 months ago and a birth dd who is 4 years older. I had to separate them into different rooms this morning as I was so pissed of with the arguing an tears!!!

I also know what you mean about the shouting. I say to myself each day that I won't shout today then I find myself starring in my own episode of Eastenders smile

But what I will say is each day is different. And each week is different. Dd2 is changing on a weekly basis now and attaching and bonding. And me with her (although some days more so than others).

Do talk to your SW and your GP. They are all there to help. I thought that I had to pretend that everything was rosy, when it most certainly wasn't. Our SW have been brilliant and as a result we've put off petitioning court as that was just another pressure for us.

ghostinthecanvas Wed 26-Feb-14 12:44:31

I am near Perth. PM me if you are in the area. If you want to, of course! Your social worker may point you in the direction of groups. Also, foster carer groups. Permanent fostering is similar to adoption. We all feel the same. Even down to eating. People say to me I will be active with my 3. Eh. No. I sit on my backside eating rubbish. I have just finished my third milky bar..... blush

MyFeetAreCold Wed 26-Feb-14 14:08:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Crusoe Wed 26-Feb-14 14:17:45

Sounds perfectly normal to me. 15 weeks is really a very short time indeed. It sounds dreadful to say but it took me 6 months before I got any joy from being with my ds and much longer than that before I could truly say I loved him.
I hated those early months so much and that is one of the reasons we have not adopted again. I read somewhere to "fake it until you make it" which I tried to do but it was so hard.
I too had loads of people telling me "you must be so happy" and I was in reality the complete opposite. I resented my son and felt a great loss for my old life.
Are you in contact with any other adopters locally. It was only on hearing that others had felt the same as me that I started to feel normal and that there might be a way through what I was feeling.
Might be worth speaking to your GP too - post adoption depression does exist and can be treated.
Go easy on yourself, it is still really early days ...

Meita Wed 26-Feb-14 14:28:58

I haven't got much to contribute but wanted to say I'm sorry that you are struggling. It sounds like you are doing a really good job overall, but it's hard to see that sometimes. When you're feeling down, you tend to focus on the negatives.

One practical idea though, you said you don't want to 'risk' talking to your support worker, but how about if you called her up and said: 'I am keen to get in touch with other adopters locally, can you point me towards someone, or do you know of any groups?' That doesn't sound too bad, does it? And additionally to getting the actual info, you would be keeping the lines open, making a positive impression (pro-active, seeking communication), and perhaps getting to know the support worker better, so perhaps in the future you would hesitate less to contact her, for whatever it may then be.

Happiestinwellybobs Wed 26-Feb-14 16:03:54

I've been there, although without the added pressure of a birth child. I suffered with post adoption depression. I felt very little towards DD apart from feelings of 'what the hell have we done'.

No one asked how we were getting on. I had DH's relatives knock on the door, complain that DD was napping and wasn't up for them to see, and then leave immediately without asking us how we were doing. That coupled with an interfering MIL who made our lives hell for the first weeks/months, so I do understand how family issues add to how you're feeling.

What got me through it? The fake it til you make it mantra. I only told a few close friends later (when those feelings had gone, how I'd felt) and not a single one had guessed. And going out every day, even if it was just a walk to the swings. As long as I could escape from the house once a day I managed to get through it without completely falling apart.

We never covered depression as part of our prep, so I felt it a taboo subject. I felt as though people would judge me. I had wanted a child for 10 years, so why wasn't I happy? But actually all our friends who I told were nothing but supportive and I wish I had asked for help sooner.

I can't really remember when my feelings changed towards DD. I was looking at some photos the other day and trying to think when I had started to love her. It just gradually happened. And now, nearly two years later, I could not love her more.

You are not alone. I hope you find RL support, but keep talking on here too smile

Exellis Wed 26-Feb-14 17:50:14

Oh my goodness I could have written this post. I too have put on weight since placement more than you if it makes you feel better! We are approaching a year into placement and most days I feel it is all just so tough a slog and boring! I feel they rule the house and I have no control. Like you I never wanted to be a shouty mum but sometimes things get on top of you. Especially two at once is tough I feel like I am a constant referee! Just let you know you are not alone and all this talk of PAD does my head in sometimes it id just pure exhaustion and wanting a break!

Devora Wed 26-Feb-14 18:35:07

You poor love, I have been there and know how you feel. tbh, I didn't like myself very much in our first year with dd2 - this beautiful child, who needed us so much, and my predominant feeling was one of resentment and desperation to get a bit of time and space to myself.

3, nearly 4 years on, I'm still not getting time and space, but I do love her to distraction. IT TOOK A LOT LONGER THAN 15 WEEKS. Most people seem to suggest that about a year is a reasonable timeframe to expect to feel something that could be described as love, but of course it keeps building from there.

So, you're normal. Now you need to work out how you can get some support and space to keep yourself moving forward. I'm going to think some more on this and come back to this later this evening. For now, I just really really wanted to assure you that you far from being alone, and that there is everything to look forward to.

allthingswillpass Wed 26-Feb-14 19:12:09

Hi What
I just wanted to show support. We are 8 months in and our LO is 2.8 and I'm not sure if I could cope with wall to wall battles with him and another child.
It's so hard for all of you. Your 6 yr old is having to share his mum and his toys and I think it's safe to say that we all are shouty mummy sometimes.
We used to say we'll wipe the slate clean each night and start again tomorrow.
When does the love come? I think it's different for everyone and I certainly felt it before DH.
You are right about the network thing too. I actually said to the SW during our prep course that suspected the support I thought I would get from friends/family would come from unlikely sources and I was right.
I found that being at home in an area where lots of my friends returned to work after the lo's were at school was lonely and the only other people off were other adopters so they were and are my network apart from my In laws.
Nothing prepares you for hitting the ground running with a toddler and I imagine it's totally different to learning to parent with a newborn in the privacy of your own home. With a toddler it's much more public and very very few people get it!
It gets better but I found that even now we get out every day. Diluting we call it and TBH LO would rather be out than in.
Finally, your SW does not want this match to breakdown so she will help and support you and should not judge. If she does. Complain!

Whatutalkinboutwillis Wed 26-Feb-14 19:57:14

Thanks everyone. You all taking the time to share your experiences with me means so much and makes me hope there will be light at the end of the tunnel. One day!

We do have a good routine and go out every single day we are rarely at home. Looking at things the main problems are when the two boys are together it's very stressful and also ds2 never actually wants to do anything so actually getting him to go somewhere is always a battle so I feel stressed before we even leave the house.

It's been a bad night I just feel so low. Dh is away so it's just me and the boys. My throat is sore from shouting as when they kick off its the only way they will stop and listen. I don't want to be that person. I hate the mum I am at the moment and like said above every night I say tomorrow will be better, I will handle things better but it never happens. I feel like I could cry for a day! I have just let things get so bad and can't see away out of it.

Poor ds1 came out of school upset as I had not turned up for his class open afternoon. I totally forgot. I never have before and just feel awful. My head feels like its whirling round at a million miles per hour and I just can't see a way out.

Matildathecat Wed 26-Feb-14 21:03:36

Poor you. I sympathise so much.

Have you tried posting on the Adoption UK forum? You will get lots of good advice and support fro experienced adopters.

There is no shame whatsoever in asking for help. Not asking is much more worrying. In fact it sounds as if your dc are kind of sorting themselves out. Please be nice to yourself and ask for more help.

Ps you allude to a problem with your dm that sounds as if it is very important to you. Can this be addressed?

Best wishes to you and your family.

Whatutalkinboutwillis Wed 26-Feb-14 22:06:12

I have not tried adoption uk today and here is the first time I have spoken about how things are going.

The issue with my mum is long running. It came to a head on the first day we met our son when she sent me a email telling me I am basically a rubbish mother and my older son's ADHD is down to bad parenting on my part. I could go on and on telling you the different vile things she said but I won't bore you. It was disgusting and to do it on the day we met our little boy after enduring 9 years of infertity, 6 Ivf's, 3 miscarriages and a 16 month adoption journey I will never understand why she felt the need to shit all over our special day. It's just the tip of a long story but it really floored me and made me doubt myself and abilities to care for both the boys.

ghostinthecanvas Wed 26-Feb-14 22:18:17

The best way to piss on her parade is to be happy. You sound very capable. You have managed 15 months. Reaching out here for help is strong and a first step. Possibly you should head over to the stately homes thread. Unfortunately there are a lot of us on here recovering from toxic parents flowers

crazeekitty Wed 26-Feb-14 22:18:42

Oh my goodness, I know how you're feeling - minus the dh and minus the second child but the lack of attachment. Have you read all the lovely advice people gave me here:

It really helped pull me through a very dark and scary weekend and now I'm feeling much calmer but still guilty for not being slushy and loved up over my little one.

In the last couple of weeks I've been to the GP and spoken to a therapist (Barnardos attachment therapist - super) and only now I've started to look after me have I noticed that the odd little feeling of fondness towards DD has been creeping in. Yes, I still want to scream and shout and find irritation is my default setting but the odd glimmer of hope is appearing. I'm six months in btw.

So based on what others told me and what is starting to work, I would advise to look after you first and foremost and see what develops when you are feeling more emotionally stable.

I see Matilda has recommended AdoptionUK and I know a lot of people have had positive experiences on there but I got shot down in flames the first time I rather clumsily tried to post how I was feeling. Approach with caution maybe. People on here are far warmer I find but each to their own.

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