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What have I done

57 replies

Abijah46 · 11/02/2019 16:45

Hi all
So I am nearly ten weeks into placement and I have struggled right from the start - through intros and getting a routine in place. Initially I was very practical in my approach as our LO - now 9 month old boy had a rather odd set up with a very emotional foster carer who had barely even started weaning and had kept him very baby like. I coped fairly well but had some emotional outbursts with all the demands. So now we have a good routine and LO sleeps but I have a deep anxious feeling of 'what have I done' !!!? My OH is shocked but supportive as I have longed to be a mum for many years and I have to say I shocked too. I feel burdened and that my life is over. I'm 47 as well so an older mum and I'm feeling like I will never accept the decision we have made !!! I have read on here others experiences and it will get better but my anxiety is mainly about ..... Will it .... will I bond? Will I love? Will I enjoy it ??? I'm wondering if I should call SW and say please take him as it's not fair on him !!!! Assurances would be greatly received 😐

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Ted27 · 11/02/2019 17:47

Adoption is a marathon, not a sprint. 10 weeks is such early days, its winter, cold, wet, miserable. You have just had a massive life change, its perfectly natural to feel discombobulated. Its ok to be emotional and to express those feelings. I was 47 when my son came home, I'd waited a long time to be a mum and when it happened - it was weird ! I didnt miss work, though many people do. But it takes a while to find your new normal. I'd say it took us a good 10 to 12 months to really settle into things.
Love takes time to develop, what matters now is commitment. I think its also not unreasonble that you will enjoy some parts of motherhood more than others. To be honest, I knew I would struggle with a baby so I adopted a much older child. My son is 14 now, I miss my 'baby ' boy, but life is entering a new phase for us and its fun getting to know this new grown up young man and seeing him move to independence.
Spring will be here soon, lighter evenings, you will be able to get out and about more. Life is always better when the daffodils are out don't you think?
Your life is not over, but it has changed dramatically and it takes time to adjust. Don't be too hard on yourself, lower your expectations about how you think you should be feeling, and keep talking to your OH.

BertBox · 11/02/2019 18:18

There's a thread a little further down - 6 days in placement - have a look at that!

This does sound completely normal - things at TOUGH until a lot longer into it! I also adopted an older child, and her starting school saved my sanity! The love will come, but it's perfectly understandable now to have doubts and concerns - things will get better and better as you get more accustomed to the routine.

I don't know if I'd advise confiding in your SW unless you know they're likely to be very on your side. Now is the time for your support network to step in - I'll go against the grain and say sod funnelling; get out a bit - your own life isn't over (Although be warned - cried in the hairdressers the first time I went out alone afterwards!)

Abijah46 · 11/02/2019 19:06

Thanks so much ladies !!! I actually laughed about the hairdressers so that's a good sign. Interestingly I also knew I'd struggle with a baby but my husband really fell for our little one when we were matched so I thought how bad can it be. I'm encouraged by your statements of time, gets better etc .... so I commit to it and yes stuff the funnelling I've just planned to go for coffee with friends tomorrow with LO in tow. I hope I don't melt down but if I do I do. Longing for the spring !!!! Smile

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Ted27 · 11/02/2019 19:45

Yes I think funnelling can be taken too far. You are no use to anyone if you are going stir crazy.
Enjoy your coffee - go mad and have cake as well !

Abijah46 · 11/02/2019 19:55

Thanks Ted27 - as I've lost 2 stone since LO came - I think I will xxx

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jellycatspyjamas · 11/02/2019 22:19

The early days are so very hard, I was 46 when my two arrived and I had all of those what the hell have I done, my life is over, why did I think this was a good idea thoughts. Again my two going to school just about kept me sane, so did therapy and medication.

This is a massive adjustment to make, you’re used to doing your own thing and possibly had thoughts that motherhood might never happen. I remember crying on the phone to my husband because I couldn’t figure out how to turn the tv on, and having a complete meltdown because I needed to change my plans when childcare fell through. And some parts of parenthood are about drudgery, routine and never ending jobs to do.

Itll be good to see friends, do try to get some time away from LO as well - you’ll be a better mum if you’re able to remind yourself who you are.
I did tell my SW how I was feeling, she was super supportive and we had a good relationship - having someone supportive to hear how hard it was did help and I know she didn’t think less of me.

It does get better, you will bond, you’ll build a relationship with this little interloper and wonder what you were ever stressed about. And at that stage you’ll be cheering on other new mums through their early placement - it’s the circle of (adoption) life Wink

Abijah46 · 12/02/2019 07:13

Thanks jellycatspajamas I do hope so !!! I'm taking sleeping tablets at the moment and without them I wouldn't sleep at all. Have to see GP again in 1 month so maybe therapy will follow !!!! Xxx

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MagpieSong · 12/02/2019 08:02

Hi Abijah,

I haven’t adopted myself, but I’m an adopted adult and just wanted to add some support. I know my mum found the early days very tough. She felt unable to admit to how hard it was, having been desperate to be a mum, which made things more difficult so I think it is brilliant you’re talking about these feelings and getting it out. I also know a lot of mums who gave birth to their children who feel these feelings, and that’s without the stress of adoption. Lots of people take a good while to bond deeply with their child, and that is fine and normal. My mum found that when things got tough, she’d drop everything and say “Right, that’s it, we’re going swimming.” For her, that was a safe and happy place where she could enjoy herself being in the water as well as bonding with me and my sister (adopted 4 yrs after me, different birth family). She also did some of her favourite things in the evening and incorporated walks to find flowers, trees or spot birds which she also loved. I wondered, is there anything you loved before adopting LO that you feel you’ve less time for now which might be possible to incorporate in? If not now, there might be something you could incorporate in later that gave you a chance to be experiencing things you enjoyed outside of just motherhood. Huge congrats on your Little One by the way! 😊

Abijah46 · 12/02/2019 11:27

Thank you Magpiesong
Nice to hear things do get better and what I am feeling is fairly normal. I guess I need to find something I enjoy again. I used to love food and cooking but as I've gone off food for time being I haven't done much of that..... just the basics. However I have just got back from swimming and my LO loved it !!! Thanks for an adoptee experience as I was worried I might be causing the little one harm with my internal thoughts !!! Xxxx

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BlackAmericanoNoSugar · 12/02/2019 11:54

When we were doing our adoption training they kept talking about how some people don't instantly love their adoptive children and you should fake it until you make it. It was like that with DS (nearly 10 months when we got him), I mostly felt anxious about the responsibility. The feeling of love didn't really kick in for a few months and it grew gradually.

There was also a feeling of not living up to the hype. Like when you go to see a film that everyone has raved about and it's not as good as you expected, but you probably would have loved it if you'd gone without preconceptions. I'd been waiting and trying a lot time to become a mother and to be honest I was quite disappointed with the ratio of hard slog to magic moments. I'd been expecting about half of the hard slog and about ten times as many magic moments. Grin Especially at the start when it's all new and you can't do anything on autopilot. It all got a lot more enjoyable when I'd lowered my expectations to a reasonable level and got myself into a good routine of child-based activities that DS enjoyed and allowed me to chat to other mums.

bobstersmum · 12/02/2019 12:16

To be honest op when you give birth you can feel like this, it's very very daunting. I'm sure you'll adjust, good luck and congratulations!

howmanyusernames · 12/02/2019 13:04

You were me!!! Honestly, I got to the point where I wanted to send our LO back, and when we could apply for the AO I didn't want to. I thought 'What have I done, my life is ruined, I wanted this but can't cope....'.
Part of me wondered if it was because I was 43 and too old, too set in my ways, previously didn't have to answer to anyone or be told what to do (I also have my own business) and thought my life was over, I'd never see my friends again, never be able to have a drink or get drunk.....
I was scared, he was scared, my husband was amazing and supported me, my friends were amazing and supported me, and now I love our LO to pieces!

Abijah46 · 12/02/2019 16:22

Americano you talk lots of sense and I agree that my expectations were different in terms of work load and 'that love feelin' - I hope as time goes on I'll be able to manage my anxiety and emotions. This is new ground for me as I've never had loss of control in my feelings. I'm trying to lower my expectations through listening to others but I'm struggling to do this. I have to remember it's only 10 weeks. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Bobstermum - I'm sure the feelings can be the same for BP - and thanks I'm sure I'll be happy about this at some point.

Howmanyusernames - your posts are very encouraging after reading your own thread. Thank you

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Ted27 · 12/02/2019 18:21

Swimming is great for bonding. I can't swim but still took my son three times a week for the first year or so, he had a great time ( me not so much!)

Did you you have cake @Abijah46 ?

Abijah46 · 12/02/2019 20:18

Hey Ted27
I did order it but didn't eat it all - nice to catch up with friends but I actually cried most of the time. My husband called me to see if I was alright during and I burst into tears and haven't stopped until this evening !!!! I think maybe cathartic and necessary. Agreed he would take time off next week to give me some time off. Also going out Friday night for dinner. So I feel heard and supported.

I'm the same as you re-swimming and LO loves the water but hates being laid down for nappy or dressing so it's also as sweet as it's not for him. I think it is good for bonding though. Shamefully he is very attached to me and is currently experiencing separation anxiety!!! It me that is gripped with doubts and fear.

Feeling more hopeful this evening after a good cry and chat with OH. Also ever so thankful for you lovely people on here. Just wish the anxious knot in my tummy would go !!! Confused

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jellycatspyjamas · 12/02/2019 20:46

I remember having lunch with a friend in a gap between intros - en route to appoint an adoption lawyer, I cried from the second I sat down til the moment I left, and then cried at the lawyers office for good measure. It’s such a hugely overwhelming thing, it’s got to come out somewhere.

Abijah46 · 13/02/2019 07:44

What emotional creatures we are !!!! I'm sure I'm not done but hopefully for today 🤣 xxxx

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Abijah46 · 13/02/2019 20:12

So update I've only had 2 meltdowns today 🙃 pretty good as I cried all day yesterday !!!! So LO has been a little diamond all day - naps meals and nice play date. Didn't even cry in the car as he usually does ..... spent the journey mimicking mr which was hilarious !!!! I don't feel any different but I do know emotions lie ..... what I do know is it didn't cross my mind to send our LO back. A friend came out with me today and supported and validated every time I opened up !!!My OH is taking day off on Friday now as he has demanded I sleep in and take time out !!!! I feel odd .... blessed by others kindness but still feel anxious to the core. Saying that feel positive of the remarkable difference a day makes !!!! I know I have a way to go but now I'm a bit calmer I can start to reduce expectations and challenge core beliefs about what might be keeping my anxiety in place Xxxx 😊

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WhoKnewBeefStew · 13/02/2019 20:18

I could have written your post 6 years ago...

My dh bonded really quickly with out LO, I was in shock (I also have a birth dd so I thought I knew what to expect). It honestly felt like I had ptsd at one point and my over whelming feelings were of panic and the ‘omg what have I done’

Those feeling did subside and it’s very early days for you. I couldn’t imagine life without my dd now and I often forget I didnt actually give birth to her.

Someone up thread was spot on when hey said adoption is a marathon, not a sprint

Abijah46 · 13/02/2019 20:51

I completely agree it feels like PTSD - coming from a mental health nurse that is. I need to moment to even process what I'm actually feeling - hence Friday ... thankfully I have such a lovely OH. Glad to hear you moved beyond it - there is hope for me yet !!!! 😅. I also liked the analogy about i'its a marathon .... makes sense xxxxx

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WhoKnewBeefStew · 14/02/2019 09:32

How are you today OP?

Abijah46 · 14/02/2019 10:05

Morning - very anxious and have no idea what about. LO smiling eating - just had morning nap. I feel I'm going mad ..... I'm living from nap to nap !!! Longing for him to be gone for a minute and then all I am is anxious when he's not there !!! I have propananol from GP which kinda helps. They don't think I have PAD just adjusting issues !!! I'm going out though as the sun is shining and hoping I can contain my emotions as meeting in a public place. Thank you for asking how I am - it means a lot.

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Woollysocks18 · 14/02/2019 11:59

I think control for me was, and is, a big issue. We went from a predictable life to what felt like chaos overnight, coupled with not being at work and loosing the routine we had for many years. A few months into placement we bought a month planner and now have set activities on days of the week, swimming, library, soft play, even visits from family are scheduled. This gave me the feeling of control I needed and greatly reduced my anxiety.

I also try to have some time to myself every week as in the moments I am struggling it means I have something to look forward to.

WhoKnewBeefStew · 14/02/2019 12:49

The anxiety for me was always the hard bit, as I couldn’t actially put my finger on what made me anxious, which meant I couldn’t fix it. All I knew was that this little person put the fear of god into me, when I should have been dancing g on the ceiling.

Do remember to take things and time for you. Rely on your dh and support structure. You still need you time

Ted27 · 14/02/2019 14:41

You know I can see lots of little things in your posts - he was a little diamond, hilarious, smiling, he is eating, contented - guess what you are really doing ok. You might not think it or feel it, but you are.
I think the anxiety is normal up to a point. I wasn't too anxious in the first year or so, but because my son was so much older, I had to make some big decisions about schools relatively early - I was riddled with anxiety for 18 months until I made the decision I needed to make.
I think its what you do with the anxiety, how you manage and deal with it.
Sounds like you have a great DH, leave the baby with him for a few hours and go and do something that makes you feel like you again.
I agree with the comments about routine, chunk the day down so it doesn't feel like you have a huge empty day to fill. You will find your rythmn

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