A word thrown around a lot.
“I’m feeling anxious today”
“I get a little anxiety”
“I have anxiety”
But often without much further explanation, because well, it’s hard. Hard to open up about something so deeply personal. Hard to explain he way it overwhelms in seconds. Hard to find the courage to admit it without feeling some sense of shame. Of being weak.
No one told me about post-adoption anxiety. You’d honk with all the emphasis on preparing for adoption, on making sure you have enough support, that year or so of assessment would actually mention something that it seems is pretty common to us parents by adoption. But nada.
I once contacted our old social worker, over a year after Josh being home with us, to say I’d been through it and would it be useful to talk about it to the new prep groups coming through. So they know what to look out for. Where to get help if they feel it.
“Thanks but no thanks” was the return attitude. A feeling that it’s not that common. Maybe that because after the adoption order, they don’t follow up with families. They don’t know the aftermath that can follow. That’s both unfair to the family and the child. A blank stare in the face of anxiety actually being common for many new parents. That “post-mum” anxiety, however you became one is rife.
I feel like if I’d known “what” it was, I could have seen it sooner. Not blamed myself and felt like a failure for so long. Got better sooner.
So here’s a little video on what post-adoption anxiety felt for me. As a part of Channel Mums mental health fortnight. They have an amazing course run by psychologists Emma Kenny for any mum over in their site now too. Accessible, friendly, free and for anyone. Even if you’re feeling fine and just want to maintain that. Go see!