I toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a long time. I got a lot of encouragement on Facebook, I’d write these funny little anecdotes about things that the boys would say, or how life was as a four, and people would comment about how I should write a blog. As a result, I envisaged something a lot snappier, funnier… less emotional.
Alas, that isn’t life. At least, it isn’t our life. It turned out to be far trickier than that; for the one or two funny sentences a couple of times a week, we travelled an emotional rollercoaster to rival even the most difficult. Prior to being matched with the boys, our lovely social worker suggested we do some reading. I’ve read so many books and articles and such about adoption, that I’m about ready to gain a formal qualification! And that’s true of most adopters I think, we seek answers, or at least clues, as to how to help our children, how to teach them to deal with what was was taken from them, what was broken. I found this quote very poignant:
“Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.”
The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE
But more than this, and something I didn’t read about in all of my pre adoption, and indeed only came across by chance post-adoption, is the concept of post adoption depression. I’m not an expert by any stretch, nor am I a perfect parent at all. I love my boys more than anything, but man do they know how to push my buttons! But perhaps, actually, there’s something more to the tiredness and stress that Mrs S and I feel on a daily basis, something that is none of our faults, but that our little family is trying to find a way around.
Like all parents, we get frustrated. On top of that frustration for me is the guilt I feel each and every time I lose my temper, or fail to act “therapeutically” with the boys, because of “what they’ve been through.” And so over recent months, I’ve felt emptier and emptier, as though every drop of energy or empathy I’ve had has been poured into someone else, so that there’s none left for me. I haven’t wanted to write because it feels self indulgent to do so. I haven’t wanted to say that I’m running on empty myself, because the people around me who I love have needed so much that I couldn’t ask them to give.
That’s where I am now: struggling but hating myself because of it. I battled with asking for help; as a parent and as a nurse, I’m used to being the one that does the helping. The feelings crept up on me gradually, but bit by bit I stopped doing things, or stopped wanting to do things, so that slowly I stopped wanting to leave the safety and comfort of my four walls. I began worrying about things like taking the boys out by myself in case something happened to one of us, and it was really only a month or so ago when I finally acknowledged that I needed help myself that I realised how shut down I had become. Things are getting a little easier now, although I say this on the back of a tough weekend, where I spent the best part of an hour sat beside my car either in a car park or on the side of a main road because children who scream and bite one another aren’t safe to be travelling at 60mph! Ups and downs. In addition, we’re still waiting for Post Adoption Support to live up to their name and provide us with some support! We plod on.
Here’s some pretty knitting: