Is this normal?

(62 Posts)
flippingebay Tue 05-Nov-13 18:48:54

After a week of introductions our 20 month old dd came home to stay..

Is it normal to feel utter UTTER panic? Burst into tears at a moments notic, panic I'll never bond with her??? I'm a mess and feel like I have the emotions of just given birth!

We have a 5 yr old birth dd and I even feel and cry over feeling guilty for her (even though she's been an absolute star)

Our new dd have really bonded with my DH and he's been brilliant ensuring he gives me time with dd and doesn't take over just because it's easier. But everything with me is either 'no' or tears and tantrums.,

Please be gentle with me hmm

Happiestinwellybobs Tue 05-Nov-13 19:33:56

Absolutely normal to feel a whole range of emotions. I went through a stage of "what on earth have we done?" and in fact suffered with post adoption depression for quite some time. I'm not suggesting you are, but what I mean is don't feel bad about what is going through your head.

20 months is a testing time as it is (well it was challenging for us) and that coupled with the fact that all your lives have been turned upside down, I would be surprised if there wasn't an element of panic.

Whilst we didn't have a birth child, we had a dog (who up until DD coming was our baby). I remember being upset that I couldn't just take him and me out for a walk, felt guilty that he was being neglected (which he wasn't - spoilt pooch!). Everything seemed too much.

But it will get better. You will settle into routines, and the bond will come with time. It sounds as though these are early days?

RadagastTheBrown Tue 05-Nov-13 19:47:37

Sounds normal to me....my DW & I brought home our DS last Feb (aged 10 months) and we both were more tense and panicky than I've ever seen us. The first afternoon our DS 'choked' on a rice cake and they've been banned from the house ever since! As I'm the SAHD, my panics started once DW went back to work. I only ever seemed to say no and get grumpy DS whereas DW got the 'fun' side with loads of easily induced giggles when she got in. I feared we'd never bond and I'd screw up the attachment.

So many months on, I have a fantastic bond with DS but still feel slightly jealous that DW gets giggles more than I do. On the flip side, she is a bit miffed that when she tells DS 'no', he always looks to me for confirmation.

I think the emotions you go through as an adoptive parent are akin to those of a birth parent but, knowing the often poor starts adoptive children have had, I think we put even more pressure on ourselves to do a good job.

Enjoy the rollercoaster!

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 05-Nov-13 19:49:06

Tbh I felt most if that and I gave birth to my children! So I'd say yes, definitely normal.

TwistAndShout Tue 05-Nov-13 20:03:27

Absolutely normal! We're 6 weeks in and it's completely overwhelming.

The mix of emotions is crazy but not dissimilar to those we felt after having our birth children either. It will start to settle down, give yourself time, it's a huge undertaking.

flippingebay Tue 05-Nov-13 20:18:27

Thank you so much for replying... Just having people confirm what I'm feeling is normal is a huge relief!

At one point I just wanted to curl up in a ball in the corner of the room and sob... What for I couldn't even tell you. shock

Thankfully my birth DD and DH are really understanding.

I'm avoiding talking to friends and family as I think I'm supposed to be all happy and on cloud 9, but in reality I don't think I could hold a conversation without crying...

I'm dreading the SW coming around tomorrow hmm

TwistAndShout Tue 05-Nov-13 20:27:24

To be honest, I think this is what social workers would expect. If you were skipping around on cloud 9, then the reality of what you were doing wouldn't have sunk in and they would probably be more concerned!

RadagastTheBrown Tue 05-Nov-13 20:37:06

Totally agree with TAS - the SWs expect you to be phased as it means you're taking it seriously!

TrinnyandSatsuma Tue 05-Nov-13 21:03:45

We are 5 days into placement, so I wouldn't say I was an experienced adopter at all, but based on our first few days, I'd say completely normal.

I have felt like this. My mantra is.....one day at a time.

Keep smiling x

Maryz Tue 05-Nov-13 21:10:54

Oh, God yes, perfectly normal.

I have to confess to having multiple "oh FUCK what have I done" moments.

And remember, the guilt is a typical "second time mother" guilt syndrome. I felt terrible about giving attention to dd and not spending enough time with ds1.

I think adoption also brings the added problem of not being comfortable about complaining for fear of someone saying "oh, you can always give them back" which obviously isn't an option for birth children. I mean, I know it isn't an option for you, but other people do say stupid things.

YouAreMyRain Tue 05-Nov-13 21:11:43

Completely normal, congratulations thanksthanks

flippingebay Tue 05-Nov-13 21:17:40

Thank you all... I've had a large glass of wine and a bath and I'm starting to feel human.

I'll keep re reading this post tomorrow when I wobble

Maryz Tue 05-Nov-13 21:21:46

Oh, and the bonding with her dad and not you - ime that is also normal. With both mine they had spent an awful lot of time with their foster mothers, but little with foster dads. So I think they bonded more easily with dh than with me.

Lilka Tue 05-Nov-13 21:30:01

NORMAL!!

Wine and bath is a great idea, look after yourself smile

Devora Tue 05-Nov-13 22:16:49

Gosh yes, panic, resentment, exhaustion, an overwhelming longing for freedom... your post brings it all back!

All very natural, if you consider all that is now being demanded of you. It is made worthwhile when the love comes, but that often takes awhile.

Hang in there, be kind to yourself, we've all been there smile

RudolphLovesoftplay Tue 05-Nov-13 22:35:58

Very very normal!! I had a complete meltdown most days but we got through it eventually . Both my DS bonded much quicker with my DH than me, my youngest still blatantly prefers him!!

Kewcumber Tue 05-Nov-13 23:23:17

I cried a lot in the first three months - and I don't do crying.

I felt overwhelmed and so responsible and terrified I wasn't up to the job and thought I'd feel like the babysitter forever.

Turns out that I'm really not up to the job of being a perfect parent but we seem to muddle along OK anyway! Thankfully DS hasn't read the job spec for Perfect Parent and so he thinks I'm the bees knees.

Give yourself a break - adoption is one of the weirdest things you'll ever do... you get given a strange child and expect yourself to fall in love instantly without the benefit of any hormones and pretend to everyone that everything is just as it should be. Bollocks to that, you're babysitting a strange child and having to pretend that they're your's, you'd be just a tiny bit odd if you went along with that without your brain saying "wtf!"

Of course thats not the line you'll use with the SW tomorrow - but I'll just bet its what 90% of us were thinking at this stage "What the actual fuck am I doing!".

Shows you're normal which is a very good sign grin

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of adoption!

Kewcumber Tue 05-Nov-13 23:25:53

Oh and I have a personal unscientific theory... men are designed to learn to bond without the benefit of hormones so they're just going along with the normal course of events, its we women who are designed to be doped up to the eyeballs with oxytocin and have to work that bit harder without it.

Maryz Tue 05-Nov-13 23:26:53

I really wish Mumsnet had been here when I started with mine. I spent the first six months with ds (and about two years with dd) just feeling so overwhelmed and guilty.

I thought it was me. Now I see it was normal.

Kewcumber Tue 05-Nov-13 23:45:43

Ha Maryz! I just reread my posts and thought - Blimey you sound like a hard old bitch. But now I see that I am a normal hard old bitch grin

flippingebay Wed 06-Nov-13 09:48:22

Thank you all again, I'm sat crying again ( and I also don't 'do' crying ) as my mum just rang. I can't even talk about it without crying and I don't even know why I'm doing it lol

Just seen the SW is t due until tonight, I thought it was this morning - my head is just a mess

Maryz Wed 06-Nov-13 09:54:58

Here, have a few (((((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))))

Honestly, it's just shock, it really is.

You have looked forward to something for so long, your expectations were for it all to be hunky dory from the start and it is so rarely like that. It's all bound to be a bit of an anticlimax, added to which you have people watching you fall to pieces and you are probably terrified that you have to pretend everything is great, and you are fine.

As Kew said "you're babysitting a strange child and having to pretend that they're your's, you'd be just a tiny bit odd if you went along with that without your brain saying wtf!" Give yourself a bit of time to get used to everything.

You only have to put on a smiley face when the social worker is there. The rest of the time just get by, do the minimum you have to do to survive, and sit it out. Next week you will feel a bit better, next month you will feel better again. And this time next year you will laugh at yourself looking back.

At least, that's what I did grin

Kewcumber Wed 06-Nov-13 11:40:00

flipping - I spent several years reading blogs of adoption journeys (mostly american) crying at the wonderfulness of it all and all those lovely people falling in love at first sight with their children. It was the biggest shock to me that I didn't feel like that when it came to it with DS - I was worried about the future, his medical, his difficulty attaching to me, my difficulty attaching to him - it was all made so much worse by every person who met him raving about how lovely he was (he was!) and although I could see that dispassionately, I couldn't feel it.

AS a result I was slightly more honest in my blog - though don't think I mentioned the fear and the crying! I can;t tell you how many adopters subsequently emailed me and thanked me for being honest and making them realise it was normal.

Do keep an eye on it though post adoption depression is terribly common - I didn't need treatment for mine and it slowly cleared as familiarity kicked in but don;t ignore it if it doesn't slowly start to improve.

Happiestinwellybobs Wed 06-Nov-13 14:29:46

I hope the meeting goes okay. Have a glass of wine when they're gone smile

Your post struck a chord with me as when I adopted DD I just joined mumsnet and didn't have the courage to ask the question you have asked. I wish I had. Maryz is spot on about expectations - yours and your perception of what others are thinking. I didn't feel I could ask for help - what would people think after all the hoops we had gone through and years we had been trying? How wrong I was. Having opened up to people about PAD months after it had gone, every single friend said they had wished they had known at the time as would have helped.

What I am saying in my ramble is don't be afraid to ask for help from friends and family.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. At the beginning I wondered how I would ever bond with DD. 18 months later that bond could not be tighter. I can't really remember when it clicked; it just grew over time.

This board is full of lovely people, lots of then more experienced than me who will offer lots of advice as you go through these tough weeks (and beyond!).

Remember smile for the SW, then a big glass of wine smile

flippingebay Thu 07-Nov-13 10:19:17

I can't begin to thank everyone enough for posting on here, it really helps.

I was on an up when the SW arrived and my birth dd was playing with dd so it was a fun atmosphere. I just about managed to hold it together and only had a few tears. She also said its normal.

I'm a bit better today but do find myself looking at her and wondering if I'll ever feel the same bond I have with dd.

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