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Adoption Grief vs. Depression: Understanding the Difference and When to Seek Help

By Conner Sura

Parting with your child after adoption can be traumatic. All the emotions from an unplanned pregnancy and the adoption process can be draining. You might have a difficult time processing all of them. Those feelings are natural, and it’s perfectly fine for you to grieve after you place your baby up for adoption. Adoption is a painful and difficult decision that birth mothers make out of love for their child. Adoption Choices of Texas wants to help you heal from the heartache that adoption can bring. 

While some people think grief and depression are the same. Grief is short-term depression, but that is not true. Although most times, grief and depression work together, they are not the same. Adoption Choices of Texas wants to help birth mothers going through the difficult process of adoption. With our Texas adoption agencies in San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin, we can help you understand your feelings and ask any questions you may have. 

Understanding Post-Adoption Grief and Depression 

After giving birth and finishing your adoption plan, you may be experiencing a lot of different emotions. During the adoption, you may feel like you don’t have any time to breathe because you are constantly doing or planning something. When the adoption process ends, it’s almost like hitting a wall. You may be uncertain about the emotions you are feeling or how you are truly feeling. 

Although grief and depression might seem the same on the surface. Even though the two often overlap, grief and depression are separate from each other. What is grief? Grief is an emotional reaction to a loss. Greif can bring our lives to a halt. Grief can cause disruptions to a person’s life; grief can blind a person’s ability to think clearly. Interesting with their day-to-day life, causing potential difficulties with relationships, financial security, daily living routines, and a slew of other things. Long-term grief can also lead to health complications such as heart disease, PTSD, high blood pressure, and anxiety disorders. If you are currently  

The Three Types of Grief And How They Affect Birth Mothers

Everyone Grieves differently, and this is the same for birth mothers; for some, symptoms may be more intense or less so. Furthermore, there are three different types of grief.

  1. Uncomplicated Grief 
  2. Complicated Grief 
  3.  Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder 

What is uncomplicated grief? Uncomplicated grief is what most people who experience grief go through. People with uncomplicated grief tend to feel revilement of symptoms within six to eight months. However, it is common for intense grief symptoms to return on anniversary dates. 

Complicated grief, what is it? Complicated grief is when a person has not improved within six to eight months after the loss. Symptoms of complicated grief remain intense and persistent throughout the person’s life. Some of the symptoms of complicated grief include: 

  •  Intrusive thoughts and feelings 
  • Avoiding objects and places that remind them of the loss 
  • Loneliness 

Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder (PCBD) is a psychiatric diagnosis that is made at the same time as a person isn’t capable of moving on from their grief. PCDB is usually diagnosed in individuals who have not been able to heal within a year of the loss. A few of the symptoms of PCDB include: 

  • Intense depressive episodes 
  • Self-blame and guilt 

While the majority of birth mothers struggle with uncomplicated grief after adoption, it can be more difficult for other mothers to reconcile, and left untreated, grief can lead to mental health issues like severe depression. 

What Is Depression And How Does It Relate To Adoption?

Depression is one of the most common mental health diagnoses in the United States. Many mothers report feeling some level of depression and sorrow after giving birth. Depression is often categorized by its many symptoms, such as intense feelings of sorrow, worthlessness, and sometimes thoughts of suicide. Additionally, depression can also present physical symptoms like body aches, fatigue, weakened immune systems, and chronic sleep problems. 

Diagnoses of depression can only occur if you have been experiencing symptoms for a prolonged amount of time. Depression can worsen over time, with or without a support network. Clinical depression can only be diagnosed by a licensed medical professional. However, if you leave depression untreated, it can become fatal. Adoption Choices of Texas provides free counseling and financial assistance for birth mothers. If you think you are experiencing depression, please call or text a medical professional. 

Life With Adoption Post-partum Depression 

Post-partum depression (PPD) 

Giving birth can be an emotional experience. Emotions like joy, anxiety, and sometimes even depression. What exactly is post-partum depression? Post-Partum Depression (PPD), also known as the baby blues, occurs in many new mothers. The baby blues usually occurs within the first few days of the birth. However, if you experience a difficult delivery, you may experience symptoms sooner. Yet, sometimes, the symptoms persist for weeks. This is known as Post-Partum Depression (PPD). PPD causes chemical changes in your mind; these changes can bring intense and volatile depression symptoms like suicidal thoughts, anxiety, chronic fatigue, and worthlessness. 

Depression can make it difficult to take care of yourself. Unfortunately, some people do not value birth mothers and invalidate their experience because they think birth mothers are selfish. This is not true. Adoption is a choice made out of love; do not let anyone invalidate you, placing your baby up for adoption. 

Untreated Post-Partum Depression can later lead to major depression. If you believe you are experiencing PPD, please reach out to a medical professional or contact one of our Texas adoption centers. 

Adoption Choices of Texas Are Here To Help You! 

We understand that adoption may be a long and tedious road to walk on. We are here to support you all the way through with our adoption agencies all across Texas. Do not let any invalidate your experience; you are strong, and remember you are not alone. Si eres un hablante no nativo de inglés, puedes encontrar más información sobre adopción de bebés aquí.

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