I adopted over 9 years ago. The preparation training was very different to how it is now, and I don’t remember anyone talking about post adoption depression. They may have spoken about it and at the time I may have thought it would never happen to me…but it did.

I remember the start of it - day 3 of introductions I could not stop crying. Of course, I did not cry in front of my son but from the moment I woke up that day, I felt different. I could not explain how I felt, did not really know what I felt but knew it was different and I knew was I was crying but not really understanding why. I had everything I had ever wanted, I was a mum, I had just met my son a couple of days before, and he was the most funny, adorable boy. I had everything I had ever wanted but I could not stop crying.

I didn’t talk to anyone about it as I did not have the words to tell anyone. I was worried about the reaction from friends and family – they knew that I now was where I had always wanted to be so what was there to feel sad or depressed over- right? None of my adoption network had spoken about these feelings, so was it just me? And I couldn’t tell my social worker as all I could think was that she may stop the introductions and stop me being able to adopt.

I remember those days of fear; feeling ashamed about how I was feeling and not understanding what I was going through and having no one to talk to.

The despair grew, my confidence dropped and the tears kept coming. I had been a mum for a few weeks and my son had been a child for 7 years. How on earth would I ever know what I was doing?

I remember one day about 6 months after my son came home and I was walking around the supermarket and just pushing the trolley while sobbing. I couldn’t stop but I couldn’t stop walking around the supermarket. People stared but not one person asked if I was OK.

That was the day I decided I needed to try and tell someone how I felt, I had to try and find the words from somewhere to explain these feelings I had, I needed to make someone take notice. I called my social worker and told her everything. She came straight round and was brilliant. She helped me to name the feelings and she spoke about post adoption depression. That was the first time that I remember anyone had mentioning it. She arranged a doctor’s appointment and that was the turning point. Some of the fear I had went that day as she reassured me they would not take my son away, she supported me to get help and never judged me.

It was not a straightforward journey to recovery, looking back I think I have suffered about 3 bouts of depression over the past 9 years. I was put on anti-depressants which helped me to find a balance from within and helped to level off the highs and lows I felt.

It has been a couple of years since I have had a bout of depression. Of course, there have been the ups and downs along the way, but I have learnt to be open and to try and reach out much earlier.

I now talk openly about post adoption depression and highlight to those starting their adoption journey that they may feel this way. They may not, but if the tears and feelings start, they are perfectly normal. All prospective adopters need to be alerted to the possibility of post adoption depression, what it means and how they can seek help.

Post adoption depression can happen, and we need to be as open as we can because help is out there. There is a whole adoption community that do understand and many have been through similar and all want to support.