December 5th, 2007
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The infamous and sometimes scary “first week home” has been completed. We survived. Yes, we’re somewhat sleep deprived but otherwise we’re fairing quite well. We’re learning how to be a four person immediate family instead of just three. We’re learning how to juggle a two year old child’s inability to understand things outside of their immediate desires coupled with a newborn child’s need to have their immediate needs met, well, immediately! Basically, we are learning a bunch of things in a short amount of time. It’s like an intense crash course in parenting with no end in sight!

On top of all that, I’ve got some swinging hormones, the Munchkin’s birthday in just over a week, the looming holidays, laundry and my normal anxiety (which is only further upped by the swinging hormones, by the way). Perhaps I knew, long before Parker made his arrival, that he would arrive early (okay, I did know that one) and that scheduling a therapy appointment the day after his scheduled due date would be an incredibly intelligent thing to do. Because that’s what happened. Honestly, I had nothing to do with it; that date was her first available appointment when I scheduled it last month. I thought, “He’ll either be here or I’ll be wondering how I’m overdue.” I booked the appointment.

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Smartest thing I’ve done in a long time.

I was able to sit, with my newborn snuggled into my arms, and discuss everything that is intensely overwhelming about this phase of change. You see, even though my Husband and I talk about all of these things, it’s usually in a broken format. It usually goes something like this:

Josh: So, how are you feeling today?
Jenna: Overwhelmed.
Josh: With what exactly?
Nicholas: TRAINS! PLAY TRAINS!
Parker: *roots around, acting hungry*
Jenna: We’ll talk later.

We do eventually get to hit on the heavy topics, like how I’m missing the Munchkin even more than usual this particular birth month or how all of my children have the same eye shape (though Parker might get a different eye color) and how that makes me feel. But, again, it’s always in broken snip-its of conversation. So sitting down with my therapist and just laying it all out on the line was refreshing. And necessary.

I was able to talk about my fears regarding breastfeeding, Parker’s weight and those related nerves. I was able to discuss some positive discipline for our Terrible Two’s resident and get some encouragement that his recent attitude is not unusual for children his age. I was able to talk about my feelings about the Munchkin, our total inability to get together due to health concerns and pregnancies and distance, and her upcoming birthday so close to the birth of the newest member of our family.

Quite frankly, just talking about these things without interruption or pointing fingers was a complete load off my shoulders. Parenting after placement can often bring up new issues that you didn’t previously recognize or realize. Having an understanding therapist, well-versed in adoption issues, can make a world of difference as you learn your new role(s) and accept the changes in your life. I know I’ve talked before about the importance of therapy for birth parents who are struggling to make sense of adoption grief and loss but I simply cannot stress the importance of having a good therapist on hand as you add a child or children to your immediate family. Just having that sounding board can make a world of difference.

I’m thankful for my therapist during this transitional phase!

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For more on therapy, read the therapy category!

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Photo Credit.

2 Responses to “How a Therapist Can Help as You Parent After Placement”

  1. loveajax says:

    Jenna, congratulations on your beautiful new baby!

    I am glad your therapist has been a great source of support.

  2. JudyK says:

    Yay you for being sane enough (YES!) and strong enough (YES!) to go to a therapist, debunking the wrong notion that only insane, weak people go to therapists! To the contrary — it’s the sane, strong ones who realize that another person will help her (or him) through life’s difficulties.

    And I’m glad you have her. :)

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