Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Update: fertility & looking into adoption...

Hello... it’s been a while since I started my own thread on here. I wonder if I could use the forum as a bit of a sounding board? I’d love to chat with others who are perhaps going through similar.

Our son is now 5, and happily settled into school (!). We have come so far as a family, given the horrendous start we had, but still... We would love another child. It’s something we always envisioned when we had our son, that he would have sibling(s). And as our son has grown he talks about wanting a little brother (or a sister, but preferably a brother!) often. We’ve always explained to him that we would love that too, and we are trying, but it’s not something that can happen overnight!

Secondary infertility has been my companion for the last four years (we started trying again when our son was 1). We’ve explored various fertility treatments, but what we are looking at now is possible adoption. There is so much to consider, and of course no guarantees we would be approved and then matched successfully.

I attended an interesting information session with one local council, and then made enquiries about starting the process with them. We had to do a lengthy telephone interview with them, before they would even send the initial application form. Fair enough. So we sat and spoke to the social worker for a good half hour, answering all her questions about ourselves, our history, our wishes and our home.

I’ve never felt any stigma around my postpartum psychosis before. I’ve been very lucky - and very “open” about it all. But explaining to the social worker about my illness, my subsequent bipolar disorder diagnosis, and the MBU stay, I could hear her intake of breath on the other end of the line. She sounded shocked. And I could tell right away we weren’t going to hear back from them. (Two weeks on and still no form has arrived).

I wasn’t prepared for the reaction, I guess, but hopefully I’ll be able to find someone to take us on. It’s certainly not something I could ever hide. And actually I think my illness has given me a lot of empathy and insight into mental health in general, and hopefully would mean I could support a child who may have their own mental health problems as they grow up? I don’t know. I guess I just need some moral support for what might be a really difficult (and triggering?) process.

Thanks for reading

Kat x

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That sounds really unfair of the social worker. Don't give up, there's a little one out there who would be lucky to have a family like yours xx

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Thanks Kats that’s very kind of you to say so xx I will keep trying!

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Hi KatG

I can relate to this post so much!! We're in a similar boat. We have an almost 4 year old son and have had fertility problems for the last two years, with multiple miscarriages.

We started looking into adoption 12 months ago and have gotten through a couple of steps into the long process.

My case worker doesn't seem to think my PP would be an issue, however they're requiring several written reports from varying doctors and psychologists before I can proceed. My GP is one of the docs required to write a report and he isn't keen to do so. He says that I've come so far and recovered so well, he doesn't think it would be good for my mental health to go down the stressful adoption path. His personal view is that 'wanting a sibling for my son' is not a strong enough reason to put myself through torturous processes (he was referring to adoption and IVF) and said that he's seen women become far too obsessed with getting an outcome that may never come.

I do appreciate his views and I do believe he only has my best interests at heart, still it's hard to hear that our journey might be coming to an end and we will only ever have one child.

While I'll be sad that my ideal won't come true, I'll be relieved that I would never have to experience PP or miscarriages or hideous pregnancies ever again.

In saying all that, if you really really want another child, then keep going. From what I understand of the adoption process, our mental illness shouldn't be a road block, they just need to understand it more.

And, I've found that everything they do takes a ridiculous amount of time, so don't assume that because you haven't got the forms yet that you're not going to get them, it's a particularly busy time of year so I'm sure it's still on her 'to do' list.

Best of luck with whatever you decide, I think you're right that you're insight, empathy and strength would make you a perfect adopted mum!! x

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Thank you so much Maxi! I’m at work today so can’t reply at length yet, but it is incredible to connect with someone going through similar. It was a bit of a long shot :). Will comment properly this evening xx

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Back again... thank you so much Maxi for your encouraging words. You’re right that I shouldn’t assume the worst - I get the sense already that things happen at a certain pace in the world of adoptions! :)

I’m so sorry to hear of your own fertility problems, and in particular your losses: that must be so hard to bear. I guess we’ve been fortunate in a sense, in that I have only ever had the one actual pregnancy (my son!). It seems he was something of a miracle conception given the rapidly deteriorating ovaries i have. I am forever grateful for him. I’m not sure how I’d cope with miscarriage and you are so strong to have been trying for that long, with that amount of raised hope and then utter grief.

All my best wishes for your continued success through the adoption process! It sounds like you are making great progress. And fantastic that you have a supportive case worker. Regarding your GP: just from reading what you’ve written, he seems to be overstepping his boundaries a little bit? In that is he really trying to influence such a personal family decision? I’m not sure what sort of relationship you have (maybe he’s been your trusted family doctor for decades?!) but I would have thought he needs to remove his personal opinions from the equation and write a factual report? I hope that his opinion doesn’t become an actual barrier to adoption for you, and that you can find a way around it. I’m sure many other professionals would be very supportive!

Best of luck and thanks again for replying to my thread,

Kat xx

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Hi Kat

Thanks for replying!! Yes the adoption process is so long and I think most of its due to being understaffed. I'm in Aus, and our states adoption head office is only staffed for 2 days per week, so it's a bit ridiculous. I was so relieved when they told me that they didn't think PP would be a deal breaker in the process. I was so worried about telling them, but they were sympathetic and understanding. They just need to know that I'm coping well now and am capable of caring for a child, which is obvious through my son.

You may be right about my GP, I was surprised that he had such strong personal views on the topic. He has been my GP for a while, but he saw me go through PP so I guess he's worried about me. He wanted to make sure we were pursuing options for the right reasons before putting ourselves through it, so he quizzed us at length about what was driving us. When we said our number one reason was to give our son a sibling, he just didn't think that was a strong enough reason. I can understand where he's coming from and it was good to hear a different perspective, but yeah, ultimately it's our decision.

It's a really hard decision to make actually and I'm exhausted from thinking about it. It takes so much strength for me to 'try again' after each loss, I have to overcome my PP fears each time, so in a way I'm relieved that our journey of trying the natural way for a child is over.

Adoption is something I've always had an interest in, but hubby is struggling a bit, he's not sure he could love someone else's child, so we're taking some time to just think things through more after the chat with the GP and perhaps take further steps in the new year.

Happy to chat anytime, I know others who've had pp and others who are adopting, but none that are doing both, so it's awesome to hear of someone in the same boat!! Xx

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Hi Maxi - it sounds such an intense process, no wonder you’re exhausted! My dear friends over in Sydney have sadly ended their fertility journey after 9 failed IVFs and no embryos :( They tell me that adoption in their part of Australia at least is very very difficult. So they’re coming to terms now with not having children. I’m so sad for them. It makes all the different in the world, having one child already. We are so grateful.

Husband and I enjoyed our first “grown up” holiday last week. My parents came down to babysit and we went off for 6 whole nights. It was amazing to spend that time together as a couple, and while it wasn’t the focus we did have a chance to chat over the IVF and adoption stuff. There is a lot to discuss! I think my husband is keener than I am to have at least one more IVF attempt. I’m fairly certain (gut instinct?) that that ship has sailed for us. But he needs to make peace with it before committing 100% to the adoption process. I can totally see where your own husband is coming from, and mine- it’s such a life altering responsibility.

Take care and hope you’re enjoying the build up to Christmas! Kx

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Hi Kat. I feel it is unfair to screen you out immediately. My son is nearly 4 and I had pp and as a SW myself (although adult services I am qualified to work in children’s) I do not feel it’s right to say no until (as Maxi has experienced) they arrange the relevant medical reports.

Perhaps it’s worth complaining to get a face to face interview? If they saw you and your presentation then they may not be as judgemental as over the phone.

There are several of us that went through this but because of our own coping abilities and support, we are still totally functioning stable members of society.

I too was diagnosed with bipolar but this was changed to bipolar I’m remission, it’s just a label and does not define who we are. There is another mother at preschool with bipolar but unfortunately doesn’t have the coping mechanisms so it’s qiote obvious, whereas I don’t think people could tell with me, basically I’m saying pp and bipolar are both such wide spectrums that it shouldn’t be a no straight away xx

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Thank you so much Mims for sharing your thoughts. I’ll certainly get back in touch with the SW - perhaps early in the NY now.

It’s interesting what you say about the bipolar diagnosis. I wonder if I might also be “in remission” in a way. It’s been a while since I was reviewed. I might explore that, if only so that any future adoption agency can get a full and up-to-date picture of my health. I’ve been managing well and have had a really good 12+ months with no episode of either depression or mania in the whole of 2017 (touch wood!).

Thanks again, very much, and have a very merry Christmas when it comes!

Kat x

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Merry Christmas and I hope you continue to stay well and good luck with the adoption process x

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