Like new mommas often experience post-partum depression, foster moms do occasionally experience post-placement depression after a new foster child arrives. This feeling seems to come out of blue, and rather unexpectedly. It seems as though the last thing you’d expect after receiving a new placement is to feel sadness from it. Nervous, overwhelmed, clueless? Sure. But not a wave of depression.
This feeling may show it itself in a fog of sorts, where you’re unable to differentiate your different feelings, like exhaustion or stress. This happens for a number of reasons. It may come from the change of being in the house all day, being overwhelmed with stress, nerves and emotion, or underlying feelings of fear and feeling incapable. Similarly, depression commonly occurs after big highs and life events occur, when you’re on a slope back down to everyday life.
Especially for stay at home or single parents, you may feel unexpectedly alone. However, you’re never alone. Post-placement depression is a symptom a lot of foster families have persevered through, and you can as well. Reach out to your friends, family, and other foster parents in your area. Be transparent about what you’re going through and ask for help. They may have advice that will be of value to you or may be able to help you in other ways such as bringing your family dinner, watching the child, or simply spending some time with you.
There is no shame in experiencing something like this in a period of transition. Everyone tends to handle things differently due to different personalities, upbringing, and situations. Consider reaching out to a counselor or therapist if you think it would be of help to you. Overall, remember to take care of yourself- lovingly and willingly give yourself the time and energy you need to adjust to this change. Make sure to continue to do things you enjoy, and that you’re getting plenty of sleep.
Take one day at a time. The best thing you can do in foster care is to expect the unexpected. Whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself and your feelings. Talk to people, and reach out to your community to help. God intended for his people to lean on each other for support, especially in the hardest of times. And most importantly, pray. The strength God provides is immeasurable.