Self-care. This has become a frequent buzzword in our society. It is so wonderful to take some time for yourself for a change; to treat yourself to a bubble bath, massage, pedicure, or even a large fry at the drive through to satisfy that junk food craving. With the pandemic and the more stressful state of our country, we did better collectively at acknowledging the need to prioritize our self-care.
Let’s face it—slowing down to actually put yourself first, can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. Especially when you are on the journey of adoption.
Whether you are adopting your child from foster care, an international program, or a set of embryos, the adoption process can be stressful for all involved. You become so wrapped up in squaring everything away, filling out the paperwork, checking things off the list, and all the emotions to process that you forget about yourself. There is a multitude of excuses we use:
“My future child is more important”
“Making sure that this embryo sticks are more important”
“Making sure my child has a smooth transition is more important”
“Having a spotless home for the home visit is more important”
You are part of the family that this child is joining. If you are running yourself ragged, your stress levels are high, and your relationship with your spouse is on edge, the process will become rocky. In addition, if these issues are unresolved before the child arrives, it could only get worse. Perhaps you will start to feel very alone and secluded on your journey while forgetting that your spouse is going through this with you. You may even lose sight of why you started this journey in the first place—to grow your family. This is supposed to be an exciting time, right?
During your journey, take some time to step back from the process to care for yourself. Get the excitement back. Go on a date with your spouse. Take a weekend road trip to the mountains. Go out for ice cream after dinner. Take a walk with your spouse around the park. Pay attention to your emotional state and get support where it is needed from a friend or therapist.
The journey to adoption in any form can be stressful. Do not add to it by not taking the necessary steps to take care of yourself. It will be much easier on you, your child, and can even help your reaction to certain situations throughout the process. Take some steps back when you are feeling overwhelmed, and take care of yourself. After all, you cannot pour into others when your own cup is empty.