There is a huge amount of support available to new parents if they want it, its predominately for mums but its support non the less.
There are support groups for parents with children who have special needs such as dyspraxia, autism, aspergers etc. There are groups that address the needs of parents with children who have physical disabilities, or even mental disabilities. Groups exist for parents of children suffering serious illness, financial hardship. There’s groups for teen parents, parents of multiple births, single parents etc the list goes on. Even without support groups new mums are surrounded by support and advice from every angle, there’s health visitors, whilst not always popular, they give new mums a regular opportunity to access help without having to seek it out themselves. New mums get opportunity to meet other new mums at baby and toddler groups, aqua baby classes, and other types of groups where they can chat, rant, moan and get advice from other mums experiencing the same struggles as they do. There’s even those short exchanges in the park or Mothercare or even the baby food isle where they can coo over one another’s new baby and compare prams and car seats and discuss the best teething gel. Complete strangers approach them in public with empathy and compliment their new baby and sympathise about sleepless nights and crying. Family and friends visit more often than usual to see the new baby and new parent/s, offer advice, maybe offer some domestic help, cook a meal for them or even just share some adult conversation. New mums arnt expected to get dressed in the beginning let alone keep a tidy house and no one judges them for finding it harder than they expected.
Its a very different story for someone who adopts older children, there are no support groups, no health visitor, no toddler groups or baby food isle and strangers don’t coo over your tiny child and boost your confidence with their praise. Instead they see what looks like an experienced parent of multiple children not coping and they judge.
I’m still a new mum and I effectively have 16 month old triplets all with special needs.
I have family and friends that offer support and advice, but they can’t understand some of the struggles I face they can only sympathise and try to reassure me on doing a good job.
Days out with other mums or chats on the playground always end up at the same place, pregnancy, potty training, feeling broody, or about how proud they are of their child’s achievements this week. Conversations rarely cover bonding, attachment, trauma or how your school age child’s greatest achievement this week was not wetting or pooing themselves for attention. Sometimes adoptive parents need to talk to someone who talks the same language.
Once again I realise how isolated and lonely it can feel to be an adoptive parent, the saddest thing is, I’m not the only one.