Mothering a baby the second time around is a lot different… a lot easier… than it was the first time around. I am much calmer and much more confident in my ability to mother a child, in addition, Hannah is 2 months old, so she is past all the new born niggles and is fairly settled into life outside the womb.
The one thing our SW did warn us about was post placement stress on Hannah. I have written about it before, it is a very real phenomenon, all adopted children experience trauma, over and above the normal trauma’s that an infant would experience during birth, an adopted baby will experience trauma and separation and a need to grieve a loss. You can read the original blog post I did about this subject here: Imagine If You Can.
With the changes in the child act and babies being placed in kangaroo care or places of safety for the duration of the 60 day consent period, the post placement stress is further exacerbated as these babies have not had any one to bond with since being separated from their birth mothers. Hannah has been cared for by a group of employee’s and volunteers at her place of safety and while they have all done a fantastic job in loving and caring for her, she has not had the opportunity to form a special bond with any one person.
That is my number one aim while I am on maternity leave, to teach her to trust me, to form a mother/child bond with her. She has shown some stress since coming home and I keep reminding myself that she has been through a lot in her short life. She has experienced the physical loss of her birth mother, she has been moved from the hospital, to a place of safety, to my mother’s house and finally to her home. She has been handled, touched and cared for by a stream of strangers and now it’s my time to show her stability, to show her motherly love and to bond with her.
The way to combat post placement stress on a baby are fairly simple, they just take lots of patience and love but I’ve been practicing them all over the last few days.
- Lots of skin to skin contact
- Limiting the number of people who handle and hold her
- Baby Wearing
I am so chuffed that my parents bought me a See Me Baby Wrap , I’ve been carrying Hannah in one of these for the past couple of days and she loves it. Not only does it help her feel safe and secure, but it holds her face close to me so she can get familiar with my scent and is great at assisting the bonding process. I’ve also not worn any perfume since her placement so as not to disguise my scent in anyway, to give her an opportunity to get to know me.
If you’re waiting to adopt, I’d highly recommend the use of a baby wrap after placement, they are MUCH more comfortable to wear than a baby sling as the baby’s weight is distributed evenly across your back and shoulders, your baby doesn’t lie at an awkward angle and its much lighter and more comfortable than traditional baby carriers.