Ep. 25 Combating Post Adoption Depression

This week on Beauty Is Rising, Kelli speaks with Karissa Barber. 

Karissa is an award-winning professional actress, emcee and playwright. She married her college sweetheart and they celebrated their 15th year of marriage recently. They live in Central Florida with their 4 children. On her Instagram account, she shares about sustainable fashion, her theatre endeavors, and parenting. A nacho lover and book reader, laughter is her hobby and The Office is always on repeat.

As a transracial adoptive parent, Karissa is passionate about racial reconciliation and encouraging parents who choose to adopt outside of their race to fully-learn, engage, and advocate for the race, ethnicity and culture of their adopted child.

[Karissa 1:12] “So we had four kids under the age of four in our house. And I went from performing and the actress life to being a stay at home mother. And I loved it. It was a choice that I made, but it also came at a really high price. It was very hard, very taxing for me. And I really sunk into post-adoption depression and it took me many, many years to get out of that.” 

[Karissa 2:35] “I was so angry at my children and I just felt like I do. And so for me, depression manifested in a lot of anger and and lethargy, just not knowing what to do. And so it wasn’t until I became myself again, I started acting again. And then I kind of looked back and realized, oh, wow, I actually was suffering from post adoption, depression.”

On educating and instilling discipline in your children in a way that won’t affect you negatively

[Karissa 27:33] “I think it’s important for us to give our children the space they need, whether they’re in public or in our homes or in a church setting or at school to have their feelings and a lot of times their explosive feelings and then help them once they’re kind of not in fight, flight, or freeze.Help them then to process through, and that depends on the age of your kid, too.”

On what can be done at times when you feel like you are not a good parent 

[Karissa 30:15] “I think often when we don’t say it out loud, we give it power to our lives. And I think saying that out loud, like I was embarrassed. I felt like a bad mom. So our reaction is that it is important to say those things and then go, “Oh, wait, I’m not a bad mom! That is the truth I’m going to hold on to.”

Message for moms who somehow forgot who they were before prior to having children 

[Karissa 31:43] “”One is you need to give yourself space to be a woman first. I think a lot of times as moms, we’re like we’re moms first and then we’re wives, if we’re married, and then we’re a woman. Instead of going,”I’m a woman first, I am a child of God created in his image, so I need to take care of that person first before I can be a good spouse and before I can be a good mom.”

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