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My struggle with breastfeeding and D-MER: Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex

By an anonymous mama

"I didn't have the courage to call or talk to anyone at first, but I did do a lot of reading and came across D-MER: Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. It describes exactly how I felt and what I was experiencing, I'd never heard of it before?!

I would feel a variety of emotions such as, anger, sadness, irritability, fatigued and general exhaustion. I only started noticing once I picked up on this feeling and made myself think about what was causing it. Sometimes it happened in the shower, the hot water causes a let-down which I noticed these feelings were linked to that, but I didn't know if it was a thing! It was hard to figure out at first, the more I tried to think about how I felt and what was causing it it would make me cry and then I would just get frustrated because I didn't know why I was crying haha!

At first, I didnt tell my partner because I didn't know what to make of it or how I could explain how I feel in a way he could understand. Eventually, I did open up to my partner and he encouraged me to speak to a professional. All up, it probably lasted about 2 months but it did contribute heavily towards postnatal depression and anxiety. I breastfed my first for 22 months but with my second, with the D-MER and PND/A I breastfed for 5 months. I can't say whether that was solely because of D-MER but even after that disappeared, the PND/A stayed. I did end up seeing a psychologist which helped immensely! I now feel much more confident.

I 100 percent tore myself up a lot over how much I struggled with feeding the second time around, even now, I can feel myself getting emotional. Everytime I had to get up in the middle of the night and make a bottle of formula, I would hate it. Having to buy formula or it running low because I forgot to get more in the grocery run made me angry. I was so glad to get rid of it when baby weaned off milk.

I still have a very minimal understanding of D-MER, how it works, when it stops, how it develops etc. And I still don't know anyone else who had struggled with it and I have never heard about it until I came across a random post of IG that mentioned everything I was feeling.

Looking back, it is still tough, I still feel the rawness of it all. I fought with myself a lot but I am also proud of myself, I did what I could with the knowledge I had to help myself and my husband was very supportive."

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