What’s D-MER you ask? Not a lot of people know of it or talk about it. To be honest I hadn’t heard of it either until I had my 2018 baby. For those that don’t know D-MER is Dysphoria Milk Ejection Reflex (let down).
What it does is once breast milk starts to “let down” these feelings begin to stir that are negative. There’s so many ways I could describe it but on most days I feel as though theirs this emptiness in my stomach and a knot in my throat. I dread this feeling every time I pump since so many thoughts arise from it. Back in 2018, I thought I was going through Postpartum depression but odd enough I would only feel this when pumping. Outside of pumping I was mostly okay and felt tired. I was relieved to not be pumping until I had to pump again a few hours later. The cycle was endless and the anxiety would built up the first few minutes of pumping and slowly dissolved towards the end. The relief after was like a breath of fresh air.
I will admit, I have experienced panic attacks in my life and I can say that D-MER can feel similar to the build up of a panic attack. It messes with your mental health. It can make you feel alone and hopeless in that moment. Especially such a vulnerable moment such as breastfeeding or pumping. I was a healing mother with emotional and physical wounds, a newborn baby that needed me and navigating unknown territory. I felt as though I was trapped in my own emotions and no way of getting out. I felt as if I would snap from the pressure of perfect expectations I formed for myself as a mother and wife. There were times I wanted to scream and cry for everything and everyone to leave me alone. To the point I would silence my phone and found myself breathing through it without being aware of what I was going through. One day, I had enough and began to research. I came across this article about D-MER- It all began to make sense. I cried and never felt so relieved that there was a name for what was happening to me.
I hope that if anyone runs across this blog wondering about D-MER or if you’re learning about this for the first time out of curiosity. Well, welcome to my world. If you’re experiencing D-MER as a mother breastfeeding just know you’re not alone and there is hope yet. The symptoms lessen as time carries on, however, if you’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm and feel that your mental health is suffering. Please do what is best for you and your baby. Fed is always best and a happy momma is a happy baby.