The miracle of life is very miraculous indeed. One minute you’re in the delivery room crying your heart out of pain, the next you’re carrying your little bundle of joy. While the love you feel that moment is unimaginable, you might find yourself slowly sinking into what we know as postpartum depression.
I personally remember feeling so sad, because we will never be able to go to the movies again. That was literally the first thing I could think of when I got home after delivering Sally. We would never be able to go to the movies EVER AGAIN! Never knew this was going to be the least of my problems, but ok!
Of course, that was an exaggerated assumption. And as silly or shallow as this fear may sound to you, it felt too real and it was the first sign I wasn’t feeling too well.
Reasons for Postpartum Depression
During pregnancy, especially with your first baby, you really don’t know what to expect. You have no idea what life is gonna be like and how tricky it’ll be to manage your time and all your tasks. Also, a major underrated problem is lack of sleep.
Add to that all the body changes, hormonal fluctuations, the stress of keeping this little being alive, and you’ll find yourself completely overwhelmed.
The Truth About D-MER
Until a couple of months ago I had no idea there was such a thing. A case where you feel pain, fear, anxiety, and panic when breastfeeding your baby. A case where you wish you didn’t breastfeed, where you question every second of motherhood and actually regret having this baby.
I’m sure most of you have no idea what D-MER is, I only knew about it very recently.
Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER is a condition that affects breastfeeding moms. It is characterized by sudden dysphoria, or a burst of negative emotions, that occurs just before milk release. And though this feeling would only last up to a few minutes, it’s intense enough to make you really miserable. You can learn more about it here.
If you want a less scientific explanation, D-MER makes you feel anxious, as if something really bad is about to happen. It can range from that feeling when sitting for an exam, without having studied well, and goes as far as feeling you won’t make it past this next minute.
And while D-MER is not postpartum depression, it can really make things much worse for you. I know it did to me.
It Will Get Better. I promise!
I cried a lot. I remember thinking about weaning my child, every single feed. It made me hate breastfeeding, I was scared. And it took me over 6 months to feel a bit better. But I figured it out eventually.
Although my case was really severe, being aware of what’s happening with me made it somewhat better. I did some extensive research on what D-MER was and how to cure it or make the feelings less intense. And knowing that this feeling will end within the next minute helped. Knowing that there was nothing physically wrong with me helped. And knowing that this had no effect on my baby also helped. So educate yourself on whatever weird feelings you’re having because even if it’s normal to not feel so OK it’s not OK to feel very bad.
One more thing that helped, A LOT, was having people who genuinely care around me. This time, I gave in, I asked for help. I asked my mom, sisters, and husband to take care of my newborn while I took a nap, or had lunch. But most importantly I expressed what I was going through with them. I shared my fears and anxiety, and they were the best support system anyone could ever ask for.
Motherhood is not easy, but it shouldn’t be so hard. Breastfeeding is not frightening and it should never make you feel sad. It’s not scary, nor painful. It should never be. I know that because it was an easy ride the first time. So whenever you get such negative emotions, something is probably not right. And knowing what you’re going through is the first step into getting better.
And you will feel better. It will get easier, and you’ll enjoy every second of motherhood from now on.
One More Thing
Although it’s still a taboo to discuss therapy, resorting to a specialist should not be shameful. There’s nothing wrong with seeking medical help, especially that it’ll make you feel better and enjoy this little loving your baby a lot more. So, if you feel you need to see a therapist go for it. Only you know what you’re going through.