It is meant to be a beautiful, bonding relationship? It is meant to be an amazing experience. Right?
Warning: Some of the below comments experienced by women may be disturbing to the reader.
It is meant to bring you joy and fulfilment, and nourish your baby in the most natural way possible.
But what if it doesn’t?
What if breastfeeding leaves you with “a deep, sad, dark feeling”?
What if it leaves you with “a horrible feeling of numbed panic”?
What if breastfeeding makes you feel “repulsion”?
Makes you want to harm yourself or your child?
Because for some women this is the reality of breastfeeding.
And many of these women feel terribly alone not knowing the feelings they have aren’t unusual, and more importantly that it isn’t their fault.
This little known syndrome is called D-MER or Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex.
There don’t seem to be any official figures as to what percentage of women suffer this because many simply won’t talk about it for fear of it being dismissed or them being labelled ‘crazy’.
These perfectly normal mums struggle with feelings like this:
“It feels like my world is about to end. It feels like a sick feeling in my stomach and I get a guilty lonely feeling as well.”
“I’m experiencing horrible feelings when she’s feeding – like a crawling sensation, a hot flushing in my chest, a rising anger, and I want to literally rip her off the breast. I get angry and frustrated until she has finished (or I pull myself away) and I feel resentful for up to 10min afterwards. Then I feel guilty.”
“There were even occasions where it caused such a severe emotional reaction that just for a passing moment I would sometimes even feel suicidal.”
The web site www.d-mer.org says that with some mothers who have only mild D-MER it is simply a “sigh” or a “pang.” However, on the other end of the scale of intensity, there are some mothers who feel extreme emotions resulting in suicidal ideation, thoughts of self-harm or feelings of anger.
One such mother wrote on the D-MER site saying:
“For me it ranged from mild irritation to intense feelings of rage and anger. I, at times, bit or scratched myself. I would gather myself and bottle feed in these instances.”
The relief that many women feel when they find out that they aren’t alone in these feelings is palpable.