postpartum anxiety, severe

Postpartum anxiety..... or could it be something worse?


Congratulations you have made a tiny human!

It's incredible and mind blowing..... and you are still in shock that your body was able to go through this incredible process of growing and birthing an actual human being!

The coming days and weeks are a whole new kind of adjustment, your milk is coming in, your baby is cluster feeding, you're not sleeping. You have a raging hunger you have never known before... it's.... a lot.

They never said motherhood would be easy especially with a new baby, but you feel on edge and have frequent anxiety.... sometimes panic attacks.

If you have never experienced panic attacks before this will definitely take you by surprise, on the other hand if you have, you will probably think that this is just your hormones doing their thing and you brush it off.


Then... they get worse, and worse. You start to notice a pattern, they aren't random, they seem to come about whenever you start breastfeeding your little angel, or when they start crying.

Because postpartum anxiety is so common, we often just assume this is what we have, end of story.


I am here to tell you that it may not just be postpartum anxiety.

There is a condition that exist and affect about 9% of new mothers which could explain what you have been going through:

D-MER stands for Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. It's a condition where there is an abrupt drop of the hormone dopamine during a milk letdown. This causes an emotional drop and in some cases severe feelings of anxiety and/or panic attacks.

It largely goes undiagnosed.

For me, middle-of-the-night feeds and furiously scrolling through Reddit is how I found out that that is in fact what I had.

As we all well know a letdown can be triggered by a simple cry.

I had crippling panic attacks multiple times a day that left me feeling helpless, useless, and downright brain-dead.
It was hard to explain to the people around me that I felt like I was jumping off the edge of a cliff every time I breastfed or heard my baby cry.

If this sounds familiar to you, I hope this helps you feel a little better knowing it is a known condition and there are tricks you can try to help you during an anxiety attack:

1) You can drink water or eat some food, this will trick and distract your brain from fight or flight mode.

2) The other way is eating or drinking something sweet, this will trigger the release of dopamine and balance them out from the major drop it just had. (My ride or die was a dark chocolate digestives, You could always find a packet of them by my side.)

3) focus on your baby's little ear while you are going through this, run your finger around the edges and the ridge, this helps by focusing your attention and take your mind off the panic attack.

4) Try the Box method breathing:

  1. Step 1: Breathe in, counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.
  2. Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.
  3. Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.
  4. Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centered.

If you have suffered from crippling anxiety during your breastfeeding journey, perhaps you are one of the unlucky 9%.

Please seek out a lactation consultant for coping mechanisms to help you deal with it.
You are one heck of a strong-ass woman.
Raising a tiny human is not for the faint-hearted.

Love you all, as we all get sucker punched through motherhood (sometimes literally).


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