Sunday, July 3, 2011


I've mentioned before that there's a moment at the beginning of most nursing sessions when I hate my own skin and everyone else and realize that everything in my life has been a big mistake and I'm trapped in it forever. It happened with Chloë, and I didn't think about it much. It started up again with Maia, and after I realized my dissatisfaction with my life and my second child mostly stemmed from those moments, it occurred to me that maybe I should do something about it.

I started with the Internet, of course, and came upon something right away: D-MER, Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. As far as I can tell, this is exactly what I've got. Essentially, the milk ejection reflex (which happens a short time into a nursing session and makes the milk actually flow rather than being sucked out) is coupled with a bigger-than-it-ought-to-be drop in dopamine levels, which causes various negative feelings until they level out again, which takes a few minutes. A couple of sites I read regarding it say that simply knowing that it's physiologically caused can help, and I've been finding that that's true. Now I get Maia settled, start feeling lousy, and then remember that it's because we just started nursing, and I'm usually okay. Sometimes I persist in feeling lousy, but it's gotten a lot better.

I mentioned it to Heather at the midwives' at my six-week checkup, wondering whether (a) they'd heard of it and (b) they had any other suggestions. She'd never heard of it. She was concerned, because we'd already discussed my increased risk of PPD ("If you think it's coming on again, we want to treat it pretty aggressively, because that works out better for women than if you don't fix it the first time") and wanted to know if I just wanted to go right back on an antidepressant, which I didn't. She promised to look it up and check with a couple of lactation specialists to get any advice they might have. A few days later she called (well, had a nurse call) and suggested counseling, because "a pill won't help; you can't take on every time you breastfeed." (I bet I could, but they'd have to make the pill first.)

I don't think this will help, so I'm not going; I'm doing okay now, there's a much more tenuous link between D-MER and cognition than PPD and cognition, and their previous recommendations for counselors have worked out poorly. At this point it's just something to put up with. Between this and the lipase problem, though, I'm starting to wonder whether I'm actually (physically) cut out for motherhood.

1 comment:

Ernie said...

Look at Chloe and see how well she has done and I think the question will be answered.