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A mum was left heartbroken after she was unable to bond with her baby daughter due to a rare condition which made her cry every time she tried to breastfeed .
Deena Todd, from Yeovil, Somerset, now wants to raise awareness about Breastfeeding Dysphoria after her symptoms were initially dismissed as Post Natal Depression.
The 31-year-old could not understand why she felt strong feelings of homesickness, dread and anxiety whenever she tried to feed daughter , Isla, now five.
She is now speaking out to raise awareness of the illness, which she claims is almost unheard of in UK medical circles.
Deena said: "The first time it happened was in hospital when I fed my daughter for the first time.
"Initially I just felt the most intense bout of homesickness, I went to boarding school throughout my childhood and it was like the first day of that all over again.
"Then this intense feeling of dread kicked in, it's hard to explain but other mothers I know have described it as like killing a family dog.
"After that, I would get severe bouts of anxiety, depression and homesickness every time I breastfed,which I started associating with my daughter.
"It got so bad that when I knew I was going to pump, or breastfeed, I would just burst into tears knowing the feelings would come back.
"I knew I had to care for my daughter, but I also worried that the feelings wouldn't go."
Over her first few days of motherhood, the mum-of-two said the bizarre sensation was so severe it left her regretting becoming a mother.
It took weeks of online research for Deena to discover dysphoric milk ejection reflex, also known as D-MER, which is an anomaly of the milk release mechanism in lactating women.
It causes them to them to feel intense feelings of dysphoria just prior to their breasts releasing milk due to hormonal fluctuations.
Deena's suspicions she had D-MER were confirmed when she suffered the exact same symptoms after the birth of second child Koby, eight months.
She added: "D-MER stopped me from being able to feel like a mum.
"By the time I knew that what I was feeling was a genuine condition, the damage had been done.
"Once I realised that it was normal, and I had a name for how I was feeling, I knew it would pass and it felt amazing, I was just so relieved."
She is now determined to raise awareness by encouraging anyone who believes they may also have D-MER to speak out.
Deena said: "D-MER made me feel like a bad mother, or that I shouldn't be one.
"The problem with the condition is that because nobody knew anything about it, I thought it was me.
"I didn't know it was a condition and doctors brushed it off.
"There's nothing you can do to medicate this specific condition, you have to find your own way out, but it's all about understanding why it's happening and realising that it will go when you stop nursing.
"We really need more doctors to know what this condition is, there will be mothers sat at home now who feel like they shouldn't be mums."
Deena says she found comfort in a forum dedicated to women with the same condition as her.
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