Heather Rae El Moussa thought she had 'Mom brain.' It was an autoimmune disorder

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Heather Rae El Moussa was four months postpartum when she noticed a drastic drop in her milk supply. At the time, she was also experiencing intense fatigue.

“I remember saying to my assistant, ‘I feel like I’m dead,” Heather Rae, 36, tells TODAY.com. “My brain was so tired. My body was so tired. I was exhausted all the time and no amount of sleep could make it better.”

The real-estate agent, who stars in “The Flipping El Moussas” and “Selling Sunset,” dreaded the days when she had to be on camera.

“Filming was absolutely brutal because I could barely get out of bed,” Heather Rae says.

Initially, Heather Rae says she chalked her symptoms up to motherhood. She and husband, Tarek El Moussa, 42, welcomed their first child together, a son named Tristan, in Jan. Tarek also shares Taylor, 13, and Brayden, 8, with his ex-wife, Christina Hall.

“I was like, I’m probably just foggy because of mom brain,’” Heather Rae remembers.

But what about her milk supply? That’s what Heather Rae couldn’t figure out. One day she was pumping more than 6 ounces of milk, and the next she was lucky if she got half an ounce.

At the suggestion of her lactation consultant, Heather Rae made an appointment to get blood work done. Later that day, her doctor called with results.

Heather Rae’s pregnancy had triggered Hashimoto’s disease, a common autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing symptoms like exhaustion and weight gain, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

"When she told me what I had, I was in total shock," Heather Rae says.

The condition was also behind Heather Rae’s depleted milk supply.

Heather Rae was prescribed medication to treat the illness and says she is “feeling much better” these days.

“Hypothyroidism from Hashimoto’s is treated by replacing back the normal thyroid hormone, albeit through a pill form,” Dr. Erik Alexander, chief of the thyroid section at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, previously told TODAY.com. He added that you can live a long, healthy life with the condition.

Heather Rae, who exclusively breastfed Tristan for half a year, is now giving her 9-month-old baby purees and goat milk formula.

“I would put him on my chest and he wouldn’t even try to suck. Then he’d start blowing bubbles,” Heather Ray says. “I still offer it to him — I offered it to him this morning, but he’s just not interested anymore. He’s a busy boy and he wants to be off playing.”

Though Heather Rae misses that bonding time with Tristan, especially their skin-to-skin morning feeds, she’s relieved that he made the decision to stop nursing.

“It would have been so much harder if it were the other way around,” she reveals.

Heather Rae is proud of her breastfeeding journey. Tristan was born with a tongue-tie, which is characterized by an unusually short, thick or tight lingual frenulum — the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the base of the mouth — that can restrict tongue mobility and impact breastfeeding.

“Tristan had a lot working against him in the beginning — the poor thing could not suck. It was almost like he was trying to suck through a straw that has a hole in it,” Heather Rae told TODAY in June. “He started losing a lot of weight. It was awful.”

Tongue-tie laser surgery, or laser frenectomy, solved the issue.

Heather Rae feels "proud" as she reflects on their breastfeeding journey.

"We had a lot of things working against us, including my autoimmune disorder, but we did it," Heather Rae says. "I’ve heard so many women say, ‘I only breastfed 2 months,’ and that makes me feel sad. Why ‘only?’ You should feel so proud that you even did it at all!"

This article was originally published on TODAY.com