Our society hails being pregnant and becoming a new mother as a happy time, but it can also be a time of extreme stress and psychiatric difficulty. Award-winning film and documentary maker Louis Theroux is back with a new documentary “Mothers on the Edge“, looking at postpartum depression and mental health. Will you be watching?
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Mothers on the Edge, Louis Theroux’s latest film, focuses on the topic of postpartum mental health.
It follows Theroux as he immerses himself in two specialist psychiatric units that treat mums who are experiencing a range of serious conditions. Their conditions range from depression and anxiety to psychosis.
Theroux meets the new mums, and their families, following their stories as they are treated in hospital and recover at home.
Postpartum Depression and Mental Health
Mental illness, triggered by giving birth or the struggles of motherhood, is said to affect 1 in 10 mothers before their child’s first birthday.
In the hour-long documentary airing on BBC2, Theroux visits two specialist psychiatric units in the UK, where mothers live with their babies while undergoing treatment.
“The women we featured in this film took a huge leap of faith in opening up and speaking to me,” says Theroux.
On the wards, he meets women who have been admitted with a range of serious conditions – including postnatal depression, anxiety and psychosis – often triggered by birth or the strains of motherhood.
As he follows the patients and their families both in hospital and recovering back at home, Louis explores what lies behind their recent crisis and discovers the immense challenge in caring for two people in the most vulnerable state of their lives.
Theroux says: “Postpartum mental illness, like many aspects of mental health, is all too common and not acknowledged enough. We as a society do so much to celebrate new motherhood and to romanticise the relationship between new mothers and their babies, for understandable reasons.”
“But the sad fact is, for many mums, their experience of having a baby is traumatic and they don’t experience Hallmark Card feelings of love. The women we featured in this film took a huge leap of faith in opening up and speaking to me.”
“They bared a great deal of their souls and risked the judgement of less understanding elements of society. Their bravery and candour is awe-inspiring, and it was a privilege to be invited into their families during a most vulnerable period in their lives.”
Louis hopes his film will go some way to helping normalise postpartum mental illness and stimulate a discussion on how we can best care for mothers at the time they need it the most.
Mothers on the Edge will air on BBC2 in May 2019.
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Are you a Louis Theroux fan like us? Will you watch his latest postpartum depression and maternal mental health documentary? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!