The one-off documentary airs on BBC Two.
“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.” – Louis Theroux
In the hour long programme entitled Louis Theroux: Mothers on the Edge Theroux looks into the mental health issues surrounding new mothers in the UK.
Pregnancy and motherhood are often hailed as the happiest time in a woman’s life, but it can also be a time of extreme stress and psychiatric difficulty.
In the UK, around one in five new mums experience a mental health problem before their baby’s first birthday, many for the first time in their life. Award-winning filmmaker Louis Theroux returns to the UK to spend time in two specialist psychiatric units, which treat mothers experiencing serious mental illness whilst allowing them to live alongside their babies.
Immersing himself on the wards, he meets women who have been admitted with a range of serious conditions – including 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.
“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. I hope this 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.” – Louis Theroux
Louis Theroux: Mothers on the Edge airs tonight at 9pm on BBC Two.