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Women Praise Louis Theroux's Mothers On The Edge For Helping To Break The Stigma Around Maternal Mental Health

Louis Theroux's new documentary, which follows mothers facing extreme postpartum mental illness, has been widely praised by viewers for tackling a taboo subject.

The filmmaker's latest project, Mothers On The Edge, aired on BBC Two on Sunday night.

It follows new families in specialist psychiatric that which treat mothers experiencing serious mental illness, whilst allowing them to live alongside their babies.


In the hour-long film, Louis meets mothers facing the most extreme forms of mental illness, including depression, anxiety, and psychosis triggered by giving birth and the strains of motherhood.

Considering maternal mental illness is so common (worldwide, roughly 10 per cent of pregnant women and 13 per cent of new mums experience a mental disorder, according to WHO) it's not something that is widely spoken about.

Many on Twitter have praised the documentary for shedding light on the taboo subject...


One of the mothers Louis meets is Catherine, who attempted suicide after her son Jake was born. Catherine is honest about not feeling a bond with her son, who was born exactly a year after her first pregnancy was terminated after being found to have a rare form of Down's syndrome.

Louis asks, "Do you enjoy cuddling him?" to which she replies "No," adding, "I think that's why I took an overdose, because he deserves better than me; someone who can love him."

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

Later in the show during filming, Catherine flees from her ward and attempts another (thankfully unsuccessful) overdose in a hotel room.

The film also follows 25-year-old Marie whose traumatic birth lead her to have flashbacks about a past sexual assault. "I was in labour for 36 hours and had to have forceps, I wanted a caesarean - but that didn't work out," she reveals.

"A few years ago I was sexually assaulted and when you're having a baby there are obviously a lot of people around that area and it gave me awful flashbacks."

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

Viewers also meet Lisa who experienced postnatal depression and anxiety after the birth of her third child, Isabella.

In the film, Lisa is discharged from her unit to join her family at home, but despite this, requires strong anti-anxiety medication and round-the-clock help from family members to look after her three children.

Louis's new documentary is hopefully just the start of a new, more open conversation on maternal mental illness. Let's hope more mums can recognise they are not alone and seek the help they need...

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: Entertainment, Entertainment News, TV & Film, louis theroux

Ciara Sheppard

Ciara is a freelance journalist working for Pretty 52. After graduating from the University of Sussex, Ciara worked as a writer at GLAMOUR Magazine and later as the Assistant Editor of Yahoo Style UK.

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