BENEATH THE SURFACE OF MOTHERHOOD
Life + Culture
3 min read
Let’s be honest. A mother can rejoice over her child yet not see life through rose-tinted lenses. Mothers are allowed to feel unhappy.
One can never fully comprehend – nor anticipate – the colossal amount of physical and hormonal changes, as well as the emotional torments, brought out by the arrival of a baby. The bond with the child can be strong but the self-identity can be lost.
In addition to the weight of expectations placed on mothers – both by the media and society -, factors such as isolation, lack of support and unhealed hurts from the past can plunge mothers into an ocean of overwhelm, anxiety and depression.
Having a child comes with a myriad of questions and choices; few mothers will never second-guess themselves. Torn between their instincts, society diktats and so-called advice from a well-meaning neighbour, mothers can struggle to find their own parenting voice. Furthermore, how can one tune in to her intuition when there is so little time for selfcare? When lack of sleep creeps in and wakes up all insecurities?
In ‘Mothers On The Edge’, documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux uncovers the extreme end of emotional struggles related to motherhood. To expose the challenges of postpartum mental illness, he visits two psychiatric units in the UK and considerately speaks with women who are currently undergoing treatment.
“In speaking to all the mums I’ve met, I’ve seen the most extreme versions of feelings familiar to many new parents but that had tipped over into acute mental health crises.”
Through the hour-long documentary, viewers meet profiles diagnosed with severe conditions such as depression, anxiety and psychosis and catch sight of the triggers that might have pushed these mothers to the end of the spectrum. For some, motherhood brought back to the surface painful memories of assault and stillbirth.
Louis Theroux does a great job in exposing the raw feelings brought out by motherhood, but his grasp of the core issues seems limited by his perspective angle, or perhaps merely by his gender.
The final note of this documentary is one of hope. Ultimately, mothers are resilient and go through the gritty part of life with extraordinary strength.
“I’ve also been struck by the courage of mums opening up about their fears and anxieties, doing their best for their children in situations of the utmost adversity.”
Image Credits: Featured: Unsplashed and HomesongBlog
Written by - Severine Etienne
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