Louis Theroux will explore postpartum mental illness in his upcoming BBC Two documentary.
Mothers On The Edge will see the filmmaker spending time in two specialist psychiatric units which treat mothers experiencing serious mental illness while allowing them to live alongside their babies.
He meets women who have been admitted with a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety and psychosis, often triggered by birth or the strains of motherhood.
Theroux said: “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 broadcaster, 48, said the women featured “took a huge leap of faith” in opening up and speaking to him.
“They bared a great deal of their souls and risked the judgment of less understanding elements of society,” he said.
“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.”
He said he hopes the film helps to “normalise postpartum mental illness and stimulate a discussion on how we can best care for mothers at the time they need it the most”.
Clare Sillery, head of commissioning, documentaries, said: “This thought-provoking documentary is sure to open up a conversation about one of the most challenging periods of any parent’s life and puts a spotlight on an issue that remains largely unspoken about in today’s society.”
The documentary will air on BBC Two in May.