1 in 10 mothers are diagnosed with antenatal depression and anxiety, 1 in 3 will then go on to develop post-natal depression’, PANDAS, 2018’. Becoming a mother is a life changing experience which requires you to adapt and grow in order to nurture and mould a child. With many women also maintaining a job, it is no surprise that the rate of post-natal depression is on the rise. With the stay at home mum becoming extinct, the pressures to fit parenting in already busy lifestyles is becoming the norm.
“Postnatal depression is a mental health illness developed after the birth of a baby. Signs and symptoms can include, dark thoughts,sadness, little or no interest in doing things, feel of failure and worthlessness, a struggle to bond with baby and loneliness and isolation.”(Belasco,A,2018)
The ‘Working Mother’ explores motherhood and the pressures of returning to work. The project reminds us that for many, initially, motherhood brings not only joy but also the loneliness and stresses which can be associated with postnatal depression.
Shooting mostly at night, the photographs are of women as they return or are about to go to work. The portraits capture the often short amount of time between work, taking care of their children and finally, sleep. The work is very self reflective and involves a lot of my own experiences and feelings.
The photographs are accompanied by quotes taken from the subjects and I on our personal experiences of what many call the ‘baby blues’ and postnatal depression. PND is a largely under exposed yet common symptom post-birth. It is also something that is seen as a taboo subject, with many women feeling weakened and ashamed by their feelings and diagnosis,awareness needs to made in order to de-stigmatise those feelings. “We can also de-stigmatise not coping. We can examine the language we use in relation to motherhood, such as “baby blues”, which belittles the suffering many experience”. (Naughton, 2018)
A recent study in the US has shown that the percentage of women who experience PND can increase the earlier they return to work.