Sour Milk: Motherhood and Depression


Overcoming Post-Natal Depression

Post-Natal Depression, often referred to as PND, affects 1 in 10 new mothers in the UK. Symptoms can include panic attacks and anxiety. If PND is not addressed it can manifest into puerperal psychosis – racing thoughts, paranoia and hallucinations that can bring severe danger to both the mother and their newborn baby.

Farah Hughes knows this first-hand. Having suffered with PND for three years after giving birth to her daughter in 2010, she started ‘Sour Milk’, in an attempt to document other mothers who had shared similar experiences. Photographing them in their homes – where PND sufferers often feel trapped – and using a deliberately dark colour palette to reflect the psychological symptoms that each mother has endured, she set about telling their stories.

“When I had the idea for this project, I wasn’t sure if other mothers would be interested in participating, due to the stigma attached. I attended a conference in London organised by ‘PND and Me’ and was moved by the women that spoke of their experiences. I decided to reach out to these women via networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and to explain my ideas for this project. I was over-whelmed by the response, receiving messages from all over the UK”.

Her work seeks to raise awareness of this underestimated mental illness, and to provide an outlet for mothers who are suffering – to know that there is hope, and that they’re not suffering alone.




“Emma suffered with PND after the birth of her second child. Her father passed away a few days before the birth, and on the day of the birth her first-born of seventeen months was diagnosed with meningitis and needed resuscitation. This all led to Emma’s anxiety increasing to severe high levels, being separated from her newborn to care for her daughter who was critically ill. This impacted her bond with her new-born baby – she didn’t recognize him as her son. Emma and her husband separated”.



All images © Farah Hughes

See more at: www.farahhughes.photography

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