Our One

These last weeks have held some of the hardest moments I have ever faced.

Convinced by a google search and a GP suggesting we should prepare for a long road ahead. I was wholeheartedly certain that our child was to be diagnosed with a specific chronic illness.  Some of the fear was just my own, some of it was from the doctor and some was from the bullshit information online.

In the long days between the discovery of some telltale marks on our toddler and the final moment where we went into the specialist’s office to walk our green mile and receive the verdict, I failed as a mother. Our families stepped in to pick me up from my inconsolable mess and cared for my child when I faltered.

My husband forced me to swim and we spoke of the beautiful almost two healthy years we have been blessed with while the sun set and I didn’t care if sharks took us, we didn’t notice an anniversary pass, he kissed my hand while I sobbed at 2am and again at 4am it could have been the same night or different nights, it was sleepless, restless repetition of one word over and over in my head.

I knew my daughter could not be fooled by our fake smiles but the sensitive little soul broke my heart when she said “what’s wrong mummy… I’m sorry mummy”.

And then yesterday, just before walking into the paediatrician’s appointment to learn what our future held, I sat in the grass, felt the sun and the breeze and made peace with whatever the outcome would be. I surrendered completely to what the universe would hold for us and felt the fear wash away from me. I knew whatever the outcome was, we would be ok and would walk our journey together. In that half hour, I became the mother I wanted to be.

In what was the sweetest moment of my life, our daughter was given the all clear. No further tests needed, she didn’t qualify for the illness on any level. Sobbing and tears, absolute shock, so many questions, so much fresh air.

Now, I am overwhelmed by sadness for the many parents who have tasted those same initial fears of any sickness in a child and then had their hearts ripped out with a positive result or the prolonged pain of more testing needed. And though I’m still waking in the night thinking “she’s sick, she’s going to be sick” I am able to wait for that wave of relief to swallow me again and again as logic kicks in and my anxiety flows away. It isn’t lost on me how lucky we are, how sweet every breath is, how privileged we are to be able to look at our child and just think “beautiful, healthy baby”, no fear, no worry, no sickness.

The good I can take from this is that I have learnt more in this short time than any year or decade of my life previously. The illness we were confronted with has a side effect of possible ‘disfigurements’. Faced with such a possibility for my child, shook me to my core and made me see a superficiality in myself. Did I really think it wasn’t ok to look different? Did I really think we should want our children to look a certain way or at least look ‘normal’. But my most brutal lesson is that there is only one thing I need to teach my child- self love.

I want her to know that normal is a fallacy. We’re all flawed, all beauty is imperfect. In others and in yourself.

This lesson for me is too great to ignore and I feel that something needs to be born in this momentum. So here’s what I’m giving back: If you know a child or young person who does not see their own beauty and needs to, or has been bullied about the way they look, or thinks they don’t look ‘normal’ enough…. email me. I want to photograph these children and teens, in their homes at my own expense in the most beautiful, imperfect, real way I can. And then share these images (if you agree), to spread the word about what really is beauty.

Pretty soon, my photography will no longer be petal photography. It is just me. So it will be my name. Starting by loving myself.

Baby Lola – South Coast Family Photography

Baby Lola – South Coast Family Photography

I met these two when I photographed their Wedding 2 years ago. Perhaps it was our love (or obsession, call it what you will) of dogs, or perhaps it was our fondness of inappropriate jokes… and airborne cakes… either way, I’m so happy to today call this beautiful lady a friend as we venture on the journey of mama-hood together. Their tiny friend, Baby Lola is quite obviously and ridiculously the most beautiful being to ever grace this universe, (for reals) so this family session was no hard task.

As Petal Photography grows – in the evolving rather than expanding sense, this is the direction I would like to take my work. As much as I would always love to photograph Weddings, I’m so fascinated with capturing people in their day to day lives. I’m genuinely excited to see how my work might develop with this new intrigue, a tiny spark (that was born when my daughter Daisy was) to explore the relationships people have and the littlest of moments in their lives. As this is somewhat new territory, or at least not my comfort zone, I really hope you like these images.