Victoria, Dan & Rowan – Folkestone, Kent UK [Family Photography]

So I am still loving Family Photography and recently while back in the UK got to hang out for the afternoon with Victoria, Dan & little Rowan (what a good name).

Victoria & Dan moved away from London a few years ago to Folkestone in Kent, a beautiful port town on the coast of South-East England, where they had Rowan over Easter. While spending the day together capturing these images, Victoria opened up to me about how she has been suffering from Postnatal Depression and after some reading of my own, it blows my mind how common an occurrence this is amongst new mothers all over the world.

Victoria vey kindly offered to write some words about the illness which I have shared below. Thank you Victoria & Dan (& Rowan) for letting me into your home and lives for the day.

“Like most new parents my husband Dan and I we were hit by the enormity of having a child when our son Rowan was born this Easter. At the risk of succumbing to a massive first time parent cliché, it was in the everyday moments that we felt closest as a family.

Through the seemingly unrelenting exhaustion our coping strategy was to go out on long walks to the sea near our home in Folkestone, Kent. For me getting out of the house and down to the coast became a lifeline. I’ve been suffering with Postnatal Depression and Anxiety since Rowan was born. The feelings gradually crept up on me, until was finally diagnosed when he was three and a half months old. Call it mother’s instinct but I knew something was wrong from the beginning. I was convinced I was doing a terrible job. That Rowan deserved better. Over time things had worsened to the point that that I was dragging myself through each day, just focusing on surviving. Suffering from PND and anxiety feels like the ultimate unwanted guest in new family life. Sucking what precious little energy is left out of already exhausted and bewildered new parents. Leaving me feeling hopeless and inadequate. At the darkest points it was almost impossible to see us as a ‘regular’ family because my anxieties feel so all consuming. When I started to seek help for the PND and Anxiety I began thinking that I wanted to savour this time in our lives. It hadn’t been easy but it was strangely significant.

We were really drawn to Nabeel’s relaxed style of photography. His approach was to go with what worked for us, which when you have a small baby makes all the difference. Outside of the confines of a studio we were able to shoot in a location that we loved. Since Rowan’s birth the Lower Leas Coastal Park in Folkestone has become something of a family favourite and this stretch of parkland overlooking the English seemed the perfect backdrop. Overall the shoot was incredibly laid back, which allowed Rowan’s personality to really shine through. Having Nabeel capture something as simple as a family walk felt affirmative, a little pat on the back to remind me that we can do this.”

For more information on Postnatal Depression, you can check out the resources at the following links: (links open in new tab)
http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/postnataldepression.aspx

http://www.panda.org.au/practical-information/about-postnatal-depression/29-identifying-postnatal-depression

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Sheila Stirrup - What absolutely beautiful photographs. A wonderful family captured so perfectly by such a talented photographer.

Sheila Stirrup

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