Image of the week…always a teenager

23rd April 2021

“She’s the strongest woman I know, tough as nails.” Tracey proudly announces referring to her daughter Martha who hops alongside us with her leg wrapped in plaster. She handles the crutches with ease as they tap into a rhythm on the pebbled road.

At the age of 2 Martha developed into an adolescent . She grew breasts, pubic hair and started periods. As a single mother Tracey confronted this frightening occurrence with grace and defiance. After several doctors visits Martha was diagnosed with precarious puberty. Up until our conversation I had never heard of this rare condition. She was one of only a few cases in the UK and dealing with this was emotionally and physically intense.

We entered the overgrown grass surrounding a pond as the sun threw it last rays at us. Tracey blocked the light as Martha and I shot .We bonded over Martha’s budding passion for photography. She peered curiously down the waist level finder as I guided her to view her mum. A few days later I met Tracey again and she kindly ferried me around Hastings. We scooted to Bowie beach and talked about her kids as we navigated the precarious rocky beach. It was beautiful, the black stones lining am empty shoreline.

I felt at ease with her instantly. Tracey is down to earth and utterly devoted to her kids. She spoke of the time she had to decide if to start Martha on hormone blockers. Martha was four and looked twelve. As well as toddler tantrums she had PMT, adding that to a strong overgrown child can only mean chaos. The main risk was that Martha’s height would be stunted. If she started the treatment it was likely she may not reach more than 4ft 9. I fathomed this impossible decision. They opted for the hormone blockers.

I pulled out my trusty plastic step and climbed on holding my camera to my waist. As Martha stood before me, arms darted above her head in a stretch , I smiled at the 5 foot 9 wondernoman. OAO x