After battling severe eczema for 4 years this beautiful family finally found some relief for their daughter in the magic waters of Avene in France. We celebrated this amazing time in their lives with a fun & playful shoot, full of joy and giggles.
I love watching families grow and capture their stories as they unfold. Sometimes though a story stops me in my tracks and makes me realise just how many things most of us take for granted every day. Like watching our children play and picking them up fully rested after a deep sleep. Something that hasn’t been a part of everyday life in the Baumanis household for many years.
Emma, who I first photographed as a newborn, was only 3 months old when she was diagnosed with severe eczema, and in her short 4 years she has already lived through more discomfort than you and I could possibly imagine. “We have enjoyed the most amazing, surprising, hilarious and heart-warming years of our lives since Emma was born, but they’ve also been the most heart-breaking,” explains Emma’s Mum, Shona. “When her eczema is good we live week to week. When it’s bad we live hour to hour, sometimes minute to minute. The pain and frustration of her uncontrollable itch is horrendous and while not always itchy, when she does start to scratch, it is a battle of distraction, tears and often physical intervention that takes place to protect her skin.”
One of the most challenging parts to managing Emma’s condition has been around sleep: “The severe sleep deprivation is hard to put into words,” says Shona. “Emma used to wake anywhere between four and fifteen times at night. Her little body was always ‘on’, she rarely had quality, deep sleep.”
But recently the family travelled to France for treatment that have changed their lives: “We started using Avene products after our pharmacist suggested we try them. We then connected with other eczema and allergy families on social media to find out about their trips to Avene,” she explains. “It didn’t take long for us to make the decision to take Emma to France for treatment.”
The family left Australia with a great deal of excitement and nervousness. “We knew there was no guarantee Emma would respond well to the treatment, but we hoped it would give her the relief and strengthened skin she so desperately needed and deserved.”
Emma’s skin responded positively to the ‘magic’ waters of Avene on the very first day. “Her skin was like a newborn’s – so silky and smooth,” recalls Shona. “Our five weeks in France gave Emma (and us) a new life and time together as a family without the constant challenges of severe eczema. Our trip was the best thing we have done for our princess.”
“It’s hard to explain the joy we found in a tiny little town on the other side of the world,” says Shona, “but seeing her smile and laugh more than ever is just amazing. She can sleep through the night now and has an incredible amount of energy to share with the world.”
The trip has given the Baumanis family a new lease on life. “We have hope again that we can survive the challenges of severe eczema and give Emma a better quality of life. To see her participate in ‘normal’ childhood activities, without needing one of us to help her stop scratching is truly heart-warming,” says Shona. “We are so proud of our beautiful girl.”
“One of the most valuable experiences we’ve had is forming friendships with fellow eczema and allergy families,” explains Shona. “We are now fortunate to be working with these friends to provide a support group (Hands to Hold) for families like ours. Knowing someone else is living the same kind of normal as you is such a wonderfully powerful and positive connection.”
If you or someone you know are struggling with eczema in their family please reach out for support by joining the group here: Hands To Hold Facebook Page.
And for more information about the Hydrotherapy Centre in Avene click here.
To book a family session with Minna Burgess Photography contact Minna via email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0432 953 003.
Minna is located in Brookwater, 35min South West of Brisbane, Qld, Australia.