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Be Still, My Heart by Marta Giaccone

Words:

Edd Norval

Photos:

Marta Giaccone
January 9, 2019

Brexit has torn Britain apart. The original idea was a lie, all votes thus rendered meaningless. Both sides were complicit in the scaremongering, aided by the media in all its forms. In amongst it all is the people. Forgotten, confused, frustrated. Life must go on, unless you're involved in the bubble of British politics. This series of photographs on young mothers, originally shot in 2014, is a grounding insight into ordinary lives.

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For all the headlines and hyperbole, social media and superlatives, our attentions have been wrongly diverted to whimsical issues. We've forgotten what the vote was supposed to do - help people. One side saw it as being about identity and freedom, the other about unity and togetherness. Whatever the reason and whatever the individual's choice, it's become clear that it was built on lies. The last thing on the minds of any politician involved in that vote was the people they claimed to care about.


It's a strange time. A time where time seemingly has stopped. A perpetual waiting game where nothing seems to be happening. That's why things like this, these photographs, should be on the front of papers instead of a politician in a brothel or their wives newest dress. Each country has a beating heart and that heart is a human one.


Captured in their homes, disarmed, honest and at their most primal - mothers holding their child. It's in South Wales that Giaccone took a closer look at the statistics. Teen mothers, still frowned upon under the assumption that they must have made a mistake, or done something wrong to be like this.


The young mother has become emblematic of the idea of a 'broken' Britain. But is that right? What hope do they have if the people that should speak for them fall silent. When they do talk it's all lies. Is it really these mothers that have made a country broken or is it the ones pointing their finger?

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Below are some quotes from the mothers, anonymously recorded:


"Motherhood is scary, but it happens one day, just some people are younger than others. When I found out I was pregnant I was 15 and I honestly had no clue about anything, I was really blasé about it. My boyfriend tried to force me into getting rid of the baby but I spoke to my mum about it and she said however I felt, so I ended up feeling like keeping her and I wouldn’t change it. I broke up with him, he was cheating on me while I was pregnant, and then after certain things happened I had to go to the police and now he is not allowed direct or indirect contact with me or the baby. I don’t know if he wants to see her, all he’s posting on Facebook is about him and his new girlfriend saying it’s the happiest moment of his life. I just wanna pop his bubble and comment, “And what about your daughter?” "

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"My boyfriend and I had agreed that I wasn’t to have the baby because I was only 17, so we were in duration of an abortion. We had been together for eight months then and we were living together. I had had a massive argument with my mother and she kicked me out, his mum wasn’t too impressed about taking me in so we took it upon ourselves to get a property, not that we wanted to do that, but at the time we didn’t really have a choice. Then, literally after a fortnight, he died in a motorbike crash. The police said it was his fault even though it wasn’t. He was an only child so that’s why I decided to keep the baby in the end, and I called him after my boyfriend.


I don’t deny it, up until the actual day that he was born I questioned whether I was doing the right thing all the time but then I saw him and it was just completely different. He looked the spit of his father to me so I was just in love with him. I was so glad I’d stuck through with him, he’s worth every bit. There are days that I feel like I shouldn’t have done it, times when I’d like to go out and get drunk like I used to, but it passes. I do not regret it at all. I don’t know where I’d be without my son right now, I think I’d be an alcoholic, drug abusive or whatever. I used to be able to hide my emotions rather than deal with them so obviously if I hadn’t had him I think I would have hid them by staying unsober. He is a saving grace in many ways.


My father was a very violent man. When I turned 10 I realised he was actually quite a nasty person, that is the legal age when you can decide, so I haven’t seen him since. He’s never tried reaching me. When he found out what had happened his only words were: “If you need money, you know where I am.” I’d rather live in a box than turn to him."

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