In a 250 year old farmhouse hidden away in rural Ibiza, Vanessa Breuer is passionately raising two beautiful “free range” daughters. It’s not the first place you’d expect to find an in-demand globe trotting covergirl, but Vanessa isn’t your average star. It’s the simple things in life this former Victoria’s Secret model cherishes the most and in this refreshingly honest interview, the earth mother opens up to The Delivery about her journey into motherhood, lifestyle secrets and why she will never read a parenting book.
Motherhood is …
Better than I could have imagined…
Please tell us a little about your journey into motherhood…
Honestly I didn‘t really want kids when I was a child myself. I guess because my parents were divorced and I didn’t particularly like my childhood very much. But when I met my partner I really wanted to have children with him because ultimately it is the biggest bond between two people. Although we thought we would be “ready” we didn’t fall pregnant until many years later when I was 27. It was the perfect time really. I was ready to have a break from work and we were very excited about having a child together and starting a new chapter in our lives. I was living in America during that time and actually went to culinary school. We moved from New York to California so we didn’t have that many friends there which was kinda nice because it gave us so much nesting time together. I flew to Australia before it was too late to have our baby there as I didn’t have health insurance and you never know what could happen. Luckily I got a spot at the birthing clinic in Randwick, Sydney which was super beautiful and we were really happy to be there. I wasn‘t scared of giving birth but I was scared of hospitals and doctors and not having the birth I wanted which was to be left alone with my partner.
I didn’t really have a birth plan written out with either of my children but I had a strong plan in my head and I can be very stubborn. When I was 35 weeks pregnant with Luca, my husband and I went to a birthing course called “Shebirth” in Sydney. I am so glad we did that course. I wasn’t afraid of giving birth and what we learnt in the course felt very natural for me and it made total sense but it was good for my husband to be on the same page. I think all the information gave him the strength to basically go through birth with me. We were very well informed about all the steps before and after labour and what exactly was happening which didn’t leave room for fear. He didn’t miss one contraction and it felt like he was experiencing every moment with me. We had Luca in the birthing centre in a water pool. I had a very painful (she was posterior for a while before she turned last minute) birth but I managed it all natural and gave birth in the water like I imagined. I went home as soon as I could and stayed in bed more or less for the first few days. It was such a big change! No one can really prepare you for a little child in your arms. And how that person will change every minute of your own life. Although at times overwhelming (cracked nipples, painful walking etc) we managed and we loved parenthood.
Our second one, Evie, we had at home in Ibiza and it was the birth that I dreamed of. It was very intense but very short. Again Oddy never left my side and he helped me in moments were I needed him the most. Evie was caul birth, which means the membrane still covered her head and face. She was so peaceful when she came into the world. I just held her all night and morning and I recovered very quickly.
Proudest moment as a mother?
There are many many moments but I currently really enjoy listening to my almost four year old. She makes me soooooo proud. Such a beautiful human being full of empathy and kindness and I have so much to learn from her.
Greatest lesson motherhood has taught you?
To be patient. To be open. To embrace every moment of life.
Biggest challenge in motherhood?
To be patient. To be open. To embrace every moment hahahahah.
How would you describe your parenting style?
First of all we never read any parenting books. It kinda doesn’t feel right to us, but no judgement on anyone that reads them. We are very honest with our children and ourselves. We talk about how we feel and we don’t really feel any pressure. I guess that’s the benefit of living isolated sometimes. We do what comes naturally and we don’t really compare ourselves to others. We are pretty relaxed and our children are what we call ‘free range’. We are there for them and guide them but we give them freedom to explore and make experiences themselves. The good and the bad I suppose.
“It took me a while after Luca was born to feel sexy again in my body. It didn’t have anything to do with looks but I felt like my body wasn’t mine…I didn’t feel very sexual at all so I had to learn to be patient with myself and listen to what I needed as a woman.”
What does the first hour of your day look like?
We get woken up by the kids, either Evie crying out for us or Luca walking into our bedroom. We drag ourselves out of bed, because the kids usually take it in turns to wake up 2/3 times during the night and sometimes one of us stays in bed for a bit longer to recover. If I get up I make coffee (can’t/ don’t want to live without it) and breakfast for the kids. Then we play a bit and get Luca ready for school/kindergarten and get in the car.
What does your evening routine look like?
After dinner one of us takes the kids to bath while the other cleans the kitchen. After bath we brush teeth together and cuddle and play a bit in bed. Then Oddy usually takes Evie to sleep (the kids share a room) and I hang with Luca for a bit longer and then we read her two books and one of us takes her to bed and cuddles with her. Evie goes to bed much easier but with Luca it still a bit of a process. Then comes the cleaning and then we are usually exhausted and go to bed ourselves anxious how many wake ups we will have during the night.
How has your style evolved since becoming a mother?
I am very casual. I like just throwing something on when I get out of bed so I wear lots of floaty dresses in summer. Everything has to be easy to clean and I don’t iron ever.
You’re always exposed to the best of fashion, what tips do you have for busy mothers who want to look stylish through pregnancy and beyond?
I am all about comfort. If you want to dress it up a bit you can always put some nice shoes and at some accessories.
A golden piece of advice you give other mamas?
Be true to yourself.
What affect did pregnancy and birth have on your relationship with your body?
I actually prefer my body now as I am so proud of it to have carried out our children. It took me a while after Luca was born to feel sexy again in my body. It didn’t have anything to do with looks but I felt like my body wasn’t mine. Breastfeeding can be very demanding and I just didn’t feel very sexual at all. so I had to learn to be patient with myself and listen to what I needed as a woman.
What do you do for self-care?
I love getting a massage and having a bath. I also love to go to pilates but I rarely have time for it at the moment. Also books, I love getting lost in good story.
Beauty secret for busy mamas?
A really nice moisturiser or face oil. I love using all natural oils on my face and body before going to bed.
“We are very honest with our children and ourselves. We talk about how we feel and we don’t really feel any pressure. I guess that’s the benefit of living isolated sometimes.”
As an international model who travels a lot for work, how do you perform the balancing act between motherhood and career?
I am still trying to find the right balance. Some months I travel a lot and some other months I am mainly at home. I try to keep positive when I am away, I do miss the kids a lot, but I try to focus on the big picture. My husband is not working at the moment so I feel confident in going away and leaving my family behind when I am working.
You look like you live a charmed life in Ibiza, why did you choose to put down roots and raise your family there?
I wanted to return to Europe to be closer to my family (they are in Germany) and to be able to travel more with my own family. From Australia it can be very hard and expensive to explore the world and I still have the travel bug in me. Before we had kids we went to Ibiza for the first time when Oddy and I had a long distance relationship and we met for our holiday on the island. I came from New York and he came from Sydney and we hadn’t seen each other for about three months. It felt like all our stresses and worries fell off out shoulders when we arrived in Ibiza. Years later we got married on the island. So it has always had a special place in our hearts and it felt like the right place to start life in Europe. We planned to be here for one year and then move on, but we are still here after three years. I think it‘s the house that is keeping us. It’s a 250 year old farmhouse and we absolutely love it.
Is your family complete or would you like more children?
I would love another child. Oddy is not so sure. I think maybe in three years or so. I‘d love to have a big family and I actually would love to enjoy having a newborn without the worries about going back to work. I think I‘d like to stay at home for a bit afterwards and Oddy can head out for work.
Favourite family friendly holiday destination?
Ibiza! Hahaha! It‘s really great there for kids and the more we travel with them the more we see how good we have it on the island. It‘s so relaxing with kids and stress free. But we love going to Berlin in summers. There are so many playgrounds and it has a great city vibe without being to hectic for me.
Drink of choice?
Latte and sparkling water.
Sugar Blues by William Dufty, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, The promise of sleep by William C.Dement