Lara Fells built Australian fashion brand, St. Agni, with a less is more approach, favouring artisan products made with care. Lara carries these same principles into motherhood, savouring simple rituals, parenting guided by instinct and a fuss free kind of love.
Motherhood is …
Motherhood is a privilege, it’s hard and can be lonely but also so rewarding and fun at the same time!
Please tell us a little about your journey into motherhood…
I knew I always wanted kids, my partner Matt and I planned to start trying in the second half of 2017 but fell pregnant by accident in March before we officially started trying (Matt was upset we didn’t get to do much trying). I found out I was pregnant at 8 weeks, I had spent the day with two of my friends who were pregnant at the time and they were discussing the symptoms they were experiencing – it hadn’t even crossed my mind that I could be pregnant but a few of the symptoms sounded familiar, so I took a test. Matt was so happy when I told him, both of us a little shocked but happy. Pregnancy was kind to me, I had cravings for oranges and felt really tired but luckily no morning sickness or anything like that! I worked throughout the whole pregnancy, so it went really fast. At around 8 months I experienced some unexpected emotions, although I was so excited to meet Jude and to be a mum. I felt like I was letting go of my business and everything I had worked so hard to build in the three years before.
Did you have a birth plan? And what was your birth experience like?
I had booked into Byron Hospital to have Jude, it has a really nice birthing suite with only three rooms and really lovely midwives who go through the full pregnancy with you. The hospital is small and doesn’t offer epidurals and if you have any complications in your birth you get transferred to Tweed Heads hospital (about 40 minutes north of Byron). Matt and I did a calm birthing course and I was feeling confident about having a natural birth. At 37 weeks we found out Jude was breach, I tried everything I could to turn him around…head stands, acupuncture, I had an external cephalic version where the doctor tries to turn the baby by pushing on your stomach to turn it around – but he wouldn’t move. I could no longer give birth in Byron as my birth was now considered complicated, I had to choose between a natural breach birth or an elective caesarean section. It was a hard decision, I had spent 8 months getting my head around a natural drug free birth and now it wasn’t an option. I decided to have a c-section, and I had a great experience. I’m grateful for being able to make that choice for myself and for having time to get my head around a different birthing plan.
“We eat dinner together at the table as a family. My mum always made sure we ate together when I was young, I think it’s really important to just focus on each other and reflect on the day together.”
How would you describe your parenting style?
I found this question tricky, I asked my sister what she thought, and she said instinctive. My husband said composed.
I try not to overthink parenting, just to make sure Jude has my attention when I’m with him and to try and teach him new things. I’m not really strict…My friend once told she only tells her children off if they are hurting someone or something or themselves, I don’t want to be that mum saying no all the time.
What does the first hour of your day look like?
Normally I wake up to Jude asking me for some milk. He sleeps in his own bed but crawls into our room sometime in the early hours of the morning. Then I normally jump straight in the shower, Jude often jumps in too and plays while I try to wash my hair. I jump out and Matt jumps in…Our mornings are really a big game of tag team. Once we’re all dressed we – Matt, Jude, Harper (our dog) & I – all jump in the car, I normally feed Jude breakfast on the way, we drop Jude at day care and then Matt, Harper and I head into the office for the day.
Do you have an evening routine/ritual?
We eat dinner together at the table as a family. My mum always made sure we ate together when I was young, I think it’s really important to just focus on each other and reflect on the day together. Either Matt washes up and I bath Jude or vice versa and then we do the bedtime routine…brush teeth, a bottle of milk and some stories in bed – Jude normally takes an hour to go to sleep.
We take it in turns, Matt does one night, and I do the next…It feel like such a treat on my night off getting that hour to myself.
Once Jude’s asleep Matt and I make a cup of tea and normally watch a show together before heading to bed.
What are your self-care secrets?
I feel like I’m not great at self-care, it’s the first thing I cut out if things get busy.
I try to eat a balanced diet, I’m not into eliminating any foods … just try to eat fresh produce as much as I can.
I occasionally I do the light house walk with a friend, I treat exercise as a social activity…I would like to take it more seriously once things go back to normal again.
When you feel overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood and life what do you do?
Often, I keep going, until it really is all just too much, and I just break down. Matt’s really good at helping me work through the things that I’m not coping with, we normally sit down an come up with a plan together about how we are going to change things to make it better for us both. For our New Years resolution, we gave each other guilt free time. He was allowed to surf between 7 & 9 every morning and I could have between 4 & 6 pm to do something for myself… neither of us took advantage of it as much as we could of, but it really helped knowing that I had permission to use that time as I pleased.
Proudest moment as a mother?
I feel so many proud moments, watching him learn makes me so proud!
The other day he picked up the letter S and made a ssss sound, I could have cried I was so proud. These little things are so rewarding.
Greatest lesson motherhood has taught you?
To be selfless and patient – both hard lessons to learn.
A golden piece of advice you give other Mamas’?
To trust your instinct, don’t over think anything.
“As an adult I hope that Jude will be happy, that he will feel confident within himself. I hope that Jude will be kind, kind to others, but also to himself!”
What would be your advice to your BC before child self?
Travel, go out for dinner, go to the cinema, be spontaneous, enjoy your sleep, go out for breakfast, do everything you want to do, be selfish with your time!
An experience or conversation that changed your life?
When Jude was one our accountant’s wife told me that the first 5 years are hard, but it gets easier… she told me to just let go, let my house be messy, let Jude stain his clothes. When he turns 5 we will be able to sit down at a cafe altogether and actually eat – I’m holding her to that!
Beauty products and/or treatments you swear by?
I have a pretty simple routine, I wash my face every morning and night and always apply concealer. I love the Chantecalle one from Mecca.
Drink of choice?
AM -Small double shot cappuccino
PM – Red has wine
We asked Lara what she is wearing this season, practical for motherhood, these were her must haves…