‘You teach me every day’: How motherhood changed these four women

Writing straight from the heart, four mothers share the hopes, dreams and life lessons they'd like to pass on to their cherished children.


Elle Strauss, fashion director and stylist, mother to Honor and Imogen.

“Being your mummy has made me strong and vulnerable at the same time.”

Dear Honor and Imogen,

You guys are wonderful, and a pain in the butt all at the same time. There was no road map to raising you, but we are doing the best that we can. Watching you learn and grow into the beautiful, kind and smart human beings that you have become is magical and humbling. You have transformed my life indefinitely. I never knew that I was capable of such love.

Honor, your kindness in life and patience (with your lil' sis) makes my heart burst. When your teacher described you as her "angel", it left me in tears. Imogen, your determination and humour floors us constantly. Despite only being two-and-a-half, your personality shines through bright and bold; from "cooking us pasta" to your huge grins and the shaking of your gorgeous little bum. We waited a long time for you and you were worth the wait. Squidgy woo, we love you.

Being your mummy has made me strong and vulnerable at the same time. I wish I could wrap you guys up and never let you go. But go and grow you must and I will be with you every step of the way.

I'm so lucky to be your mum and be entrusted with your lives.

I love you both forever,

Your mummy


Amanda Booth, model, actress and advocate, mother to Micah.

Amanda Booth and Micah.

Dear Micah,

I hope that you go through life loving yourself as much as I love you. You've given me a sense of purpose that I've never felt before. You've opened my eyes. You've taught me the importance of equality, inclusion and acceptance and how to fight for someone other than myself. Every single day, you teach me to slow down and be present in the moment.

We found out you had Down syndrome when you were four months old. I did mourn the loss of the life I'd envisioned for you: a barefoot-on-the-beach kind of childhood. One of the most incredible parts about parenting you is the indescribable joy we experience when you do something that any typical kid naturally would do. The other day you said "pop" for popsicle and I just looked down and started crying; seeing you formulate a word was the most incredible feeling.

The smile you get on your face once you feel proud of yourself fills me with happiness.

Micah, go through life with love in your heart. As I'm getting older, I'm realising that the more I nurture the relationships in my life, the happier and more purposeful I feel. Material things come and go but it doesn't make sense to equate your life to things that could be taken away from you. It's better to put your energy into nurturing the things no one can ever take away, and that's the love that you give and the love that you receive.

You are my heart.

With all my love,



Dana Stephensen, Australian Ballet Soloist, mother to Jasper.

Dearest Jasper,

Dana Stephensen and Jasper.

When I see you running with such abandon, I see your whole body charged with energy; your face is euphoric, your eyes ablaze with life itself. You are completely enthralled by sensation, your spirit is soaring. And I smile because we are so similar, my darling. This is me on the stage – my happy place.

The only way I can teach you about people is to show you that I'm a perfectly imperfect one; one who makes mistakes, who loves and grieves equally, someone who finds the world both a delight and a sensitive place.

I hope that by showing you my vulnerabilities, you can make friends with yours.

Always remember the unique spark you bring to the world. I saw it the second you were born. No matter how stormy the days, that light never goes out. I hope you always feel brave enough to show how much you care and you're never too proud to smile, to cry or to say, "I'm sorry."

I hope you laugh as freely as you do now through all of your days.

I wish you many moments that take your breath away. Like tonight, staring in wonder at the full moon together. I said to you, "Darling, isn't it spectacular?"

You asked me what spectacular meant. I said, "It means all kinds of wonderful."

You beamed at me and said: "Mummy … I love wonderful."

You are a wonder.

Love Mummy xx


Vanessa Breuer, model, mother to Luca and Evie.

Dear Luca and Evie,

I don't know if words can ever describe the bond a mother feels with her children. It's a feeling of oneness. You are a part of me and I am part of you. The love for you goes through my veins and is something that can never be taken away. Life is all about love – it's security, warmth, comfort. It's the energy that surrounds us. The spark between us, the connection, the sparkle in the eye, the soft touch that keeps you in this world. At the end of the day, love is the most important thing.

Vanessa Breuer with Evie.

I will always be here for you. I'll always listen to your voices. I really hope I can teach you to be honest and proud of yourselves. I want you to live a life in peace, surrounded by things that matter. Family, love, nature. I want you to be kids as long as possible. Life is full of things we should and shouldn't be doing, responsibilities … I want you to enjoy the "bliss bubble" you have as kids.

I don't want you to worry. I want you to always be yourselves and I don't want you to ever stop asking questions. There is so much to learn. Always. You've showed me infinite love.

You've made me who I am right now and I am happy to be in this place. My world will forever be changed because I will always be connected to you, no matter what happens.

Love Mama

Edited extract from Grace Mothers: Letters to our Children (Bauer Media Books) by Georgie Abay, Julie Adams and Claire Brayford, out now.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale May 5.

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