To the women who are mums, and much more

For Sussan, the spirit of Mother’s Day is about celebrating women — women who are mums, and much more.

This was what we hoped to capture in our latest campaign. But something far more meaningful than a simple photo shoot took place.

In a stroke of serendipity, our model Pheobe was reunited with her own mother after more than two years apart. Having arrived from the UK just hours earlier, we decided to invite her mum and daughters to join the production, so more hugs could be shared and their genuine joy in this magical moment could be captured by our photographer, who just happened to be Phoebe’s husband.

As the day progressed, the women we enlisted for our campaign began a rich conversation about the diversity of modern motherhood, the varied aspects of womanhood that make us who we are and the many mother-figures that shape us.

It was a conversation we wanted to continue having and share with our community. We loved meeting and listening to the women involved in our campaign. And so, we thought you might like to, too …

Phoebe Ghorayeb

Model and Mum of two, with her third due this year

What does motherhood represent for you personally? 

Motherhood is the utmost privilege. I never take for granted the gift of my children as I know having children does not come easily to everyone. One of my aunties sadly could not conceive after experiencing multiple miscarriages and for another of my aunties, the timing just didn’t quite work out. My sister-in-law went through the process of IVF which was a difficult journey but thankfully she went on to have her two beautiful children. And then there are the mothers who are lucky enough to have children, but their children decide to move half way around the world … that’s my mum. It’s been 12 years since I moved from the UK and I know it still hurts mum to know I’m not around the corner for a cuddle and a cup of tea. Motherhood is not a guarantee and it doesn’t always pan out the way you hope, which is why I understand how lucky I am to be a mum.

How has your relationship with Motherhood and your connection to Mother’s Day evolved as a result of your experiences? 

Mother’s Day for the last 12 years has been a somewhat distant holiday with my mum still living in the UK. A gift in the post, a facetime call and a shout out on social media is usually the extent of the Mother’s Day my mum and I share. However, when my mum came out to visit recently after two and a half years of separation (and subsequently ended up a part of Sussan’s incredible Mother’s Day campaign) we soaked up every little ounce of time together, hugged at every opportunity, laughed during every occasion and talked about everything under the sun. Those memories will last a thousand Mother’s Days.

Whether or not we are with our mum or children on Mother’s Day, the love is never lost and and it’s how you chose to spend the time you do have together that matters most.

Additionally, as a result of this shoot we now have photos that we get to treasure forever. The three generations of women captured beautifully by none other than my talented hubby (and photographer) Georges.

Who are some mother figures who have inspired you and shaped you?

It goes without saying that my mum has been the number one person to shape who I am today. I don’t think anyone loves me as much as my mum does. In terms of those who have inspired me, I am so lucky to be surrounded by such strong women and mothers. My mother-in-law is the epitome of a matriarch, my sisters-in-law are the most wonderfully, committed mothers and then there are my friends, both in Australia and back home in the UK, who constantly challenge and educate me on ways to be a better mum.

What’s the greatest lesson your own mother taught you about life and style?

To always dress for my shape. It doesn’t matter if what you wear is on trend, old or new, high street or designer, if it looks good on you it will always look good. Dressing well and feeling amazing for it has an incredible impact on the way we see ourselves, hold ourselves and present ourselves to the world.

Do you have any nightly habits or rituals that were inspired by your mum?

To always take my make up before going to bed. It’s far from a luxurious ritual but it’s an incredibly practical one and one that my skin will probably thank me for the most in years to come.

Has motherhood changed your perspective on style?

I think motherhood has more so encouraged me to remain true to my personal style and to embrace what makes me feel good. Becoming a mum impacts our bodies in so many ways, whether that’s during pregnancy, directly after labour or years down the track and it can be a real mental adjustment. It can mean we don’t wear what we love because we want to cover up or don’t feel deserving of that particular piece of clothing. I have done my best to appreciate and accept all the changes in my body and wear clothes that I love unashamedly. I think it’s important that when we become mothers we don’t lose our sense of style but most importantly our sense of self.

What will you be reflecting on this Mother’s Day?

Just how lucky I am to be a mum. As I mentioned earlier becoming a mum is not a given, so to have two healthy children (and God willing another healthy one on the way) really is a blessing. I’d also like to shout out to my amazingly, supportive and hands on hubby for making it possible for me to be the mum I am today. To allow me the time and resources to try and be the best mum I can be. I could not imagine riding the wave of parenthood without him.

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day?

Being 32 weeks pregnant will definitely put some limitations on our celebrations (mainly because I’ll want to be in a seated position for most of the day) but to be honest a homemade card made my my girls featuring some sort of scribble on the front and an illegible attempt at spelling their names on the inside is all I need to know how much I am loved and appreciated.

Caitlin Sanderson

Model and Fur Mum

What does motherhood represent for you personally?

Since I was little, my mum has been my best friend, my confidant and my inspiration. While having kids of my own is still a few years away for me, I have always felt very maternal and have three fur-children who are my everything.

I can’t wait to one day have a big family full of fur-babies and real babies running around!

How has your relationship with Motherhood and your connection to Mother’s Day evolved as a result of your experiences?

Growing up, Mother’s Day was always a hugely important event, as my three siblings and I were raised by a single mum. We knew from a very early age how special it was to have a mum who single-handedly raised four kids and wanted to spoil her and show her just how grateful we were. It is always extra special when Mother’s Day also falls on her birthday every couple of years.

What’s the greatest lesson your mum taught you about life and style?

My mum has always encouraged me to embrace what makes me unique and to never compromise on my beliefs. I’ve always admired how elegantly she dressed. Even though growing up we didn’t have much money, she always managed to dress so well, often sewing her own clothes to suit her.

Has becoming a fur mum changed your perspective on style?

Having a new puppy sure has changed the way I dress… I’m wearing clothes for comfort and flexibility- and they have to wash well!

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day?

I’m looking forward to flying up to the Sunshine Coast in QLD to visit Mum for Mother’s Day this year and spoiling her with breakfast in bed and a new pair of pyjamas.

Helen Cauchi

Model and Aunty

What does motherhood represent for you personally?

At this point in my life, and I am turning 44 this year, motherhood is not even close to what I thought it was going to look like when I was in my thirties.

I imagined that by now I would have a child, or at least that’s the way I was viewing society’s ideas of a woman my age.

But I hadn’t at all anticipated the challenges of that journey — from finding the right relationship to possible medical complications, timing and other pressures that are dictated by age.

I have certainly had to learn to embrace other forms of motherhood to fill my maternal void, particularly through the closeness I have to my girlfriends and their roles as mothers.

I am a very committed Aunty! I went along to school pick-up a few weeks ago and loved it. I also delivered home-cooked meals to my best friend’s dog Lily while she was in quarantine during the pandemic. The role of an Aunty is just as valuable, and my girlfriends are very conscious of the importance of this role for me, which is really special. 

How has your relationship with motherhood and your connection to Mother’s Day evolved as a result of your experiences?

Well, I have never been pregnant. By the time I realised my desire to become a biological mother, I was in my early forties. After six months of trying without success, I discovered that I would need surgery for endometrial complications, inclusive of a blocked left fallopian tube. I had never considered that my journey to motherhood would involve a Fertility Specialist an IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF.

It was the immense pressures of this, that in-part resulted in the breakdown of the relationship I was in. The consequential aftermath of a rapidly ticking body clock, and not having frozen my eggs, was overwhelmingly confronting.

I had to shift gears into the slow acceptance that biological motherhood may not be a part of my journey, in acknowledging that my age could now be a liability to the pressures of a new relationship. Contemplating “failure”, comparatively to the stereo-type of motherhood, is still very much a part of my personal experience.

Who are some of the mother-figures who have inspired and shaped you?

Undoubtedly my close girlfriends who all exist as different kinds of mothers: with twins, dogs, pregnancies, as single mothers, step mothers, single women and grandmothers. I feel I have a vast knowledge and incredible inspiration for varying types of motherhood because of them.

What’s the greatest lesson your own mother taught you about life and style?

I think the idea of quality versus quantity and the importance of investment pieces. It’s ok to wear an outfit repeatedly if you love it and it makes you feel good.

Do you have any nightly habits or rituals now that were inspired by your mum?

My mum is an avid reader; it’s how she starts and ends her day. She has definitely influenced my love of exploring books, libraries and writing. She also uses a generous amount of moisturiser in the evening before bed which I now love to do.

Has being an aunt changed your perspective on style?

Aunt duties for me translates into the effortless and chic; it’s more about dressing comfortably these days rather than being overly conscious of trends, although I do still love to flick through a fashion magazine occasionally!  

What will you be reflecting on this Mother’s Day?

I feel like I have learnt so much in the past year about my own thoughts and emotions in connection to being identified as a mother, and what that may look like — as well as the notion of what it’s “supposed” to look like — in my forties. For me, it’s still evolving and changing, and I encourage any woman also in my position to focus on hope, rather than hopelessness; to find peace with the journey that is meant for you.

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day?

A beautiful bunch of flowers for my mum. And by sending lots of love to my girlfriends’ families from Aunty Helen!

Lou Kenny

Model, Mother and Fur-Mum

How has your relationship with Motherhood and your connection to Mother’s Day evolved as a result of your experiences?
I became an empty nester in my 50’s and decided to base in London to model for a few years. I missed home, the ocean, my kids and friends. Mother’s Day is just a feast of emotional deliciousness- an excuse to visit and be visited, just to be together 
I do have a dependent now, REMY he is 9 months old and we are planning his 1st birthday celebrations- guest list includes, Mo, Heath, Clover, Rex- so far, there is a list of 6 guests, so probably Whippet sisters Sjora & Mahony, but Mahony doesn’t like Remy’s advances, so she’s a maybe at this stage.
Games – catch, swimming, jumping and singing/howling to Murloc’s tunes

What’s the greatest lesson your own mother taught you about life and style?
Chuffle deal trump play win repeat
Read a form guide 
Back a winner
Wear a bikini or nothing
Gum boots are cool
Be able to cut a pattern, mend, sow create, plant, water, watch it grow
All these lessons are signature Grace Mary, 1920 – 2013

Do you have any nightly habits or rituals now that were inspired by your mum?
Her quips
“RepeatO” tablets (if you retold a story!)
“What’s crawling on you?”
Early to bed, early to rise.
Leaf tea with a knitted pot cosy 

Has motherhood changed your perspective on style?

Yes, I show up, make an effort, with less time it’s good to pair outfits into a colour palette….
They count on me and I like knowing that 

What will you be reflecting on this Mother’s Day?
My mother in law , Millicent is 98 and her birthday is on 15/5 
My mum, Grace would’ve turned 101, I think?! 
I’m more interested lately to investigate their mothers and so on, family tree time coming up I feel

How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day?
With Edith my daughter (my son Ambrose is overseas on tour with KGLW) and extended family, our blue heeler’s Herbie and REMY 
Walking at the beach 

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Sussan Fashion | The latest articles for women, by women