Designer, influencer/mother to Eadie, Meimei and Dante.
“Caesarian scar, fat feet and the ability to recite Frozen from start to finish, every single character,” is how motherhood changed life for influencer-turned designer Innika Choo. “[It] has also taught me to trust my intuition.”
The Australian-born Bali-based mother of three’s journey kicked off on Instagram where she quickly gained a following as much for her humour and honesty as her free-spirited style.
“When I first had Eadie, pretty much all the mums I knew were full-time working super-hero mum jugglers, still functioning in the real world while dabbling in a bit of parenthood; outstanding effort - I was in awe - but not able to keep up,” she explains. “Although we know how hardcore parenthood is, when peeps ask you: ‘What you do?’ (cringe) the general public is quite dulled by just a mum, it doesn't feel like it's enough. We're already putting pressure on ourselves to do more, be more, earn more - the hardest part is societal expectations and figuring out where I stand and how I'm seen, as a mum - just a mum. The best part is that I'm growing into a woman who has opinions on such things. No wait, that's not the best part. It’s pretty cool when they outwit you. I get duped by Eadie all the time, she's a tricky little one.”
In 2016, she launched her eponymous fashion label featuring dresses and tops – inspired by her life in Bali, her love of vintage style and her own irresistible exuberance.
My darling Eadie, Meimei and Dante.
Well my loves, this one has been rather hard to pen. As I sit here to write all this, I find there’s too much, too many feelings, too many complex knowing, loving, painful, thrilling, understandings that these mere words might not quite cut it in a letter.
With every moment I see you smiling, I’m filled equally with a happiness that instantly brings tears to my eyes and a squeeze of my heart that feels so good it almost hurts. I feel proud that I’ve managed to keep you happy until now, fear that one day you won’t be so happy, and have an urgency to keep you smiling, laughing, gurgling; whatever it is in that very moment of your simple happiness, that made you so joyful.
When you are profound, and say the most clever things, my heart leaps across the room absolutely beaming in an almighty triumphant dance - “Hurrah, my child is clever!”. Simultaneously, I worry I haven’t taught you enough yet, I worry I’m not clever enough or disciplined enough to keep you making these profound, incredible statements.
When you are hurt (and not so much the tripping over hurt), the real emotional stuff, like when you fight with each other, when I hear for a fragment of a second your heart drop in pain - my heart goes for the ride too, and I’m on my knees in front of you, fear in my eyes wanting to fix everything. I want to teach you everything, I want you to be able to sit on my shoulder and see everything from where I’m looking. I want you to know how incredibly loved (there must be a better word here, love doesn’t seem strong enough) you are.
I suppose I should try and simplify what I’m feeling as I try to type this, for the sake of getting all this layered emotion down, for the sake of you reading this to the end without wanting to wander off. My love for you three is big, and it’s something I don’t even know if you will really comprehend until maybe one day you feel it too, with your very own little loves.
The three of you have been the making of me (I feel that such a tired cliche is no less true when I write it, and slightly disappointed that I have nothing more unique to say in its place). I would never have been compelled to do what we have in the last few years if it weren’t for you.
I live in fear and anticipation for the teenage years, when you’re even more profound, and you teach me things I never knew possible, when you open my eyes with your youthful determined standpoints, and when your heartbreaks are truly heartbreaks that might last your lifetime. I live in fear of that pain. I pray that, perhaps in my lifetime, I might have had enough heart break and pain on the scale of woes that maybe I’ve taken it all for you, and you’ll just continue on this beautiful, happy trajectory forever.
Your dad and I, although very much in love, as you know, fight about most things, as you know, but we are ultimately united about you three. We share our own love and companionship but you three are another bond that connects us. You are us.
I have made every mistake that is possible to be made. I have been lead down many garden paths, I’ve believed the wrong people, I’ve cared very deeply for the careless, I’ve invested my heartfelt time in the cruel, I’ve dabbled with the dark, and I’ve been reckless with my purity. I am the woman I am, for what I have lived. But my heart twists in fear and elation, suspense, and always worry, with the thought that you are embarking on your own journeys into this life, and itis indeed sometimes a cruel, heartless world if you take a wrong turn. The exciting thing is I’ve come this far with not much; imagine how far the three of you will go with each other, backed up by the steadfast, reliable, consistent, unwavering, (please help me find all the right words to express it) love your dad and I have for you.
You don’t need much in this life. You will get by with a twinkle in your eye and a knack for dancing through open doors. For all the mistakes I’ve made along the way, at the very least I’ve a very good story to tell. And opportunities are everywhere, there are kind people in the jungle too. The problem is the very same glowing traits that attract the kind people are the ones that cruel people tend to sniff out to rip you off, but shine bright regardless as I will be right there ready to take on anyone who tries, I’ll be sure to tell you if something is off, and if only you will trust my judgment. I just hope you live a life like mine but better, with a clever head on your shoulders and your (silly but experienced) mum and your dad to join you for the ride from time to time (we will embarrass you, and you need to be ok with that).
I want you to cherish each other. I can see so far how much you care for one another and I wonder if, in my hopes for this to happen, I have forced you to be so close, or if it’s beyond me, and this was in the stars and you were destined to share your lives together. Your relationships with each other, your brother and your sisters, will outstand every other relationship in your life time. You will know each other the longest. You will share memories and beautiful stories till the end of time. You will grow with one another. I’ll be here for most of that ride, but your bond will outlast my lifetime too. And that’s the most thrilling thing about parenting,
I’ve come from a very social but somewhat lonely place, to create beings who are my companions, but for you to also be companions too is the most wonderful thing - so cherish your friendship in each other, please.
I love you (for use of that mere word, that cannot even begin to describe what I mean when I write this).
This is an extract from Grace Mothers: Letters To Our Children by Georgie Abay, Julie Adams and Claire Brayford, $65