In Conversation with Sarah Cousens

The Milk Label Journal, sharing stories that celebrate life: The beautiful and the messy. For this journal, we visited Sarah Cousens and her daughter Holiday in their beautiful Sydney home.

Photography by Madelyn Hannah 

Sarah Cousens has this contagious smile, the kind that oozes warmth and kindness, unparalleled to her personality. She's a creative juggling her own business, freelance work, and the new realm of motherhood. In her Northern Beaches home in Sydney, we spoke to her about all these things and more.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, the home you live in, and who you share it with?
I am Sydney born and bred, I freelance as a prop stylist & florist (when I can) and I run my own small vintage furniture business, My Verona. I live in a small 2 bedroom house on the Northern Beaches that is basked in sunlight all year round that I share with my partner Grant, a creative director, and our 18 month old daughter, Holiday. 

Do you have any rituals that you incorporate into your daily life, either personally - or ones which involve Holiday? 
Since our daughter came along, we are still trying to find rhythm in daily life - it is chaotic most of the time, if i'm being honest! Though recently, I've been making time for yoga a few times a week which gives me the mental clarity and physical strength that I have been craving for a while now. 
You are a lover of vintage furniture, can you tell us a bit about your business and how you juggle your business with being a new mother? 
My Verona is a circular design offering of curated collectible furniture items for sale and hire. I am fortunate enough to showcase my pieces in Hake House, a gallery on the Northern Beaches. Running a business as a new mother is the biggest juggle. It has definitely slowed down in recent times, as it requires a lot of time sourcing items and logistics. My dad helps me out a lot when it comes to collecting/dropping off items which I am so grateful for. It sort of ticks away in the background for the moment, but I hope once I gain a bit more time back I can get it back up to full capacity. Right now, my focus is my daughter and spending quality time with her in these formative years. 
Can you tell us a little bit about your breastfeeding experience and what it has meant to you so far? How has your journey into breastfeeding impacted you as a person? 
Breastfeeding came quite naturally to us, which I know isn't the case for everyone and I acknowledge that we were quite lucky. It has been a really beautiful experience yet extremely exhausting at the same time. Ever since Holiday was born I have fed on demand and fed to sleep, even to this day. At the beginning, I wasn't nourishing my body to keep up with the demand, nor looking after my mental health like I should have, to manage the round-the-clock feeds on top of sleep deprivation, that I felt completely depleted all the time, I was sick a lot, lost a lot of weight and was struggling with terrible anxiety. I made the decision to reintroduce animal products to get more B12 and iron into me after being a strict vegan for 8 years. Things definitely turned a corner once I started taking proper care of myself again. 

I definitely have my moments of wanting to wean her, I often have to stop in my tracks wherever I am (at home, out in public, in the car etc) as she is demanding it, which can make me feel trapped in my body at times. It can also be challenging at times, as I feed her to sleep - therefore I am the only one who can put her down for naps and bedtime. However, I do love the closeness it has brought us and also gives me time to have a little rest each day! I hope that she will decide on her own that she no longer wants it as I do want my body and freedom back eventually, but as she is still so little, for now, I just lean in.
How has motherhood changed you, and the way you see life? 
My life has been flipped on its head in the most beautiful, chaotic way. I feel like a changed person. My brain thinks differently, my body is different, I run on very little sleep but I make it work! Everything I do is for her. I am always trying to be the best version of myself for her (not always possible). I want her to have amazing experiences and explore, while at the same time, I am always on the lookout for caution. I love seeing the world through a childs lens, the joy she brings into my life is like nothing else. 
What is one piece of advice or lesson in life that you want to pass onto your daughter?
I want to show her what healthy relationships look like; to help her understand the importance of communication, trust and mutual respect. To teach her that self-care is not selfish but essential for a balanced and fulfilling life. To encourage her to dream big and never let fear hold her back. 


Sarah wears the Essential Leakproof Milk Bra in Black, Size Small