Lindy Rama-Ellis wears many hats, but the one she wears most proudly is that in her role as mum to four gorgeous kids: Stella (16), Rocco (14) and Frankie (11) with ex-husband Michael Klim and Goldie (5), with property developer husband Adam Ellis.
The entrepreneur and Australian-born model lays claim to Indonesian royalty, so a decade ago the tribe made a permanent move to Bali to reconnect with her roots and make Bali part of their own story. A recent move from Pererenan Beach to their new beachside pad in Uluwatu signals a fresh beginning for the family after a difficult few years dealing with the significant impact of the pandemic on Indonesia.
Having 4 children with the youngest having just turned 5, Lindy remembers the feeding phase of each child vividly. “I honestly found breastfeeding worse than being pregnant”, she says. “I had an oversupply of milk. And when I say oversupply, I mean - I could have fed several babies...and while that sounds amazing, the reality meant I constantly had the most painful, leaky breasts. I mean, I could shoot milk out across the room - I was basically homebound. Feeding in public was just not an option for me,” the Fig-Femme founder explains.
Distressingly, Lindy suffered crippling rheumatoid arthritis during all her pregnancies, which worsened during breastfeeding. Lindy breastfeed Stella, her eldest for 12 months and then with Rocco and Frankie, she reduced the period of breastfeeding each time by way of pain management.
When Goldie came along in 2018, Lindy made the decision not to breastfeed entirely for a number of reasons. “I was the main breadwinner when Goldie was born - so I knew I would have to work soon after she arrived. This meant lots of flying back and forth to Australia and some periods where I would leave her with Adam who bonded beautifully with her during bottle-feeds. The thought of managing the pain of my rheumatoid arthritis again and dealing with international travel and pumping was just way too much, so I happily took the lactation suppression tablets when I had Goldie and never looked back.” she recalls.
What she wasn’t prepared for however, was the various forms of judgement she faced for her choices. “I was shocked to be honest. From random strangers in China questioning my choice in formula, to well-intending girlfriends dropping off tins of formula - even if they didn’t have kids themselves!” she exclaims. “Everyone felt like they had an opinion, right down to the bottle I was using - I mean, it was insane,” she says, echoing the sentiments of many formula feeding women the world over.
Goldie is now a thriving 5 year old, and Lindy has no regrets about her feeding choices. “It [formula feeding] really took the pressure off me, knowing I was in control of not only my pain, but also - I found it so much easier in a way....I knew just how much milk she was getting each time.” She is also cognisant of the fact she was more confident in her decision given Goldie was her fourth baby. “I didn’t really feel pressure in hospital as I was adamant about not breastfeeding this time around - but I know that if it had been my first baby, I might not have had the confidence to assert myself and my choices,” she says.
It’s a key theme for Lindy, especially in the context of supporting other women. “Sometimes I feel we’ve come so far with the feminist movement - but then we - as women, can equally tear each other down - we’re all just doing the best we can and especially when you are in the thick of it with a newborn, all you need is support with what choices are right for you - not shame or judgement,” she says.