Updated: Jun 27, 2022
In this episode, Elena tells her story of How she’s got 2 moms because getting pregnant when not married in the 70s was taboo. And how changed laws helped her to find her biological mother more than 20 years later. She also tells how she packed her bag and just walked away from her one and only 34 years old relationship and started her new life at nearly 50 years old learning many things from the start.
10 Facts About Elena
1. 50 years old
2. Elena has 2 moms – biological and adoptive.
3. Elena has 3 siblings – 2 sisters and 1 brother. All of them are born 4 years apart, and fit quite well.
4. She has 4 adult children.
5. She was 16 when she met her future husband, 21 when she married him and 50 when she walked away after the first and the last fight ever in 34 years together. “So I really do think that I wasn't meant to leave my husband until I did, because I wouldn't have been the person I am now”, - says Elena.
6. The hardest thing Elena has ever had to do, was probably finding out “who I am”.
It's taken Elena nearly two years to find out who is she… “after 30 odd years of being with someone and being someone else's partner or being someone's mom, being someone's chauffeur, being there for the kids, for the friends, for my mom, so always being there for other people”.
7. Elena is still learning about herself and finding her passion. “I don't think I have a particular passion. I'm just trying everything. If I was to pick one now, it would be probably being outside in nature”.
8. Elena believes that we don't have a choice where our destination is, it will always be what it is. But how we get there, that's our free will.
9. Biggest challenge at this age – Menopause
10. Positive change with age – “I am free. I don't care. I embrace the changes, and actually just go with it and do not fight. If you fight it, it'll just hurt you more mentally. So yeah, just go with it”.
Watch Elena's VIDEO interview HERE
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (auto-generated):
Hi, you are listening to My Body My Story podcast,
I find it this age, I am free, because I don't. Like I really don't care. If that person walking down the street looks at me and find the pole to a floor, or something they don't like.
This is the 45 or 45 chapter where we celebrate rule breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show that sensuality, beauty, soul and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and will listen to the stories of our participants. If you have an interesting story to share, we would love you to participate, you can email us on email@example.com or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Gosh, I suppose I start my story where I choose to start a new beginning, which is probably September. 2 years ago, actually the year before when I walked out on my ex. After 34 years together. Yeah, we were married about 28 years, we were together since we were 16. We've got four amazingly lovely children. I think, for me, it was it probably been a process in myself that something you mean you that wasn't something right. But I never knew what it was. And it took till then to sort of, we had our first major fight. And I think that was one of our biggest problems. We never fought or disagreed, because I would just I would assume that it's not worth the fight. So but then realise that was just killing me inside. So and I'm not like it's not his fault or mine. It's just, you know, just, yeah, we were 16 When we met, and then we got married when I was 21. And then pretty much a year or two later, we started having kids. And then I had four kids sort of one after the other and then running around after them as they were growing up. So there was never really time to work out who I was or anything like that. So I think I realised that I didn't want to be that person that I was when I was with him. And so yeah, I packed a bag and I walked down. Well, yeah, I had no idea where I was going to go. Thankfully, my best friend took me in. She only has a three bedroom house and she has two boys. And they would spend a week or two at their Nan's so I could use their room and then we'd alternate rooms. So I'd spend a week or two in one big room and then a week or two and another bedroom. And so yeah, that was in stay there three months. And then my boss has has a rental apartment in Blacktown. And he offered that to me at a fairly cheap rate at the time because I didn't know where else I was gonna go with pretty much been there ever since. So I've been there a year or two months now. Her neighbours found the furniture. Yeah, so it's been a
How long has it been?
So I use September? Yes, I think 18 months, whereas I moved out. So yeah, it's been the craziest 18 months of my entire life.
It's a whole new journey.
It is yeah, I mean, I was me that endo was probably nearly 90 kilos. Wow. And the size 16. I clearly didn't lose the weight the right way. Stress, smoking, not eating. But when I did realise how much weight I had lost, I thought I think I probably should take care of myself now and that was you know, so I'm not trying to lose more weight, I just get the gym pretty straight four times a week and either run or swim, or go for a hike or, or something. Anything outside now, I hate being inside I hate doing nothing. So, yeah, it took me a lot of therapy, that 10,11 months of seeing a psychologist. Best thing I ever did, she was incredible. I still have dark days and good days. But whereas before, I didn't know how to handle the darker ones, with her help, and obviously all my friends and that it's a lot easier to, you know, realise what, you know, when I'm about to crash and burn and then go well, it is what it is. Any sort of way. I never really cried before or didn't want anyone to see me cry. So I think I held it all in. Yeah. And I didn't know how to handle that. When I did break down because I've never done it before really. So held it all. Then in for about 10,11 months, I just sort of worked on me and just didn't absolutely nothing but sit on my balcony and either read or write poetry, never written poetry in my entire life. And did absolutely nothing for 10 months. And it felt really good. And then even I decided, no, no, I need to do something I need to get out. And, you know, so. And for that whole time too. I didn't want another man, or anybody. I thought knew I'd lost weight, but needed showing myself to another man. After being with one. And only one from when I was 16 scared the absolute crap out of me. To be honest, I thought Yes, I know, I've lost all this weight. But once you take the clothes off, I have had four kids. So there's still bits that are really, really floppy. And I was very, very self conscious. And I thought, I don't know. Yeah. And then of course COVID. Yeah. So I thought, well, how do you do this like.. on 50 or nearly 50? At the time? How do you date or find someone or? Yeah, not that I wanted a relationship yet? I don't think I was ready to just dive into a new, whole new thing. So I went on Tinder… that was an experience, to say the least. Yes, it certainly showed me that. My flaws are what I thought my floor was completely and totally irrelevant. My main, really don't care one about you know, whether I've got stretch marks from here to here, or whether the next bit he is earning this pair of earrings. I know they just didn't. And they're like, I've been my girlfriend since I've been really lucky that nothing's happened here, all these stories, and she warned me. But I think for the first time I'm trusting my instincts, whereas before I used to just suppress everything I felt. So I'm actually trusting what my gut says. And I don't think you can be lucky that many times in a row. So I think it's Yeah, I think it's me sort of choosing like all using my gut to choose rather than, you know, my head. Yeah. And I've got to say all of them, every single one of them have been absolutely lovely people as well. A gentleman and sweet and tender and kind whether they were a one night stand or friends with benefits. None of them have been relationships. I've just I don't want… but they've all been genuinely really nice people which and they've actually which is really weird. I'm at 50 in learning things from somewhat younger men. Yeah, yeah.
What was wrong with that?
Nothing, nothing. Yet, so, but even there, they're, you know, fairly young ones. They even were Teaching me stuff that I didn't know. And, but with like a, a gentleness and an understanding. And it was just it really sort of blew me away and how many guys out there, they are really nice. Yeah and so patient with me I know that I was older but I've never experienced anything. Yeah. As I said, I met my husband when I was 16. So the whole experience was brand new. So he had the pain, the level of patience and just you. That blew me away. So. And yeah, I've been sort of if something comes up and looks like I probably would never have done it before or look sounds scary. I'm just going yeah, I'll do it. So yeah, that's me at the moment.
It's quite an incredible story.
Um, so I have a biological mum. And I have an adoptive mum. So because I was one of the child in the 70s, where if the mom was pregnant, they hid her in a convent. And then she had the baby and they took the baby away and adopted it. So that I'm one of them, yeah, so that's another story. So my mom was only 19. And she wasn't married. So they packed her bags and sent her to Sydney. Yeah. And she had me and then they sent her home. And I was adopted, she was forced to, yeah, there was no such thing. It's like Centerlink, or anything like that back then. So it was, yeah, it was pretty much if you were not married, your parents would pretty much or your family would find the closest hospital that had a convent or something next to it. And you lived there for the eight to nine months, so people wouldn't see you pretty pregnant. And then you'd go to the hospital, you'd have the baby and they take it away. And then you went home and had to pretend that nothing happened. So it would have been awful. Like I've had four kids and I could not imagine that's her how that would have felt just
So they didn't stop her from seeing you though. Right?
Like they Yeah, no, I was that was it that once she left me at the hospital, that was it. She she she wasn't allowed to no contact? No, wait, you know her? Yes. So the laws change. So the laws used to be that you couldn't find out, right? Who your adoptive parent, like who your biological parents were in the same way that biological parents couldn't find out where their child had gone. But the laws changed when I was about maybe 20. Where once you turned 18, you could find you could find out and so could the parents. So and it was Birth Deaths and Marriages at the time. And you could you could put a block on it. So for $50 If you went in there, you could make sure that no one could find you. I didn't really I didn't bother. But for $150, you could go and find they could give you all the information they had about either. So if I were to do it as the child they would give me all the information they had about my biological parents and vice versa. But it was $150. And at the time, they were only open from nine till four Monday to Friday at Redfern. And I worked in Havana, and I thought I'd have to take a day off work, travel all the way into Redfin to pay $150. And that didn't guarantee anything it was whether it was 10 pages, or 100 pages, they found it was still the same price. Yeah. And I thought I'll do it. But I thought I'll just wait. You know, maybe when I'm thinking of having kids. Yeah, I'll do it. So that, you know, maybe I have some, you know, something that I pass on to the kids or whatever. But no, my mom had already done it. Yeah. But she had the information for over a year and did nothing with it because she was terrified. That I wouldn't
you hadn't seen her
Yeah, well, it was at the time was probably 20 to 23. And she was absolutely terrified that I wouldn't want to meet with her. So she was at her Auntie's eight years. And her cousin pinched the piece of paper out of her bed and so yes, so that and then we met her husband isn't my father. He Becky's always known about which is very great. Yeah, normally they don't tell their next partner. And also she had three other kids with her husband. And normally the adopted child is like a lot older, like 10,15 years older, but I'm not actually there is for years in between all of us. So for you, yeah. So my sister Jody is four years younger than me. And then Emma's four years younger than Jody, and then Adam is four years younger than him. So we sort of fit quite well. Yeah. And, yeah, I've got one. I went up in medic, like they came down and met me. And then I went up, met the kids and now always talk to each other at least every week.
So that was an I was adopted by Italian parents. Biologically, my mum's Irish. And my biological father is actually Italian, as well. So I'm half half. So yeah, so that's yeah, that's, that's no, no. So were you happy with your adopted adopted? Parents? Oh, look. They loved me very, very much. And it surprised me very much because my dad was the last male of his family. So for a male to pick a female job, Italians have different Yeah, it was very surprising to me when I understood you know, what it all meant? Because at the end of the day, when I got married his name in Yeah, because he was the lifestyle and his family. So for me, I thought it was very weird that he agreed with my mom to adopt a girl. Yeah.
I have a feeling her connection.
Yeah, I don't know. I just have this. I can't prove it. But I have this sort of feeling that somewhere along the line, someone knew someone who knew someone who knew I was a half Italian and you know, that family. And that's how I ended up with my mum and dad because my mom came out on the same boat in 1964 as my biological father's parents, so and then my, one of my mom's friends from the same village in Italy that came out with my mom. She settled in orange, which is where my biological mother and father grew up. And she knows that family and I'm like this too many coincidences for me to go - Oh. It was just they picked me. I just have this sneaking suspicion that someone knows something. And it was all pre-arranged. So yeah, I can't prove it. And there's no way of knowing by but it said now I've yeah, I've talked to her. Or both. It's very weird, I've got two mums. Yeah. My, my biological father still alive. He still lives in orange. He married in doesn't have any other kids. My biological mom married and has three more. My adopted mom. She lives in a little retirement village with like, a lot of little old Italian lady. So her English has gotten like, terrible. Here is almost non existent now. And my, my dad passed away in 92. So yeah, wow. That's another story.
I like oh, I just need to digest this
It is really loving. There's obviously lots more in there. But yeah, that's sort of the end, my mom and my mom met each other. Probably about a year. No, not even a year after I'd met my biological mom. Because my dad had passed away. So I was really scared to tell my adoptive mom that I'd found my biological mom because I thought it was she going to be upset. You know? She wasn't actually because she, she had in her head. It was like, well, because they're a lot older. So dad was 46 And Mum was 40 when they adopted me. So they're a lot older as parents. And when dad passed away, she sort of was scared that when she passed, I didn't have siblings or anybody else. So the thought of having a whole another family, she actually was really thankful. And the two of them are so cute. They're like five foot nothing. So they're tiny. So my biological mom is like little and blonde, and you know, petite in my Italian mom's shorten. The typical Italian mom likes her boobs are out here. And she's just like, full of, you know, hand movements and
But together, they so cute together. So yeah, so one was thankful that the other one gave me up because she wouldn't have had kids otherwise. And then the one that gave me off is thankful that I got parents that loved me. So yeah, it's all still a bit weird. Yeah. So because not a lot of kids find their biological parents or didn't get along, or then the biological adoptive parents get along. So I've been really lucky. It's actually really, really surprising. How much is hereditary, compared to how you grow up. Like, you wouldn't think that, say, for example, how you hang your clothes on your washing line, you would think that that would be that would be done sort of
how you're taught
how you're taught to do it. Whereas my maternal mum, she hands her washing the exact same way I do. And you've never seen and I didn't know her till I was in my mid 20s. So it is really, really weird. Now I thought, you know, I, I'm fairly loud when I talk, especially when I get excited. And I talk a lot with my hands. And I thought, well, that's just the Italian, which is true, because I'm half and I grew up, you know, in an Italian household. But when I go when I go to Queensland, to see my family for me, my sister, Emma, she's just as loud as me. So it's, you know, it's amazing to think how much is actually just in your genes? Yeah, regardless of how you grew up. It is incredible. So, yeah, it's very weird.
What are you most passionate about?
Oh, wow. That's yeah, I saw that question. And I'm like, How do I answer that? I don't know. I think I'm just trying the last 18 months, I suppose the first 10 months or so you don't, I don't count because they were the ones that I just spent sitting and contemplating. And, you know, worrying about who I was and what I was going to do being on my own. I don't think I have a particular passion. I'm just trying everything. If I was to pick one now, it would probably be going like being outside in nature. Just being in a park or in a rainforest or under a tree or any of the above. somewhere outside where there's green, I think would be my current passion to connect with me. Yeah, I just find it really peaceful. And I know it's very cliche, but I just find it did sort of you brains differently. You feel differently. So yeah, at every opportunity I get, I'm on our peak somewhere and just go for a hike. Somewhere I haven't been before and I'm just sort of get Yep, that looks like a good destination. So or crazy things like what did I do on going down to I just booked to Airbnb the unhinging divine so I can fly around because Yasko people just because, yeah. There's a eco tour environment by them. They do it four times a year. It's very expensive. It's 500 bucks a day. I know. But they only do it four times a year. They only take 10 people at a time. And you stay in an eco cabin, and breakfast, lunch and dinner Oh provided and you do six hikes in those three days. And the last days a hike with one of the indigenous Auntie's from the region and then she to an Aboriginal lunch, and I've gone I'll keep looking at it on Facebook and I think it's really expensive. Just each time I look at it, I think it just sounds amazing. Some of you gotta go bar by knowing she just had to get there. I'll drive when she gets five. It's like eight hours a week. Yes. And she can see no one's going with, you know, adventurous. I did ask all my friends. Yeah, who wanted to but some can afford it. Some couldn't. You know, it's too, like, it's not till November. So some didn't want to commit that far out. And I thought, Whoa, too bad. I'm going. So yeah.
What does it mean for you to feel good and look good?
aspect or feeling good? I suppose comes from you know, what makes you happy? What makes you feel good? Not just because of how you look. Things you enjoy doing. Looking good. That's more of a I suppose what you look like on the outside, but that sort of, you know, again, I meet depends on how I feel on the inside. So I used to wear makeup every day for 30 odd years. I think that was because I didn't feel good inside or outside. It was sort of to hide. I haven't worn makeup for probably three or four months now. Or done my hair. I used to have really really short hair and I used to do it every single morning. Gel wax hairspray. Everything it was everything was done to wear perfection. Yeah, pretty much yeah. Pretty much I'll draw wish my hair. I put on some mascara and I walk out the door. And that's that's me now so. I think looking good is more of a how it does I think it does make a difference feeling good on the inside. You just you stop caring if you meet a perception on how you look on the outside because you feel good. So you look good on the outside because you don't you don't care. Yeah, that there's a perception that should you have this or should you look like that and
your personal perception of yourself
Yeah, and I think that's the most important because people are always gonna either like you or not like you or like something about you're not like something about you, but you can't please everybody so I think yourself has to be the first one so
What makes you feel the most beautiful?
like I felt okay, come in today in just my jeans and a T shirt when I'm outside just enjoying being outside I think it's sort of for me I feel like if I will look at myself when I'm happy being outside that's probably when I am the most beautiful even though a pervert not wearing any makeup Laura probably just been on a hike and I've got a bright red face from the exercise or, or whatever. But if someone would suppose capture that I think that's when I would be the most beautiful because that's when I feel this way. Yeah, yeah. I mean beauty I suppose you I can be beautiful if someone put a lot of makeup and false eyelashes on. But and you would feel beautiful too because I suppose inside every woman regardless of how old they are, has that little girl that you know wants to look like a princess and wants to you know have the nice long eyelashes and the you know, lippy and all the other things that go with it. And they do like everybody deserves to look like that. But it doesn't make you I suppose the most beautiful just because you've got that on.
It's kind of a superficial