In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Renae, her challenges while bringing up 3 special needs children, and the main causes of body image issues. Also, we discuss what aging means to her and to her body.
You can READ the interview transcript HERE
10 Facts About Renae
(at the time of the project)
1. 54 years old.
2. Renae has been living on the Central Coast since she was 18 months old.
3. Renae met her husband when she was 17 and has been married for 34 years since she was 20. She has never really experienced what it's like to go out and do that kind of thing.
4. Renae has three beautiful sons who are special needs. So they occupy a lot of her time.
5. Renae did not travel much as it was quite challenging with three special needs children.
6. Renae was out of the workforce for 20 years and looked after her kids. Now she works part-time for the government.
7. Work helps Renae to contribute to the community and at the same time to have her own money she can spend on taking care of herself.
8. Renae has a beautiful and very naughty Beagle dog named Micah. She calls him a comfort dog because he comforts her all the time.
9. She does not have a favourite cousin, but Cheesecake is Renae’s favourite thing to cook.
10. Renae does not think about aging too much but is worried about who is going to take care of her boys if she cannot.
Hi, you're listening to the My Body, My Story podcast.
It just helps me put one step foot in front of the other and I've had a lot of obstacles. And that has just gotten me through. So that's me. And every time I thought about, is this something.. that question, that is the one that just keeps coming ringing through to me. And I think that's me. That's who I am.
This is the 45 over 45 chapter where we celebrate Rule Breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their 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 we listened to the stories about participants. If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com
Hi, everyone, and welcome to the My Body, My Story project. And today with us in the studio, Renae and while she's sitting in the makeup chair, and Bella is creating her magic I'll be interviewing Renee and asking her a few questions. Morning, Rene, welcome to the studio.
Let's start and tell us 10 facts about yourself.
Okay. I am married. I have three beautiful sons who are special needs. So they occupy a lot of my time. I work part time. And I've been married since I was 20. Oh, yeah.
now I'm 54. So it's like 34 years. He's married again. And I met my husband. I was 17. So I haven't really been on the market very long. So I never haven't really, really experienced what it's like to go out and do that kind of thing. You know what I mean? What else? What else?
So where were you said you work part-time?
I work for the government. And I can't really say what position were in the government. But I do work a government position. And we live on the Central Coast. And I have a beautiful Beagle dog named Micah. Call him a comfort dog because he comforts me all the time. That's a very, very naughty beagel. Yeah, very naughty dog. Yeah, yeah. And I live on the Central Coast. Now. I've grew up there. Actually, my parents moved there when I was 18 months old. And yes, I'm a Coastie by heart. And I did move away when I met my husband. I moved away to the city to live with my husband for a little bit, a couple of years. And then we came back, we bought a house, which was really when he bought it, we got a mortgage and whatever paid it off, that was tough. I had my first child when I was 23. And so we pretty much heads down, thumbs up, working hard, taking care of a child. And then let's see sort of went back to work when he was about six months. And then kind of discovered that he was special needs. And then second one came along and then kind of realised that I couldn't really commit to working and taking care of two children and one with a special needs because it required a lot of appointments and time for him. And so I left the workforce for about 20 years. I was gonna go back to the workforce with when they were all but I had a third child by then I was going to go back to the workforce, but then my second child got type one diabetes, and he got quite ill and he died and I couldn't go back to the workforce. So that's why I was out of the workforce for 20 years. I've only been back in the workforce for about five years. And that was really challenging going back into the workforce after not being in the workforce for such a long time.
But do you enjoy working?
Yeah, I do. I like the challenge of working I like what I'm mostly like, I didn't even think I could it was so hard. I didn't think I could do it but they took me on, especially a government role and I just like being with people and being because I felt so isolated for so long being at home with children, and not really being in the community that much. And especially with special needs kids very hard. Yeah, I enjoyed going back and being part of a work community. So that was really good.
So did you have any chance to travel at all during your..
No, it's very hard to travel with kids, you know, on the spectrum. So it requires a lot of coordination and getting people to come and support you. So we just didn't, we didn't know how to organise that. When my first son was diagnosed with it, there wasn't a lot of support, there wasn't a lot around, it wasn't really known that well. And it just was really, really hard. And so we didn't really know where to go, or it was new to me, I didn't know what to do.
So it was quite challenging, very challenging.
I felt very isolated.
But now probably there are a lot of support centres
so much support so much to talk about it. And, you know, people know a lot more people know about, but that's their autism and stuff like that. Now, that, you know, and that's great. It's grateful for the people having that I'm dealing with that now. But when I was dealing with it, it just wasn't. There wasn't that much of it around to help. And, and people didn't treat. Didn't understand it. So you would go out in the community, and we would just didn't understand your child and it was just too hard. So
So do you feel that it affected somehow, your child, or?
oh, he had, my first son was my first child is was is quite autistic. And he was exhausting. Like he was very challenged at school, he was bullied. It was very hard for him. He obviously didn't had to go. He went to mainstream school, we couldn't get him into a special needs school. There was just all the places were always taken. We just couldn't get him in. So we went to mainstream school with support. And that was very challenging for him. He couldn't do, he was in a mainstream class with support. And that was hard for him. And he did the best he could. He actually was super smart in some areas, like, you know, in maths and stuff like that, but was reading and things like that. He just couldn't keep up with his English. And then my second one came along, and I thought he was all good and fine, until he hit school. And oh, Molly, he just did not COVID School at all. And he was running out of class and doing all sorts of stuff like that. And that just went on and on and on. Right up through to high school. So much challenging him, he just did not cope in school. And it took us a while to realise Yes, he has issues too. In the in the phsa. Yes, he has autism as well. And I just My heart sank and I thought another one kind of didn't want to face that one. But I did eventually have no choice. Yeah.
And then what made you start looking for a job after so many years?
I don't know. I just wanted to contribute. I wanted to I wanted to stop earning my own money a bit too. Like, I didn't, I was living. I was supported by my husband. But I felt like I wanted my own. I wanted to feel independent myself. So I wanted my own form of income. And it was heavy for me to do that, too. So that's one of the reasons and yes, and the other reason obviously wanted to get out and to be independently independent, be part of the computing community and do something with myself. Because I was a bit tired of just be going home and
yeah, it's a hard job to be a full time mum.
Yeah. Kids were getting older and Well, they were all, you know, at the point where they're in, almost finished high school.
Do they live with you still with you?
oh, no, I have two of them live in a house. That 20 minutes away from me. And they're supported in that house. And one of them the oldest one that's got the higher needs. He still lives with me, but we're looking at. He's keen to go and live in a supported independent living situation. So we're looking at, and we've put an application into the NDIS. To to get him into that situation. So we're moving in that direction for him. So like, Yeah, so like we haven't.
So you have more free time?
Yeah. Yeah. At the moment, yeah.
So what's your.. let's try to get to 10 facts about you. What's your favourite cuisine? Or what do you like to eat or cook? Do you cook or you prefer not to cook?
Cook. But my favourite thing to cook is cheesecake.
Cheesecake. You can make it yourself. Yeah,
I make a lot. When I do cook, and I cook. You know, the Christmas for Christmas. My contribution usually the cheesecake. So yeah, love to cook.
But what's your favourite cuisine do go out, eat out.
I don't really have a favourite cuisine.
You like everything?
good. You don't have any problems if you need. If you go somewhere you can eat anything.
Well, I'm gluten intolerant and lactose intolerant. So that's a bit of a challenge. But there's lots of places that comedy Yeah, nowadays. So yeah, pretty good. Pretty good.
Okay, so let's move to the ageing questions. And my question is What does ageing means? mean to you? At this age at the moment,
um, I don't currently ponder on it too much. I don't think about ageing too much. The only aspect that really concerns me is because I'm a mom of special needs. Boys. My concern mostly is that because I'm getting older that at some point, I need them to be taken care of if I can't. So when I get to a point where I can't take care of them, I, that's my worry. As I've turned in terms of age, like my body's getting older, I'm getting older and tired.
So you're looking at the ageing through the lens of a mom that won't be able to take care of kids when you're away?
yeah, you know, like, Who will take care of them. And when I'm gone sort of thing. Make sure they're okay.
So you don't feel like something changing and you and it's bothering you.
Like my body? You mean by my like anything?
Yeah, we will move to the body questions. But like with age, sometimes women say oh, wow, I realise that I'm changing. Or my body's changing, or like, I don't know, my attitudes changing. And I feel the age kicking in?
Yeah, well, yeah, I do. I feel tired and, and
a bit faster than you used to,
I can't, I can't walk. I can't obviously do as much as I used to, but I am a bit limited to because I had an I had a procedure done back in 2015. And I'm in currently in a medical negligence case, my own personal one, and it's limited my physical abilities. So that makes me feel old. That has limited me.
I noticed that we all feel older when we don't feel well.
Yeah, when I can't achieve what I want to achieve. And when I look at others who can do what I would like to do, and I miss the things that I could do, like riding horses and I used to do miss muddy, and, you know, bootcamp and things like that. And do you
Did you ride horses ?
A long time ago, and but it makes you miss the things that you used to be able to do?
Yeah, so ageing, in your definition is when you start feeling that you cannot do it. Once you could before
Okay, and talking about body what do you think your body could ask you or tell you if it could talk?
I was thinking about this on the way on in the train and thinking what my body tells me what my body asked me. My body would tell me it's okay to be happy. Your body is okay. If you tell me I like you. I like you the way you are. It's okay. So, not everybody has to like you. You don't have to wear if you don't have to wear nice clothes all the time. You don't have to look pretty all the time. It's okay to rest occasionally, you don't have to take care of everybody all the time. You know?
What do you think are the main causes of body image issues? Like we you mentioned that you don't need to dress great all the time, you don't need to worry about all the time. So what do you think causes those body image issues?
Well, you have probably heard many times that it's the media and it's, you know, that that's obvious, but I related in relation to myself, and how it affects me. And I know that when I get on the phone, and I'm looking at now I get email sent to me because I you know, I'm a joint this, I've joined glasses or I've gone joined, you know, various clothing companies. And I'll get their emails and I'll see clothing that I like, and I want to wear and I think Oh, but that's for a young girl, maybe I shouldn't wear that. So that influences me, I'm more influenced by what people are wearing. Like when I was younger, like when I was growing up I had I didn't have I wasn't chubby or I wasn't I didn't have a weight issue. And I didn't even think about my weight until I had my children. And then I had a weight issue. Then I started thinking about my weight down I struggled with clothing and diets and how I looked in clothing and I didn't like the way I looked in clothing. So my whole focus for me was how I looked in clothing. And I think that stemmed from when I was younger because growing up we didn't have a lot in my head I had me down so much for my sister. So I didn't get much in the way new codes. So I was always thinking that I never was good enough unless I had the right clothing on.
So where did you get this idea from? Was it like when you were a little girl? Your mom would dress you..
You never know she didn't have and I don't blame her but we didn't have the money to you know wear nice clothes. I had a friend who whose mom always dressed her pretty nice and light. And I always had my sister's hand me downs. I never had anything new. And that's not her fault. She just didn't have a lot of money. My family didn't have a lot of money. We only lived on one income a lot of families did back then. It's not like that wasn't unusual. Like I grew up I grew up in a typical Australian household.
you have a sister
and a brother. Yeah. And occasionally I got something new but not
all the time. Yeah.
are you younger?
Yeah. I'm younger. Yeah. So yeah, that's why I got him down. And I always felt like I looked like a boy. Because mum kept my hair short and tidy. Until I insisted on going long because I felt like a boy but yeah, I got like this idea that if I wore the right clothes, in many I might be accepted into with my peers. Because I was a bit of a quiet wallflower growing up a bit of an introvert. More of an extrovert now though, kind of got over that. But yeah, so what's had this idea in my head that if I wear the right clothes, and have the right styles that I might be more acceptable.
that's always been My concept of the influence of media and everything. And I think that the young girls, they, I think they get the idea too, that you got to like with fashion or so you got to have the latest and the greatest to feel right and fit in. And sometimes I look at some of the girls walking along the streets and they got, and they got the right fashions, but it doesn't look right on them. You know, but they feel comfortable in whatever they're comfortable in.
So but how do you think this negative body image can affect? Any relationships?
In relationships? Yeah. Quite a lot. Really. I remember when I, at the times when I was at my chubbiest, I didn't want my husband to see me like that. I wouldn't get undressed in front of him. Stuff like that. And I've known him for 34 years. He has known every part of me and but I still wouldn't feel comfortable about it. You know? So yeah, and he's still, when I first met him, he was uncomfortable. In certain ways, in front of me. So it does, it does impact you.
Do you think that relationships? It affects it?
well, yeah. Because you're focused on that. You're not having the 100%. Best of the relationship in when I say that, I mean, in bedroom? And because you have it you're focused on you don't relax. That's what you focused on. All this? Is either better or whatever. But yes. There Yeah, me really who? I mean, around tech entrepreneur, respective someone who's been married for 30 years. I don't know what it what it might be like, if you're dating or anything like that, because I've never done that.
But you have definitely dated. Because when you were 17. Then that time you felt yourself beautiful?
No, I was very awkward and didn't, I've never felt like I am beautiful. And people say I've said you're beautiful, but I don't believe them. I don't believe that I'm beautiful. My husband says I'm beautiful. But I don't believe he I don't believe what He says. But I don't believe that I'm beautiful. And this is a concept I cannot get in my head that I am beautiful.
So it's just I think maybe you need to change the definition of beautiful, beautiful.
People say, Oh, you've got inner beauty. And when you're
in the beauty Yeah, no, I don't have inner beauty. I have outer beauty.
But your beauty radiates within.
You know, for me, it sounds like a bad thing when people say Oh, but you have your ugly, but inside you will be
Well, you've been rattling in the beauty. You know? I always say Oh, you have inner beauty as well. Yeah, that sounds a bit different.
Well, yeah. So how do you overcome this body related insecurities when they come up? What's your go to methods?
I really don't know, I probably just try and put it out of my head and think of other things or try to cover it up. Because my biggest issue is my skin. I don't like my skin. So I try to wear clothes that do not reveal too much of that. So consequently, going to the beach is a tough one. Which is not a bad thing, because I do suffer with skin. Skin cancers on my face and things like that. So I'm an advocate for not, you know, then we still burn to a crisp in the sun. So I kind of you can cover yourself to it as much as you can on on the beach. Like, if you can, but you still gotta go and have a swim. So yeah,
so you just either ignore it or you hide it.
Yeah, yes, I ignore it.
Well, it's a good approach.
Maybe have a glass of wine. Pretend it's not.
Gosh. So you think that with age it didn't change like you still? Because some women say okay with age. I don't care.
I mean, yeah, I am getting it to that point where like, I just don't care anymore. I really don't care anymore. I'm not about I'm not that worried about it anymore. That's true. That's probably more the truth. I don't I'm not that worried about it anymore.
That's a good part of getting older.
Yeah. Especially with being married as long as I have, I don't have to worry about it that much anymore. But I mean, that doesn't mean to say that I still don't want to feel take care of myself and still feel beautiful, beautiful and good about myself. Yeah, no, no, I don't want to let like, I've always had this feeling inside of myself all these ideas on myself. I don't want to let myself go. You know that saying, Don't let yourself go. Yeah, I don't want to let myself go. Not quite, you know, little or go that kind of thing. So I always want to
you still want to maintain like, a certain level of to look after yourself?
Yeah, look after myself, is what I mean. Yeah. To have a manicure pedicure. Yeah, I've just been doing that a bit more in a lot. Since I started working. I started looking at myself and started to take care of myself a bit more, because I got my own money, I started to think, you know, maybe it's maybe it's time I started looking after myself a bit more, and doing a bit more few more things, to make myself feel a bit better and happier. So about myself, so and that makes me happy. And one of my, one of my one things that I do for myself is get myself a manicure. So that's one trade to do for myself. So in my best. So, yeah, so that so that's something I've been doing since I've gotten older and started working again.
So my last question is, what is your favourite quote or saying about being a woman? Or maybe your own thoughts?
Well, it's not about it's not saying necessarily be about being a woman. But I am a Christian, I'm a woman of faith. And there is this one scripture that has travelled with me most of my life. And, and it's Philippians 413. And if I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me, and that has travelled with me through my whole life, because it just helps me put one step foot in front the other and I've had a lot of obstacles. And that has just gotten me through. So that's, that's me. That's my in every time I thought about, is there something that that question? That is the one that just keeps coming, ringing true through to me, and I think that's mine. That's me. That's who I am. So that's it.
Excellent. Thank you, Renee, thank you very much for sharing your story. I hope you will enjoy the rest of the day in your photo shoot, and you will feel beautiful.
Thank you. Thank you for your time.
If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at email@example.com That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com
This is the 45 over 45 chapter of MY BODY MY STORY podcast, where we celebrate rule breakers and role models - the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their SENSUALITY, BEAUTY, SOUL, and TRUE ESSENCE.
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