"When your whole future is taken away from you —or what you think is your future—there is absolutely no choice but to be present.
Because you’re grasping for every second to spend with your loved ones. Every minute counts."
- Elle Halliwell, Ep78. The Monica Kade podcast
In Episode 78 of The Monica Kade podcast, I spoke with Elle Halliwell journalist, author and mum.
By the time Elle and I sat down to chat, we’d already bonded over being Northern Beaches locals—although she’s now crossed the bridge and lives in Bondi, which is a shame, but I didn’t hold it against her. I’d also seen the sweetest mother and son happy snaps on her Instagram. And having read her book, A Mother’s Choice, I know the spark of magnificence young Tor is in her life today.
For year’s Elle’s kept millions of Australians up to date on entertainment health and style—thanks to her work with the country’s top media outlets.
Her career has taken her overseas reporting on global entertainment and fashion stories. She’s interviewed international stars including Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, One Direction, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Cate Blanchett, and Miranda Kerr for television, radio and print.
But that’s not the focus of our conversation today. Instead, I wanted to share her story around being diagnosed with Myeloid Leukaemia—a rare blood cancer—and days after finding out she was pregnant with her first child.
>>>Take a listen above and be sure to leave a review on iTunes sharing what you loved<<<
Insights into Elle Halliwell & Her Story Being Diagnosed with Cancer & Falling Pregnant Simultaneously
- How she started and got her break in media.
- What it felt like from the inside out the moment she found out she had myeloid leukaemia?
- How it felt and how she dealt with finding out she was pregnant shortly after?
- How did this life threatening diagnosis change her everyday outlook?
- What happened to her identity in these initial few weeks?
- What matters most to Elle today that didn’t prior to the experience?
- How does she see her life differently today?
- What it’s like being a mother to her son, Tor?
We get personal with our signature questions:
- Sunset or Sunrise? Why?
- If you could attempt another career what you would you like to attempt?
- What’s does ‘Being Your Best’ look like to Elle?
Book Giveaway Details
The Monica Kade Podcast is running a giveaway where one lucky listener will receive a special book-pack including a copy of Elle’s book, A Mother’s Choice and my book, The Storm Under My Skin: How I Ended the Battle with My Body & How You Can Too.
If you’d like to enter the giveaway:
1. Repost the podcast image below
3. Tag both accounts and tell us your biggest takeaway from the conversation to be in the running for Elle's book giveaway.
Winner drawn on Tues 19th February, 2019 AEST 7pm
Monica Kade:00:02 You're listening to the Monica Kade podcast, an interview series featuring conversations that bring out your best thought leaders, creative minds, athletes and entrepreneurs doing what they love are challenging the status quo. The intention for this podcast is to have conversations that bring out your best. You can find the show notes on my website, MonicaKade.com, and follow me on instagram and facebook [www.instagram.com/monicakade] and [www.facebook.com/themonicakade], and if you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on itunes. You'll be helping me achieve my mission to impact 200,000 lives in 2019. For now, let's dive into the show.
Monica Kade:00:47 Hello and welcome to episode 78 of The Monica Kade podcast. Today my guest is Elle Halliwell. She's a journalist, author, and mum. She keeps millions of Australians up to date on all things entertaining, healthy and stylish. Thanks to her work with the countries top media outlets. Her career has taken her overseas reporting on global entertainment and fashion stories. She's interviewed international stars, including Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Cate Blanchett, one direction, Miranda Kerr, all for television, radio, and print. But in 2016, Elle made headlines herself. She revealed she was battling a rare blood cancer while pregnant with her first child. She's now a proud mom of Tor and is on the road to recovery and I really look forward to sharing this episode with you today. So let's dive into the conversation.
Monica Kade:01:34 Hello. Thank you for joining me today.
Elle Halliwell:01:37 Thank you so much for having me. Monica.
Monica Kade:01:39 So our listeners got a short glimpse into your career and then your diagnosis with myeloid leukemia, a rare blood cancer in 2016, which I know that they're gonna want to hear more about, but I thought maybe we could start with how you got your break in the media.
Elle Halliwell:01:56 Look, I was a really, really great coffee delivery girl in my early days, in the media and I think that that's where a lot of, um, maybe people have started. Um, you know, you just, you literally show your bosses that no matter what task it is, even the most menial, if you do it with love and passion, then you know, that's going to roll over to when you're actually doing things that you really, really care about. So I would make sure that I got their orders everyday really correct and went above and beyond whenever it came to doing any kind of menial task. And that was back when I was about 21 years old when I got a, I guess a foot in the door at the Daily Telegraph. And then within a couple of months of me doing all of that, delivering papers and things like that, they, um, they gave me a cadetship and then it was only about six months after that that I'm managed to bag myself the fashion editor role at the Sunday Telegraph, which I'm still kind of pinching myself that I, that leg up.
Elle Halliwell:02:59 So early on in my career, I think I was 20, 22 or 23 at that stage. So it was, it was quite a big shock. And you know, when I first got this Gig, it was mainly just to kind of fill in until they found someone a little bit more experienced. But I knew that this was my chance, my opportunity to show them what I was made of. And I worked my butt off. I worked day and night to make sure that they knew how much I wanted it, my address for the job that I wanted and eventually they forgot that they were planning to, uh, to find someone else. And so that's kind of how I, you know, I got my first break obviously before that I had studied, I studied journalism at the college as well, and I'd done an internship at Channel V for a year.
Elle Halliwell:03:45 It took quite a few years to finally get that foot in the door. But once I got it, got it in there, I made sure that I squeezed my whole body in through very that door as much as possible. Yeah. And then the rest is history in a way. Um, I, I stayed doing fashion for for quite a long time before I moved into a more of a showbiz role for a few years, which I also enjoyed. Um, and then, um, I moved back into fashion again after a couple of years doing that, realizing that it wasn't exactly where I want it to be full time. So by the end of it I ended up doing a little bit of both, which I loved, you know, I guess merging fashion and celebrity is quite a natural thing to do. Talking about red carpets and celebrity style and things like that. So I had a little youtube channel with the telly called Code Red where we dissected red carpet outfits and had a bit of a chat about that, which was really fun. My career's taken me through a few different twists and turns, but um, yeah, I'm really happy where I am now 12 years later. Can you believe it?
Monica Kade:04:47 Yeah, it's an exciting one and it's cool that you, you know, today so many people change careers and I know yours has evolved over time, but it's cool to say that someone that's still in the same kind of industry, industry doing what they love to this day.
Elle Halliwell:05:03 Oh thanks. Yeah. It's actually I surprised myself because I never thought that I would be in a role for more than three years, let alone 12. I think it was when I finally walked out of the Telegraph. So I got, I got the park, I got the handshake and the gold pen after 10 years, so I was really proud of that actually because it is, it is quite rare and um, it was an amazing place to cut my teeth and you know, refining my craft and yeah, but it's very strange not to be part of the News Corp family, to be honest, because it literally was somewhere that I spent half my life. Yeah. It's a new chapter, very excited about what's to come.
Monica Kade:05:45 Do you feel like the younger generation now starting out is going to have such a completely different experience and probably not the same one that you had because the, the nature media has changed so much?
Elle Halliwell:05:59 Absolutely. I was actually talking to some of them that missed the other day. I think the difference is nowadays you don't really need credentials per se to label yourself an expert. I mean if you have a videographer, put some videos on youtube and you know, if you get a great following, then there you are. You're a videographer with being a photographer or a health expert used to kind of have to have the plaque on, on your wall to do that, but nowadays I guess so many industries are getting very diluted because it's so much easier to kind of get your foot in them and while I don't think it's necessarily always a bad thing, I think it is really, it's a bit of a shame that, you know, younger people don't have to do that hard slog to get to make a name for themselves in their industry in a way because it really does show you, you know, it gives you that kind of groundwork and it lays that foundation for being a really, really hard work and knowing that things aren't just going to fall in your lap and it takes a lot of time, a lot of effort.
Elle Halliwell:07:06 And I think if you want to stay at the top of your game, you've really got to have that foundation, you know, really, really strong. Otherwise either you get bored because you're no longer being stimulated as quickly as you know. You might've been in, you know, in another sense. Um, so yeah, I think it is different, but I think it's one of those things that as you get older, everyone's always, you know, good old day is true. I do feel like it's a lot harder for someone to really, really be successful in a creative industry than it was before. I think just because there's so many people out there doing it, if that makes for me, you know, even being a freelancer that um, you know, you used to get paid a certain amount per word and that was just kind of the deal and nowadays, you know, with online, really, really talented, esteemed writers and now sometimes having to work for half that because they know that someone else was just going to take that job. So it is, it's interesting. Interesting where it's all moving.
Monica Kade:08:11 Before I jump into, uh, your health journey, I wanted to find out during this time, just before you got diagnosed, what was your lifestyle like?
Elle Halliwell:08:22 Wow. It actually makes my heart beat faster and I get the sweats. Just thinking about it. It was just so full on, it was fast paced. I had by this stage being, you know, working full time as the newspaper, juggling a TV and radio gig as well, or for a few years before that and by this stage I've been suffering as well from a really bad anxiety, chronic anxiety for the best part of a decade. And so I, you could say that I worked hard and I also played hard, you know, as part of my job, I was expected to be at parties most nights during the week in my, I guess my health and wellbeing was definitely not a top priority for me at that time. It was literally just getting ahead. My, my mindset was constantly on, you know, doing things harder and better and succeeding and I guess I thought I probably would have just kept that up until I turned 30 and my whole world came crashing down and everything that I thought I knew suddenly realized that I didn't.
Monica Kade:09:33 Tell me about that moment. For our listeners who maybe don't know your story and don't follow you on instagram or maybe they haven't read your book yet, which we will dive into a bit later into the conversation. Can you tell us what that experience is like from the inside?
Elle Halliwell:09:48 Yeah, absolutely. Basically I was planning with my husband to conceive that year if possible, I'd just turned 30. He was in his mid thirties and we'd been together for about 10 years. And so for me, I thought with, I guess my, my lifestyle at the time, I didn't think that I was primed for baby making. So I thought, okay, I'm going to tackle this as a bit of a project and I'm going to read the baby nutrition books and make sure that my body is in the best place to, you know, to carry a child. And so I read a few books and I was told in these books that it's really great idea to go and get some blood tests to make sure that you've all your full late and your vitamin D is All at a good level. So one day I, um, well I went to a French restaurant one night and the next day I got the worst bout of gastro.
Elle Halliwell:10:46 I was off work for about three days and so I went to the doctor to get a doctor's certificate. I said, well, while I'm here, I know it's a bit early because we're not planning to kind of try for a baby until later in the year, but I wanted to get my folate and vitamin D and You know, just give me the whole gamut of blood tests just to make sure that I'm nice and healthy and well. So they came back with a bit of a red flag and that was that my platelets were high and our platelets generally kind of rise following an infection and because of the gastro, my, my doctor's like, look, it's probably nothing to worry about because, because you had this gastro. So he's like, come back in two weeks and we'll test you again. So I went back in two weeks and my platelets were higher and so he thought that was a bit concerning.
Elle Halliwell:11:30 So he sent me to a hematologist. And, you know, in between getting that test and going to see the hematologist, I really wasn't thinking much about it because fashion week was coming up. I had all of these stories to write, um, you know, I had the radio gig so my life was so full on, but I didn't give it a second thought. And then, um, I went and saw the hematologist, got all the tests done and then they said, come back in about three weeks ago about the test results and we'll let you know. So I didn't really think much of it the next day. But then I got a phone call that very next morning from the hematology department saying that they'd gotten my test results back sooner than expected and we're going to need me to come in and bring a loved one to an appointment first thing Monday morning.
Elle Halliwell:12:14 And this was on a Thursday. And you know, you don't get told to bring a loved one to, you know, to the Dr Ruth. It's nothing to melt down. And because I knew that there was something wrong and up until this point I felt tired. But that was really, there really wasn't any strong sign that anything was wrong and look like everyone. After I'd kind of gotten these high platelets, I googled a bit and there were mentions of things like blood cancer and stuff and I've ticked, I crossed off all of the symptoms of like don't have that, don't have that, don't have that. But then I finally managed to get a hold of my GP and he came over that night because, you know, I was hysterical. I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know what was wrong with me. And he came over and he broke the news to me and my husband that I, that I actually had leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia.
Elle Halliwell:13:09 And that was when, yeah, as I said before, my whole world just kind of fell apart in that split second. It's amazing what one word can do to change your whole life. And yeah, it was, it was really devastating. And I think for a lot of people, when you, when you say the word leukemia, if you haven't had anyone close to who have had the type that I have, you know, you instantly just see someone like pale and sick and wasting away in a hospital bed with no hair. It was a mess. What instantly came to my mind and you know, you have all these thoughts about, oh my God, how am I going to give you my shoe collection to uh, you know, things kind of come to mind. You think, oh my God, that's so ridiculous.
Elle Halliwell:13:53 There was tears and that. Yeah, it was, it was kind of, I was in a lot of shock. And then, um, about two days later, by this time we kind of told her family and friends about what, you know, what I'd been diagnosed with. And that was just, that was even harder. So yeah, it was, it was really, really difficult having to tell your friends and family that you've got a blood cancer and you really don't know what's going on or what the future's going to hold. And then on Saturday I had this weird gut feeling that I should take a pregnancy test now I bought it to pack in two weeks before I'd taken the test just because we, there was a bit of a, you know, an accident and I just wanted to make sure that, you know, that I wasn't pregnant then it came back negative. So I kind of wrote that off. But I thought what could be the worst situation following a cancer diagnosis? And I thought getting pregnant.
Elle Halliwell:14:51 You can imagine what was on that test. I was pregnant. That kind of just opened up a whole new can of worms because now not only was I having to deal with, you know, the fight of my life, but also wondering whether or not this baby that we been wanting was going to survive. And so it was a really, really scary time because, you know, in my mind I was like, well I have a, a decision to make if this baby survives past that first trimester. Which I was pretty sure it wouldn't. Or yeah, I had to. I had to really think hard about what I would do and we got to that point. If they got to that point. Just the cancer in itself is such a huge shock.
Monica Kade:15:35 I imagine like you were in shock for awhile. Do you feel that being in such a high-I guess I don't I don't have a better word for high pressure situation-It forces you to be more present?
Elle Halliwell:15:50 Oh my gosh. That is the biggest thing that happened to me in terms of the changing my life from a, from a mental point of view, because when your whole future is taken away from you or what you think is your future is completely taken away from you. There is absolutely no choice but to be present because you're grasping that every second you can know to spend with your loved ones like accounts and that was the one thing that I kind of realized. I looked back and I was like, all of those, you know, really important milestones that I missed my friends and family because I was working or you know, I couldn't go because I had a deadline to me and I felt such a sense of regret or what about that was one of the things that I really vowed to myself that I was never going to be that person again. That put her work and her career and her self before, you know, the people in my life that I loved and I think, you know, it was a bit of a revelation to me, you know, following that, that because it made me think, well, if that's how I'm going to be in my life going forward, then you shouldn't I start with this baby? Should I put my loved ones first?
Elle Halliwell:17:19 So that's, that was one of the biggest reasons that, you know, after a few more consultations, my husband and I, we did a lot of soul searching and it was going to be tough because it would've meant that the lifesaving treatment that my doctor wanted me to be on was going to be delayed until I had this baby and so it was really, really scary, but we decided that we wanted this baby so much and that's the decision, you know, I ultimately had to make and I decided to, to not terminate the baby and go straight on treatment and delay it until I could hopefully give birth.
Monica Kade:18:01 Did you feel that in, once you made that decision, do you feel that all your energy kind of went into ensuring his, I guess best chances and did that then take away maybe some of the focus on yourself?
Elle Halliwell:18:20 Oh absolutely. And it's funny because my anxiety, which I mentioned before, I have battled for 10 years, it went away shortly after my diagnosis and a lot of people kind of, you know, whenever I've said that to them, they think I'm a bit crazy, but it's so true because all of a sudden I was living in the moment, I didn't have to worry about the future and you know, be anxious about paying bills. And I had this incredible support around me, these friends and family who were protecting me from the, you know, the bullshit daily life, you know, all of the pressures that we have to face everyday. The washing, you know, paying bills, I don't know all of those other things that you kind of get caught up in, you know, the busy but unimportant things. And so essentially in this wonderful bubble because all I needed to do was look after myself and look after this growing baby. And it really was quite momentous because for the first time in my life I didn't have to worry about anything except myself. And being there for this growing little human. And it was, it was beautiful. I went for long walks and I nourished my body and I meditated and I, the self care really was something that, that was another thing that I said to myself, if I get through this, I realized for the first time how important it was to put yourself first if you, you know, if you're going to be around for others.
Monica Kade:19:54 Yeah, yeah. I, I completely agree with you and I think it's, I can't obviously compare. I haven't had a life threatening situation like that. I know I've had my own health journey and I guess the thing that I can kind of relate with you on is the fact that health is such a huge part of our lives and in and in my own experience I realized that if I didn't have my health then what could I achieve? What could I do? Who could I, you know, spend time with, like when your health is taken away from you it's really just the foundation of us. And I think when we go through experiences like that, it really helps us to, I guess, foster that appreciation for, you know, being able to go out and do whatever it is that we love and, and how important it is to nourish that.
Elle Halliwell:20:47 Absolutely. And that's the thing. It doesn't have to be cancer. It can be a chronic pain. It can be an immune disease. It doesn't, you know, I think that a lot of time people think I'm gonna go to cancer. But I think a lot of people don't realize how incredible the advancements in not only our own knowledge on health and how to stay healthy, but also, you know, the medical community's advancements in saving lives of people with cancer. So for me, you know, I look at someone who might have diabetes or as I said before, chronic pain and I really feel like we all share that same journey. And because you realize at that point when you're at rock bottom, mentally and physically, how important and the healthiest and you know, at a certain point she just go, I would give everything in my life to have that health back. You know, that I enjoyed in my younger, younger days. It really is the most important thing.
Monica Kade:21:49 Yeah, I agree with you. I think one thing I just felt to add for our listeners that maybe because I think it's really hard to, you know, it's easy to hear something like that, but say there's someone that's listening and that may be they are pretty healthy or they haven't had that experience or they don't value their health in some way. It's like just really focused in on, you know, what you do have and taking that attention away from like what you don't. I think that really helps you deepen that level of appreciation.
Elle Halliwell:22:20 Absolutely. Yes. I really think that it's so important to live a life of gratitude because you're instantly putting your mindset in abundance, not lack. And I think you're constantly feeling lack. Then that can seep into every aspect of your life. So if you come from a place of abundance, it's really hard to feel down on yourself because you're appreciative of everything and it does put everything into perspective so much.
Monica Kade:22:51 Now in your book (A Mother's Choice), you talk about identity and the fact that your life was threatened, so, so many parts of you fell away. Can you maybe talk a little bit about what those insights were around that?
Elle Halliwell:23:05 Yeah, absolutely. My true, true nature and I think that when you're young it's really hard to get to that point to get to that core of who you are because especially in this day and age, we're surrounded by people telling you that you need to be this, so you need to be that or you know, you're only worthy if you're this size or you have this car or you do this job and you know, I think I'm not alone. In saying that my twenties, I was completely lost in my identity. I thought that if I had what looked like the perfect career, then that would equal the perfect life. But I constantly found myself wanting because I wasn't nourishing myself with connection and with community. And physically it wasn't nourishing my body and all of those aspects of it. I think we're the reason that I developed this anxiety because I was like, why isn't this working?
Elle Halliwell:24:06 Why am I not 100 percent happy? Why do I keep wanting more and more and more and uh, you know, I would check what I thought were these goals and just feel like it wasn't enough. And I guess once I, once I got sick, I had the time and the distance from all of that to really look into myself and analyze what my values were, what, you know, why, why was I here? Like, what, what did I want people to say in my eulogy, you know, other than, oh, she had this many instagram followers, like of course say that they're going to talk about what you, who you were as a person, what you believed in, what you valued. And that was quite. Or that it was hard. It was really, I felt very exposed and I also felt like I wasted so much time chasing someone else's life, chasing someone else's dream and pushing my own down.
Elle Halliwell:25:07 Maybe because I didn't feel like it was worthy and so it was kind of, yeah, when, when I had that time to do some soul searching that I realized that I needed to change my life and I really have done that. I think from a person, you know, who for many years I was chasing down celebrities and asking them, you know, who they were, sleeping with them, you know, if they'd had a nose job and things like that that I, you know, I'm a, I'm a very gentle person by nature. I've always been a fairly soft person and that took a lot out of me, you know, it just didn't feel. I didn't feel right, but I knew that I had to be quite ruthless to get ahead in, in the role that I had and so I just kind of bottled up I guess who I was and I put on a bit of a, like a bit of an armor I guess, and emotional armor to cope with it.
Elle Halliwell:26:01 And I didn't like the person that I'd become. Like I didn't like me. I thought if I had met me in another life, I wouldn't, I wouldn't like me. And I thought, well, who would I like and I, you know, I look back to when I was a child and what I loved and what nourished me and what gave me joy and um, and yeah, and that was being in nature, spending time with family, friends being alone and I loved being by myself and I loved more quiet and more slow life. And I also loved helping people. I loved helping animals, you know, it was a big animal lover and I was younger and when I decided that I was going to really focus on changing, changing my life and going back to I guess the core of who I was, I was one of the things I was like, well I feel like this has given me a bit of a kick up the ass in a way on my purpose. And I think going forward is to be an example of, of I guess living a more true to yourself life and also helping others with their health journey. And it is a really fulfilling feeling to, to know your purpose and why you're here. It was quite a momentous moment when I, when I got to that point.
Monica Kade:27:23 I was going to ask you for listeners who might not particularly be too fond of themselves, you know, what would you suggest that they do? And in that, that piece of dialogue that you just shared with us then though you said it very beautiful thing, like if you've met yourself in another life, would you like who you are? And I think that question in itself, it really helps us to take ourselves away from who we think we are, to really see ourselves for who we are. And I think that's such a powerful question for the listeners to ask if, if they're experiencing similar feelings to yourself and I think you don't have to go through huge life threatening experience to ask yourself that question.
Elle Halliwell:28:04 So true. I think too, you know, fairly easy exercises to do to help you get to this point is, is first of all, as I said before, really think about if you did die, what would people say in your eulogy? What did you, what would you want people to say about you, you know, in their eulogy. And another thing I think as well as to look back to your childhood and to who you were before, you know, the influences of the world kind of got in the way. What did you love as a kid? Who, who did you like to spend time with? What did you like to do? And I really think that we're born with a certain personality and I think it's very much nature when it comes to who we are as people. And I think, you know, nurture from our parents when we're younger is definitely a big part.
Elle Halliwell:28:54 And then I think that, you know, as we get older and you know, we get all of that marketing and the advertising and people telling you to do this or be like that. I think that it can really get quite complicated. So get introspective, write down what your values are and think, am I living in line with those values or am I putting other things first? And it is a big step to go. Okay. I'm gonna I'm gonna live by my values now because sometimes it is often not in line with how you're living and yeah, there's a lot of soul searching to be done so they're probably my two tips on if you want to get closer to who you really are.
Monica Kade:29:34 And you have a beautiful quote in the book like towards the end, which I read because I finished it off last night and I have written it down because I was just so moved by this and relates to what we're talking about. NASA, do you mind if I share it with everybody? [Absolutely] So, so you said cancer had peeled back the superficial layers I had created over the years and I finally saw myself as I truly was and I liked that person much more. She was kind, more vulnerable, more soft, but she was also fierce, powerful and fearless, she was love. And even now, just reading it again, I've got goosebumps. I was so moved by that and I really, and I feel like the fact that I'm moved again by it, it shows that the place that that came from is that is who you are being now. You know, I think it's easy to say I'm this and that these days. But when it's true, people feel that.
Elle Halliwell:30:29 It's so true. And the funny thing is it's effortless. Before I felt like I was constantly trying, I was trying to do everything felt like such an effort. But now that I'm just living from more of a place of my values, things just seem to kind of fall into place a little bit better. Like the universe is kind of like, Oh God, now you're doing what we wanted you to do. Now you're living opportunities have started to open up in the spaces that really feel more in line with who I am. And, and now when you know something that doesn't happen that I really want to shake my fist at the universe and go, how dare you? I go, okay. So there's a reason for this. And it's because that's not what I'm destined to do and I think feeling like that and going with the flow a little bit more and realizing that, you know, obstacles or sometimes just the universe guiding you to towards another path that you're more destined towards is a good thing. And so I'm a lot less disappointed nowadays when things don't go my way, which was really nice.
Monica Kade:31:42 Living more in the flow of it. It is, it becomes such an effortless experience and when we're not fighting and resisting life thinking that because it's funny, we look at life and we think, oh, it's not going how it's supposed to go according to the idea we have in our heads. So it's all made up. All that pressure is, is like just based on what we think.
Elle Halliwell:32:03 Absolutely. And yet even busy. I had a couple of drinks the other night and I, you know, I'm not a big drinker these days at all. You know, I love a glass of wine. Occasionally I got really, really sick after and I realized well clearly it's not supposed to be having that, you know. And so I really think that now I listen to my body a lot more and I pick up on cues and I think that that's been really important too. So it's not just physical, not just mental. It's physical.
Monica Kade:32:32 Yeah. Beautiful. So tell me a little bit about, Tor. What's it like being a mother to him?
Elle Halliwell:32:40 Oh my God. Like, I don't know. I can't even put it in words. I don't know. It's like, yeah, your heart's outside your body and is the most fun little soul. And the more that he's growing, the more I'm falling in love with him because he's just, I guess watching you now interacting with the world is incredible. You know, when they're born they're just, they're really cute and they're fun. But once they start interacting with you, it really does change the game. So much energy. We call him The tornado, he cannot sit still. He's definitely his dad's son because I was a little bit more chilled as a baby, but he really, he just lights up our live. I can't really put into words because every day is just, oh my God, it's a mixture of challenge and wonder and joy and frustration and literally I've never been through so many emotions in one day since I had Tor it's been quite the ride.
Elle Halliwell:33:53 And um, yeah, it really just changes the game. You learn to be so much more selfless and I guess you, yeah, you want to be a good role model for them and that starts, you know, from the day they're born really. So that's the responsibility is quite daunting to be honest. But I'm willing to take the challenge. Here we go.
Monica Kade:34:21 Oh it's such a beautiful, I guess, gift after having gone through such a life changing and challenging experience as well. And then you had this beautiful baby on the other side of it. I, yeah, it must be amazing.
Monica Kade:34:36 It is. But one thing that, I haven't spoken about this before, but obviously I made this choice based on the situation that I was in at the time to have this baby and there was definitely a lot, as I said, a soul searching and consultations with medical professionals and things like that.
Speaker 2:34:56 And I guess the other day I read a news story about a young girl who was only 19 and she was from New South Wales and she was I think halfway through her pregnancy and she got diagnosed with a different blood cancer to me and she decided that she was going to keep the baby and delay treatment and she, she ended up passing. And also lost the baby. And the moment that I heard that I thought to myself, oh my God, please do not let it have been me who inspired her to do that? Because obviously, you know, I had to make this decision, but I realized that everyone is in a different situation. It really broke my heart and I was racked with guilt. And I guess in a way, you know, I still feel it's hard not to feel a sense of kind of responsibility. So I just want to make sure that everyone out there who is listening and who might've been in a similar situation or might face that situation. It's a personal decision and you really have to get a lot of inflammation, a lot of knowledge. And make that decision yourself rather than listening to other people because I was so lucky, but everything worked out for me, but I've not heard many stories where it hasn't been the same situation. So that's been really tough actually to deal with.
Monica Kade:36:21 I imagine so because I, I, I can see how, you know, when we do hear stories like yours, it is amazing and it, and it can be. Someone can take that and feel inspired and say, I'm going to do this too. And having read the book, I know as well in your story, you share how someone who went through a similar experience as you, you were about to connect with this woman, but she said that you needed to make your decision about the baby keeping the baby or not before you guys spoke. So she wouldn't influence you either way, which I thought was very, very thoughtful and such, uh, you know, I think to be aware of that responsibility that you could potentially influence somebody's decision. I think that was very big of her to do that. And Yeah. So I guess to our listeners, you were educated and, and lots of soul searching, so yeah, it really does come down.
Elle Halliwell:37:16 Every situation is different. You have to not worry about what everyone else thinks. We've got to make a decision based on, on you and that, you know, that relates to so many different aspects of life. Right? Try, try to kind of make those decisions based on, on yourself and your own thoughts and your own information.
Monica Kade:37:33 Yeah, totally. And it doesn't have to be big life decisions either. It can be something that might be a bit smaller, but how often do individuals kind of go and see like, oh, what do you think I should do? Like that, It's like, well, what would you love to do? What do you feel is best for you? What is your body tell you? I feel like our bodies often speak to us, but it's really about developing that connection with them and really tuning in, like you also mentioned.
Elle Halliwell:37:58 Yeah, definitely. And I think that that comes with age and experience to.
Monica Kade:38:02 Gosh, that's right. We will be doing a book giveaway of your book (A Mother's Choice). So for our listeners, you'll have to check the show notes to find out how you can enter the giveaway if you'd like to do that. But if people would like to connect with you or purchase a copy of your book, where would you like to send them?
Elle Halliwell:38:21 Okay, well they can purchase my book at Booktopia or all good bookstores. It's called A Mother's Choice published by Allen and Unwin. And uh, yeah. Look, Monica, your, your, a great testament to a, to what you thought of the, what were your thoughts?
Monica Kade:38:36 I really enjoyed it. It was really, I saw aspects of myself in your story and I thought Gosh, you know, in some parts particularly, it really forced me to kind of stop and go, Oh, you know, like what is important and, and how would I have dealt with this kind of situation? And just, you know, just because you don't, you go through life like thinking, well you don't think about it, you just, you know, you assume you have another day, another moment and I often practice you have this moment and just be here and are you living all the things that you love. And I think there's kind of encourages people to do that. Not in a direct words way, but just sharing your life experience. And even one thing you mentioned, you talk about your relationship with your dad and I don't want to spoil the story for our listeners, but you know, you talked about how you guys didn't talk for a certain amount of time and there was something that really resonated with me in that particular section. I was like, Oh, you know, you just hold these little grudges sometimes. Especially a family. Like they irritate you and then you're like, why am I doing this? This is so silly. You know? So they were some of my experiences. But I think yeah, I think everyone can take away something for themselves from it, for that type of conversation.
Monica Kade:40:04 So before we finish up the conversation, I have a few signature questions I ask my guests. So the first question is sunset or sunrise and why?
Elle Halliwell:40:16 Sunset. I've always had an obsession with twilight. Look, I like the books, but just that time of the evening when you kind of. It's a time of reflection and I love it.
Monica Kade:40:27 And if you could attempt another career, what would you like to attempt?
Elle Halliwell:40:32 Wow, that's tough. All my God, there's so many. I literally could anything. I'd love to give it a shot, but I think I would love to be a zoo keeper with animals, animals.
Monica Kade:40:49 Awesome. And what does being your best look like to you?
Elle Halliwell:40:54 Being my best. I think going back to what were talking about earlier, it is being in the moment and appreciating the moments.
Monica Kade:41:01 Beautiful. Awesome. Well that wraps up our conversation for today. So thank you so much for joining me.
Elle Halliwell:41:08 Thanks so much Monica, I could've have talked for hours with you.
Monica Kade:41:12 Thanks again.