Midlife Mothering by Robin Gorman Newman
This past weekend, we made a trip to Hartford, CT to meet up with my friend Cyma, who is the “brainchild” behind a special new exhibit called Nurture, a collection of stories, told through black ‘n white photos and words, of women who chose motherhood after 40.
We were invited to be part of this show, and a few months ago, did a photo shoot with the super talented Shana Sureck, (our portrait from the show at right) one of two photographers who captured the images of the 20+ families on display in CT. Cyma, an excellent writer and later mom who blogs for MotherhoodLater.com on Sundays, interviewed the mothers, and shared their poignant stories, including mine.
It was such a heartfelt experience, and I felt honored to be included.
One thing was evident. Though all “later” moms come to parenthood through different means, motivations, etc., there was no doubt that each has such gratitude for the mothering experience. Love was the commonality, despite potential challenges along the parenthood road…whether prior to becoming a mom and not knowing how or if it would happen….and/or by parenting a child with special needs…..or just being a mom, period, which isn’t easy no matter how old you are. (Anyone doing it, knows that.)
Some had both younger kids and older ones.
There were single moms.
Stay at home moms.
Even a surrogate mom.
You name it.
And, this was only a sampling of the moms. Cyma has interviewed over 50 from around the world. Her drive and passion is truly admirable.
Cyma’s hope is that Nurture will become a traveling exhibit, resulting in more ‘n more recognition of the choices midlife women have made and that they should feel empowered by their decision. Ultimately, she’d love the stories to be shared in book form. No doubt it would be embraced by anyone who has chosen to become a parent later.
I couldn’t agree more about the message at hand.
It is for this very reason that I launched Motherhood Later…Than Sooner when my son was less than one. It has since taken on a life of its own with a website, online communities, free in-person chapters worldwide, bloggers, newsletters, etc. Who knew how it would grow when it was born? It began quite simply as a support group in New York. But, what I knew was that later moms need and deserve to be supported and embraced and connected to each other. Parenting takes work, no matter your age, but there are unique pros and challenges to being 40+. No one likes feeling like the oldest mom in the playground, myself included, especially if judgment from society comes along with that (which can indeed be the case).
I have often said, when I do press interviews, that in Hollywood, it’s commonplace to be a 40+ mom, and even sexy. Celebrities display their pregnant bellies proudly, making headlines when they do it later in life. And, no one has a negative word to say, or at least the media doesn’t present it that way. Yet, on a grassroots level, it can feel like a lonely place. And, add to that the fact that you might be caring for a senior parent. The term sandwich generation then applies to you, and that’s not a simple place to be. You are doing double care-taking duty and that can carry a lot of stress.
For all these reasons, us later moms needs to stick together. It’s a girls club that I am proud to be a part of. And between MotherhoodLater.com and the efforts of a pioneering mom like Cyma, those contemplating later in life mothering will hopefully find themselves filled with more hope than trepidation. We are paving the way as parents for those yet to follow in our footsteps. And, the children of these later moms-to-be will be lucky to have been so very wanted….however they come into their lives. They will know a bond and devotion unlike any they’ve experienced. True love knows no age.