Back to the main blog

For the release of The Zen of Midlife Mothering (essays from MotheringintheMiddle)

January 1, 2014

The first anthology by and for midlife mothers!

In my late 40s, after the adoption of our daughter, I stumbled on the book, The Maternal is Political – an anthology of powerful and poignant essays written by mothers.  At the time, I did not consider myself an activist. However, as both an only child and now, as an adult who had pursued the less taken path of midlife motherhood, I was struck by the fact that after many years of feeling isolated, I suddenly belonged to a group – The Community of Moms – whose collective power and passion just might make a difference…

Around that same time, I began searching for answers to my own midlife mother conundrum – my choice to (re) start a family at an age when others were preparing for retirement, sending their children off to college and reinventing themselves.  I found few role models to emulate, and my wide sphere of friends were themselves at a loss for how to deal with my new life. Beset with hormonal changes, aging parents, and my own “middle-age” status, I could firmly say that for the first time in my adult life, I was completely and utterly lost.

As a former journalist, writer, and life-long seeker, I decided to take action, to discover what I was missing. Over the course of more than two years, I networked across the country to find women, like myself, who had also chosen motherhood over 40. I found an eclectic group of nearly 60 women, ranging in age from 41 to 65, and from every socio-economic class, race, religion, creed and family model.

I asked each woman a series of questions: Why did she start or restart a family over age 40? How did she do this? How did her friends and family feel about her decisions? How did she feel about her life choices? Were she to live her life over again, would she do it the same way, again? The end result was the creation of the first and only art gallery show dedicated to presenting women who choose motherhood over 40. Consisting of the dramatic black and white photographs of 25 family units, plus accompanying narrative text, NURTURE: Stories of New Midlife Mothers began its journey across North America in 2011.

I felt passionate about creating a voice, face, and forum for this group. While a good start, this show was limited by space and audience numbers. I felt that the depth, breadth, and diversity of our journeys – our beautiful and disparate voices – also needed to be heard. Hence, the website for all-things regarding midlife mothers was born. was a thinly veiled reference to my being in mid-life and my Oreo-cookie status regarding my two generations of children (two in each). The fact is that nearly every (new) midlife parent is in the middle of something — two generations of children, two differing adult families, aging parents and young children, perimenopause or menopause, status quo and reinvention, and, of course, living somewhere near the halfway mark of our expected life span.

I sought to gather and present as many varied and distinguishable voices as I could find — to revel in the rainbow of experiences and emotions, to explore the wonder of this “brave new world” and all which it encompasses. The beauty of the collected words compelled me to do more.

With our ever-changing society, there have been additional bonuses for those choosing new parenting over-40 – men finding themselves fathers at an age when retirement was surely in their sights. There are others who have done a role-reversal in their homes, and chosen to become “Mr. Moms” — stay-at-home dads.  The 21st century will be a time for redefining the family model as we know it.

In our two-plus years of existence, Mothering in the Middle has garnered more than 570 posts, from nearly 100 contributors and two dozen regulars ranging from well-established/well-known and up-and-coming writers to those new to writing who are just finding their voice. Each contributor has something important to say, to share; each story has something which we hope will resonate with our readers. En masse, we intend to offer encouragement to midlife mothers and fathers, and provide inspiration or support for living both fulfilling and truthful lives. I also hope that we help dispel long-standing societal myths; provide role models for younger women; help redefine notions of women and middle age, and give this growing group a voice.

In short, I want to follow in the tradition of NURTURE – to reflect and present midlife mothers, and fathers, in all their glory!

In The Zen of Midlife Mothering, you’ll find painful essays delineating love and loss — of children, innocence, and life; spiritual, uplifting works defining the human spirit, the perseverance of women to achieve motherhood at all costs, the unwavering testament to loving children, and of the messiness that life often hands us — ripe with mixed messages, unexpected endings and new beginnings. All of which is done in the name of mothering, of fathering, and of love.

Ten (and then, again, eight) years ago, I felt I had no choice but to find, pursue, and finally get my two children. My journeys to Russia became a spiritual epiphany. In the end, I could finally hold the children I fervently believed were meant to be mine, and who were just waiting for me to embrace them.

In my earlier years, I failed to explore and embrace my womanhood and my motherhood. However, the (not so) simple act of passion — to nurture and to love — ignited a firestorm in me and released a flood of emotions I never knew I had.

I know I speak for so many others when I say that we will stop at nothing — absolutely, positively nothing — to become mothers and fathers, when our time is right.

Share Facebook Twitter Delicious