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Exhibit on Choosing Motherhood Beyond Age 40 at JCC

SPRINGFIELD – A photo and story exhibit on Women choosing Motherhood Beyond the Age of 40 is at the Springfield JCC through Dec. 12, 2013.
NURTURE: Stories of New Midlife Mothers – the first art gallery show dedicated to presenting women choosing motherhood over 40. It is now traveling North America.
Photos and stories of some 25 midlife mothers with their families. Written and created by Cyma Shapiro. Photos shot by Shana Sureck and Tracy Cianflone.
In the past 30 years, the number of women over 40 giving birth to their first child has jumped from 1 in 600 mothers to 1 in 77 mothers. More middle-aged women are becoming new mothers through adoption, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, fostering and guardianship. Through dramatic black and white photos, and the mothers’own words, this poignant and life-affirming exhibit explores the joys and challenges of becoming a mother after 40. While they still get mistaken for grandmas, later moms bring wisdom to their roles as nurturers, caregivers and, in many cases, role models. While some women were unable to have children the “traditional way” and others took a while to find the right partner, it is the breakthroughs in medical technology, socio-economic freedoms and a breakdown of traditional family mores which allows for inroads into the lesbian communities, and now offers single mothers and heterosexual couples greater possibilities to parenthood using a myriad of possibilities including surrogates, IVF, and adoption.
Cyma Shapiro, a blogger, writer and former journalist, has interviewed more than 58 midlife mothers across the United States from a variety of faiths, races, occupations and socio-economic classes. They came to motherhood in every way possible (natural childbirth, IVF, guardianship, fostering, adoption, surrogacy, blending stepfamilies), but all share a commitment to redefining their midlives. While each mother’s journey differs, most chose and pursued midlife motherhood at this “middle age” stage of their lives. Married, divorced, single or in committed partnerships, these women’s lives have been enriched by the challenges, thrills and lessons of new older motherhood. They stand alone as pioneers in what we believe is the newest chapter in the women’s movement.
In addition to an Introduction by Ms. Shapiro, the show’s Introduction is written by professor and writer Elizabeth Gregory, one of the leading authors and educators regarding midlife women’s issues. Elizabeth is also the Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Houston and author of Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood. These dramatic photos, 25 in total, together with the transcribed narrative text, are intended to: dispel myths about middle age; introduce society to the growing number of women choosing midlife motherhood; offer subsequent generations of women role models; and provide this burgeoning new older mothers-group with a voice, face and forum. This is the first show of its kind in North America. Ms. Shapiro has expanded her midlife mother projects to include a potential anthology and her website: www.MotheringintheMiddle.com – for all things midlife mothers. (Please see nationally renowned contributors on the site).
ward-winning photojournalist and the show’s East Coast photographer Shana Sureck, herself a midlife mother, has captured in pictures the joy and love that binds these midlife moms with their children. West Coast photographer and former entertainment industry make-up artist Tracy Cianflone, who became a mother to her last child after 40, specializes in family and individual portraits, including celebrity clients.
NURTURE is grateful for contributions from Pro Health Physicians, Gary Millinger, DMD, Cipes Pediatric Dentistry, Angelo and Jean Sevarino, and Anonymous donors, and for consulting services donated by Scala & Associates, LLC and Rie Poirier-Campbell and Michael Campbell.
Cyma Shapiro, 55, is a (passionate and skilled) online contributor for such sites as Psychology Today, Huffington Post and has been featured on several radio programs including (most recently) “This I Believe”/National Public Radio, “ and the “Feisty Side of Fifty.” She is the mother of 8 and 10-year-old children and 28 and 30-year-old stepchildren.
Midlife Mothers is intended to provide women choosing motherhood over 40 with a voice, face and forum.