Note: In June, Hartford Seminary is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, closed Sunday. In July, the building is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30- p.m. Monday-Thursday (closed Friday-Sunday). Please call (860) 509-9500 if you’d like to confirm that the exhibit is available to view.
NURTURE: Stories of New Midlife Mothers – the first and only art gallery show dedicated to presenting women choosing motherhood over 40 — will be displayed at Hartford Seminary through Sept. 15, 2014. The show, which also started at Hartford Seminary in 2010, has traveled to 12 venues throughout Canada and the U.S.
Featured in the show are dramatic black and white photos with accompanying narrative text features 25 women who have chosen motherhood over 40. The show was written and created by Cyma Shapiro. Photos were shot by Shana Sureck and Tracy Cianflone.
Why a show about midlife mothers? 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.
FURTHER INFO: Speaker/writer/blogger/journalist Cyma Shapiro, has interviewed more than 60 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 mid-lives. 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.
ABOUT THE SHOW: The show’s Introduction is written by professor and writer Elizabeth Gregory, Director of Women’s Studies at the University of Houston and author of Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood. NURTURE is 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.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS: Award-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.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Cyma Shapiro is also the creator of the website, MotheringintheMiddle.com – for all-things midlife mothers. In three years, nearly 110 contributors have written more than 650 blog posts. She recently published The Zen of Midlife Mothering – the first anthology written by and for midlife mothers and fathers, featuring the “best” 50 essays from that site.
Cyma Shapiro, 56, is an online contributor for numerous sites such as Huffington Post, Purple Clover, Psychology Today, and has been featured on several radio programs including Blog Talk Radio – NYC and Australia, The Authors Show, Women’s Media with Robin Morgan, etc. She regularly speaks at women’s conferences. Cyma is the mother of 9 and 11-year-old children and 29 and 30-year-old stepchildren. She resides in West Hartford.