This is a guest post from writer and photographer Aimee Cebulski, who has recently released a new book called The Finding 40 Project. In it, she interviews and photographs more than 30 women in 10 different countries, all just turned or about to turn 40.
An additional goal for The Finding 40 Project is to support women’s charities in the regions visited during the project. A portion of proceeds from book sales will be used to fund microloans and women’s programs administered through charitable partner PCI Global (www.pciglobal.org).
Rosa Elena has never been further than the village 10 miles away from her home in Ecuador where she lives with her seven children and one grandchild.
The book profiles a diverse set of professional women, stay-at-home moms, entrepreneurs and even those living in tiny villages far from major cities. Several became mothers later in life; one even marries at 40 and is expecting her first child just after turning 41.
No matter what their situation, many are seeking ways to live their best life and be happy and content at 40. What can we learn from the women she interviewed in this two-year process?
- Roll with the punches: For many of them, they never thought they would be mothers and oftentimes motherhood came by accident — However, everyone universally said that it was a great addition to their lives and they felt blessed that their life took this path.
- Be grateful for your health: Women interviewed in poorer countries or those struggling to make ends meet constantly stressed the value in being able to function physically and where possible have control over your own reproductive destiny.
- Be true to yourself: Some women, who have chosen not to have children yet or are thinking about not having any at all, struggle with societal pressure, especially in heavily Catholic countries, and urge others to follow their own heart when it comes to what they really want.
- Think about the big picture when it comes to money: Economic pressures are a key factor for many women who might already have one child or more, and at 40 are thinking about becoming pregnant again — the effect of more children after 40 can have a higher impact on things like retirement planning or resource allocation in developing countries than it might for younger mothers.