A Milestone in Modern Motherhood

I remember not very long ago when 40 sounded ancient to me. Well, here I am. Welcome to the era of mid-life awakening, where the candles on the cake start to feel like tickets to the thrills (mixed with fears) of a new decade. I’m now one of those millennial moms who are 40 according to public records, but still feels 20.  As they say, 40 is the new 20 - at least that's the mantra I’m clinging to as I ask my husband for a second composter for my birthday. Toss in three kids under the age of six, managing the highs and lows of startup life, and you've got yourself a brand new meaning to what they call a mid-life crisis.

The Precursor of the Journey

It was three years ago when I launched "Of an Origin," my passion became the next phase of my career and life. My creative outpouring that spoke to both my sense of identity as a mother and a yearning to make a positive impact on new moms, garment workers, and the planet. At the time, the seeds of 'Of an Origin' were sown, in the very real, very palpable experiences of becoming a mother for the second time. What started out as a remedy for the vulnerable 'I have nothing to wear' moments of postpartum life has grown into an ethos—a philosophy of sustainable, intentional living that extends far beyond the choice of fabric in clothing.

Nursing Lilah in the Rib Knit Crop Top

My entrepreneurial spirit has since been fueled by three little girls—Addie, Ellery, and Lilah—a constant reminder that the work I do and the example I set are not just for me, but for the future generations I am raising. They are my daily motivation, the mini muses that challenge me to be better, dream bigger, and redefine success in terms that have more resonance with the heart than the head.

Matrescence at Its Peak

I spent the better part of my thirties in a state of perpetual matrescence—as seemingly every other year I found myself either pregnant or in the delicate whirlwind of postpartum life. All I truly ever wanted out of life was to be a mother. I've had many dreams, but that yearning to have, hold, and raise babies had a hold on my heart from the time I was a tiny girl myself. The day I welcomed Addie into the world, all of those dreams came true. 

Addie as a newborn, July 21, 2017

Even with that intense calling to be called "mommy," the transformation from individual woman to mother was a rollercoaster of hormonal imbalance, body transformation, and emotional upheaval. As my children were born, I was reborn too.

The simultaneous act of physically and psychologically nurturing three tiny human beings—each with their unique quirks, demands, and learning curves— day become less about thriving and more about surviving. Showers became like a spa service, prepared breakfast was like fine dining.

Now, as I stand on the cusp of 40, I can feel the waves of matrescent energy subside, leaving a pool of time and space to truly absorb and integrate the changes my years as a mother have birthed. The transition into this next decade is a symbolic one, not just for its ability to close a chapter but for the implicit promise it holds of new beginnings—the chance to recalibrate, regenerate, and re-engage with a self that has long been overshadowed by the demands of motherhood.

The Five Tenets of Wellness in My Forties

Turning forty is not merely a chronological event; it is a call to focus on wellness in ways that reflect my current stage in life. What follows are the five key areas of my personal wellness campaign—pillars that not only support my physical and emotional health but signal my commitment to a life lived with intention and joy.

1. The Skincare Regimen: A Self-Love Language

Gone are the days when I could recklessly bask in the sun, reveling in its warmth while ignoring the potential cost to my skin. The skincare regime of my twenties has given way to a more nuanced practice, one that is rooted in protection and self-preservation. Sunscreen has become my daily ally, shielding my skin from the aging effects of UV rays, while moisturizers and serums now hold the same importance as my morning cup of coffee—a ritual that not only nourishes my skin but fuels a sense of self-love that is essential at any age.

In my pursuit of self-care, I have discovered local, organic skincare brands that speak to the values I hold dear. Brands like Sweethaven Lavender, a farm less than a mile from where I grew up in Virginia. These formulas have all been crafted in-house, with roots in small-batch production and a commitment to the health of both their customers and the environment, have become my go-to sources for products that promise to care for my skin as conscientiously as I care for my well-being.

Sweethaven Rewind & Replenish Moisturizer

The Path to Healing: Tending to My Aching Body

For over a decade, a persistent ache in my knee has served as a nagging reminder of my body's fragility. In the chaos of raising three children, I neglected its cries, choosing to push through the pain rather than address its source. No longer. As I turn 40, I have embarked on a course of physical therapy, a form of self-respect that seeks to restore and strengthen a vital component of my mobility.

The decision to seek therapy for my knee is more than a commitment to physical recovery; it is a declaration that my body, and by extension my spirit, deserves the kindness and care I so freely and instinctively give to others. It is an act of self-compassion, one that signals a turning point in my relationship with the body that has served me so faithfully through the trials and triumphs of maternity.

3. The Written Word: Journaling as a Path to Gratitude

I've tried to start and stick to a journaling practice for years. I have many a journal with a stamped on the front sit in my collection, only partially filled.

It's finally stuck, a simple gratitude journal has changed the game. The act of journaling really is as powerful as they say (and by "they," the science is fairly well documented and cited in The Five Minute Journal). The Five Minute Journal, with its gentle prompts and daily affirmations, has opened the aperture of thankfulness and self-awareness. I find myself excited about and cherishing the smallest joys in my life, where the mundane becomes what I am most grateful for in my life.

This daily engagement with the written word has taught me the art of looking inward, of pausing to appreciate the now rather than ruminating on the past or plowing headlong into an uncertain future. There is a new found zen, and what feels like a connection with what it means to be human.

4. The Nutrition Arc: A Journey into Mindful Eating

Homemade sourdough from our homemade starter 

My dietary habits have evolved, and as I approach this new decade of life, so too does my approach to nutrition. What was once a hasty grab-and-go affair—fueled by the exigencies of mothering and the inescapable juggling act of work and home—now transforms into a more considered, thoughtful practice. Mindful eating is my mantra, and the benefits, both for body and soul, are immeasurable.

I make the time to cook home-cooked meals, from fresh sourdough, and pizza crust, to vegetarian pasta dishes, taco Tuesdays, shepherd's pie, to pastries with my girls. I spent my early adulthood in restrictive and disordered eating, limiting my carb intake, going gluten-free (to manage IBS), to Paleo. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and raising three daughters has shifted my perception of food from restrictive and forbidden to a mindset of a nourishing act of love to my self and my family. I’m  learning to savor the flavors, to listen to my body's cues, and to provide nourishment that respects the complex matrix of needs that define my well-being. This act of conscious consumption is another step in the evolution of my womanhood, one that honors my body and mind.

5. The Social Mosaic: Nurturing Relationships with Purpose

If the first forty years of life are an exploration, the next forty are an assertion—a bold and unapologetic declaration of what we hold dear. For me, this new beginning is marked by a commitment to nurture relationships with purpose, to invest in those bonds that mirror the values I champion in my personal and professional life.

I have come to understand the importance of community, of the shared experiences and support networks that sustain us through life's ebb and flow. It is a rich tapestry of relationships that I seek to cultivate—one that brings joy, fulfills the spirit, and, in times of need, provides the solace of collective strength.

Closing Thoughts: On Turning 40

The approach to this milestone is marked by trepidation, but also by an eager anticipation of what the next chapter holds. It is a time of reflection, of gratitude for the experiences that have brought me to this point, and an excitement for the journeys that lie ahead. In so many ways, if I had told the story of my life thus far to 13-year-old me, I would feel that all of my wildest dreams had come true.

The road to 40 and beyond is a personal journey of becoming, one where each step we take, each choice we make, brings us closer to the authentic selves we are destined to become. 

The mother on the other side of 40 is waiting to be discovered—embrace her, love her, and celebrate the wondrous tapestry that is your life.

xx, Candice

Co-founder, Of an Origin + Mightly

Mama to Addie, Ellery & Lilah


April 14, 2024 — Candice Collison