Seven years, eleven personal stories and one community to unite and empower women as they experience midlife. Lifestyle coach and local author Camilla Joubert has started a movement with the launch of her new book Unravelling to normalize midlife and all its crises.
“Crisis should not be seen as a negative experience but an opportunity to grow, to reassess, to accept and change for the better,” she says. “Instead many women feel scared, alone and ashamed of what they’re going through. And that stigma needs to be changed.”
Unravelling is a collection of 11 women’s unique experiences with affairs, divorce, disease, death, gender, body image, libido, aging, and love. But beyond the stories is the development of a larger community, one that didn’t exist when Joubert experienced her own ‘unravelling.’
At 37, Joubert found herself struggling with understanding and taking responsibility for her role as a wife, mother, sister, and daughter. She had lost herself, and needed to rediscover how to love and acknowledge the person she was.
“I felt incredibly unsupported and afraid that there was something psychologically wrong with me when I started unravelling,” she says. “There were no books that I could readily find in libraries, no online blogs or articles that shared that this was a normal phase of life.”
Through many years of self-discovery, and the pursuit of a career in life coaching, Joubert realized there were many other women out there who were experiencing their own midlife crisis. What was lacking was a network where they could comfort, console and support one another through an otherwise confusing and lonely time.
“I wished I had known that there is actually a slew of women going through midlife unravelling and it is so common,” says Joubert. “We understand that teenagers go through a change in life, we understand the early 20s and finding yourself, we even understand the fear of empty nesting and aging, but there’s a paucity of information to support what happens in your 30s to 50s.”
So Joubert and ten other women, who had risked digging deep to uncover the truth about themselves, have been brave enough to share their intimate stories. These are women who are educated, professional and are working towards self-actualization. They are mothers, wives or are single. Most importantly, their midlife ‘unravelling’ is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
“We have been made to feel shame about female hysteria, to think that it’s our hormones,” explains Joubert. Meanwhile, when it comes to men, experiencing a ‘midlife crisis’ seems to be a socially accepted norm.
“Regardless of timing and age, it affects all women,” says Joubert.
More than anything, Joubert wants women to feel supported as they navigate life’s changes. Beyond that, she hopes to reinforce the importance of self-compassion. “I wholeheartedly believe we don’t teach nearly enough self-love. My overarching goal is to remind people to be kind to themselves,” she says.
Recently, one of the 11 contributors passed away, reinforcing for Joubert that life is a series of weaving and unravelling, coming together and falling apart – a continuous cycle of creation, growth, loss, and transition.
She and her co-contributors hope their stories will launch a much larger discussion about midlife experiences. They invite all women to share their stories as opposed to hiding in shame.
“I’d invite anybody who wants support to share books, to share great articles, knowledge and insights to join us on our Facebook group – Unravelling,” says Joubert. “It would be both joyful and humbling to know that even one person in reading Unravelling or joining this community, is positively affected.”
Unravelling has been published by Tellwell (RRP $12.99 USD) and is available for purchase on Amazon, Chaptersand Barnes and Noble. For more information on the Unravelling movement visit the author’s website www.camillajoubert.com or the Unravelling Facebook group.