More women waiting longer to start family

Twila Rutter-Wooley spends time playing with her 21-month-old daughter Tasan and her step-son Ricky, 7, on Friday afternoon at her home in Clovis. CNJ staff photo: Mike Linn

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

Looking back at her views on motherhood, Twila Rutter-Wooley says her perspective has certainly changed in the last few years.

Actually, becoming a mom can do that to you.

The 39-year-old Clovis woman — who along with mothers nationwide will celebrate Mother’s Day today — was introduced to parenting by becoming a step-mother to Ricky Wooley, now 7 years old.

Then, at 37, Rutter-Wooley gave birth for the first time to daughter Tasan, who will turn 2 years old in August.

“I had friends who had kids and they would tell me how overwhelmed they were with love for their child and I was, like, ‘Yeah, yeah,’” Rutter-Wooley said. “I remember I had a friend one time tell me that you never understand how much your parents love you until you have your own child.

“I thought it was just a bunch of sentimental hogwash,” Rutter-Wooley adds.

“But now, when I look at her (Tasan) and I think, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re right.’ You hold this precious thing and she’s talking now — it’s just adorable.”

According to Doreen Nagle’s 2002 book, “But I Don’t Feel Too Old To Be A Mommy: A Complete Sourcebook for Starting Motherhood beyond 35 and after 40,” the amount of births for women over the age of 40 have doubled in the last 30 years.

Still, women who became first-time mothers past 30 years old are still in the minority.

But they’re out there.

Liz Brown, a teacher at Marshall Junior High, didn’t have her first — and only — baby until she was 34. Her son Jesse is 11 years old.

“It was a career choice on my husband’s part; he was in medical school and we were just kind of waiting for the right time,” Brown said. “I do think there were advantages.”

Brown and Rutter-Wooley say that having a baby for the first time in their 30s, as opposed to a younger age, probably meant a decidedly more relaxed demeanor in the face of the pressures of motherhood.

“I think that older moms may not be as physically able to keep up. We may be a little slower, but I think that, mentally, we’re probably more calm — more patient,” Brown says. “I knew it wasn’t for me at the time — I could kind of see that it could put an end to your social life pretty quickly. But I thought it was great and it would be great when I had one.”

Despite her resistance toward launching into motherhood at an earlier age, Brown has a glowing report toward the whole experience now.

“It’s the very best thing that could ever happen in the world,” she said.

“So, if God says, ‘Boom, you’re ready,’ then you’re ready.”

Rutter-Wooley thought that giving birth, in her case, would be physically impossible based upon doctors’ opinions.

“I was told I would never have children. I thought, well, it wasn’t meant to be and that was fine,” Rutter-Wooley says. “But every year, when my birthday came, I always thought what the next year would bring and having a child was always in the back of my mind.

“So when I look at her now, beyond the miracle of life, she’s a miracle herself.”