May 7, 2010
It comes as no surprise that women are marrying at an older age and, frequently, bearing children later in life also. The Pew Research Center has recently released a study confirming these facts. In 2008, one in seven babies in the United States was born to a mother older than 35 years of age. By contrast, the teenage birthrate has been declining since 1990 except for a couple of spikes, and births to women younger than 20 declined in 2008 to one in ten babies.
These statistics reflect significant changes in society, as women often choose to delay marriage and childbearing while they pursue education and get established in a career. However womens goals may have changed, the perception of children seems to have remained positive. When asked why they decided to have their first child, 87 percent of the parents in the Pew study said, The joy of children.
As I reflect on my own mother, I want to salute all women who have risen to the challenge of motherhood and accepted the responsibilities of this high calling. I wouldnt place mothering in the glamorous job category, but how do we place a value on a mothers invaluable contributions? Mothers, of course, are the bearers of life itself. Beyond that indispensable role, they are often the emotional glue that holds the members of a family together. When a marriage dissolves and the family is torn apart, it is most often the mother who stays with the children and raises them to adulthood.
A former national leader once stated, The family is a sacred institution entrusted with the worlds most important work. Society is only as strong as the families who live within it. Thank you, moms, for all you have done and are doing to strengthen our families and our nation.