Rita and Rebecca


Midlife Moments'

Midlifer of the Week

Rita Kennen

Confessions of a Midlife Mommy

by Mike Bellah

  "Suddenly my life was run by a force outside myself, one I had very little control over," says Rita Kennen. "All that energy and force was contained in the little person I'd been waiting to meet for the last 20 years. Her name was Rebecca, and I know now that this was an experience that would change me forever."

Rita Kennen is a midlife mom. Having waited to get married until after her 40th birthday, and then suffering through two unsuccessful pregnancies, she became a first-time mom at 43. As a video tape editor for a San Francisco TV station, she says she was no stranger to stress and deadlines, but caring for Rebecca was different.

"Working on a newscast meant there was an end in sight," says Kennen. "Once the show is off the air, you're alone. Taking care of an infant meant the show never went off the air. It was a never-ending marathon of feedings, diaper changes, rocking and crying, all with very few commercial breaks. This was nothing like adopting a cat."

Kennen says that, although it wasn't easy, she was willing to give up some of the freedoms she enjoyed as a single person; she knew that being a parent meant real sacrifice. But what she wasn't willing to give up was the support and friendship of other women her own age.

"I knew that there were some out there who also postponed motherhood and were anxious to connect," says Kennen. "And so 'Midlife Mommies' was born." Kennen refers to her site on the World Wide Web (www.midlifemommies.com) designed especially for moms over 35, women Kennen says have special needs.

"I think that midlife moms generally have had careers, and have had time to themselves," says Kennen. "So suddenly being with a child all the time is hard. These mothers continue to need stimulation outside the home. They may also face the challenge of having to take care of their aging parents."

Kennen also sees advantages to being a midlife mom. "We have the wisdom and patience that only comes with life experience, a sense of humor to take the bad with the good," says Kennen. "We appreciate our kids more since we waited so long and went through so much to have them. And most of us can provide more financially for our kids since we're more well established."

Kennen says visitors to her web site can find tips on staying in shape and eating right, articles on the problems of midlife pregnancy, links to medical information for raising healthy babies, and information on support for care givers (for those in the "sandwich generation"). She also includes some funny stories about raising her own daughter and a new section addressing the needs of midlife fathers.

What do readers say about "Midlife Mommies?" Kennen says her Internet guests like reading about the experiences of other midlife mothers, and they like adding their own. They enjoy the art work (antique pictures of mothers and children) and the quotes.

Yet what this midlife parent of grown children finds most refreshing about Kennen's site is her obvious enthusiasm for mothering and her love for daughter Rebecca. She says Rebecca has caused her to live more in the moment, to appreciate the everyday things in life, and to experience a whole new level of caring. Says Kennen, "I have never felt as loved as I do when my daughter looks into my eyes."

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