Photo by John F. Russell
New parents, from left, Jason and Dervla Lacy hold six-week-old Declan, and Bill Gamber and Libby Foster hold 10-week-old Fritz. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment statistics show that during the past decade, more Routt County women have waited until their 30s to have children, compared with the rest of the state.
By the numbers
Percentage of births per age group in Routt County and Colorado
Age of mother, Routt County, Colorado
10 to 17, 1.5, 3
18 to 19, 2.3, 6.2
20 to 29, 41.7, 50
30 and older, 54.5, 40.8
Age of mother, Routt County, Colorado
10 to 17, 4.2, 4.2
18 to 19, 5.6, 7.5
20 to 29, 29.7, 50.9
30 and older, 60.5, 37.4
Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Steamboat Springs Fritz Gamber and Declan Lacy could be twins. The two infants were both dressed in blue jumpsuits Friday afternoon as their mothers cooed over them, comparing baby behaviors and trading mom advice.
Steamboat resident Libby Foster, 34, gave birth to Fritz, her first baby, 10 weeks ago. Dervla Lacy, 33, a friend of Foster’s, had Declan six weeks ago.
The two women work as the directors of nonprofit organizations, and they aren’t the only early-30s moms in Routt County balancing infants and full-blown careers.
According to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment statistics, women in Routt County are more likely to have children in their 30s than to give birth in their 20s.
This data is the opposite of state averages, which show that more women in Colorado give birth in their 20s than in their 30s.
Foster said she had no trouble believing that statistic — Routt County women do things their own way, she said.
“We have our own style,” Foster said as she cradled Fritz in the back room of BAP, where Fritz’s father, Bill Gamber, is a co-owner. “There are a lot of really driven women in this community.
“Maybe it’s because we’re busy with other things for longer and maybe just didn’t feel that desire to settle down.”
Dr. Mary Bowman, of Yampa Valley Ob-Gyn, said she hasn’t seen the age distribution of mothers in Routt County change very much in recent years.
The steady numbers showing more women waiting longer to have children could be because of the socioeconomics of the area, she said.
“In urban areas, you have a lot more younger women having children,” Bowman said. “Here, we have a fairly educated population, and often times they delay pregnancy because they’re working.”
Lacy said Routt County women work hard often because they have to.
“It’s tough here,” she said about the high costs of living in the area. “You need multiple incomes or two jobs to make it work.”
“You just don’t have time,” Foster added.
Routt County pregnancy trends extend into younger age brackets, as well. Statistics from 2009 show the county has less than half the teen pregnancy rate of the state.
A total of 3.8 percent of all births in Routt County in 2009 were to mothers in their teens, a number that trended downward during the decade. In 2009, teen pregnancies accounted for 9.2 percent of births throughout the state.
Overall, more than 50 percent of babies born in Routt County from 2000 to 2009 have been born to women 30 and older, compared with about 40 percent for the state.
Lacy’s husband, Jason, thinks the Routt County culture of athleticism and the outdoors also is a contributing factor.
“I think the women here lead really active lifestyles, and maybe they just don’t want to have babies so early,” he said. “You don’t realize how much this is going to change your life until you go through it.”
Foster and Dervla Lacy agreed that they didn’t quite feel ready in their 20s.
Even though having a child in her 30s means trying to balance a demanding job with an infant, Dervla Lacy said it has all been worth the wait.
“When you think about it, it just enhances your life so much,” she said. “It’s hard to imagine life without him already.”
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com