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At 54, Doylestown woman a brand new mom

“I asked God to teach me patience.”


Antonett Kerr Tonra will celebrate her first Mother’s Day on Sunday cuddling the daughter who has been called “a miracle baby.”

Little Sarah-Ann Victoria Tonra, just 3 months old, is a beautiful, healthy 14-pound, wriggling bundle of love. Her mother is 54; her father, James Tonra, is 58.

James said, “Despite the low probabilities for a successful pregnancy due to her age, Antonett was certain she would have a child…a girl.” And she did.

The couple’s romance began online in November 2020. He, once married and the father of two adult children, lived in Mercer County, N.J. She, unmarried, was from New Rochelle, N.Y.

Even before he met Antonett in person, James said he was first smitten with her response to the online dating form’s question, ‘What makes you laugh?’ She had replied, ‘Everything.’

“Plus, she was so beautiful.” He added, “I met most of her requirements for a husband.” James, who is of medium height, said, “I did not meet the ‘tall’ requirement but that was apparently overlooked.”

The important thing was that, despite their ages, they had fallen in love and he did agree with her wish to have a child.

They married in March 2022 and now live in Doylestown. James is a scientist in the biotechnology industry and Antonett is a registered nurse.

Antonett, the daughter of a Jamaican mother and Indian father, believes her baby girl is “a gift from God,” holding true to her spiritual upbringing and her study of the Bible.

Antonett referred to the Old Testament story of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, childless until 90, when she gave birth to Isaac, and has given her baby Sarah’s name.

Doctors at Jefferson Abington Hospital guided Antonett through her pregnancy and Sarah was born there on Jan. 30, a normal, healthy infant. Antonett did suffer some complications during the pregnancy, but her faith never wavered.

“Antonett has completely recovered,” James said.

Neither wanted to discuss medical issues.

(In general, physicians believe women past the age of 35 have an increased risk for certain medical problems, including premature birth, low birth weight and chromosome disorders. The high-risk marker is 35, but many women at 40 or 45, though, do have normal pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies.)

Antonett was one of the fortunate ones, but, due to her age, the doctors had decided to deliver the baby by Caesarean section a month before her due date.

Antonett had always wanted marriage and children but had never met the right man. As the years passed she turned to prayer and engaged in a kind of ongoing conversation with God.

“In the Bible, God says, ‘Ask and it shall be given’,” Antonett said, “so in my 20s, I made a list of what I wanted in a guy. I always had faith, even though I saw the years slipping by — the 30s, the 40s — people always asking why I had not married.

“It was hard sometimes. Sometimes I cried. But I knew everything would fall into place. I asked God to teach me patience.” Developing a kind of personal relationship with God, she would ask, ‘Okay, God, what’s the next step?’.”

Meanwhile, she worked as an oncology nurse. A merit graduate of the University of the West Indies, she holds a business degree in organizational management and a master’s degree in nursing administration. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, an international honor society for nurses.

Weekends found Antonett applying God’s directions to care for the homeless and the poor. “That led me to the Salvation Army where I cooked meals every Sunday for seven years for the homeless,” she said.

But the bubbly, outgoing young woman also filled her single days with travel — all over the world — and even wrote a children’s book, “Everyone Loves Tyty: A Little Boy Learns the Lessons of Life through Prayer and Proverbs.”

Published by Trilogy Christian Publishers, it’s available on Amazon.

Has the unending work of new motherhood fallen heavily on her shoulders? Did the arrival of little Sarah change her life?

“Tremendously,” she replied with an infectious laugh, “but I was prepared for it. I had done a lot of babysitting. I’ll be content to stay at home, maybe until it’s time for preschool.”

Does she worry about the constraints of older parenting, of being a mother when others close to her age are grandparents? Is she concerned that she and James will be in their 70s when Sarah heads for college?

“Not at all,” she said. “I will raise Sarah the right way and she’ll be fine.”

Throughout Antonett’s pregnancy, family, friends and strangers expressed astonishment and concern for her health.

But Antonett only laughed that off as she described the reaction she got when she called to schedule doctor’s appointments.

“They would ask for my birth date. When I’d tell them, there would be silence. Then they’d ask, ‘Would you repeat that?’ It was hard for them to believe.”

That was also the case with Antonett’s pastor and close friend, Bishop David Slater of Safe Harbor Ministries in Yonkers, N.Y. He said, “When Antonett called to tell me she was pregnant, I couldn’t believe it; but we had prayed for her. We always have to remember there’s a higher power.”

Antonett is planning to spend Mother’s Day with her mother and, of course, Sarah. James should return from a business trip to Japan just in time for the celebration.

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