Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), an American war hero who lost both of her legs serving as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in the Iraq War, is a shining example of what can be accomplished through persistence, courage, and moral fortitude Now, her already-distinguished tenure as a U.S. Senator has passed a historic milestone.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Duckworth, 50, has given birth to her second daughter, making her the first sitting Senator in American history to give birth while serving in office. Duckworth and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey have named their new child Maile Pearl.
Nine other women have had children while in Congress, but they were all in the House of Representatives. Duckworth herself gave birth to her first daughter Abigail while serving in the House.
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“Bryan, Abigail and I couldn’t be happier to welcome little Maile Pearl as the newest addition to our family and we’re deeply honored that our good friend Senator Akaka was able to bless her name for us — his help in naming both of our daughters means he will always be with us,” Duckworth said in an official statement.
Duckworth has been a consistent advocate for mothers, specifically by spearheading efforts to ensure military personnel receive time off to spend with new children. She also supports a litany of additional infant and motherhood measures to ease the burden of parents trying to juggle a career with a vibrant family life.
“Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue and one that affects all parents—men and women alike. As tough as juggling the demands of motherhood and being a Senator can be, I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent, and my children only make me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere,” Duckworth added in her statement.
Duckworth demonstrates that it’s possible to be a competent, engaged politician as well as a loving mother. Amidst the swirling misogyny of the Trump era, it’s more important than ever that we lift up and celebrate our women leaders. If we are ever going to pull ourselves out of the dark downward spiral our country finds itself in, it’s going to be brave women like Duckworth that help us do it.