How Tammy Duckworth's Pregnancy Will Make History For The U.S. Senate

"Parenthood isn't just a women's issue."

Sen. Tammy Duckworth is adding another first to her list. In addition to being the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first woman with a disability elected to Congress, and the first member of Congress to be born in Thailand, Duckworth will soon be the first United States senator to give birth while in office.


Duckworth announced her second pregnancy on Tuesday with a punny social media message. The Iraq War veteran previously gave birth to her first daughter Abigail while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming one of only 10 sitting House members in history to give birth.

In her pregnancy announcement, Duckworth made sure to reiterate her commitment to working families. "Parenthood isn't just a women's issue, it's an economic issue and an issue that affects all parents โ€” men and women alike," she shared. "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 Abigail has only made me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere."

As the Huffington Post points out, Duckworth's work for families has included Head Start programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as introducing the FAMILY Act and Military Parental Leave Modernization Act for paid leave. "I'll keep working every day to ensure every woman โ€” no matter her race or background โ€” has equal opportunity to support herself and her family," Duckworth has said.

Duckworth told the Chicago Sun-Times that she is due to give birth in April, and the baby will be another girl. She also shared that she has had "multiple IVF cycles and a miscarriage trying to conceive again," adding that she and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, are "very grateful."

She isn't the first politician to announce a historic pregnancy in recent days. Last week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she is expecting her first child, making her only the second elected world leader in modern history to give birth while in office. "I am not the first woman to multitask," she reminded reporters of her position as a working mom.

Many Twitter users shared their excitement over Duckworth's history-making news, highlighting what it means for working mothers and women in Congress. (There are currently only 22 women in the Senate and 84 women in the House of Representatives, comprising 19.8 percent of Congress members.)

As Shannon Coulter wrote of the news on Twitter, "In a year when unprecedented numbers of women are running for public office, this seems especially poetic."


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