Duckworth Becomes First Senator To Give Birth While In Office

FAIRFAX, VA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Keith Urban performs at the VetsAid Charity Benefit Concert at Eagle Bank Arena on September 20, 2017 in Fairfax, Virginia. VetsAid is a foundation created by singer/songwriter Joe Walsh to support veterans and their families.  (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
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Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) had her second child on Monday, becoming the first senator to give birth while in office.

Maile (pronounced Miley) Pearl Bowlsbey is Duckworth’s second child; she and her husband, Bryan Bowslbey, had Abigail in late 2014, when she was in the House. Duckworth is only the 10th member of Congress to have a child while serving, and the first in the upper chamber.

The news was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Bryan, Abigail and I couldn’t be happier to welcome little Maile Pearl as the newest addition to our family,” Duckworth said in a statement, before saying she was “deeply honored” that retired Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), a mentor of hers who died last week, blessed her child’s name before passing on.

Duckworth, a 50-year-old Iraq War veteran, said that the baby’s middle name is from her husband’s great aunt, who served during World War II as an Army officer and nurse.

The birth is the latest in a series of firsts for Duckworth. She’s the first Thai-American ever to serve in Congress, and was one of the first women to fly an Army helicopter in Iraq.

Duckworth has made both military and family issues priorities during her congressional career, sponsoring legislation requiring the military to extend maternity leave for soldiers, make sure student parents have on-campus child care, and require major airports to provide spaces for breastfeeding and milk pumping, as well as bill for paid family leave and laws to help lower the number of veteran suicides.

 

“Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue and one that affects all parents—men and women alike,” she continued in her statement. “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.”

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