Sen. Tammy Duckworth has just blazed one more trail: She’s the first U.S. Senator to give birth while in office.
With the arrival of a baby girl named Maile, Duckworth becomes one of just 10 women to give birth while serving in Congress. Duckworth, 50, had her first child in 2014, while she was a member of the House of Representatives. The senator lost both of her legs in the Iraq War.
“Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue and one that affects all parents — men and women alike,” Duckworth said in a statement announcing the birth. “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.”
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet notes that since the Illinois Democrat had her first daughter Abigail,
“Duckworth has authored measures to make sure major airports offer places for breastfeeding mothers to pump milk; the military creates a uniform policy for giving personnel time to bond with their newborn and adopted babies; and to make sure student parents have on-campus child care.
“She also is a sponsor or co-sponsor of bills dealing with affordable child care, paid parental leave and other infant and maternal health issues.”
As NPR’s Scott Neuman wrote in January when Duckworth announced her pregnancy, the senator was “[b]orn in Thailand to an American father and Thai mother, Duckworth served in the Illinois Army National Guard for more than two decades and had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel by the time of her 2014 retirement. She lost her legs in Iraq in 2004 when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting.”