As the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth has already made history. In April, she’ll do it again — as the first sitting senator to give birth.
The Democrat, who will turn 50 one month before her due date, said in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times, which broke the story: “Bryan and I are thrilled that our family is getting a little bit bigger, and Abigail is ecstatic to welcome her baby sister home this spring. 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 hard-working families everywhere.”
It will be the second girl for Duckworth and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey, with whom she shares a 3-year-old daughter. “I feel great,” said Duckworth.
Only 10 other women, including Duckworth, have given birth while serving as members of the House, the Sun-Times reports.
The retired lieutenant colonel, who lost both of her legs when the helicopter she was flying in Iraq was shot down in 2004, struggled with infertility before conceiving her first child. “I’ve had multiple IVF cycles and a miscarriage trying to conceive again, so we’re very grateful,” Duckworth told the paper, adding that trying to get pregnant a second time was “a struggle.”
Duckworth, who ran for senator when Abigail was a baby, shared with the Sun-Times that the demands of her job meant that sometimes “I was the one who was trying to pump breast milk in airports.”
Like any other working mom who spends time away from her child, Duckworth suffers from “the constant feeling of guilt when I’m not with her.” She told the paper that her daughter said to her: “‘Mommy, can’t you stay home from work today and play with me?’ … What do I say to a 2-year-old? ‘No, Mommy has to go make sure our Department of Defense has the budget it needs.’”
Duckworth, who once told the Washington Post that she loves watching “America’s Next Top Model” and the color pink, isn’t afraid to take on the president of the United States. On Saturday, after Trump blamed Democrats for the government shut-down, Duckworth replied, “I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible. I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five deferment draft-dodger.”
Yep, she’ll handle two kids just fine.
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