Sen. Tammy Duckworth is expanding her family and making history, all at the same time. On Tuesday, the Illinois Democrat announced she is pregnant with her second child and is expected to give birth in late April. She is the first woman to give birth while serving in the Senate.
“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," she said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "We are all so grateful for the love and support of our friends and family, and I want to thank the wonderful staff at both Northwestern Medicine and GW for everything they’ve done to help us in our decades-long journey to complete our family."
Duckworth, who turns 50 in early March, had her daughter Abigail in 2014 while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Only 10 congresswomen in history have given birth while in office.
The freshman senator told The Chicago Sun-Times, which first reported the story, that she went through several IVF cycles trying to conceive. She also miscarried while campaigning for the Senate in 2016.
In her statement to Refinery29, Duckworth said that being a working mother has allowed her to bring a important (and otherwise, underrepresented) point of view to Congress.
"Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue and an issue that affects all parents—men and women alike," she said. "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."
There's only 22 women currently serving in the Senate, and that Duckworth is the first one ever to give birth while in office highlights how few women have joined Congress through history. However, her announcement feels especially poetic when one considers that a record number of women are running for office in 2018. Congratulations!