Illinois’ Duckworth becomes first senator to give birth while in office

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., gave birth to a baby girl on Monday -- becoming the first sitting senator to have a child while in office. File Photo UPI/Kevin Dietsch

April 9 (UPI) — Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Monday became the first sitting United States senator to give birth.

Duckworth, 50, is one of only 10 women to give birth while in Congress. The other nine were House representatives.

The baby, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, is the second daughter of Duckworth and husband Bryan Bowlsbey. Her first was born when she was a state representative in Chicago.

“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. “Pearl Bowlsbey Johnson was Bryan’s great Aunt, an Army Officer and a nurse who served during the Second World War. He spent many summer months with her while growing up, we feel her presence still and are grateful for her service to our nation during the most challenging of times.”

The other mothers in the Senate had their children prior to entering Congress, with the exception of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who gave birth while serving in the House.

Duckworth added in her statement Monday that being a mother influences her agenda.

“Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue and one that affects all parents — men and women alike,” she said. “My children only make me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere.”

Senators from both parties hosted a baby shower for Duckworth at the Capitol last month.

Duckworth told the Chicago Sun Times being pregnant a second time was “a struggle.”

The Iraq war veteran made history once before when she became the first woman with a disability elected to the Senate. A Black Hawk chopper pilot, she lost both legs in combat in Iraq in 2004. She was elected to the House in 2012.


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