United States Senator Tammy Duckworth just added to her resume in a very big way: She is now a mom of two after welcoming baby girl Maile Pearl on Monday.
This makes her the first United States senator to give birth while in office.
“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, adding the little girl’s sweet name is a tribute to influential people in their lives.
“We’re deeply honored that our good friend Senator Akaka was able to bless her name for us—his help in naming both of our daughters means he will always be with us,” Duckworth says. “Pearl Bowlsbey Johnson was Bryan’s great Aunt, an Army Officer and a nurse who served during the Second World War.”
Although Maile Pearl’s name is a tribute to people from the past, she is already inspiring her mom to look forward: After Duckworth announced she was expecting her second baby in January, she quickly went to work on championing the importance of paid parental leave.
“Over the past few months, I’ve been reflecting about how those of us who are members of Congress are lucky. When my new daughter is born, I’ll be able to take paid time to care for her, but most people aren’t so fortunate; they have to rush right back to work. A 2015 report from In These Times found that one in four employed moms returned to work within two weeks of childbirth. We need to do what we can to change that and make it easier for new parents to stay in the workforce.”
Duckworth welcomed her first daughter in 2014 when she was serving in the United States House of Representatives. Only a handful of politicians before her gave birth while in Congress and none while serving in the Senate.
This landmark should be exciting for all American parents—because it moves us closer to the representation we really need if we’re going to overcome the parental pay gap, be more supportive of breastfeeding mothers and show the world how amazing mom bosses really are.
But, for now, here’s to hoping Duckworth is simply soaking up those baby snuggles. She and Maile can get to work on changing the world soon enough.