Tammy Duckworth will be the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office

This year is shaping up to be a monumentous one for women in American politics: There are now more women serving in the United States Senate than at any other time. And, for the first time, one of them is pregnant. ?

On Tuesday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois, announced she is expecting her second child with husband Bryan Bowlsbey in early April.

After an outpouring of congratulations, Duckworth, 49, expressed her gratitude and added she already knows motherhood gives her even more purpose in serving Americans.

“I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent,” Duckworth says in a Twitter statement. “My daughter Abigail has only made me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere.”

Speaking with the Chicago Sun Times, Duckworth, who will be 50 when the baby is due, said she couldn’t be more thrilled to complete her family.

“I’ve had multiple IVF cycles and a miscarriage trying to conceive again, so we’re very grateful,” she says.

As any working parent knows, this won’t be easy—but Duckworth certainly knows how to persevere: While serving with the Illinois Army National Guard in Iraq in 2004, the Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting was shot down, which led to the amputation of both of her legs below the knee.

She continued to serve in the National Guard until 2014 when she stepped down to serve in the United States House of Representatives. As a congresswoman, she welcomed her first daughter, Abigail, in 2014. She made the move to the Senate after the 2016 election.

The news from Duckworth comes on the heels of another baby announcement from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who will be the first national leader to have a baby while in office in nearly 30 years.

And to think that women in the United States weren’t even allowed to vote—let alone pursue political careers and family life—until 98 years ago.

Not only are we teaching our daughters that they really can do anything they set their hearts on, but the influence of mothers in politics makes the world a better place. Even Duckworth says she was more driven to stand up for mothers’ rights after becoming one herself.

“I have a better understanding in a way that I didn’t have,” she tells the Chicago Sun Times, explaining it became personal when “I was the one who was trying to pump breast milk in airports.”

She has since led measures to improve facilities for pumping mothers in airports, military parental leave policies and on-campus childcare options. She also sponsors or co-sponsors bills regarding affordable childcare, parental leave and maternal health issues.

This progress sure is an amazing thing to see, both as a woman of this generation and a parent of the next.

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


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My belly has been through some things.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (yep, severe debilitating pregnancy-related vomiting), the pregnancies of each of my four kids, the 65 pounds of weight gain I have endured with each pregnancy, stretch marks, Occupational Therapy for pregnancy pelvic pain, unmedicated childbirth, and of course, postpartum recovery.

It's my personal opinion that this belly deserves some love. So starting with my second pregnancy, I've relied on Belly Bandit's postpartum belly bands (which I own in three sizes) to help support my core, reduce swelling, and begin to activate my midsection after nine months of being stretched to the max.

Here's why I love Belly Bandit:

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In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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