Running the country? Check. Running to prenatal appointments? Check.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced this week that she is expecting her first child. In her post about the baby news, Ardern says she’s excited to serve as both a Prime Minister and a mom while her partner, Clarke Gayford, will be a stay-at-home dad.
We thought 2017 was a big year! This year weâll join the many parents who wear two hats. Iâll be PM & a mum while Clarke will be âfirst man of fishingâ & stay at home dad. There will be lots of questions (I can assure you we have a plan all ready to go!) but for now bring on 2018 pic.twitter.com/nowAYOhAbF— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) January 18, 2018
During a press interview after her announcement, Ardern added, “I am not the first woman to multitask, I'm not the first woman to work and have a baby, I know these are special circumstances but there will be many women who will have done this well before I have.”
Internationally, it’s relatively rare for women to lead countries—and rarer still for them to do so while pregnant. According to Reuters, the last notable time a nationally elected leader had a baby while in office was when Benazir Bhutto gave birth while serving as Pakistan’s prime minister in 1990.
We say it’s about time for this to shift: For one, it shows that regardless of your career trajectory or field of work, you can pursue a family and career in tandem. It doesn’t have to be exclusive.
Women can be both strong leaders and strong mamas.
Women can be both passionate and sensitive.
Women can love their job and their babies.
And this announcement received tons of praise on Twitter.
Congrats ðYou and your baby will change the course of history forever and I canât thank you enough!— Mariam Veiszadeh (@MariamVeiszadeh) January 18, 2018
Just casually rocking PM AND a baby. Love your work! Congratulations.— Beck Vass (@beckvass) January 18, 2018
Massive congrats Jacinda. You make us proud. When I had my first son I had to take my hols as there was no maternity leave and no woman had ever returned to work at that firm. Look how far weâve come! You are a trailblazer and your pregnancy sends such a great signal. Much love x— Jane Sweeney (@JaneSweeney) January 19, 2018
Congratulations!May the whole country support you in showing that women can be brilliant leaders-whether or not they choose to have children.Very happy for you both and proud that you are our PM.— Lynzi Armstrong (@DrLynziA) January 18, 2018
As for the logistics people were eager to know, Ardern shared she’ll take six weeks of family leave once she gives birth and then get back to her duties as prime minister.
“Clarke and I are privileged to be in the position where Clarke can stay home to be our primary caregiver. Knowing that so many parents juggle the care of their new babies, we consider ourselves to be very lucky,” she said in the press interview.
In an interview with Mashable, she added she has everything in place to ensure New Zealand will run just fine while she’s soaking up newborn snuggles—thanks to the Deputy Prime Minister stepping up to become Acting Prime Minister during her leave.
So mamas, if you’re nervous about having a baby in the midst of your career’s peak, don’t be. You can balance both and find a system that works for you. Lean into your village to help. Make the decision to stay at home, get back to work or delegate things to your partner in the interim.
Whatever you decide to do, you’ve got this—and Ardern does, too.