Between the powerful second annual Women’s March and Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s severe sentencing of former U.S. gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, 2018 has blown through the gates with a strong force of #girlpower. Add one more achievement to the quickly-growing list: One Illinois politician is about to make history.
According to CNN, Senator Tammy Duckworth is expecting her second child in April, which will soon make her the first sitting senator to ever give birth in office. She’s already one of only 10 female lawmakers who have had babies while serving in Congress (she had her first child in 2014 while serving in the House of Representatives).
“I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent, and [my daughter] has only made me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere.” —Senator Tammy Duckworth
“Bryan and I are thrilled that our family is getting a little bit bigger, and [my daughter] Abigail is ecstatic to welcome her baby sister home this spring,” said Duckworth in a statement. “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.”
For Duckworth, that isn’t a figure of speech. As she tells the Chicago Sun Times, she’d always been sympathetic to the challenges and micro-injustices working moms and pregnant women face, but it wasn’t until she had her first child that she really *got* it. “I have a better understanding in a way that I didn’t have,” Duckworth told the paper. “I was the one who was trying to pump breast milk in airports.”
“I have a better understanding in a way that I didn’t have. I was the one who was trying to pump breast milk in airports.” —Duckworth
Armed with this knowledge, she spearheaded a campaign to make sure airports offer clean and comfortable places for mothers to breastfeed and pump and is currently co-sponsoring bills that are fighting for affordable child care and paid parental leave, among other issues.
Duckworth is evidence that when there are more women’s voices in Congress, more policies prioritize women’s needs. And as she makes history once again, Duckworth’s newly forged path will continue to inspire others to follow in her footsteps.