Closing The Gap

Tammy Duckworth just became the first US Senator to give birth while in office

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., waves to delegates during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2016.
J. Scott Applewhite | AP

Today, Senator Tammy Duckworth announced that she had given birth to her second child, Malie Pearl Bowlsbey — making her the first Senator to give birth while in office.

Senator Duckworth, who turned 50 in March, shared the good news on Twitter, saying, "Bryan, Abigail and I couldn't be happier to welcome little Maile Pearl as the newest addition to our family."

Senator Tammy Duckworth
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Ten members of Congress have given birth while in office — including Duckworth, who won Illinois' 8th Congressional District seat in November of 2012 and gave birth to her first child, Abigail O'kalani Bowlsbey, in 2014 while serving in Congress.

Duckworth and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey named their new daughter after Bowlsbey's great aunt, who was an Army Officer and a nurse during World War II.

"We're also so grateful for the love and support of our friends and family, as well as our wonderful medical teams for everything they've done to help us in our decades-long journey to complete our family," said Duckworth on twitter.

Duckworth is one of a record 23 women currently serving in the Senate and is among a new wave of politicians emphasizing their roles as mothers rather than downplaying what was once criticized as a potential distraction.

A record 309 women from both major parties have filed candidacy papers to run for the House of Representatives, and two current Democratic candidates for governor — Kelda Roys in Wisconsin and Krish Vignarajah in Maryland — recently released campaign videos in which they are featured breastfeeding their babies.

In Roys' campaign video, she talks about her work with legislation that banned dangerous chemicals from being used to make baby bottles and sippy cups, she bounces children on her knees and visibly tears up.

In Vignarajah's campaign video, she talks passionately about her identity as a first-generation immigrant and as a woman. "My parents came to this country with $200 and I grew up to be policy director for Michelle Obama," she says. "Some say no man can beat Larry Hogan. Well, I'm no man. I'm a mom, I'm a woman and I want to be your next governor."

As Duckworth recently tweeted: "Working moms get the job done."

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