When Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, gives birth to her second child in late April, she’ll be making history.
Duckworth will be the first senator to ever give birth while in office.
The veteran, and mother of one, told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet that she was expecting and opened up about her fertility battle, telling the columnist that becoming pregnant at age 49 was a ‘struggle.’
Sen. Tammy Duckworth told the Chicago Sun-Times that she’s expecting her second child in late April, meaning she’ll be the first sitting senator to give birth. Here she is being sworn-in in 2016 holding up her first born, baby Abigail
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (left) gets sworn in by then Vice President Joe Biden (right) in 2016, surrounded by her family (from left) daughter Abigail, mother Lamai and husband Bryan Bowlsbey. In a new interview she opened up about her fertility struggles with Bowlsbey
‘I’ve had multiple IVF cycles and a miscarriage trying to conceive again, so we’re very grateful,’ she said.
The miscarriage occurred during her 2016 Senate campaign.
She had her first daughter, Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey, with husband Bryan Bowlsbey in November 2014 after trying several different kinds of fertilization methods, with IVF eventually being successful.
It was during her maternity leave with Abigail that Duckworth decided to run for the U.S. Senate.
She had been elected to the House of Representatives in 2012.
‘As tough as it’s been to juggle motherhood and the demands of being in the House and now the Senate, it’s made me more committed to doing this job,’ she told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Duckworth has pushed parent-friendly legislation like ensuring major airports have rooms where mothers can breast pump.
As a military veteran and survivor of a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Iraq in 2004, an accident that cost her both her legs and crushed her right arm, Duckworth pushed for servicemembers to get appropriate time to bond with their newborns and adopted babies.
Like many members of her party she’s advocated for more affordable child care and paid family and medical leave.
Duckworth was already on the list of 10 female lawmakers to have given birth while serving in the House.
Among them, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who had two sons as a House member before being elected to the Senate.
Also, Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who had the most children while in office – three – and now serves in GOP leadership as the House Republican conference chair.