Sen. Tammy Duckworth Gets Real About Being Pregnant in Congress


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On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Sen. Tammy Duckworth opened up about her historic pregnancy in an interview with Nancy Cordes. The 49-year-old freshman senator from Illinois made headlines—and history—recently when she announced she was pregnant with her second child earlier this month. With her pregnancy, Duckworth be the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office.

You’d think that in 2018, it would be NBD to be a pregnant working mother in Congress and yet, the Iraq War vet who lost both her legs in 2004 still faces a number of challenges. “I was the tenth one [to give birth] in the House, so there was a policy in the House, but there’s no policy in the Senate,” Duckworth told Cordes. “I have to figure that out.” Duckworth gave birth to a daughter, Abigail, while she was representative of Illinois’s 8th District in 2014. The freshman senator revealed last week has another baby girl on the way, due in April.

In addition to revealing that she’s pregnant with a second child, Duckworth also got candid about the miscarriage she recently experienced while on the campaign trail in her bid for her senate seat in 2016. “I’ve had multiple IVF cycles and a miscarriage trying to conceive again, so we’re very grateful,” Duckworth told The Chicago Sun-Times. 

When Cordes asked her about her chances of getting pregnant at 49, Duckworth responded that her fertility doctor “said it’s the new 40. He said 50—a 50-year-old mom is the new 40” adding that she has “the most wonderful fertility doctor and he helped me with Abigail and he said if you’re willing to go through the process with me step-by-step, it will seem like it takes a long time, but we want to do this right. And he was right, I just had to be patient and go through that. It’s kind of like being a mom, you have no control.”

But there are something that could possibly be within Duckworth’s control as she gets ready to be the first sitting U.S. senator to give birth while in office. Currently, children are prohibited from the Senate floor, and, much like her time as a new mother while a U.S. representative, she’ll have to figure out how to work around that current restriction.

“I’m going to take the time that I need with my daughter, but in the middle of that, there might be days when I have to, you know, we have a lot of close votes right now, that I need to come in and—and not let the people of Illinois down,” Duckworth told Face the Nation. “But then what do I do with my baby?”

Duckworth noted that while “the Senate is behind the times,” she has plans “to work on that.” As we previously wrote about Duckworth’s pregnancy, she has a rare opportunity to shine a very bright spotlight on issues that millions of working mothers face in the workplace, be it the mom and pop shop on Main Street, the corporate offices of Wall Street or the upper chamber of the American government.

What do you think about Duckworth’s historic pregnancy and what it could mean for working moms everywhere? Share your thoughts in the comments!

—Keiko Zoll



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