Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), 50, on Monday welcomed Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, her second child with her husband Brian Bowlsbey, her office said – becoming the first senator to give birth while in office.
Duckworth said in a statement that Maile’s name was blessed by the late Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka (D), who died last week.
“Bryan, Abigail and I couldn’t be happier to welcome little Maile Pearl as the newest addition to our family and we’re deeply honored that our good friend Senator Akaka was able to bless her name for us — his help in naming both of our daughters means he will always be with us,” she said in a statement.
“Pearl Bowlsbey Johnson was Bryan’s great Aunt, an Army Officer and a nurse who served during the Second World War,” she said. “He spent many summer months with her while growing up, we feel her presence still and are grateful for her service to our nation during the most challenging of times.”
Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) April 9, 2018: 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.
Duckworth said last month that she is working with party leadership to change Senate rules in order to allow her to bring her baby onto the Senate floor while the chamber is in session.
“Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue and one that affects all parents — men and women alike,” she said Monday. “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 my children only make me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere.”
Duckworth announced her pregnancy in January. Multiple other women have given birth while serving in Congress, but all were members of the House.
With the arrival of a baby girl named Maile, Duckworth becomes one of just 10 women to give birth while serving in Congress.
Duckworth had her first child in 2014, while she was a member of the House of Representatives. The senator lost both of her legs in the Iraq War.
Since the Illinois Democrat had her first daughter Abigail, Duckworth has authored measures to make sure major airports offer places for breastfeeding mothers to pump milk; the military creates a uniform policy for giving personnel time to bond with their newborn and adopted babies; and to make sure student parents have on-campus child care.
She also is a sponsor or co-sponsor of bills dealing with affordable child care, paid parental leave and other infant and maternal health issues.”
Duckworth was born in Thailand to an American father and Thai mother. She served in the Illinois Army National Guard for more than two decades and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel by the time of her 2014 retirement. She lost her legs in Iraq in 2004 when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting.