Tammy Duckworth becomes first woman to give birth while serving in U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth gave birth to a girl Monday, becoming the first sitting senator to have a baby while in office.

Maile Pearl Bowlsbey — Duckworth’s second daughter — was named in part for the great-aunt of Duckworth’s husband, Bryan Bowlsbey.

The couple’s first daughter, Abigail, was born in 2014, when Duckworth was U.S. Rep. Duckworth and one of only 10 women since our nation’s founding who had given birth while serving in Congress — the others were all also in the House of Representatives.

“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,” Duckworth said in a news release, referring to former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who died Friday at age 93.

Pearl Bowlsbey Johnson was Bryan’s great Aunt, an Army Officer and a nurse who served during the Second World War. 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.

“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 has been pushing for rule changes in the Senate so she can continue to vote and serve more easily while nursing. She plans to take time off to bond with her daughter but is available to vote, if needed, her spokesman Ben Gash Garmisa said.

“Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue and one that affects all parents — men and women alike,” Duckworth said. “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.”

kjanssen@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @kimjnews

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