New Zealand’s Prime Minister Makes History By Taking Maternity Leave

Let’s hear it for strong women! Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, gave birth to a baby girl on June 21.

She is only the second elected world leader to give birth while in office and the very first to take maternity leave while in office. Ardern took office in October 2017 and announced her pregnancy in January 2018.

The 37-year-old new mother broke the news of the birth on social media, taking to Instagram to post a photo of herself, her partner, Clarke Gayford, and their newborn daughter.

“Welcome to our village wee one,” she captioned the photo. She revealed the baby girl was healthy and weighed in at 7.3 pounds, before thanking the hospital staff who helped her deliver.

Ardern, who was elected leader of New Zealand’s Labour Party in September 2017 before being elected prime minster, plans on taking six weeks of maternity leave. She will still be consulted on important issues, such as national security, and will continue to read briefings while she is away. During her absence, Deputy Prime Minster Winston Peters will cover the day-to-day government operations.

jacinda arden photo
Getty Images | WPA Pool

“We’ll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats,” Ardern wrote on Instagram when she announced her pregnancy. “I’ll be Prime Minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be ‘first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad.”

Gayford is a radio and TV broadcaster, and the host of the fishing documentary show, “Fish of the Day.” The couple started dating not long after first meeting in 2012.

jacinda arden photo
Getty Images | Hannah Peters

In 1990, the late Benazir Bhutto became the first elected world leader to give birth while in office, when she was the prime minister of Pakistan. Bhutto, however, didn’t take maternity leave, which makes Ardern the first in that regard. Ardern’s baby was actually born on what would have been Bhutto’s birthday.

Bhutto’s daughter, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, congratulated the couple on Twitter.

No word yet on what they’ll name the baby, but we’re delighted for the couple and can’t wait to see more photos!