Tammy Duckworth is about to make history again. The 49-year-old U.S. senator from Illinois announced this week that she’s pregnant. This means that she could soon become the first senator to give birth while in office.
Duckworth, who was sworn into the Senate this month after serving for four years in the House of Representatives, had already made history in 2012 as the first disabled woman ever elected to Congress. She lost both of her legs in 2004 while serving in the Iraq War.
This child will be Duckworth’s second. She’s already has a 2-year-old daughter named Abigail. When she gave birth to Abigail in November 2014, she became the 10th U.S. representative to give birth while in office. As for her setting a milestone with the birth of her second child, Duckworth doesn’t see the occasion as anything different than what working moms do everyday.
Tuesday on Twitter, Duckworth said, “I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent, and my daughter Abigail has only made me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere.”
Thank you for the outpouring of congratulations and support. I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent, and my daughter Abigail has only made me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) January 24, 2018
The retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel is 6 months pregnant. Her journey to motherhood has not been an easy one. She and her husband Bryan tried numerous fertilization methods over the years until she was finally able to become pregnant. Their daughter Abigail was conceived via in vitro fertilization.
“Northwestern Medicine Fertility strikes again,” Duckworth told the Chicago Tribune of her latest pregnancy.
Duckworth then had to wait 18 months after giving birth to Abigail by cesarean section before she was allowed to try getting pregnant again. She told the Chicago Sun-Times that she underwent numerous IVF cycles and that she experienced a miscarriage. However, she is now “feeling great” and looking forward to becoming a mom to another little one.
Duckworth says that becoming a mother has helped inspire her to be a better lawmaker and public servant, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “I have a better understanding in a way I didn’t have,” and that she now understands firsthand just how difficult it can be to be a working mother, saying “I was the one who was trying to pump breast milk in airports.”
Good thing the U.S. Capitol has several lactation rooms set up for Duckworth and other working moms. Congratulations, senator!