Sen. Tammy Duckworth Makes History With The Birth Of Her Second Child

And now she wants to change the rules.

Congratulations are in order for Tammy Duckworth! The Illinois senator announced earlier today, April 9, that she had given birth to her second child — a daughter named Maile Pearl Bowlsbey. Little Maile's arrival marks the first time a sitting U.S. senator has given birth while in office. When her eldest daughter, Abigail, was born in 2014, Duckworth was a member of the House, representing a suburban Chicago congressional district. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Duckworth is one of only 10 women in the history of the nation to give birth while in Congress.

The senator, who turned 50 last month, confirmed Maile's arrival on Twitter, writing, "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." Akaka, the former senator from Hawaii who Duckworth referenced in her tweet, died last week at the age of 93.


In a subsequent tweet, Duckworth added that her youngest daughter's middle name comes from Pearl Bowlsbey Johnson, her husband's great aunt who was an Army officer and a nurse who served during WWII. Duckworth herself is an army vet who served in the Iraq war. In 2004, she lost her legs and shattered her right arm when her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by Iraqi insurgents.

In a previous interview with A Plus, Duckworth discussed the importance of veterans holding public office. "I've co-sponsored legislation with so many of my colleagues who are veterans that I really think it benefits our country to have more veterans in government," she explained. "At all levels, from school board up to the White House."

Duckworth concluded of Maile's arrival, "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."

Almost immediately after she announced Maile's birth, the congratulations from her congressional colleagues began pouring in. Take a look at some of the well wishes below:

When Duckworth announced she was pregnant with Maile in January, she used the opportunity to talk about how she hopes to help working families across the country. "Parenthood isn't just a women's issue, it's an economic issue and an issue that affects all parents — men and women alike," she shared at the time. "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 Abigail has only made me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere."

Thus far, Duckworth's work for families has included Head Start programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as introducing the FAMILY Act and Military Parental Leave Modernization Act for paid leave. She has also authored measures to make sure major airports offer places for breastfeeding mothers to pump milk, and is a sponsor or co-sponsor of bills dealing with affordable child care, and other infant and maternal health issues.

And though current Senate rules do not allow children to be brought to the floor of the chamber, Duckworth, who will be staying near Washington with her newborn so she can return to the Senate if there is a close vote, has voiced her desire to change this rule. In recent months, female politicians from other countries have brought their young children to work with them and even nursed while on the job.

Cover image via Gregory Reed /


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