Tammy Duckworth Makes History As The First Sitting U.S. Senator To Give Birth

This is not Duckworth’s first historic achievement.

Photo by AFGE/Flickr.

Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois welcomed her second child, Maile Pearl, into the world on Monday, April 9. The birth makes Duckworth the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office. Her first daughter, Abigail, was born in 2014 while she was a member of the House of Representatives.

Duckworth also made history in 2012 when she became the first disabled woman elected to U.S. Congress. Duckworth lost both legs in 2004 after a helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was hit in a grenade attack.

The baby is named after Duckworth’s husband Bryan Bowlsbey’s great aunt Pearl who served in World War II. The name was suggested by former Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, who passed away on Friday, April 6, at the age of 93.


Duckworth says the experience of being a mother has had a big impact on how she governs.

“It does shape the way I represent the people of Illinois, and the nation,” she told The Chicago Tribune. “I think back to when I was deployed to Iraq and what it was like for people to leave their children and babies. I know women who left 8-week-old infants. This trip to Japan and Korea was seven days, and it’s the longest I’ve been away from my daughter, and it was horrible.”