Duckworth Becomes the First Sitting Senator to Give Birth

Sen. Tammy Duckworth / Getty Images

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D., Ill.) became the first U.S. Senator to give birth while in office, delivering her second daughter Monday.

Duckworth issued a statement announcing the birth of Maile Pearl Bowlsbey and thanking loved ones for their support, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Duckworth said her daughter is named after her husband Bryan Bowlsbey’s great aunt, who served in World War II as an Army officer and a nurse.

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

Duckworth also thanked her "wonderful medical teams" for helping her and her husband have their second child.

"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," she said.

She expressed her and her family’s thanks to the former Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka, who died Friday after leaving the Senate in 2013.

"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," she said.

Duckworth, who turned 50 last month, retired as an Army lieutenant colonel in 2014. She served as a helicopter pilot in Iraq, where she lost both her legs when her UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Duckworth has worked on legislation to give women places to breastfeed in airports and to help parents who are in the armed forces spend time with their newborn children, and she said in her statement that she wants to continue focusing on parenthood as an economic issue.

"Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s an economic issue and one that affects all parents—men and women alike," she said in the statement. "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."