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Tammy Duckworth delivers baby girl, first senator to give birth while in office

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)  after a vote at the Capitol in February. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) gave birth Monday to a baby girl, the first time a sitting senator has delivered a child and one of just 10 female lawmakers to bear a child while serving in Congress.

Duckworth, 50, and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, named their daughter Maile Pearl Bowlsbey after Bowlsbey’s great aunt. Pearl Bowlseby Johnson was an Army nurse during World War II. Duckworth is a double amputee from her service in the Iraq War as an Army helicopter pilot, getting shot down in 2006. The senator said that she and her husband consulted with former senator Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii, who died last week, about the choice of name, just as they did with the birth of their first daughter, Abigail, four years ago.

Duckworth spent part of her childhood in Hawaii, and after her military service she became active in veterans issues at the state and federal level. Akaka served as chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee.

“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 Sen. Akaka was able to bless her name for us — his help in naming both of our daughters means he will always be with us,” Duckworth said in a statement Monday.

She said that being a parent of small children while serving in Congress gives her a perspective that is often missing in debates on federal policy about families and child care. “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. “As tough as juggling the demands of motherhood and being a senator can be, I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent.”