New Zealand prime minister becomes 2nd world leader to give birth in office
LONDON — There was no press gaggle or hospital door wave. Just a single photo posted on Instagram: “Welcome to our village, wee one,” wrote Prime Minister and new mom.
She is only the second world leader in modern history to give birth while in office — the first was Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto.
Ardern was driven in her own car to Auckland City Hospital and delivered her child in the public wing, the end to a pregnancy that was extraordinary just for how ordinary it was. It’s a point underscored in January when she and her partner made the announcement to media camped on their doorstep.
“I am not the first woman to multitask,” Ardern said. “I am not the first woman to work and have a baby.”
At the time, people questioned whether the 37-year-old leader could hold down two demanding jobs.
“The one thing I’m really keen to re-emphasize is that I am no superwoman and nor should any woman be expected to be a superwoman,” Ardern said. “We achieve what we achieve through grit, determination and help.”
Her partner will be a stay-at-home dad when she returns from maternity leave in six weeks. While she’s away, her job will be handled by the deputy prime minister.
Before she became prime minister, or pregnant, Ardern was asked if employers were right to ask women if they were planning to have a child, and it sparked a national debate.
On New Zealand’s “The AM Show,” Ardern was asked if it was an inappropriate question.
“It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace,” she said.
Ardern has become a national folk hero, a prime minister, fighting for another title: mom.
“When you’re only the second person in the world to have a baby in office, of course it’s going to be of interest,” Ardern said. “I don’t mind that at all. What I hope is that someday in the future it won’t be interesting anymore.”
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