Senator Tammy Duckworth Empowers Mothers, Amputees All Around the World
Senator Duckworth gave birth to her first daughter back at home in Chicago--this time around she decided to stay in DC and give birth just in case she had to vote.
The Democrat Senator from Illinois is not only making history but also pushing boundaries. Senator Tammy Duckworth, both a below-knee and above-knee amputee, is the first sitting senator to give birth while in office. Earlier in the month, the Senate rules were changed to allow newborns on the Senate floor, after Duckworth pushed for the rule change. A rare and welcome move by a deliberative body dominated by men. It wasn't too long ago that women of the Senate didn't have a proper place to go to the bathroom.
According to Senator Duckworth on Twitter, "I made sure she has a jacket so she doesn't violate the Senate floor dress code (which requires blazers)."
Thankfully, times are changing for the better. Democrat Sen. Tammy Duckworth is proof of that as she wheeled onto the Senate floor in Washington with her 10-day-old daughter, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, in her arms to cast her vote on GOP Rep. James Bridenstine to be the next NASA administrator. Duckworth voted against Bridenstine.
"It feels great," Duckworth told reporters as she entered the Capitol. "It is about time, huh?"
As she and her newborn baby came in, a group of senators came to congratulate her and meet her baby, who donned an aqua-blue jacket and a onesie with duckling print. Sen. Duckworth has her determination and colleagues to thank for making that day possible.
When Sen. Duckworth announced early this year that she and her husband are expecting their second baby, she inspired a new Senate rule that allows new parents to bring their children into the office until their first birthday. This way, mothers can continue breastfeeding, parents can spend more time with their newborn children and significantly cut down on childcare costs, all while the parents get their work done.
What's even more inspiring is that Sen. Duckworth is not only a working mother, but also an amputee. She’s a combat veteran who lost both legs and severely injured her right arm while serving in Iraq. On that fateful day in November 2004, Sen. Duckworth was in the pilot seat of a Black Hawk helicopter, which was brought down near the Tigris River by a rocket-propelled grenade. Military doctors would later amputate her right leg below her hip and her left leg below her knee.
But she did not let that event determine the rest of her life. With support from her family and friends, she made the shift from serving in the military to public service. Her courage to live life on her own terms led her to many momentous firsts: the first female amputee elected to Congress, the first Asian-American to represent Illinois in Washington, and the first senator to give birth while in office. Finding her life’s purpose in service of the American people, Sen. Duckworth shows no signs of stopping soon.
Her story is definitely empowering and inspiring to both mothers and amputees everywhere in the world. She has proven that it is possible to not give up one thing for another, that mothers can take care of their children while also getting the job done, and that amputees, like everyone, are capable of greatness when determined and passionate.
More power to you, Sen. Duckworth!