Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth has already accomplished a lot in her life.
The Iraq War veteran is the first disabled woman to be elected to Congress, as well as the first Asian-American female from Illinois to win a seat in the legislative branch of the federal government. In 2014, she became just the tenth lawmaker to give birth while serving in Congress.
In a few months time, Duckworth can boast of another first — the first senator to have a baby while in office.
The 49-year-old Democrat announced that she was pregnant Tuesday, posting a tweet with a graphic of four ducks, along with the caption, “Wanted to share some exciting personal news…”
As noted by NPR, the tweet was in reference to the four members of Duckworth’s immediate family — herself, her husband Bryan Bowlsbey, daughter Abigail, and the new baby.
Duckworth, who won her Senate seat in 2016, has an inspiring life story that goes far beyond politics.
Though she was born in Thailand, Duckworth and her family moved to Hawaii when she was a teenager. Eventually, she moved to Illinois, where she sought to obtain a Ph.D. in political science at Northern Illinois University.
During that time, she joined the Illinois Army National Guard, and was sent to Iraq in 2004. As a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, she flew combat missions until disaster struck.
In the fall of 2004, her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. The resulting explosion robbed her of both legs, as well as partial function of her right arm, making her the first female double amputee in the war.
Duckworth received the Purple Heart Award and returned home to become an advocate for military veterans. In 2006, she ran for Congress and lost, but was successful when she tried again six years later.
The now-senator even got her Ph.D. in 2015, according to The Daily Caller.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Duckworth said that six months into her second pregnancy, she feels “great.”
But it hasn’t always been easy for her. Duckworth and her husband tried to have a baby for years before their first child were born, finally succeeding thanks to a type of in vitro fertilization.
When they attempted to have another baby, Duckworth suffered a miscarriage and had to go through multiple in vitro cycles before she was able to conceive again.
Following Duckworth’s announcement about her pregnancy, fellow lawmakers were quick to congratulate her.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, who also represents Illinois, said in a statement he is “proud to have her as my Illinois colleague and prouder still that she will make history by being the first U.S. Senator to have a baby while in office.”
“I couldn’t be happier for her,” he added.
Other lawmakers, from both sides of the aisle, expressed similar sentiments.
Later, Duckworth took to Twitter again to thank those who offered her “congratulations and support.”
“I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent, and my daughter Abigail has only made me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere,” she wrote.
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