New Zealand prime minister pregnant with first child

  19 January 2018    Read: 595
New Zealand prime minister pregnant with first child
New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has announced she is pregnant with her first child.
Ardern, who was sworn in to office in October, said in a Facebook post that she and her partner, Clarke Gayford, are expecting in June.

“Clarke and I are really excited that in June our team will expand from two to three, and that we’ll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats,” the 37-year-old wrote.

“I’ll be prime minister and a mum, and Clarke will be ‘first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad. I think it’s fair to say that this will be a wee one that a village will raise, but we couldn’t be more excited.”

In 1990, Pakistan’s then prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, gave birth to a daughter, in what was said to be a first for an elected world leader.

The deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, will take over to allow Ardern to take six weeks of maternity leave after the baby is born. In a statement Ardern said she intended to be “fully contactable” during her period of maternity leave.

At the end of her leave she intended to resume “all prime ministerial duties”, she said.

The Green party leader, James Shaw, congratulated the prime minister and Gayford.

“That a woman can be the prime minister of New Zealand and choose to have a family while in office says a lot about the kind of country we are and that we can be – modern, progressive, inclusive, and equal,” Shaw said.

“For that reason I know this announcement will be significant for many women, in particular, and that all New Zealanders will share in the prime minister’s joy today.”

Ardern said her pregnancy had been confirmed on 13 October, meaning her child would have been conceived during one of the closest election campaigns New Zealand has seen, with Ardern finding out the news six days before being confirmed as prime minister.

The former New Zealand prime minister Jenny Shipley said it was “brilliant” news.

“It’s a wonderful choice of our outstanding young woman leader who is also going to choose to be a parent,” Shipley told RNZ. “It will bring special insight I suspect in her work and joy to her family.”

Ardern said she and her partner knew the sex of the baby but would be keeping the secret to themselves. She said she had experienced morning sickness, but was otherwise healthy, well and “eating lots of mince pies”.

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Gayford, a television presenter on a TV fishing show, would become a stay-at-home father, and accompany Ardern “as much as possible” with the new baby when she went back to work to allow the prime minister to spend time with her child.

“We’re going to make this work and New Zealand is going to help us raise our first child,” Ardern said.

She told her partner Gayford about the pregnancy using Facebook messenger while he was away filming. The news came as “complete surprise” to both, as they had been told they would need help conceiving a baby.

Ardern said before being elected Labour leader in August last year she and Gayford had started taking steps to have a family but those efforts stopped once she was promoted to leader.

Morning sickness had made keeping the secret “a little tricky”, but otherwise so far the pregnancy symptoms had not been “too bad” and she did not predict her government having to adapt too much to her baby – except for the cabinet cars installing baby seats.

Ardern noted that the Speaker, Trevor Mallard, had already encouraged a family-friendly environment in parliament, and had repeatedly been photographed holding MP’s babies while they were engaged in debate.

The original article was published in the Guardian.

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