New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is pregnant with her first child. Ardern took to Facebook on Friday morning to share the happy news with voters, saying “I’ll be Prime Minister AND a mum”.
“And we thought 2017 was a big year! 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,” she 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. I know there will be lots of questions, and we’ll answer all of them (I can assure you we have a plan all ready to go!) But for now, bring on 2018.”
Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford knew about the pregnancy in October last year, but decided to wait until they were further along to announce the news. Their baby is due in June.
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The couple said they were thrilled with the news, having thought they may not be able to conceive naturally.
“We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting,” she said in a statement.
Ardern said she will take six weeks leave after her baby is born and resume her prime ministerial duties immediately after.
“I fully intend to be contactable and available throughout the six week period when needed. At the end of my leave I will resume all Prime Ministerial duties.”
The couple announced Gayford will be a stay-at-home dad and the child’s “primary caregiver”.
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“Clarke and I are privileged to be in the position where Clarke can stay home to be our primary caregiver. Knowing that so many parents juggle the care of their new babies, we consider ourselves to be very lucky,” Ardern said. “We consider ourselves lucky for another reason. Clarke and I have always been clear we wanted to be parents but had been told we would need help for that to happen. That’s made this news a fantastic surprise.
Ardern is New Zealand’s third female prime minister and faced tough questions about her reasons for not having children prior to her 2017 election. The New Zealand Labour party fired up at reporters who asked Arden about how she would potentially juggle motherhood and the demanding role of PM if she was elected, with accusations of sexism and claims male candidates would never be asked the same question.
Response to the pregnancy has been huge on social media with messages of congratulations flooding in. “Congratulations! Can’t help but think back to my days at uni in the 80s, and women’s rights. What a wonderful role model for all young men and women,” one woman wrote.
“Congrats! Look forward to seeing you both demonstrate that having a family and being constructive are not incongruous,” added another.
What are your thoughts? How will this play out?