Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand prime minister, has announced on Friday, January 19, 2018, she is expecting her first child with partner Clarke Gayford.
“I’ll be Prime Minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be ‘the first man of fishing’ and stay at home dad,” Ardern wrote on Instagram, adding that her baby is expected in June.
Ardern said she informed Gayford on Facebook he was going to be a dad while she was stuck in the middle of coalition talks October.
On Thursday, Ardern let Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters in on the secret and asked him to take on the role of acting prime minister for a period of six weeks after the baby is born.
The 37-year-old, who took over the helm of the party just three months before the September 23 election, had never made a secret of her desire to be a mother.
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. 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.
A reporter asked Ardern “the baby question” mere hours after she took the party’s top job. Ardern said she was not offended because she had talked about the issue in public before, but insisted that it was “totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace.”
“I’ve been really open about that dilemma because I think probably lots of women face it,” she said back then.
“For me, my position is no different to the woman who works three jobs, or who might be in a position where they are juggling lots of responsibilities.”
Ardern is set to become the second world leader to give birth while in office after former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto welcomed a daughter in 1990.
While the couple had always been upfront that they wanted to be parents, Ardern revealed on Friday they had been told that they would need help for that to happen.
“That’s made this news a fantastic surprise,” she added.
“I’m not the first woman to multi-task,” she said. “But I’m excited…we are going to make this work and New Zealand is going to help us raise our first child.”
Ardern said she learned about her pregnancy less than two weeks before being sworn in as prime minister on October 26, 2017, but the couple kept it to themselves as many couples do in pregnancy’s early stages.
“From a personal perspective, I am so looking forward to my new role as a parent. But I am equally focused on my job and responsibilities as a prime minister,” she said.