There are only 21 women serving in the U.S. Senate, and the total number of women who has ever served in the Senate — and this goes way back to 1789 — stands at just 51. Now, for the first time ever, one of them will be having a baby while in office. Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is expecting her second child, a girl, in the spring.
To further underline how rare her situation has been in politics, consider this: When Duckworth gave birth to her first child in 2014, she became just the 10th member of Congress to give birth while in office. Again, all the way back to 1789. The news about Senator Duckworth got the Morning Shift team thinking about the experience of being pregnant at work.
There’s been a growing conversation in this country about maternity and paternity leave, but less discussion about the nine months leading up to it. So, what type of workplace protections are in place in Illinois and elsewhere for women carrying a child? We take calls from listeners about what it was like for them to be pregnant at work.
Liz Morris, deputy director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings School of Law