New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Gives Birth to Baby Girl

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand with her partner, Clarke Gayford, and their new baby girl, in a photo Ms. Ardern posted to social media on Thursday.
Office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand gave birth to her first child, a girl, on Thursday, making her the first world leader in almost three decades to give birth while in office.

Ms. Ardern, who announced the birth on social media, did not say whether a name had been chosen yet.

Ms. Ardern, 37, whose youth and surprise rise to power have made her a global celebrity, delivered her baby at the country’s largest public hospital, in Auckland. Once she entered the hospital on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters officially assumed the role of acting prime minister.

Welcome to our village wee one,” Ms. Ardern posted on Instagram. “Feeling very lucky to have a healthy baby girl that arrived at 4.45pm weighing 3.31kg (7.3lb),” she wrote. “Thank you so much for your best wishes and your kindness.”

Ms. Ardern will take six weeks of parental leave before returning to work, at which point her partner Clarke Gayford, the host of a television show about fishing, will become a stay-at-home parent.

Ms. Ardern announced her pregnancy in January, just three months after a stunning upset victory that propelled her to the top of the center-left Labour Party and into the prime minister’s office in October.

Her pregnancy announcement prompted a national conversation about working mothers, and an international reckoning about the rarity of pregnant women in the world’s corridors of power.

In one interview before her election, Ms. Ardern told a reporter it was “unacceptable” to ask women if motherhood would interfere with their ability to succeed in the workplace.

The last leader to deliver a baby while in office was the late Benazir Bhutto, then prime minister of Pakistan, who gave birth to her second child, a daughter, in 1990.

That daughter, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, congratulated Ms. Ardern on Twitter on Thursday.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Charlotte Graham-McLay