World News

New Zealand's PM Jacinda Ardern announces birth plans

Posted June 5, 2018 2:39 a.m. EDT

— New Zealand's heavily pregnant leader will continue to work until the moment she goes into labor, according to plans released by her office.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plans to travel up until her due date of June 17, and wants to give birth to her first child at Auckland Hospital, according to reports in New Zealand media, though contingency plans have been made if she's not in the city at the time.

Excitement has been building in New Zealand ahead of the political birth, which Ardern announced in January on her Instagram account with an image of two fishing hooks. Her husband, Clark Gayford, presents a television documentary on fishing.

The New Zealand Prime Minister won't be the first leader to give birth. In 1990, Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto became the first serving elected leader to have a child while in office.

Ardern and Gayford will announce the birth of their child before an official announcement is released by the Prime Minister's office, CNN affiliate Radio NZ reports. Control of the country will be handed to Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters while she's on parental leave.

According to the statement outlining Ardern's birth plans, the couple will "share with the public some moments with their new baby," when they return to the Prime Minister's residence from Auckland Hospital, but have largely requested privacy for the first six weeks of the baby's life.

Ardern will then return to her duties as Prime Minister while Gayford stays home to raise the child full-time.

'Not the first woman to multitask'

After announcing the pregnancy in January, Ardern dismissed suggestions that running the country while juggling life with a newborn would be too much to handle.

"I am not the first woman to multitask," she told reporters at the time.

"I'm not the first woman to work and have a baby. I know these are special circumstances but there will be many women who will have done this before I have, and I'm about to sympathize with those women a lot, as I sympathized with those women who suffer morning sickness."

"We're excited and we know that together we're going to make this work and New Zealand is going to help us raise our first child."

Sexist questioning

Ardern, the world's youngest serving female leader, faced what she termed "unacceptable" questions for about her plans for children shortly after becoming leader of her political party last August.

Just hours into her new role Ardern was asked on current affairs show "The Project" about potentially juggling motherhood with her professional responsibilities.

While she gamely answered the question, she later took a harder line.

"I elected to talk about it, it was my choice ... but for other women it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say a woman should have to answer that question in the workplace," she said at the time.

"It is a woman's decision about when they choose to have children. It should not predetermine whether they should have a job or be given job opportunities."