New Zealand’s newly elected prime minister announced Friday she is expecting her first child.
Jacinda Ardern, 37, who took office in October, will be the second elected world leader to give birth in office in recent world history.
“I am not the first woman to multitask,” she told reporters. “I’m not the first woman to work and have a baby. I know these are special circumstances, but there are many women who will have done this well before I have.”
Ardern said she and her partner, Clarke Gayford, are expecting their first child in June.
In October she became New Zealand’s youngest prime minister since 1856. Soon after, speculation swirled around whether she would start a family after taking over the leadership of her then-opposition Labour Party last year.
On Friday, Ardern took to Twitter to make the announcement, adding that Gayford would become a stay-at-home dad.
“We thought 2017 was a big year! This year we’ll join the many parents who wear two hats. I’ll be PM & a mum while Clarke will be ‘first man of fishing’ & stay at home dad,” she tweeted.
In an additional statement, Ardern said she had asked Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters on Thursday to act as prime minister for six weeks after the birth.
“I fully intend to be contactable and available throughout the six-week period when needed,” she added. “I will make arrangements for appropriate ministers to act in my other portfolios over the six weeks I am away from Parliament.”
After the six weeks, she will resume her prime ministerial duties.
"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," she said.
"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," she added.
The couple discovered they were expecting a child on Oct. 13 – two weeks before Ardern was sworn in as national leader.
Within a day of her becoming Labour Party leader last year, Ardern was asked twice by television hosts about her plans for children. One host, Mark Richardson, questioned whether it was acceptable for the country’s leader to take maternity leave while in office, and said most employers would want to know the maternity plans of their workers.
Ardern, who has previously talked about the difficulties of juggling political life while also wanting to start a family, said she was happy to answer such questions, but others shouldn't feel compelled.
"For other women, it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace," she responded, while pointing her finger at Richardson. "That is unacceptable."
Ardern will be one of the few elected leaders to hold office while pregnant. The most recent example was Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, who gave birth in 1990 while she was prime minister.
The Associated Press contributed on this report.