Mothers-to-be on Birth of a New Kind of PM
In a Guardian article, New Zealand women with babies due this month discuss what it means to have a pregnant prime minister, and how they will balance parenthood, work and a severe lack of sleep.
In mid-June Jacinda Ardern will become the second serving prime minister in history to give birth while in office. Ardern will take six weeks’ leave after giving birth and when she returns to work her partner, Clarke Gayford, will become a stay-at-home-dad.
Jaime Faulkner, 36, lives in the rural town of Kawakawa in the Bay of Islands. Married for 12 years to Nathan, a dairy farmer, Faulkner is expecting her fourth child – a girl – on 1 June. Together, the couple has five children. Nathan will not take any leave.
“When I heard the news, I wondered if Jacinda and I were due around the same time. My initial response was ‘wow, I wonder if we went to the same party,’” Jaime says.
“I was so happy for her, she is a phenomenal woman and to do what she does – she runs the country. All I do is run a little tribe. I am excited for her to be a mum and to experience that. I mean it does my head in every now and then, and you wish you could just have that one day to just be you, but you’d never change what you have once you’ve got it,” she says.
“I have three jobs. I am a relief teacher at the local high school, waitress at a hotel and also a bartender at a local RSA [Returned and Services’ Association]. I work about 60-plus hours a week.
“[Our baby] will be delivered by two women I went to high school with, and I trust them completely. We will have some traditional Māori practices when baby is born.
“Her umbilical cord will be tied using plaited natural fibre from a flax bush. And her umbilical cord will be put with a piece of pounamu, a greenstone. And a karakia.
“Women have been doing it [juggling] for years and years and years. But they’ve never been in a position where they’ve been made an example of before.”
Original article by Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian, June 2, 2018.
Photo by Jaime and Nathan Faulkner.