New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken a break of sorts from leading her country. To give birth to a baby girl. She went into labour early on Thursday and delivered in the evening. Social media into a tizzy as soon as she went into labour, making #babywatch trend on Twitter. And here's part of the reason there is fuss over this - Ardern will become only the second woman to give birth as head of government of a country.
Ardern, 37, was driven to the Auckland City Hospital by her partner Clarke Gayford, a television presenter, in their own car at 5:50 am local time. Deputy PM Winston Peters has taken over as Acting PM. Ardern has said she intends to return to full duty six weeks after the delivery, and has said she would keep herself reachable throughout this period.
Only one modern head of government has given birth while in office before Ardern. And that was Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto, when she gave birth to her second child, Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari in 1990, in her first term as Pakistan Prime Minister.
Ardern had announced she was pregnant in January, about two months after she took oath as New Zealand PM. "And we thought 2017 was a big year! Clarke and I are really excited that in June our team will expand from two to three, and that we'll be joining the many parents out there who wear two hats. I'll be Prime Minister AND a mum, and Clarke will be "first man of fishing" and stay at home dad. I think it's fair to say that this will be a wee one that a village will raise, but we couldn't be more excited," she said in a post on Instagram.
Ardern has received congratulatory messages from world leaders, with many sending their best wishes after she went into labour. Social media has also been rife with posts discussing the phenomenon, and reflecting on the irony of Ardern going into labour (explanation: she is the leader of New Zealand's Labour Party).
Many women also shared their own labour and birthing experiences, trivia and funny relfections:
— Kara Rickard (@KaraRickard) June 21, 2018
— Glenda Kwek (@curious_scribe) June 20, 2018
#babywatch is like that Netflix series you feel compelled to watch until the end despite feeling unsure about the plot.
— hamish mcneilly (@southernscoop) June 21, 2018
Dear international friends, while it's true that NZ has gone collectively bonks over our PM's imminent baby, you must still continue to holiday here & bring your hard currency #babywatch
— Leah McFall (@longlostleah) June 21, 2018
With New Zealand's PM still in labour, here are some FUN BABY STATS: 13 babies have been born to lucky Mums at Auckland hospital so far today. Jacinda Ardern is not one of them… yet. @SkyNewsAust #babywatch
— James O'Doherty (@jmodoh) June 21, 2018
There is no information available yet on what New Zealand's First Baby is going to be named.