Washington, DC, mayor reveals she's adopted a baby: 'People start their families in many different ways'
Written by Brittany Martinez on May 22, 2018
(WASHINGTON) — The mayor of Washington, D.C., is a 45-year-old single woman who has worked her way to the very top of the city’s government, becoming the youngest person and only the second woman to be mayor.
Mayor Muriel Bowser is now also breaking new ground in political office as a single mom with the announcement she has adopted a baby.
“As any new mother would feel — I am thrilled, nervous and looking forward to each and every stage,” Bowser said in a statement Monday . “I will be taking the next week or so to enjoy these precious moments with my new baby. I am so grateful to be able to start my family in this wonderful way.”
Bowser, who has served as mayor since 2015, revealed that she started the adoption process last year.
“I decided to start the adoption journey, just knowing that it was a great time in my life and I had so much to share with a baby,” she told WUSA9, adding that the baby came to her sooner than expected.
“What I’ve learned from Washingtonians all over our city, is that people start their families in many different ways,” Bowser said. “And I have been encouraged by many people to make sure that not only do I pour my heart and soul into being mayor and to governing a great city, but also to think about a family.”
She did not share details about her plans for childcare once she returns to work.
The average cost of childcare in Washington, D.C., is $1,886 per month, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Bowser announced in April that she would include $12.5 million in her 2019 budget toward “making early child care more affordable for all District residents” through a refundable tax credit and increased funding to local child care providers.
During Bowser’s term as mayor, she has also launched a website, MyChildCareDC.org, that allows parents to search and compare child care options and last year started an initiative to provide more resources for maternal and child health, according to her office.
“It’s very, very real and I feel grateful that I have a wonderful family, a wonderful support team to support me in this adoption journey,” Bowser told WUSA9.
Bowser is not the first women in public service to welcome a child while in power — Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., recently did it age the age of 50 — but she does stand out for doing it on her own.
In the United States, 23 percent of children only live with their mother, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Bowser said she believes her new role will not take away from her job, but add to it.
“It certainly gives me another point of view,” she told WUSA9. “I have, we have, been very focused on families in this administration making sure that we do everything for schools and child care and great play spaces and safe neighborhoods.”
Bowser received quick congratulations on Twitter from a fellow D.C. legislator who also broke new ground as a mom.
“Zoe can’t wait to meet her new friend,” wrote Council member Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1).
Nadeau gave birth to her daughter, Zoe, while in office last year and, in December, pumped during a public hearing on housing.
After Duckworth, an Iraq veteran and double leg amputee, gave birth to her daughter in April, the U.S. Senate passed a rule change that will allow her, and any woman of the Senate, to bring babies onto the floor and breastfeed them as needed.
In the statehouse in Iowa, Rep. Megan Jones made headlines this year when she returned to work in the State Capitol a mere 13 days after giving birth to her daughter, Alma.
Bowser’s adoption announcement and the progress made by politicians who are also moms comes amid a so-called “pink wave” of women running for office across the U.S.
Some of those female candidates have included themselves breastfeeding in their campaign ads — a move they say underscores the dynamic role of mothers in the political sphere.
“It was no accident. It’s my life. It’s the reality of working moms — taking care of family, juggling work and getting the job done,” Krish Vignarajah, a Maryland gubernatorial candidate, told ABC News. “I hope the ad drives a conversation about the lack of representation in elected office in Maryland and the policy consequences of that lack of diversity.”
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