Is there anything New Zealand’s Prime Minister can’t do? Jacinda Ardern gave birth to her daughter, Neve Ardern Gayford, in June and was back to work running the country six weeks later. She became just the second world leader to give birth while in office (after Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan in 1990) and now she’s making history again by bringing the three-month-old to the United Nations General Assembly. Let the record show that the First Baby of New Zealand is also the first baby to ever attend the international meeting.
She also has her very own ID badge and United Nations onesie.
Because everyone on twitter’s been asking to see Neve’s UN id, staff here whipped one up.
I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change.
Great yarn for her 21st. pic.twitter.com/838BI96VYX
— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) September 24, 2018
Thank you for the concerned messages about how tired i look (fair call). Seems ‘someone’ is determined to maintain nzt. We’ve watched so much bad late night tv together that her mum came out at 2am and busted us watching cage fighting in our underpants. pic.twitter.com/sbzAmeyFbf
— Clarke Gayford (@NZClarke) September 25, 2018
Clarke Gayford is Ardern’s partner and Neve’s primary caregiver since her mom is also off running the country. The two made international headlines in January when they announced their planned parenting arrangement (because it’s unfortunately still shocking to many). Ardern was clear at the time (and has evidently followed through) that Gayford and the baby would be traveling with her whenever possible.
And that’s why Baby Neve gets to sit in on things like the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit.
Ardern also appeared (sans baby) on The Today Show while in New York City and chatted with Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie about parenting and politics.
“My appreciation of parents, mothers and solo mothers, particularity — parents who do it on their own — my appreciation has increased tenfold [since having Neve],” Ardern shared. “I already had that appreciation, but now it’s another level.” She also talked about how she feels even more passionate about the family-friendly policies she put in place before giving birth (such as 26 weeks of paid parental leave) and those she can still instigate in her role as prime minister and mother.
“Now I just have that extra strength of feeling that it’s the right thing to do,” Ardern added.
“The joy, though, has far surpassed my expectations.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 24, 2018
Ardern and Gayford have also been very open about understanding the privileged position they are in to have this care-giving set up and to be able to travel in the way they do. In light of that, the couple paid for Gayford’s travel expenses to New York out of pocket because he would be mostly engaged with taking care of the baby rather than attending official spousal events.
“There is no spousal programme for this, so we just made a judgment call that we would cover his travel for this trip,” Ardern told the New Zealand Herald, “He will be going to some things, but he’s primarily travelling to care for Neve.”