New York (Agencies): New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made headlines after she brought her baby to the United Nations general assembly on Monday.
Ardern, 38, is the first female world leader to attend the UN meeting with a newborn by her side. Before giving a speech Monday evening at the Nelson Mandela peace summit, Ardern was seen playing with her 3-month-old baby, Neve. Her partner, Clarke Gayford, a former television presenter turned stay-at-home dad, held Neve on his lap during her speech.
Ardern is New Zealand's 40th prime minister and the third woman to hold the post. During her pregnancy, she faced critics who questioned if she could run a country whilst being a new mom; or, if a prime minister should even qualify for maternity leave given the importance of the political role.
During a talk with NBC Today, Ardern spoke about how she manages the two roles: being a mom and head of state.
When asked it was harder to run a country or take a 3-month-old on a 17-hour flight, Ardern replied: "It felt at the time, on par. … but between me and Clarke, we managed it," she said on the show on Monday from New York, adding how she apologised to passengers in advance.
Further in the interview, Ardern said being a mother has "surpassed her expectations" and has given her a greater appreciation for parents, mothers, in particular, single mothers who have to do it on their own.
"I already had this appreciation but now, it’s another level," she said, adding how her government is focused on family-friendly policies such as raising maternity leave from 22 weeks to 26 weeks by 2020.
The last world leader to give birth while in office was former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1990.