WASHINGTON - Last month, Brianne Nadeau became the first-ever female D.C. council member to give birth while in office. On Thursday, her 3-week-old daughter Zoe made her debut at the Wilson Building as she joined her mother at work.
Nadeau is in a unique situation and making it work. In fact, she really hasn't stopped working since giving birth.
“Even when I was in labor with her, I was on my phone responding to constituents’ emails just to distract myself because there is always something going on that could use a little help,” said Nadeau.
Little Zoe arrived into this world on Sept. 13 two weeks early – happy and healthy.
The council had scheduled votes on a number of Nadeau's bills five days later thinking they could get it all in before the baby was born. But that wasn't meant to be, so the brand new mom showed up five days after giving birth to see her legislation through.
On Thursday, Zoe tagged along with mom for important hearings and votes for the first time, and this will be the plan for the next few months until Nadeau feels her daughter will be ready for outside child care.
D.C.'s new maternity leave law allows for new mothers to take 12 weeks off work, something Nadeau had pushed for along with paid family leave. However, the maternity leave does not apply to the elected officials who work in the District.
So she brought in a crib, a stroller and other baby accessories to her office. Nadeau said bringing her precious little bundle along is a privilege, and the entire process is helping her relate more to those she serves.
“When I first got elected, I was a single girl living in the 14th Street corridor, and now I am a married lady with a baby and a house,” said Nadeau. “So what means is I have had all of these different experiences that help me better relate to what my constituents are going through and I think that is only going to make me a better council member.”
Her fellow council members said they are delighted to have baby Zoe around.
"Her performance is impressive as is the performance of her baby," said Councilmember Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7). "No crying."
Nadeau said her friends along with her husband are coming to City Hall to help watch over Zoe, so there are not any government employees being used to help care for the infant.
“I hope she is proud that her mom has been working so hard for the people in need in Ward 1,” said Nadeau. “I know that it is a big sacrifice, but that it is worth it, and being passionate about what you do is a really important thing to share with your children.”