By Judy Kurtz - 05/11/12 03:49 PM EDT
“I was feeling a little odd and feeling a little funny, but I was determined to get my amendment passed and get through the day. So quietly at 9 p.m. I said, ‘Mr. Chairman, I really need to go home now.’ And he said, ‘Thank you, Kirsten, for staying.’ And so I leave, and that night, my water broke.”
Gillibrand laughed, “Thank God it did not break while I was there. That would’ve made my colleagues apoplectic. I don’t think they would’ve recovered from that.”
Her colleagues gave Gillibrand a standing ovation when the birth of her second son was announced on the House floor the next day.
The mom of two says her maternal instinct can sometimes come into play with her aides. When asked by host Amanda de Cadenet whether she’s able to hold onto her femininity in the male-dominated political world, Gillibrand replied, “I think strength is also being feminine. And I think being tough is also being feminine. … So I always feel in all my roles, whether I’m mothering my staff and making sure they’ve eaten breakfast, or whether I’m fighting for a bill on the Senate or House floor, those are all part of me being a woman.”
Gillibrand, who was elected to the Senate in 2009, says there’s a sense of camaraderie between women in Congress. She remembers attending a dinner during the first round of budget debates when another lawmaker caught her ear:
“[Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)] leans over to me at the dinner and says, ‘You know Kirsten, if you and I were negotiating the budget, it would’ve been done last week.’ And she’s exactly right, because we can reach agreement very easily.”