Sask. MLA Aleana Young second in history to bring newborn into house
REGINA -- Newly elected MLA Aleana Young isn’t alone when she enters the floor of the assembly chamber. Young’s newborn daughter, Hara, joins her in the house.
“Everyone has been super supportive (and) incredibly helpful. From the Sargent at Arms and the Speaker allowing my husband to come in as a caregiver, to even some of the comments that I’ve gotten from members opposite about having a baby bring a little bit of light to what can be a sometimes hostile room,” said Young.
Young gave birth the day before she was elected for the first time.
“The timing of both coincided rather closely,” Young said. “It’s been wonderful on both fronts. It’s definitely been a busy month, but I am enjoying both thoroughly.”
Young is just the second MLA in Saskatchewan’s history to bring a newborn into the house, and the first to breastfeed in the house.
“Women do this every day, whether they are waitresses, whether they’re doctors or lawyers or politicians,” said Young. “Normalizing motherhood in a field like politics, where we haven’t seen it as represented, is something I feel really strongly about.”
MLA Nicole Sarauer became the first MLA to bring a newborn into the house last year.
“We’re supposed to be reflective of the province we serve. We’re far from that, but it’s one step forward to making this place and this job more accessible for people who give birth while in office,” said Saurer.
Sarauer’s pregnancy also prompted steps to make the Legislative building more baby friendly - like adding change tables in washrooms.
“It’s a difficult job, and there (are) a lot of sacrifices you have to make, but being able to start a family shouldn’t be one of them,” she said.
It’s a far cry from what Young said her mother dealt with, while working as a reporter in the 1980’s.
“When she started to show, she wasn’t allowed to stay on the news as a pregnant woman. So, she was transferred over to radio,” said Young.
Young said it’s a reminder of how far we’ve come to make the workplace, and politics, more inclusive, especially since Hara has been better behaved than some politicians can be at times.
“She did squawk mid-way through my swearing in,” said Young. “Although, I choose to believe it was a coo of support, rather than protest.”