Sen. Tammy Duckworth Recalls Thinking She Had 'No Right Having a Baby at 49 Years Old' While Pregnant

During an episode of PEOPLE's podcast Me Becoming Mom, Sen. Tammy Duckworth reveals the doubts she had before welcoming her second baby

Seth Perlman/AP
Seth Perlman/AP.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth is opening up about her struggles with "doing enough" during pregnancy.

The 53-year-old Illinois senator appears on a new episode of PEOPLE's podcast Me Becoming Mom, where she sits down for a candid conversation about motherhood and shares the emotional rollercoaster she experienced while pregnant with her second baby.

Duckworth is mom to daughters Abigail, 7, and Maile Pearl, 3, whom she shares with husband Bryan Bowlsbey.

The senator — who revealed that she suffered a miscarriage trying to conceive her second child — tells host Zoë Ruderman, Head of Digital at PEOPLE, that she often questioned if she "had the right" to have another baby during her pregnancy with Maile.

"It was scary. I was like, 'Am I doing enough? Am I not doing enough? Should I exercise? Should I not exercise?' " she explains. "I did pilates with Abigail all the way until … well into my third trimester before I finally stopped. And that really helped with my recovery."

Subscribe to our new 12-episode weekly podcast, Me Becoming Mom, to hear celebrity moms open up exclusively to PEOPLE about their extraordinary roads to motherhood.

But by working out during her pregnancy with Maile, Duckworth says she worried if she was "stressing the baby," adding that she was "just really, really scared the whole time on pins and needles."

"Am I doing right by this child? Maybe I have no right having a baby at 49 years old," she says. "Who am I to jeopardize this child out of my own selfishness, as an older woman wanting to have a child?"

"You go through all of that, right? Am I hurting this child because my body can't give her everything that she needs?" the senator continues. "And my doctors were like, 'No, you're fine. You're doing everything right. You're healthy. Your baby's healthy.' "

Tammy Duckworth
Sen. Tammy Duckworth with newborn Maile in 2018. Somodevilla/Getty Images

After welcoming her second daughter, Duckworth made history as the nation's first senator to have a baby while serving in the chamber.

The 12-episode weekly Me Becoming Mom podcast explores the various roads to motherhood through different interviews with both celebrity guests and experts in the field. Topics on the show include IVF, adoption, surrogacy, single parenthood, same-sex couples, home births, pregnancy loss, unexpected and surprising birth stories, among other subjects.

Guests on the show include Alyssa Milano, Hoda Kotb, Jillian Michaels, Shawn Johnson East and more.

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