Pete Buttigieg and husband Chasten only found out they were having twins 24 hours before birth
Pete and Chasten Buttigieg only found out they were having twins just 24 hours before their surrogate gave birth.
The US transport secretary, 39, opened up to The View on Wednesday (20 October) about what fatherhood means to him.
After congratulating him for becoming an official daddy, The View panelist Joy Behar asked how Pete felt being a parent.
“It’s such an incredible blessing,” he said, “we didn’t know it was going to be twins until 24 hours ahead of time.
“But they have brought so much joy into our lives,” Buttigieg added.
“We definitely had to double everything we had been hoping for and planning for but what an unbelievable gift.”
Buttigieg stressed that, undoubtedly, parenting is “work” as he used his experience of taking four weeks off to care for his newborn children as an opportunity to discuss the US’ threadbare parental leave.
Transportation @SecretaryPete Buttigieg responds to criticism of his paternity leave, telling #TheView “the negativity was unfortunate” but it has “helped us have a conversation about parental leave.”
“Every American ought to be able to get paid parental leave,” he adds. pic.twitter.com/ywa9XrKyqV
— The View (@TheView) October 20, 2021
“I have a whole new appreciation now that I’m living it for the work there is parenting,” he said.
“But it’s joyful work. Every time I look in their eyes, I realised that the most important thing that Chasten and I will do in our lives is be dads to these incredible, beautiful little children, our boy and our girl.”
After a year of trying to adopt, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor welcomed Penelope and Joseph in August.
But he was met with biting criticism from Fox News‘ Tucker Carlson, among other right-wing figures, for taking time off amid the spiraling supply-chain crisis.
“Paternity leave, they call it,” Carlson seethed, “trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went.”
Carlson was accused of homophobia and widely criticised. Of the incident, Buttigieg said: “Maybe some good comes out of [the negativity] too, because it’s helped us have a conversation about parental leave.
“Every American ought to be able to get paid parental leave.”
He stressed that the Biden administration is working to create more robust legislation surrounding parental leave, calling it a “basic” right.
“When parents take that parental leave,” he continued, “they need to be supported in making that choice.”
The White House, which sanctioned Buttigieg’s time off as a cabinet member, has emphatically backed him taking parental leave.
Press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted last week that he is a role model when it comes to showing “the importance of paid leave for new parents”.
Also proud to work in an Administration that is fighting to make paid leave a reality for everyone, and with people like @SecretaryPete who are role models on the importance of paid leave for new parents https://t.co/Zby6W6XoNo— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) October 15, 2021
Currently, Americans have no mandated federal parental leave. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act instead only provide citizens with just 12 weeks of unpaid time off.
Researchers have found time and time again that fathers especially feel pressured to work rather than take time off to tend to their newborns, despite parental leave actually helping them bond with their babies.
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