The September council election ushered in some big changes for Port Stephens, with the election of 30-year-old mayor Ryan Palmer and even a 23-year-old, in West Ward councillor Giacomo Arnott.
True to this new, younger make up for Port Stephens Council, Cr Jaimie Abbott announced on Thursday that she’s about to become a mum.
In a possible first for Port Stephens Council the east ward woman will deliver her baby while actively representing the community.
In doing so she will join council’s only other female representative, Cr Sarah Smith, as a working mum juggling family and political life – quite a contrast to the last term of council where Sally Dover stood alone, albeit a matriarch.
How does a young, politically active mum-to-be announce the news? On social media, naturally.
“We have some news…” Cr Abbott posted to her Facebook account, holding her baby bump, with partner Matt Bailey and their two labradors.
“Soon we will be a party of five! We’re pregnant!”
One of the few people outside her immediate network to know was the mayor. Cr Palmer of course, who succeeded then 79-year-old Bruce MacKenzie.
“Ryan actually picked up the fact I was pregnant, being a young dad himself,” Cr Abbott told the Examiner.
“I enjoy a glass of wine and we were in Sydney for training, when he noticed I turned down a drink. That’s when I confided that I was pregnant.”
Cr Abbott will take maternity leave from her full time work with the Department of Defence. But taking a leaf out of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, who announced she would give birth in June, Cr Abbott isn’t quitting.
“It was about the time I found out I was pregnant,” Cr Abbott said.
“It was really exciting to hear her announcement, it was so inspiring. She’s prime minister with a stay-at-home dad, which is what my Matt is going to do.”
Mr Bailey works from home as a financial planner.
“Times have changed, so while I’m a career woman that doesn’t mean I can’t be a mum,” Cr Abbott said.
“I hope that I’m setting a positive example for other women, like Jacinda has.”
Cr Abbott anticipates she will only miss one council meeting when the baby arrives, October 31 being the due date.