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New Zealand leader recovers with mac-n-cheese after birth

On Thursday she became just the second elected world leader to give birth while holding office.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is regaining her strength with macaroni and cheese and plans to spend at least one more night in an Auckland public hospital with her newborn girl.

Ms Ardern, 37, on Thursday became just the second elected world leader to give birth while holding office.

Tributes have come in from around the world, including from the Queen and another from Google, which posted an image in the shape of a heart on its New Zealand homepage along with the message “Congratulations!”

Ardern posted an Instagram message Friday thanking “our wonderful midwife Libby” who she said was not only incredible at her job but also made the mac and cheese.

Speaking to media from the town of Nelson, Ardern’s parents Ross and Laurell Ardern said the baby had been very active during the night and had kept their daughter awake. Laurell Ardern said she had been poring over photos.

“The baby was looking up at Jacinda and it looked like she was in awe of her and I couldn’t get over how alert it was just after being born,” she said.

Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford pose with their newborn daughter (Office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand via AP)

“So, I’m dying to see it and hold her and just see what’s she’s like.”

Laurell Ardern said she had had people come up to her saying that her daughter had been an inspiration, including one woman who worried a job was too hard for her, but then thought ‘Well, if Jacinda can do it, I will do it’.

Ardern has not yet made a public appearance or announced a name for the baby.

She had earlier said the quest to come up with a name had been going “terribly.”

Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford spent Thursday night with her at the hospital.

He plans to become the primary caregiver for the child when Ardern returns to work following a leave of six weeks.

Deputy prime minister Winston Peters has taken over as the acting prime minister.

The last leader to give birth while holding office was the late Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who in 1990 gave birth to a daughter, Bakhtawar.

Bakhtawar this week congratulated Ardern on social media, noting that Ardern’s baby was born on Benazir Bhutto’s birthday.

Bhutto, who would have turned 65, was assassinated in 2007.

Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark said the birth and the way the country had greeted it would be seen as inspirational by advocates for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“This is a sign of our maturity as a country and its acceptance that combining career and family is a choice which women are free to make,” Clark wrote in an email.

“Let’s also celebrate Clarke as a modern man who is happy to be the full time parent of a young child.”

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