Congratulations to Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford.

And congratulations to all young women holding down busy jobs, wondering when to start a family. This changes everything.

I start a new job on Tuesday. As a result, I've already decided I won't be having a baby this year. That conversation's been had with the husband. That's not an unusual story. It's just life for working women. We have to schedule in our babies like we schedule house renovations or big overseas trips.

Even in 2018, it's still tough deciding when to pull the pin on your career. And let's be honest, you often are pulling the pin on your career. Even if just temporarily. You wonder, have I done enough to be sure I'll get back into the industry when my baby's old enough? Am I inconveniencing my employer by dashing off to reproduce?


But Jacinda Ardern's announcement's changed the game. Or at least, it's starting the change. It forces us to reconsider whether a pregnancy is as much of a distraction from work as we seem to think it is. She's taking six weeks off the job. What's six weeks? That's one big trip to Europe in the middle of the year. The baby's occupying space in her torso, not short-circuiting her brain. She can still make decisions.

Sure, hoping for a collective change of attitudes to pregnant working women is a lot to pin on one woman's baby bump.

But this is not just any pregnancy. This is the hatching of a baby inside the most powerful woman in this country. Most women hope to schedule in a bit of sleep around the baby's breastfeeding. She'll hope to schedule in world leaders.

Within hours of Ardern's announcement, the water cooler talk had turned to the irresponsibility of her decision. How could she take a job as relentless as Prime Minister knowing she was pregnant? How little time will she have for the child? Who's going to pay to cart the child around the country with her?

Settle down. She's capable, young and smart. She's got a partner willing to stay at home and raise the baby. She earns more than enough money to get all the extra help she needs.

Women have had babies in far worse circumstances than a stable relationship where one parent earns more than $400,000 a year and the other is a stay-at-home parent.

This pregnancy is a huge gift to young women in this country. Even if she does nothing else for the rest of her time as Prime Minister, she's already a champion.

From Tuesday, Heather du Plessis-Allan will be hosting Wellington Mornings on Newstalk ZB.