Door-knocking can be one of the most gruelling parts of a political campaign — walking several kilometres a day, talking to people on the issues and trying to bring them to your side.
But those tasks can be even tougher when you’re approaching a full-term pregnancy.
Aleana Young, the NDP’s candidate for the Regina University riding in the upcoming provincial election, said she never thought when she decided to run for office that she’d be doing it as she neared her due date — it’s 10 days after election day.
Young said it was a long time coming and a “happy surprise.”
She said she was a little nervous about how it would be received while campaigning, but only at first.
“Women manage pregnancy and work all of the time,” she said. “There are lawyers going to court who are pregnant. There are waitresses on their feet 10 hours a day who are pregnant.”
Young said with a laugh that, for her, it’s fairly straightforward to “waddle” from house to house.
There’s no morning sickness or swollen feet to contend with for Young on the campaign trail. She said she has been healthy and felt good the whole time she has been pregnant.
“That’s probably obnoxious; I know some of my girlfriends were just sick for nine months straight,” Young said. “For me, it has been really pleasant, I’ve felt quite good and, in the context of an election which can be really stressful, it’s nice to have something else to think about.”
Young said the only thing she has found frustrating about campaigning while pregnant are her maternity pants.
“Maternity pants are terrible. They have no waistband, they don’t stay up and having to hitch up your trousers between doors is not ideal,” Young said with a bit of humour in her voice. “On the other hand, canvassing every day in leggings doesn’t feel the most professional, but we’re making it work.”
People’s reactions to her have been wonderful so far, said Young. She said some people have offered her some respite when she knocks on their doors, and she has even had people offering her cribs and things for the baby.
“I had a former Sask. Party voter drop off baby books for me. It has been incredibly generous. I think it speaks to the kindness of people in Saskatchewan and the fact that having a family is something that so many people can relate to that it has been a really wonderful way for me to engage with people as well,” said Young.
Young said she has had lots of moms coming out to help with the campaign. She, like many people, have noticed there seem to be more pregnant people around lately.
“It has been a really wonderful rallying point, I think, for the campaign and a bonding opportunity as well for a lot of our staff and volunteers,” said Young.
If Young wins, there will be some new things already in place in the legislature. It’s a push spearheaded by the NDP’s Nicole Sarauer in the last four years, including a rule change which allows a new mother to bring her baby into the house.
Young said it’s “about time” for those changes. She said dozens of women have had babies while working as an MLA but praised Sarauer for making the changes.
Young knows it would be quite a challenge to take care of a newborn and start work as an MLA, but she said she’s a small-business owner and wasn’t expecting a “normal” maternity leave.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity, while also recognizing I will probably be needing a good cup of coffee or two a day,” said Young.
Young said being pregnant has actually made her all the more motivated to get out and campaign so that, hopefully, when the baby comes, their mother will be an MLA.