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My first day back at work at Parliament—with my 10-week-old baby

Karina Gould, the democratic institutions minister was back at work, baby in tow. And everyone, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, wanted to meet Oliver.

My first day back at work at Parliament—with my 10-week-old baby

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds Oliver. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)

After Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould told her family she was pregnant, next up was the Prime Minister. “I gave him a call and asked him what was the protocol for having a baby in Cabinet,” she recalls. She says he replied, “That’s excellent, Karina, congratulations. We’re going to make this work.”

On Tuesday, Gould returned to work after 10 weeks of maternity leave, bringing her new, approximately 14-lb constituent, Oliver. She attended a Cabinet meeting and question period, and brought Oliver back to her office in the car seat she has attached in her ministerial car.

When she’s not in Ottawa, Gould lives in her riding of Burlington, Ont., with her husband, Alberto Gerones, whom she met in Mexico and who was previously a manager at a veterinary clinic. Gould says her current role doesn’t require as much travel as her previous position of parliamentary secretary to the minister of international development, but she is newly dividing her time between politics and the child with whom she has read two books so far (Look Look Outside and If I Were a Puppy). Gould has stacks of diapers on her office shelf and sets down a mat by her desk where Oliver can do some kicking, and as the first sitting Cabinet minister in Canada to give birth, on her first day back, this is how she makes it work.

My first day back at work at parliament—with my 10-week-old baby

Karina Gould, minister for democratic institutions, with three-month-old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones, arrives at Parliament Hill on May 22, 2018. 

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

Gould is greeted back to work with a hug from Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (while Gerones demonstrates astute parental reflexes with a quick shoulder dab). 

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

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Gould introduces Oliver to fellow cabinet ministers Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board, Ahmed Hussen, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, and Seamus O’Regan, minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence. 

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

The family fits in a quick group photo with Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development. 

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

Oliver seems unfazed during a brief media scrum.

Karina Gould and son Oliver during a media scrumPhotograph by Peter Bregg

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A brief family moment in the hallway. 

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

Oliver sits out a meeting (with his dad).

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

A quick check-in before a meeting. 

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

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Gould chats with staff.

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

A brief moment alone. 

Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, with three-month old son Oliver and husband Alberto Gerones on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018. Gould met with many members of Cabinet and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds Oliver.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds Karina Gould's son, OliverPhotograph by Peter Bregg

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Gould and Gerones visit with the Prime Minister in his office. 

Karina Gould, her husband and son Oliver meet with the Prime Minister in his officePhotograph by Peter Bregg

Gould and Trudeau head off to a meeting with Oliver in tow. 

Gould and Trudeau head off to a meeting with Oliver in towPhotograph by Peter Bregg

Oliver gets the thousand-yard stare during a television media scrum. 

Minister Gould in a media scrum with son OliverPhotograph by Peter Bregg

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Gould and Gerones share a quiet moment after Oliver falls asleep for a nap around 12:45 p.m. 

Gould and her husband share a quiet moment alone while Oliver sleepsPhotograph by Peter Bregg

Issues manager Dani Keenan meets with Gould, who is breastfeeding Oliver.

Dani Keenan, Issues Manager with Karina Gould, Minister for Democratic Institutions, breast feeding three-month old son on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, May 22, 2018Photograph by Peter Bregg

Oliver snoozes while Gould consults with a colleague. 

Oliver snoozes while Gould consults with a colleague. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

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Oliver gets a nap in before his debut in the House of Commons. 

Oliver gets a nap in before his debut in the House of Commons. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

Karina Gould and Oliver in the House of Commons.

Karina Gould and Oliver in the House of Commons. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

A shelf in her Parliament office equipped with baby toys, diapers etc. 

A shelf in Gould's Parliament office equipped with baby toys, diapers etc. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

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By 4pm it’s just Minister Gould and Oliver in her Parliament office.

By 4pm it’s just Minister Gould and Oliver in her Parliament office. (Photograph by Peter Bregg)Photograph by Peter Bregg

Read more: One year later: What it was like going back to work after mat leave 6 things no one tells moms about going back to work

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