WP MP Lee Li Lian pregnant with first child, due to give birth in July to girl

New Punggol-East Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Li Lian at the rooftop of 156A Rivervale Crescent on Feb 28, 2013. Ms Lee is pregnant and expecting a baby girl - her first child - later this year. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TED CHEN
New Punggol-East Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Li Lian at the rooftop of 156A Rivervale Crescent on Feb 28, 2013. Ms Lee is pregnant and expecting a baby girl - her first child - later this year. -- ST FILE PHOTO: TED CHEN

Punggol East MP Lee Li Lian's long-time wish to start a family has come true.

Ms Lee, 35, is pregnant and expecting a baby girl - her first child - later this year.

The Workers' Party MP said she and her husband, telecommunications consultant Jacky Koh, had wanted a child before she turns 35.

"We were one year late but I guess there is a reason why things happen," she said in a Facebook post on Monday night.

Her daughter will be born in July in the Chinese year of the horse - just like Ms Lee.

Her plans to start a family had been delayed by the 2011 General Election and the Punggol East by-election in January last year. Ms Lee won the by-election with 54.5 per cent of the vote.

During the campaign, she spoke up for the challenges working mothers face and the need for policies to shape a better balance between work and family life - issues she would later go on to raise in Parliament.

In particular, Ms Lee has said she hopes to change the perception that "women cannot have families as well as their careers".

"That's the No. 1 stigma we should get rid of. Mothers can still perform at work and be just as productive," she said in a previous interview with The Straits Times.

Ms Lee told The Straits Times that she intends to continue working to as close to her delivery date as possible, unless her doctor advises otherwise.

In an e-mail, she also indicated that she would be supported by her fellow WP MPs as well as the party members and volunteers in her Punggol East grassroots network.

"We are making the necessary arrangements to ensure that the residents are in good hands during my confinement," she said.

Asked if it is even more challenging for women in politics to be mothers, she said: "Many of our female MPs today have families and still manage their jobs, and the challenges we face are no different from many other women in Singapore. Women are tough.

"That being said, we still need to make it easier for women to juggle children and a career, which is why I will continue to speak up for them," she said.

"As an MP, there are certainly many responsibilities I have to my constituents, but I am committed to both my work and my family," said Ms Lee, who resigned from her job as a trainer at a financial institution last year to spend more time serving residents. "I'm thankful for a supportive husband and family who will be on this new adventure with me."

Ms Lee, who has said previously that she hopes to have two children, will be the second MP to give birth while in office. Minister of State for Communications and Information and Education Sim Ann gave birth to her third child in November 2011.