Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shared her thoughts on miscarriage and being childless on ITV’s Loose Women’s programme
Talking to the panel of presenters she said she would support the introduction of bereavement leave after a miscarriage.
The 49-year-old also talked about the need to remove the stigma associated with miscarriage, about childlessness and about the impact of miscarriage on partners.
Miss Sturgeon said: “I feel really strongly about removing the stigma around miscarriage. People don’t talk about being pregnant until after three months. The whole implication of that is if you miscarry you keep it to yourself. It’s a difficult thing to go through, but when you can’t talk to anybody apart from your partner, I think that makes it more difficult.
On miscarriage leave, she noted: “I don’t think you should have to take leave if you don’t feel that’s something you need to do. But I think there should be much greater understanding and society generally should try and adapt a bit more.”
Regarding childlessness by choice rather than by circumstance, she said: “That was the assumption that was always made about me, that I took this really hard-nosed decision that I was going to prioritise a career over having children. I did give a lot of priority to having a career.
“I guess it wasn’t until later that I started to think about do I want children or not and well, I’ve said what happened. I don’t think women should be judged for the reasons why they do or don’t have children. Men aren’t, and it’s one of these areas where we need to see progress.”
Asked whether her husband was disappointed about the miscarriage, she said: “Of course, that’s another part of the taboo. If it’s hard for a woman to talk about it, it’s possibly even harder for a man. It’s heartbreaking and really traumatic for a man as well.”
If you’ve suffered a miscarriage and need help or support, contact the Miscarriage Association.