Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she decided to speak about her pain at miscarrying a baby in the hope of challenging some of the “assumptions and judgments” made about women who do not have children.
The SNP leader has revealed how she and husband Peter Murrell, the party’s chief executive, lost a baby when she was 40, shortly before the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election campaign spell, when she was deputy leader.
Ms Sturgeon, 46, was in the early stages of her pregnancy and preparing to share the news when the miscarriage occurred.
She told Mandy Rhodes, the author of a new book, Scottish National Party Leaders, that instead of dealing with her grief at home she attended on January 3 2011 the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox disaster, in which 66 Rangers football supporters were crushed to death.
Ms Sturgeon, who has never spoken about her loss before, has been previously hurt by assumptions that she put her political career before having a family.
Speaking after extracts of the book were published in The Sunday Times, Ms Sturgeon said: “This was obviously a painful experience for Peter and I and while Mandy has known about it for some time, she has always respected our decision not to talk about it publicly.
“I gave her the go ahead to make reference to it now in the hope that it might challenge some of the assumptions and judgments that are still made about women - especially in politics - who don’t have children.
“There are many reasons why women don’t have children. Some of us simply don’t want to, some of us worry about the impact on our career - and there is still so much to do, through better childcare, more progressive working practices and more enlightened attitudes, to make sure we don’t feel we have to choose.
“And sometimes, for whatever reason, having a baby just doesn’t happen - no matter how much we might want it to.