Belfast Telegraph

Corrie's Simon Gregson tells of anguish behind stillbirth storyline

Coronation Street actor Simon Gregson has said losing 11 babies with his wife influenced the storyline in which his partner suffered a miscarriage.

Gregson, who plays Steve McDonald, revealed the tragedy as Kym Marsh, who plays soap partner Michelle Connor, said recreating the stillbirth was the best way to "honour" the baby she lost.

In Wednesday night's episode, Marsh's character went into labour at 23 weeks into her pregnancy, resulting in the death of her baby Ruairi at birth.

Gregson, 42, said that he and wife Emma Gleave had lost 11 children, the first one at 21 weeks and four days.

"As a bloke you feel completely helpless," he said.

"Men and women grieve differently ... we decided to let Michelle show the raw emotion, but Steve's grief will come later."

After losing her own son Archie in a similar way eight years ago, Marsh said she felt a "gut instinct" to take on the story and encourage people to open up about their own experiences.

Marsh, 40, said: "My gut instinct was to do this because, I felt, what better way to raise awareness of this subject, and also to honour my son.

"This subject has been very taboo for far too long. Sharing is absolutely imperative to being able to put the pieces of your jigsaw back together."

The programme, which continues to Friday's episode, sees Michelle and husband Steve go through the heartache of being told there is no way to save their baby and that, because he was born before 24 weeks, he will not be given a birth certificate.

Comparing it to her own experience, Marsh said: "Calling my son a late miscarriage was one of the things that really got to me because I had just given birth to a baby, I didn't miscarry him.

"When I'm not here any more, nobody will know that my baby existed, and that is upsetting for a lot of women I think."

While the creators ensured there was a psychotherapist on the set to offer counselling, Marsh and Gregson revealed how the process forced them both to delve into memories they had been trying to avoid.

"I didn't know what was in the box until I lifted the lid off," Marsh added.

"You never get over it, but you learn to live with it, and diving back into that place that I spent years coming out of strangely helped me to realise that I have accepted that it happened to me.

"There will not be a singe day that goes by that I don't think about him, but I am able to talk and reach out to other people who have been in that situation."

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