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SNP's Sturgeon reveals miscarriage anguish to silence critics of women without children

By Dominic Harris

Published 05/09/2016

Personal pain: Nicola Sturgeon
Personal pain: Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she decided to speak about her pain at miscarrying a baby in the hope of challenging "assumptions and judgments" made about women who do not have children.

The SNP leader 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 author Mandy Rhodes 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 fans died.

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 Ms Rhodes' book were published in the Sunday Times, Ms Sturgeon said: "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."

She added that "sometimes, for whatever reason, having a baby just doesn't happen - no matter how much we might want it to".

"For me, as for many women, all of these things have been true at different times of my life - the point is that judgments and assumptions shouldn't be made about what are personal choices and experiences," she said.

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