Nicola Sturgeon speaks publicly about miscarriage
Nicola Sturgeon would have been six months pregnant going into 2011 elections if she had not miscarried
Nicola Sturgeon - photo credit: David Anderson
Nicola Sturgeon miscarried a baby in 2011, months before the Scottish Parliament elections.
In a chapter of an upcoming book, ‘Scottish National Party Leaders’, Holyrood editor Mandy Rhodes revealed that Sturgeon would have been six months pregnant at 40 years-old during the 2011 Scottish Parliament election campaign, had she not miscarried in January of that year.
An extract from Rhodes’ chapter, published in the Sunday Times today, covers how the then Deputy First Minister attended a 2011 commemoration of the 1971 Ibrox Disaster while knowing she was having a miscarriage.
The FM has previously faced media questions over why she does not have children. Explaining her decision to speak about the experience, she said: “judgments and assumptions shouldn't be made about what are personal choices and experiences”.
She said she had agreed to talk publicly about it in the hope it would challenge perceptions of women who do not have children.
Sturgeon, who took over from Alex Salmond as leader of the SNP in 2014, said she was not sure she would have become First Minister if she had not miscarried.
Nicola Sturgeon released a statement, saying: "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.
“By allowing my own experience to be reported I hope, perhaps ironically, that I might contribute in a small way to a future climate in which these matters are respected as entirely personal - rather than pored over and speculated about as they often are now.
“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.
“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.”
An extract from Rhodes’ chapter will be published on Holyrood.com on Monday 5 September.
The full piece will appear in Holyrood magazine on Monday 12 September.
“Scottish National Party Leaders”, edited by James Mitchell and Gerry Hassan, will be published by Biteback on September 15.