Nicola Sturgeon’s miscarriage revelation is just one of the reasons women should not be asked why they don’t have children

Women should not have to explain, or worse, defend their lack of children.

Nicola Sturgeon

We have so much admiration for Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, for opening up about her miscarriage in a new book and addressing the subject in the news and social media.

This is the first time that Nicola has spoken about her miscarriage publicly and has done so in the hope that it will “help break ‘taboo’ of miscarriage” and challenge assumptions made about women.

“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.”

Throughout her career, Nicola has been subjected to comments about the fact that she is childless and we think that this is unacceptable. Not only are male politicians rarely questioned about whether or not they have children, Nicola’s situation has also highlighted the fact that there can be heartbreaking and personal reasons why a woman is without children.

Previously defending the fact that she does not have children, Nicola has spoken of the hurtful comments people have made about her,

“The assumptions that people sometimes make is that I have made a cold, calculated decision to put my career ahead of having family, and that's not true. Sometimes things happen in life, sometimes they don't.”

Nicola’s experience highlights why comments and speculations about why women do not have children are not alright.

We were disappointed to see one writer refer to Nicola’s brave revelation about her miscarriage as a “tantalising secret about her private life.” Miscarriage is not gossip. It is a personal heartbreak which should be treated with respect.

Not only did Nicola and her husband have to suffer the pain of miscarriage, something that 1 in 4 families endure, she had to cope with suggestions that she made an intentional decision put politics before family.

We think Nicola is incredibly brave for shedding light on an issue that needs more public attention and well-wishers who share our view have flocked to social media to show their support.

Nicola wanted to share what had happened to her so that young girls for whom she is a role model don’t feel they have to make the choice between political success or family.

The taboo around miscarriage needs to be lifted and women should have the freedom to talk openly about their experiences but they should not have to share a painful and personal experience to defend their lack of children.

Society needs to start leaving the podium to politics and giving personal decisions the privacy and respect they deserve.

If you've been affected by miscarriage and need advice or support click here

If you want to share your story and help us break the silence around miscarriage click here

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