Bravo Nicola Sturgeon: An Honest, Brutal, But Important Account Of Miscarriage

​It's high time we retired the phrase 'having it all'


The pressure on women to submit to the cult of 'having it all' has been crippling for a couple of decades now. 

Our careers have to be 'high-powered,' our husbands must be pedigree, the housework must be done while the baby is fed and reared trilingual.

And if one of the boxes isn't checked, we must have some sort of plausible and compelling argument for why we have let the side down. 

Sometimes... very often, in fact, this just isn't real life. 


Either very tough choices have to be made, between key components of the 'having it all' dream, or peace has to be reached with whichever combination of life factors befall us by circumstance and luck.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon illustrated this eloquently and honestly in a piece written for the Sunday Times this weekend. 

It is to be revealed in a new book that Nicola suffered a miscarriage at 40-years-old, while she was Deputy First Minister, and speaks of handling a very personal grief while also maintaining the professionalism required of a demanding job. 


In the piece, which accompanied an extract for a new book by Mandy Rhodes, she said: 

'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 women 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.'

Nicola mused on the idea of whether she would have made different choices if she could go back, giving a sense of, if not regret, perhaps a melancholy nostalgia for a slightly different set of circumstances, which felt refreshingly honest.

Considering whether she could have successfully built her family while committing to the post of First Minister, she suggested she wasn't sure. 

Speaking of her reasons for revealing the miscarriage, she said: 'the point is that judgments and assumptions shouldn't be made about what are personal choices and experiences.

'I gave [Mandy Rhodes] the go ahead to make reference to it now in the hope that it might challenge some of the assumptions and judgements that are still made about women - especially in politics - who don't have children.'

She's right to reference politics in particular. There seems to be a pointed social stigma around childless politicians. As if their lack of family denotes some sort of untrustworthiness, like we can only put stock in someone that follows traditional behaviour patterns. We're all too slow to consider that it might be a sign they're  extra-committed to the job at hand, rather than the job at home. 

Either way, bravo Nicola Sturgeon, for the world needs more politicians who choose honesty over obfuscation.

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