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Labour MP Sharon Hodgson bravely shares her personal story about stillbirth

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Susan Devaney
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Labour MP Sharon Hodgson brought the Commons to tears with her personal story about stillbirth. 

Labour MP Sharon Hodgson broke down in the House of Commons while recalling her own experience of stillbirth.

Hodgson, who represents Washington and Sunderland West, spoke of her third child, Lucy who sadly died after she went into early labour and “couldn’t make the final push into the world”.

Hodgson’s daughter was born three days short of 24 weeks and therefore didn’t get a birth or death certificate.

“She was buried in a tiny white coffin in the same grave as my nana and grandad. I tell you all this to highlight that to the chaplain, the funeral service, to us, her family, she existed; she was a baby who was sadly born dead,” Hodgson said.

Hodgson made the moving speech in support of the private member’s bill seeking to introduce formal recording for a stillborn child born before 24 weeks’ gestation.

“Her heart beat throughout my labour just up until minutes before she was born. She just couldn’t make the final push into this world. Because of that and because of a matter of a few days, she doesn’t officially exist in any records other than in our memories and own family records. Even the entry on the deeds for the grave is in my name, as if I, or in this case a bit of me, is buried there,” Hodgson continued.

Talking about what would’ve happened had Lucy lived, Hodgson said:

“She would have had a birth certificate, she would have been celebrating her 20th birthday this year. But sadly she was stillborn, so there were no flashing blue lights, no incubator and no birthday parties ever and, as I found out to my horror, no birth or death certificate.

“So as I held her in my arms and had to come to terms with what just happened, I also had to come to terms with the fact she officially did not exist and I would not be getting any certificate of her arrival or death. She was three to four days short of the required 24-week legal age.”

Many people have taken to Twitter to show their gratitude for Hodgson’s sharing her personal story in support of the bill.

“A privilege to listen to the very moving speech of my friend Sharon Hodgson talking about her experience of baby loss and her support for a change in the law to permit the registrations of babies lost before 24 weeks,” Barbara Keeley wrote. 

“Amazingly brave speech by my friend Sharon Hodgson about the loss of her baby daughter Lucy - powerful support for registration of stillborn deaths,” posted Lilian Greenwood. 

“Sharon Hogson has just delivered a very moving personal speech about baby loss in the Chamber. Sharon I was proud to sit with you, you spoke so well, ” posted Emma Lewell-Buck. 

The bill has been brought forward by Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP and former children’s minister. It also aims for the government to find a way to extend civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples, and include a mother or second parent’s name on marriage and civil partnerships certificates. 

Images: Shyam Sundar / YouTube

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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