MP Sharon Hodsgon shares her pain at loss of her baby daughter on national TV

Sharon Hodgson on This Morning
Sharon Hodgson on This Morning

A Wearside MP has spoken on national television of the pain of discovering her stillborn baby daughter did not officially exist.

Sharon Hodgson moved the House of Commons to tears last week after sharing the story of losing daughter Lucy 20 years ago,

The emotional scenes came during a debate on the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill, which includes the introduction of formal recording for a stillborn child born before 24 weeks' gestation and giving coroners the power to investigate late-stage stillbirths.

At the moment, babies stillborn before 24 weeks to do not receive a birth or death certificate.

Speaking on ITV's This Morning today, the MP for Washington and Sunderland West said she had avoided a previous debate on the subject because she could not bear to take part: "I hid in my office," she said.

"I could not even bear to be in the Chamber."

She praised soap opera Coronation Street for its handling of the subject. Actress Kym Marsh, who lost her own son Archie at 21 weeks, paid tribute to Sharon on Twitter after her speech.

"The storyline in Coronation Street was exactly my story, exactly the point around having a stillborn baby but just being the wrong side of that 24 weeks, then finding out to your horror that when you are going through this awful trauma, holding this baby in your arms and coming to terms with the fact that the baby did not survive to take their first breath but you're holding them in a little babygro, with a little hat on but officially they are not there," said Sharon.

"It was written on my notes as a miscarriage, then I was told I would not have a birth certificate or a death certificate but the chaplain said I could have a funeral.

"So you can have a funeral for a baby that is classed as a miscarriage officially. It just seemed so wrong."

Deciding to speak in last week's debate had been 'the hardest thing ever,' she said.

She told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby: "I thought 'surely after all these years I can now stand up and talk about it' but it is so raw still. I wanted to express the emotions from the time."

She had seen other mums cross the street to avoid her after losing Lucy: "It's more painful when people try to avoid you because they don't want to have to talk to you."

Sharon said she had been touched by the feedback she had received on social media. "I am encouraging people it has just happened to to talk about it because I think you do need to talk about it."

She had been in touch with a woman called Kayleigh who was 18 weeks pregnant whose baby was not viable but who was deliberately continuing her pregnancy beyond the 24-week mark.

"The child will not survive outside of the womb, the moment she gives birth, the baby will die but she has decided to carry that abby for si more weeks in order for her to exist offically.

"You can't even begin to imagine how that feels."