By Jonathon Van Maren
Outgoing Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has put forward an initiative that will enable women in Scotland who have suffered a miscarriage prior to 24 weeks gestation to apply for a “commemorative certificate,” creating a formal record of their child’s existence.
The new initiative, which will begin this summer, will be free of charge, and those who choose to participate will be able to record the loss of their child in a Memorial Book produced by the Scottish government and National Records of Scotland, which is responsible for recording births and deaths.
Parents who wish to record their children’s deaths – and implicitly, their existence – can do so as long as they live in Scotland, and will not be required to submit any medical evidence. If parents have suffered multiple miscarriages, they can apply individually for each child, and parents can also submit applications for children they lost prior to the start of the initiative. The program is intended to “give recognition and comfort” to those who have lost children – all participation is voluntary.
Sturgeon stated that her own deeply felt grief over a miscarriage she suffered in 2011 at the age of forty was the motivation to create the initiative. “The loss of a pregnancy or baby is always painful,” she said. “I have spoken in the past about my personal experience of miscarriage, and I know the sense of grief will stay with me and my husband forever. I also know that we would have drawn comfort at the time if there had been a way for us to mark the loss and formally recognise the child we were grieving.”
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