Labour MP Sharon Hodgson broke down in the Commons as she recalled how her stillborn daughter did not get the “dignity” of a birth certificate.
Hodgson said baby Lucy “just couldn’t make the final push into this world” and died after she went into early labour.
Because the MP for Washington and Sunderland West’s pregnancy was three days short of 24 weeks, stillborn Lucy “didn’t exist” officially and therefore did not get a birth or death certificate.
Hodgson told MPs how it caused her family immense pain.
“She was a baby who was sadly born dead,” she said. “Her heart beated 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 in our records.”
The MP was peaking during a debate on the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths Bill, which stipulates the Government must carry out a review of registering stillborn babies who are born before 24 weeks.
“I still find it very difficult, even now all these years later, to even talk about it,” said the MP, who revealed Lucy would have become a 20-year-old woman this year.
If her child had survived for any period of time, she would have been rushed to hospital, given a birth certificate and put in an incubator, she told MPs.
“But sadly she was stillborn, so there was no flashing blue lights, no incubator and no birthday parties ever,” said Hodgson. “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 had just happened, I also had to come to terms with the fact that she didn’t officially exist, and I would not be getting any certificate of her arrival or death.”
Hodgson received lots of praise on Twitter for her speech.
The Coop helped Hodgson to organise a small family funeral and Lucy was buried in a small coffin next to Hodgson’s grandparents.
When Hodgson got emotional, she was comforted by Tory MP Will Quince, who intervened and told her she had made a “brave and powerful speech, adding: “If she doesn’t mind me saying, Lucy would have been very proud of her mummy today.”
Tory MP Tim Loughton’s Private Members’ Bill, which has some cross-party support, also asks the government to extend civil partnerships to same-sex couples, for mothers’ names to be included on marriage certificates and for more powers for coroners to investigate stillbirths.