BBC’s Emma Barnett feels ‘almost vindicated’ by having proof of her baby loss

BBC presenter Emma Barnett has spoken of the impact of not having a record of her baby loss until recent changes.

The host of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour revealed she has applied for a baby loss certificate under a new voluntary Government scheme, which records deaths before 24 weeks’ gestation, after it was launched for England in February.

Barnett, who gave birth to a daughter last year and also has a son born in 2018, previously underwent IVF fertility treatment, and had a miscarriage.

In a BBC News article, the 39-year-old said applying for official documents to record her loss, which happened in January 2022, was “far more than emotional than I had anticipated”.

She wrote: “That whole period had become a grief-infused blur. A time where days and dates mattered little.”

Barnett said she had to look over “old messages to family and friends” which “catapulted me back into that stark place”.

“In the fog of misery, I was trying to make what had happened seem real, important and proper,” she added.

Audio and Radio Industry Awards – London
Emma Barnett. (Ian West/PA)

“Beyond medical forms, conversations with my stunned and deeply saddened husband, my texts to people about our loss and my memories of such a bond, there was nothing else to show the whole episode happened,” she added.

The new certificates, which are not compulsory, are not legal documents.

Barnett said she “felt weirdly satisfied, almost vindicated” by having “some physical proof”.

“I think these certificates could also make people’s grief more accessible to others, as well as offering something more official to mark all that a pregnancy can mean and help memorialise it too,” she said.

Last week, the BBC announced that Barnett will be leaving Woman’s Hour in April after being at the helm since January 2021.

The former Newsnight presenter will join the Today programme in May after Irish journalist Martha Kearney announced last month that she will be leaving Radio 4’s flagship current affairs show.

Kearney will continue to present Today until the general election, the BBC previously said.

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