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Kym Marsh says Coronation Street stillbirth storyline was 'best way to honour' baby

Both actors Kym Marsh and Simon Gregson have experienced the loss of a baby. Credit: Coronation Street

Coronation Street Kym Marsh said taking on the heartbreaking stillbirth storyline on screen was the "best way to honour" the baby she lost.

On Wednesday night's episode of the ITV soap, her character Michelle Connor went into labour at 23 weeks into her pregnancy resulting in the death of her baby son Ruairi at birth.

The actress lost her own son, Archie Jay, eight years ago when she went into labour at 21 weeks.

But Marsh, 40, said she had a "gut instinct" to take on the story despite her own tragedy and encourage people to open up about their own experiences.

She said: "My gut instinct was to do this because, I felt, what better way to raise awareness of this subject, and also to honour my son?

"This subject has been very taboo for far too long. Sharing is absolutely imperative to being able to put the pieces of your jigsaw back together."

Corrie's Michelle Connor went into labour at 23 weeks. Credit: Coronation Street

The heartbreaking storyline sees Michelle and husband Steve McDonald, played by Simon Gregson, go through the heartache of being told that their baby will not be given a birth certificate as he was born before 24 weeks.

Comparing it to her own experience, Marsh said: "Calling my son a late miscarriage was one of the things that really got to me because I had just given birth to a baby, I didn't miscarry him.

"When I'm not here any more, nobody will know that my baby existed, and that is upsetting for a lot of women I think."

The programme creators ensured there was a psychotherapist on set to offer counselling and Marsh said that the process meant delving into memories she had been trying to avoid.

"I didn't know what was in the box until I lifted the lid off," she said.

"You never get over it, but you learn to live with it, and diving back into that place that I spent years coming out of strangely helped me to realise that I have accepted that it happened to me.

"There will not be a single day that goes by that I don't think about him, but I am able to talk and reach out to other people who have been in that situation."

After the programme ended, the actress thanked viewers for their support.

The storyline was equally close-to-home for Gregson, 42, who also lost a baby at 21 weeks with his wife Emma Richards.

On Wednesday, he hit out at internet trolls who tweeted his wife.

Describing his role in the programme, which sees him try to comfort Michelle while she insists he does not understand how she feels, he said: "As a bloke you feel completely helpless.

"Men and women grieve differently ... we decided to let Michelle show the raw emotion, but Steve's grief will come later."

The script for the storyline was developed with advice from bereavement group Sands..

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The charity has extended its helpline hours until 10pm tonight for anyone affected by the issues raised in the programme.

  • Anyone affected by Coronation Street's storyline can call the Sands helpline on 020 7436 5881 or go to the ITV information page.