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Grieving mother fighting back tears while gripping teddy in memory of her late daughter slams ‘dehumanising’ NHS erasure of terms like ‘mother’, saying it ‘reminds me of how doctors only saw me as a body on the bed’


A grieving mother fought back tears in an impassioned plea for NHS medics to bin ‘dehumanising’ gender-neutral language.

Addressing a group of Lords in the Preterm Birth Committee, Ciara Curran clutched a stuffed toy in remembrance of her unborn daughter Sinead, who died in the womb after just 24 weeks.

Choking up, she recalled how doctors ‘only saw me as a body on the bed’ during the emergency that led to the Sinead’s death, adding: ‘I was not seen as a woman who needed healthcare.’

Ms Curran, from Chinley, Derbyshire, said that seeing the words mother and woman being erased from healthcare communications reminded her of that traumatic experience.

She said the removal of such terms, part of a wider woke movement within the NHS, was incredibly hurtful to other mothers who have also lost their babies.

Demanding sex-based language is preserved Ms Curran said: ‘It is extremely important for women who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss are recognised as mothers and not just a generic parent.

‘To refuse us this status of mother in language is incredibly hurtful.’

Ms Curran is the founder of Little Heartbeats, a charity supporting women who have suffered from premature rupture of membranes (PROM).

This occurs when an expectant mother’s waters break earlier than normal, increases the risk of baby being born prematurely and increases the risk of both the baby and mother developing a dangerous infection. 

Ms Curran said many women who experienced PROM, or sister condition preterm-PROM (where the rupture occurs before the 37th week), often felt ‘dehumanised’ by their experience. 

She went on to say this trauma was often rekindled when women saw their terms being replaced with gender-neutral alternatives. 

‘We are seeing language referring to women used by the NHS that is dehumanising,’ she said. 

‘We are not baby carriers, we are not bodies with cervixes but when this language is used it can be retraumatising.

‘Where I see the words mother and woman being erased it reminds me of how they only saw me as a body on the bed, I was not seen as a woman who needed healthcare.’

Ms Curran added how there appears to have been no research by the NHS on the impact of these language changes on women.

‘No one appears to have taken into account the impact of loss of these terms on women who have lost babies,’ she said. 

‘We can erase our language without any medically-backed research and not understanding the impact it is having.’

She told the Lords in the group, which includes Baroness Cumberlege and Lord Winston, how she lost her baby Sinead after she suffered PROM at 24 weeks in 2010.

One of the key triggers of PROM is an infection, and Ms Curran did suffer a urinary tract infection at week 16 of her pregnancy with Sinead, several weeks before her waters broke early. 

She told The Express last year how she was repeatedly rebuffed by NHS medics despite her concerns about her waters breaking so early.

‘I went to the GP and birth centre several times, and must have rung the main hospital five or six times, but everyone just kept telling me to stop worrying. I was told to use a sanitary towel and even to call an antenatal yoga teacher. It was my first pregnancy, so I didn’t know what to expect and I trusted them,’ she said. 

Even after finally arriving at hospital, after she began to pass clots of blood, she had to plead to be admitted.

An ultrasound then confirmed her worst fears, there was almost zero amniotic fluid around Sinead and Ms Curran was told the baby would be severely disabled and advised to have a termination. 

‘My baby was just written off,’ she said, 

Woman, breast feeding and vagina all used to be standard terms used within the medical community. But they are just a selection of words that have been replaced by some woke NHS trusts, private hospitals and charities as part of an inclusivity push

Woman, breast feeding and vagina all used to be standard terms used within the medical community. But they are just a selection of words that have been replaced by some woke NHS trusts, private hospitals and charities as part of an inclusivity push

Sinead, who would have been Ms Curran’s first child, died a week after her mother’s waters broke.

Ms Curran sued the NHS over the care she received and settled out of court. 

Her experience motivated her to set up Little Heartbeats, which both sends out care packages to women suffering from PROM which includes a ‘comfort mascot’ teddy bear, as well funds medical research into the condition. 

The NHS has been embroiled in controversy regarding its replacement of sex-based terms with new gender-neutral alternatives.

‘Chestfeeding’ replacing breastfeeding, ‘biological parent’ instead of mother or father and ‘bonus hole’ instead of vagina are just a handful of terms which have crept into official documentation

Proponents of the woke phrases claim they are more inclusive to trans patients, who might be triggered by terms like ‘breast’ or ‘vagina’.

But experts have raised alarm over the movement, warning it risks overcomplicating vital health messaging to the public. 



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