On Wednesday’s episode of ITV soap Coronation Street, actress Kym Marsh took on a bawl-your-eyes-out emotional stillbirth storyline.
Her character, Michelle Connor, went into labour at 23 weeks, resulting in the stillbirth of her son Ruairi.
The storyline also showed the couple’s reaction to the fact that, due to Ruairi being born before 24 weeks, he would not be given an official birth certificate.
The devastating scenes were made all the more powerful and emotionally-challenging by the fact that stillbirth and miscarriage have touched the lives of both Kym and her scene partner, actor Simon Gregson, who plays Michelle’s boyfriend Steve.
Kym has been very open about the stillbirth of her son Archie in the past, who was born in 2009 at 21 weeks into her pregnancy.
She described in detail her feelings in the delivery room, and elaborated on her grief, and how she remembers her son Archie each year, in her book From The Heart.
And, after a troll attacked his wife on social media, Simon very recently revealed that he and his wife Emma Gleave have been through 11 miscarriages.
He tweeted: “To the £&)(; who tweeted my wife. We’ve lost 11 babies, 1st being 21 weeks 4 days. Maybe think or do your research before tweeting someone.”
And rather bravely, the pair has spoken openly about the effect this very personal storyline has had on them.
“As a bloke you feel completely helpless,” said Simon.
“Men and women grieve differently… we decided to let Michelle show the raw emotion, but Steve’s grief will come later.”
“I didn’t know what was in the box until I lifted the lid off,” Kym said of her emotional connection to the material.
She also told This Morning on Thursday:
“My gut instinct was to do [this storyline] and the reasons for that was since losing Archie, I’ve spoken to so many women and men and families who have gone through similar situations and I just thought, ‘what better way to raise awareness than to do this?'”
“I can’t praise Coronation Street enough, how they looked after us throughout the whole procedure. We had a psychotherapist on set to separate the 2 things.
“Actors take emotions home, the emotions you feel when you’ve been filming, especially when something happened in real life.”
After a bruisingly raw performance, which saw Michelle burst into a flood of tears after being told her son may be stillborn, both actors received a flurry of praise from family, friends and fans alike.
Kym’s 19-year-old daughter Emilie wrote on Twitter:
“Can’t explain how proud I am of my amazing mummy! You’ve Done Arch so proud I love you! Both amazing @msm4rsh @simongregson123” she wrote.
While Simon’s wife Emma also added: “Amazing performance! No idea how you did that Kym…. true inspiration……@msm4rsh @simongregson123 – extremely proud of you both! Xxx”
“Powerful scenes tonight @msm4rsh @simongregson123 love and thoughts to all mummys and daddys of sleeping angels ?” added Jane Danson, known for playing Corrie’s Leanne Battersby.
Viewers across the country also took to social media (in droves) to praise both Simon and Kym for their courage, for raising awareness, breaking the silence and their moving performances.
And really, we couldn’t agree with them more ?