Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has spoken for the first time of her sorrow that she miscarried a baby.
The SNP leader revealed how she and husband Peter Murrell, the party's chief executive, lost a baby when she was 40, shortly before the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election campaign period, when she was deputy leader.
Ms Sturgeon, 46, was in the early stages of her pregnancy and preparing to share the news when the miscarriage occurred.
She told Mandy Rhodes, the author of a new book, Scottish National Party Leaders, that instead of dealing with her grief at home she attended on January 3 2011 the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox disaster, in which 66 Rangers football supporters were crushed to death.
Ms Sturgeon has never spoken about her loss before, as it is not something she wants to be defined by, according to the Sunday Times, and she has been previously hurt by assumptions that she put her political career before having a family.
In extracts from the book in the Sunday Times magazine, Ms Sturgeon said she is uncertain if she could have been a mother as well as leading Scotland's devolved government.
She said: "If the miscarriage hadn't happened, would I be sitting here as first minister right now? It's just an unanswerable question. I just don't know.
"I've thought about it but I don't know the answer. I'd like to think 'yes', because I could have shown that having a child wasn't a barrier to all of this, but in truth I don't know.
"Having a baby might have so fundamentally changed our lives that things would have taken a different path, but if somebody gave me the choice now to turn back the clock 20 years and say you can choose to start to think about this much earlier and have children, I'd take that.
"But if the price of that was not doing what I've gone on to do, I wouldn't accept that, no."
Ms Rhodes suggested that the Scottish leader has now revealed her story to dissuade girls and young women who may see her as a role model from thinking she made a choice between a high-flying political career and having a family.