Brenda wins NI’s ‘Emma’s Diary’ Midwife of the Year 2019

02/02/2019

Brenda wins NI’s ‘Emma’s Diary’ Midwife of the Year 2019Nominated by local mum Sarah Griffiths from Rosslea, Co Fermanagh, Brenda McCabe, Community Midwife Team Lead for Southern Sector has been honoured as Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year 2019 for the Northern Ireland region. The prestigious award is one of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards, recognising the incredible work done by exceptional midwives across the country.

Midwives play such a critical role in so many mums’ lives and the Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award enables them to pay a heartfelt tribute to their own special midwife who truly surpassed what was expected of them.

As a mother with cerebral palsy who is a wheelchair user, Sarah frequently came up against a lack of knowledge and a resistance among health care professionals. Pregnancy with a physical disability is, as Sarah herself proclaims, “not the norm”.

Thinking there was no alternative, Sarah had an elected C-section with her first pregnancy but after meeting Brenda, when pregnant with her second baby, any feelings of stress and anxiety quickly vanished. Brenda’s attitude and approach were a breath of fresh air and Sarah was lucky enough to receive her care both in hospital and at the Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) clinic that she ran.

Brenda fully supported Sarah’s desire for a VBAC and took time to give her all the information she needed, backed up by the latest evidence and best practice. Brenda empowered Sarah to see herself as any other pregnant mum and in the end, Sarah made the informed choice to have an elected C-section and her beautiful daughter, Daisy, was born.

Brenda is a huge advocate of the importance of supporting good mental health in families as well as offering breastfeeding support, which for Sarah was vital in bonding with her baby – especially as her disability meant she needed assistance with other areas of her baby’s care. Brenda has set up support groups locally and is currently looking into setting up a postnatal debriefing service to help parents through any trauma, protecting mental health further and in turn increase mother and baby bonds.

Emma’s Diary, the UK’s essential support resource for mums to be and new parents, received a record 953 nominations from mums across the UK. All entries were put through a meticulous judging process by a panel of representatives from both Emma’s Diary and the RCM, culminating in seven regional winners.

The RCM’s Annual Awards, now in its 17th year, will be hosted for the first time by popular TV presenter Alex Jones on 5th March 2019. Mum of one, Alex, best known for hosting The One Show, is currently pregnant with her second child. Brenda will join the six other regional winners at a celebratory awards ceremony in London, where Brenda will receive her trophy and find out who is crowned the coveted national winner.

Faye Mingo, Emma’s Diary’s Chief Marketing Officer, comments: “This is now the fourth consecutive year that we have sponsored this award and the compassion and dedication demonstrated by these midwives continues to blow us away. We have yet again been overwhelmed with entries from mums nominating their extraordinary midwife for the pivotal role they played in their pregnancy and birth journey. Reading their stories is a truly humbling experience and we are so delighted for Brenda, who is so deserving of this extra recognition.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, says: “This is a truly uplifting story with a wonderful outcome for Sarah and her baby. She had the care and support that was right for her from Brenda who is a dedicated and caring midwife. Brenda put Sarah at the centre of her care and her focus was on Sarah’s needs and wishes. I congratulate Brenda on this award, for her commitment, her skill and her passion for her work.”