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


Brenda McCabe wins ‘Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year 2019’Brenda McCabe, a midwife for South West Acute Hospital, has been awarded the Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year 2019. Brenda was nominated by Sarah Griffiths for the incredible support she gave her during her pregnancy, birth and beyond. 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.

Sarah Griffiths who nominated Brenda for the award, explains: “Not only was Brenda completely unphased by any potential complications as a result of my disability but she went out of her way to research this with me and then assured me there was no reason whatsoever that my baby’s birth could not be an amazing, magical experience. Thanks to Brenda my second pregnancy and delivery was an exciting and completely relaxed, joyous experience. I had a plan to cover every eventuality and I knew no matter what, she was there for me.

Sarah continues: “Brenda delivers patient centred care at all times. Not only does she have mother and baby at the heart of her care but she is also meticulous in ensuring fathers are very much included and recognises their vital role in the whole process. Breastfeeding is one thing that only I can do for my baby and when suffering with the baby blues at one of Brenda’s postnatal visits, feeling disappointed over my baby’s weight, Brenda reminded me that I was a competent breast feeder and was able to help me reframe my thinking and focus. Brenda’s support and encouragement has meant that my breastfeeding journey has flourished, and I am now a peer support mum for the local breastfeeding group.”

On winning the award Brenda McCabe, Community Midwife Team Lead for the Western Health and Social Care Trust adds: “Sarah is firstly an amazing person with a very supportive partner Danny and they now have two beautiful children. They came through this journey as any parents would with fears and hopes that would require the support of a midwife. That is the care they required and deserved as any parents do.

“As a midwife I had a duty to do that, as we have to all mothers and their family. It just happens that Sarah does have a disability but that does not define her. Sarah is a woman, wife and mother who happens to have a disability. Though it may make her unique, she still requires the same information and support that every individual does. Everybody deserves good quality care with dignity and respect. If we as health care professionals cannot provide that then we fail.

“I am delighted that Sarah and Danny got the care they deserved and appreciated it. This is a moment I will cherish throughout my career. I am overwhelmed by the method they choose to highlight this and am so thankful. I have no doubt that if anybody in the team I work with had the pleasure and fortunate opportunity to have been assisting Sarah, that they too would have applied the same care to them that I did.”

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 and one overall national winner.

The RCM’s Annual Awards, now in its 17th year, was hosted for the first time by popular TV presenter Alex Jones. Mum of one, Alex, best known for hosting The One Show, is currently pregnant with her second child. Brenda joined the six other regional winners at a celebratory awards ceremony in London, where Brenda was crowned the coveted national winner.

Faye Mingo, Emma’s Diary’s Chief Marketing Officer, comments: “This is now the fourth consecutive year 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. Brenda put Sarah at the centre of her care and focused on her needs and wishes. She empowered Sarah to make informed choices during her pregnancy and Daisy’s birth, using evidence based practice. I congratulate Brenda on this award, for her commitment, skill and passion for her work.”

For more information or to arrange an interview with Brenda McCabe and Sarah Griffiths please contact:
Kim Swead / / 07786 856075