Disabled mum's championing sees Brenda crowned as Midwife of Year
A Co Fermanagh woman has been named Northern Ireland's Midwife of the Year after making a big impact on a disabled mum whose baby she helped to deliver.
Brenda McCabe, from Lisnaskea, has been awarded the Emma's Diary Mums' Midwife of the Year 2019 title by the Royal College of Midwives.
Brenda works as Fermanagh and Omagh community midwife team leader in the Western Trust and was nominated for the award by mum-of-two Sarah Griffiths from Roslea.
As a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, Sarah said she frequently came up against a lack of knowledge and resistance among healthcare professionals, and found pregnancy with a physical disability is "not the norm".
Thinking there was no alternative, she had elected to have a Caesarean section in her first pregnancy with son Dexter, now two.
After meeting Brenda when pregnant with her second baby Daisy, now six months old, any feelings of anxiety vanished.
Sarah said: "Not only was Brenda completely unfazed 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."
Brenda (41) is mum to Eoin (17), Caitlin (16), Naoise (14), Darragh (11) and Riona (10).
She says she feels privileged to have been nominated, adding: "The award is a great honour and something I will cherish throughout my career.
"Sarah is an amazing and inspirational person who never sees anything as a problem, she only sees solutions. I honestly believe that fate brought us together.
"I can only accept this award as part of a team as it's team work that enables effective midwifery care."
Brenda will now join the six other regional winners at a ceremony to be held in London next month, where she could be crowned the overall national winner.