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Ukrainian refugee gives birth to baby girl just two weeks after arrival in Northern Ireland


Iryna praised staff at Craigavon Hospital.

Iryna praised staff at Craigavon Hospital.

Iryna praised staff at Craigavon Hospital.

A Ukrainian woman, who fled her home country because of the war, has given birth shortly after arriving in Co Down.

Iryna Basaraba gave birth to a baby girl less than two weeks after arriving in Dromore where she was taken in by the Pepper family as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Basaraba praised Craigavon Area Hospital Maternity Unit, where she delivered Victoria – named after victory for Ukraine.

"They looked after me the whole time during the labour, and I'm happy that I gave birth to my baby here," she said.

On the Good Morning Ulster programme, the Ukrainian woman explained that her journey to leave her home country started on March 10. It was the same day a maternity hospital was bombed in Mariupol.

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At 30 weeks pregnant, she drove her five-year-old son, teenage sister and mother from Lviv to Poland but sadly had to leave her husband behind.

"We didn't know what would happen the next minute, the next hour. It was very hard because we didn't know what would happen in the future,” she said.

She said that she tries not to watch too much news and instead focuses on staying relaxed for her baby.

Despite the current situation, Ms Basaraba said she one day hopes to return home.

"I would like to go back to Ukraine as soon as it is possible and it will be safe,” she said.

Her hosts, Wallace and Margaret Pepper, said that it was a “privilege” to take in Iryna and her family, as well as the latest addition.

“it’s just wonderful, she is the best child in the world and only cries when she wants changed!” said Mrs Pepper.

“Iryna has a great mum and younger sister, so there is a family unit here.

“I hope everything that’s good for baby Victoria and I hope she carries on the same genes, with the same determination and the same ability to strive and succeed.”

Mr Pepper said: “The least we can do is to share what we have with people who have been traumatised by the invasion and war in Ukraine.

“It’ll be great to see Victoria again when she is a young girl and to know we have been part of her life; Victoria is for victory, so the name was chosen for victory of Ukraine.”

Ms Basaraba thanked the Pepper family who “welcomed us so kindly into their home and provide such wonderful support every day”. 

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