Guest blog: Brenda McCabe on winning Emma's Diary 'Mums' Midwife of the Year at RCM Awards 2019

By Brenda McCabe, Midwife, Northern Ireland on 23 April 2019 Awards Emma's Diary Midwives Disabilities

I was nominated for the RCM 'Emma's Diary Mums' Midwife of the Year award by an exceptional lady, wife and mother of two beautiful children, Sarah Griffiths. I was completely taken aback that Sarah felt my care had such a positive impact that she took the time to nominate me for this prestigious award.

I had the privilege of meeting Sarah as she wished to attend our Birth Choices Clinic to discuss the possibility of a vaginal birth following a previous C/S. I recall this appointment as regardless of her history and medical diagnosis of cerebral palsy, I could see how important it was for Sarah to explore all options and I advised her that together we would look at all the evidence available so she could make the ultimate informed choice.

Throughout Sarah's pregnancy I ensured she was briefed with every eventuality so she could have the most positive birthing experience possible. It was important for me to support Sarah in her birth choice but also to discuss reasons why having a planned intended birth choice may sometimes take an alternative path and mode of delivery despite all our best intentions. Sarah told me afterwards that this was one of the key tools she felt helped empower her in her birthing journey, as she was well counselled and accepted the rationale.

Sarah had previously felt resistance from other health care professionals where she was viewed and addressed as disabled first, pregnant mum second. She expressed to me my approach and attitude differed as I importantly saw Sarah as a woman and a pregnant mother, with a husband, who happened to have a disability. Sarah was so delighted that I did not let her medical condition define her and her ability to be treated like any other women ensuring dignity, equality and respect.

I never dismissed that Sarah having her disability would not bring its challenges but I knew I had a duty to explore solutions in order to serve Sarah in the manner in which my profession requires and expects and ultimately she deserves.