Mum puts her own experience to good use

FROM having her own sick and premature baby to helping other women through childbirth.

Midwife and mother of two Chantelle Rowe has been named Barnardos SA Mother of the Year for her work to help others while raising her son Kaiden and daughter Kayla.

Kaiden was born six weeks premature with congenital cytomegalovirus which left him in intensive care for eight weeks with brain bleeds and an enlarged liver.

Miss Rowe, 33, said it was her experience taking care of a baby that doctors didn't expect to survive that pushed her to become a midwife herself.

"I have so much experience with it I feel like I can relate to a lot of women and their situations which then instills confidence into the women I look after," she said. "I want them to know that even though it's tough ... it does get better." Kaiden, now 11, has autism and cochlear implants in both ears but continues to thrive with the help of his mother.

"It's been a tough road and the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life," she said. "But everything that's happened I just take it as it comes and I feel like it shapes me to be a stronger person." Miss Rowe was nominated for the award by her proud great-uncle Greg Perry.

"I think what she's done with her life is inspirational," Mr Perry said.

"After everything she went through after Kaiden was born then to decide to be a midwife and to go ahead and do it as a single mother of two kids is amazing.

"For her to come from where she's come from and do all this is just incredible." Miss Rowe said she still feels bewildered and humbled to have won the award.

"I've read about past winners and nominees and the amazing things they're doing for the community," she said.

"I just feel like a normal mum that's trying to give my kids a better life." Miss Rowe is now in the running for the national Barnardos Mother of the Year Award to be announced in May 9.


(This story first appeared in the NorthEastern Weekly).

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