A WOMAN whose wise words and sound advice have taken the fear out of childbirth for thousands of women is to retire at the end of the month.
Deirdre Mackay began her preparing for childbirth classes for the National Childbirth Trust at her home in Little Budworth more than 40 years ago after qualifying as a chartered physiotherapist in obstetrics and gynaecology.
Her advice helped to change the way hospitals then treated prospective mums and dads and led to a whole new phrase being coined which became something of a mantra, 'Deirdre says'.
Anne Loader, a former chair-
woman of the Mid Cheshire branch of the National Childbirth Trust, was among those who paid tribute to Deirdre at a retirement party at Little Bud-worth Village Hall last week.
Anne said: 'In those days labour and birth were treated as the preserve of the medical professionals.
'It was common for doctors and midwives to gloss over the reality of the enormous experience families were all facing.
'Fathers were supposed to pace up and down the corridor outside the delivery room, well out of the way. Lip service was paid to breast feeding but bottle feeding was the norm.
'That didn't happen with Deirdre's pupils. She was determined that we should play an active and knowledgeable part in the births and not be afraid of childbirth.
'She taught us so well that at when I was discussing something with my GP he asked if I was a midwife. I can say quite honestly that she changed people's lives then and I know she has continued to do so.
'The number of people she has profoundly influenced would make up the population of village the size of Weaverham!'