A WOMAN who helped countless people since the outbreak of Covid-19, both in her role as a public health nurse, and in her homeopathy practice, was honoured for her resilience and inspiration to others.
Barbara Noonan Sexton says she’s passionate about the health of mums, dads, babies and children.
That’s what motivates her in all areas of her work, and what especially helped to keep her going during the challenging days of lockdown.
The pandemic saw her continue her work as a public health nurse in the community, where wearing PPE, she cared for new mums, parents, babies, attended to dressings and gave palliative care.
All her private classes were naturally put on hold, but she helped lots of people suffering from anxiety, many of whom were medical professionals and expectant mums, by posting homeopathic remedies to them.
“I was also available to provide homeopathy consults on Zoom and I went online with my ante natal classes,” said Barbara.
Naturally though, the mum of three admits that like everyone else, it was an anxious time for her and her family, as well as being a challenging time for her business, but her love for her work and her supportive colleagues powered her on.
Originally from Conna, she’s married to Courtmacsherry man Pat where she lives with her children Adam (aged 13), Ava (aged 11) and Andrew (aged seven).
Barbara started out in general nursing, trained as a midwife and then a public health nurse, a field she’s been working in since 2005 But back in 2011, from her work in both areas of nursing, she felt compelled to offer more support to new parents.
“Parenting can be a lonely and isolating place for many mums and couples. From my work, I could see first-hand that both mums and dads needed support at all different stages of parenting.
“I discussed with m husband my vision for facilitating classes to empower mums, dads and new babies. We took the plunge and invested at that time and built a big studio and two other rooms to do that.
“In January 2012, I started giving baby massage classes and that August 2012 I started antenatal classes. After that I did a four year homeopathy course with the Irish school of Homeopathy, followed by a year as a registered homeopath with the Irish Society of homeopathy in 2017.”
While doing all of this she was also working part time as a PHN, and had her third child, and attributes her appetite for work to her parents.
“My own mother was a midwife and with my dad, they ran a very busy farm. I am very lucky we were all reared with a very strong work ethic.”
Since government restrictions lifted, Barbara is back giving homeopathic consultations.
“I’m also able to see mums just one-to-one for baby massage using social distancing and I’ve started back doing individual couple ante –natal classes which was really lovely,” she said.
Barbara says Network Ireland West Cork and the West Cork Enterprise Board were incredible sources of support to women in business during Covid.
“Network sessions especially allowed members express how frightening financially it was for them.” And to be honoured with this year’s special Power Within Award she said ‘was amazing.’
“There were 15 other women in the category who all work so hard in their business every day. I felt truly honoured to be among them and totally blown away to get the award.”
Despite what the year has thrown at her, Barbara has no regrets about going into business for herself.
“In my opinion if you are passionate enough about what you’re doing, you’ll make it work.”
* Next week we will feature three other finalists ahead of the Network Ireland Businesswoman of the year awards on October 2.