Mary Plunkett, a WW coach in Galway for the last 23 years, is enjoying the transition from mother to grandmother after the arrival of her two beautiful grandchildren just a few weeks ago. GALWAYnow met Mary and her daughter, Morna Daly, who welcomed baby Cian and Cara into the world on 22 January.
Morna, firstly congratulations on the birth of your two beautiful babies. You look incredible! How are you finding life with two newborns?
My husband is still on paternity leave and with a besotted granny and auntie around, I have loads of help! We are just so in love with them, they have us wrapped around their little fingers already! I’ll need to start working on a routine though soon as it will be just me and the twins when things settle down and they all have to go back to the real world!
Were you shocked when you found out you were having twins?
My husband Mike was more shocked than me! I’ll never forget his face! I was more worried than anything as I wanted to make sure everything would be alright.
Do twins run in the family?
My grandmother on my father’s side was a twin, she had a twin brother, so the idea that it skips a generation was certainly true for us.
Did you know their gender before they were born?
Yes, we knew we had a boy at 16 weeks but Cara kept us in suspense until the 28 week scan. Nobody could call whether she was a girl or a boy!
“ Motherhood is amazing, but it’s also hard.”
How did you decide on names?
We discussed some names with family and friends but you can tell by people’s faces when they don’t like them! That’s why we decided to keep the names we picked to ourselves until they were here. Cara Mollie Daly – Mollie after my grandmother who passed away last year and Cian Iver Daly – Iver was Mike’s grandfather’s surname so it’s a tribute to him.
How was the overall labour experience?
Both babies were breech so I had to have an elective section which was a breeze. I was a little scared in the lead up but there was no need. Professor Morrison’s team were just fantastic all the way through my pregnancy, they really looked after me.
Mary, your daughter is now a mother. Looking at her journey so far, is it very different from you when you were a new mum?
It’s not all that different. Babies still need the same things – feeding, changing and somewhere warm to sleep. Once they have the basics, along with lots of love and cuddles, everything else is just cosmetic. What has changed though is all the modern bits. I’ve never seen so many new gadgets for babies! Morna has been buying non-stop since she was 20 weeks pregnant. She has bouncer chairs that she controls with her phone, and a buggy that cost more than my first car! We didn’t have anything like that 35 years ago. Car seats weren’t even a thing when I had my first 37 years ago. I remember bringing my son home in a moses basket on my knee. Imagine doing that now!
Did you two always have a close relationship?
Mary: Yes, we have always been really close. We worked together and socialised together so we are very lucky that we have maintained such a good friendship over the years.
Morna: We plan weekends away with Niamh, my youngest sister, and we always look forward to family events together. We go almost everywhere together!
Did you ever feel like your career impeded you as a mother, or that you had to choose between the two?
Mary: Never. I was very fortunate that I started working for WW when my kids were young so I could choose my hours at the beginning. It was very flexible for family life so I could drop the kids off in the morning and go back and do a few hours again after I collected them from school. As the kids got older and more independent, I increased my hours so I never felt the guilt that I know some mothers struggle with.
Morna: It’s still very early into my maternity leave but I am planning to return to work. I’m also very lucky to work for a great multinational company who offer flexi- time and teleworking. I work with a fantastic team who will allow me to have a plan that works best for everyone.
What is your favourite thing about motherhood?
Morna: When they just stare up at me during feeding or when they wrap their tiny little hands around my finger – that just makes my heart melt!
Mary: The first few weeks when your baby sleeps on your chest are just so precious. They grow out of that stage so quickly so savour every moment.
What is the most challenging thing about motherhood?
Mary: I enjoyed it all so much that nothing ever felt like a challenge. You do constantly worry for your kids safety and that doesn’t go away. Even now that they are in their thirties, I still worry about them all.
Morna: Worrying! As a new mother, every noise they make is still so new to me so any little peep out of them makes me want to check them. Night feeds with twins can be a little tricky to say the least!
What has been the most surprising thing about motherhood? (What people don’t tell you!)
Morna: That baby blues are a real thing! I didn’t think it would hit me as I’m such an easygoing person. You read about it and you don’t think it will affect you but the hormones are no joke after having a baby! It took me a full week to feel normal again and not cry at the drop of a hat. It’s so important to have as much help as possible during those days. Be kind to yourself and know that it’s 100% normal, and it will pass. After a good night’s sleep and a shower, I was a new woman!
Mary, are you enjoying being a grandmother?
It’s a love like no other. It’s completely different to your love for your own children but it’s just as strong.
“These babies are the dream and they are loved beyond words.”
How do you think it will differ from motherhood?
After losing my own mother this year, these babies are just so precious to us as she was such a big part in all of our lives. We had such a tough year but when we found out that Morna was expecting twins, it brought so much joy and love back into our lives. We all joke that it’s a good job Morna had two babies as one wouldn’t be enough to go around!
Do you have any advice for new mums?
Mary: Motherhood is amazing, but it’s also hard. As long as you are kind to yourself and know you are doing the best job you can, that’s all your children need. Everything else will fall into place.
Images: Sean McCormack
Catch our full Mother’s Day shoot in the March Issue of GALWAYnow Magazine