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21st Century Child
21st Century ChildRTÉ One, Off air

Series 1: Episode 2

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In programme 2 of the series, we continue meeting our families and come face to face with some more 21st Century babies.

In this programme, we acknowledge that the traditional family structure of Ireland of old has changed beyond recognition. The fastest growing families units are lone parents and unmarried couples. Family size too is changing and Ireland, for so long the last bastion of the large family, is now changing, scaling back significantly with less children being born to more families.

However one family bucking that trend, are the Lonergan family from Glasnevin, who already have fraternal twin boys (one of which has Cystic Fibrosis). Having newly moved house and started renovating the attic, mum Adrienne and dad Mark are now reeling from the news that there are more twins on the way - this time identical twin girls!

But whilst they are busy trying to make plans for their rapidly expanding family, the Glennons from Kinnegad, are taking their birth preparations all in their stride - just like they did the other seven times.. Mum Helen loves being pregnant and with children ranging from teenage to toddler, both she and her farmer husband Mathew parent completely by instinct and experience. Just what impact will this new arrival have on the already crammed family?

From a family of 9, to a family of one. When we meet Limerick based Katie Hannon first, she is living alone and is determined that her baby will have the best possible start in life. Rejecting the idea of the 'epidoodle' - Limerick slang for the epidural - Kate's biggest worry isn't the pain, it's where she and her new baby will live if her landlord kicks her out.

In Dublin, Leonora McAteer and Mark Feane from Garristown are very much into their outdoors lifestyle and are consumed by their passion for horses and golf. They already have one child who has adapted with relish to this way of life. Mark and Leonora already know they don't want a bookish child - but they know it will be a long wait to see how this new baby turns out. Before the arrival of their new baby, they also want to sort out their co-sleeping issue with their 3 year old son Mathew. With baby Conor on the way, they know that 5 in a bed, could just be a step too far and David comes to meet them to give them some advice.

Meanwhile Dee Mulrooney and Richie Heffernan from Malahide Road in Dublin, are busy focusing on the birth of their second child. They are determined that this birth will be very different to their first traumatic hospital experience when Dee gave birth to Seimi three years ago. Passionate about breastfeeding and co-sleeping they have made plans for a home birth, but will Dee get the dream birth that she has always wanted?

Finally Carmel Kennedy Mahon and her husband Frank Mahon from Sligo, are expecting their third and final child. At 40 Carmel had given up hope of having another child until she fell pregnant. Whilst delighted about the pregnancy, Carmel and Frank are awaiting the birth with bated breath for more than one reason. Carmel has a congenital cataract condition and one of their two sons has inherited the condition. With a 50/50 chance of inheriting the condition, what will the doctor say when he examines their new baby just minutes after he has been born?


David Coleman
David Coleman