Sydney Swan’s Gary Rohan’s Reflections on New Fatherhood

In April, Gary Rohan and his wife became parents for the first time. Gary’s wife Amie gave birth to twins Bella and Willow. Sadly, Willow passed away from anencephaly five hours after she was born. Anencephaly is a fatal neural tube defect that has no cure. When Amie was 11 weeks pregnant, the couple were told that one of their twin daughters had the fatal condition and would die within hours of being born.

Through all this Gary has continued to play football each weekend for the Sydney Swans. And like hundreds of thousands of new parents, the tough juggle of work and family is ever present. In a poignant Instagram post just after the birth of the twins, Gary wrote, “The most perfect little souls we have ever laid eyes on, we feel so truly blessed to be your parents.”

Deeply affected by the loss of their daughter Willow, Gary was even more determined to be a present and nurturing father to Bella. One way he could be there for his daughter and support his wife was by supplementing Amie’s breastfeeds with bottle feeds. Partnering with Tommee Tippee, Gary has been able to support breast-feeding by using the Tommee Tippee teats that replicate the look and feel of a breast.

“Bella is a preemie and even though she is breastfed most of the time, we have to make sure that she is gaining weight consistently, so she has a nightly bottle as a top up which I normally give her,” says Gary. Being able to give this nightly top up feeds means that Gary can be a constant presence in his daughter’s routine, and share in the wonderful bonding opportunities that feeding brings.

“I cherish these times with Bella and the bottle gives me the chance to help her grow big and strong, and Amie can get some much-needed sleep.” Gary adds: “We are so lucky to have Bella in our lives and we can’t wait to see what the next chapter in her life is.”

While no doubt Father’s Day without Willow will be a tough day, we could all learn something from the couple’s gratitude for life, and resilience throughout an extremely sad time for their family. “It’s been a tough rollercoaster, but we had two beautiful girls and were lucky enough we got to bring one home. Fatherhood is really good and I’m loving every minute of it.”

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