By SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
Australian football [soccer] star Gary Rohan and his wife Amie have spoken out about their reaction when they found out that one of their unborn twins has anencephaly, and is not expected to survive after birth.
The Sydney Swans star announced their pregnancy on Instagram, sharing a beautiful photo of Mrs. Rohan cradling her baby bump, with the caption: “Amie and I are over the moon to share with you all that we have been blessed twice over.”
A heartbreaking diagnosis
“Sadly, one of our beautiful bubs has been diagnosed with anencephaly,” he continued. “Anencephaly is a condition where part of the brain, skull and scalp never develops. Our brain is very sensitive, so to live our brain must have cushion and protection. Since our brain tells our heart to beat, our lungs to breathe, our legs to move and so on, these babies live from a few moments to a few hours after birth. Babies born with anencephaly are not compatible with life.”
The days after receiving the news that one of her twins, who she nicknames “Baby B” was likely to die at birth were the “hardest I’ve ever had.” Mrs. Rohan told news.com.au. They also had to decide how to proceed with the pregnancy. As Mrs. Rohan explains: “Baby B is alive and it can grow to a full term but with twins with anencephaly, most parents don’t carry to full term. They choose to abort.”
But, she said:
“Our specialist gave us all the options, but I said this is the journey I’ve been given and this is the situation I’ve been put in and I’m more than happy to carry the baby to full term. He said that choice is very common, and he’s delivered many pregnancies like ours.”
(Indeed, Prof John Wyatt told the SPUC National Conference that in his long experience of caring for sick babies, the outcomes for parents who choose to give birth to a baby with a life-limiting condition and receive palliative care are better than those who abort.)
As Mr. Rohan said on Instagram:
“We come to the decision that either way, BOTH our babies are beautiful, precious human beings, with the only thing being that sadly one’s life is destined to be cut short…And at the end of the day, we will always be parents to twins, our journey has just been written a little differently to others.”
Since sharing the heartbreaking diagnosis, the Rohans have been overwhelmed with supportive messages on social media. “The past couple of days have been nothing short of amazing,” Mrs. Rohan said.
“The number of people that we’ve had contact us with similar stories and reach out to us has been absolutely incredible. It’s the best decision we’ve ever decided to make, to get it out there and talk about it like it’s as normal as it can be. I’m finding a strength that I never even knew that I had.”