Parenting News

Young Kiwi father to raise his surrogate baby alone after wife dies

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the grieving first-time dad.

A young Kiwi father faces raising his surrogate child alone after his wife died before she got to meet the baby.

Gareth Arena and his late wife Bec Arena, who had suffered from cystic fibrosis, had been unable to have children of their own. Bec's close friend Jessica Brockie, who already has two children of her own with Kiwi football player Jeremy Brockie, had agreed to be a surrogate mum for Bec and Gareth.

But tragedy struck in September 2017 when Bec died of complications relating to her illness. By that stage Jessica was already around five months' pregnant with Gareth and Bec's baby.

Jessica, who now lives in South Africa, gave birth to the baby boy this week.

In a tweet announcing the baby's arrival she wrote, "And just like that, Rixon James Arena has arrived in this world.

"What an amazing journey to be a part of. Memories that [Jeremy] and I will treasure forever."

The photo she shared is of Gareth with his son on his chest.

Gareth also took to Instagram to share his feelings of both joy and sadness at the birth of his son. Showing footage taken on he and Bec's wedding day, he said, "I thought I would share a beautiful clip from our wedding day that shows a little of how much Bec actually wanted to become a mother," he wrote.

"This is the hardest part of being a father for me. I can deal with the sleepless nights and s---ty nappies. The things I would do just to be able to see him in Becs arms."

A GoFundMe page, with a goal of reaching $20,000, has been set up by a family friend to help Gareth.

"In her own words, Bec was a Nutella fiend, car karaoke queen, grammar nazi and cystic fibrosis sufferer.. but to those who knew and loved her she was so so so so much more," they shared.

The page explains Gareth had planned to continue working full-time while Bec became a stay-at-home mum.

Gareth "dreamed" to stay at home with his child for as long as possible before resuming work. More than $18,000 has been raised so far to help Gareth achieve that dream.