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5 Parenthood Moments That Showed Me How Truly Strong My Wife Is

A new dad reflects on his wife's strength, humor, and patience during everything from colic battles to dirty diaper debacles.

A lot of things reveal themselves when you start a family: you realize how you can handle so much more responsibility than you were previously, how much you can do on zero sleep, and how you can endure the smell of poop so long as it comes from your child. But perhaps the most amazing is what parenting forces you to realize about your partner. New parenthood bathes your spouse in a new light, one that highlights qualities you never knew existed. Who knew my partner could go so long without sleep? you think. Wow, this person I married can hold an infant with one arm for hours! It also provides its fair share of scenarios that force us and our partner to dig deep into hidden parts of themselves. Kevin McDonnell, who became a first-time dad nine-months ago, wanted to share. “I love my wife so much already. But I was just so impressed with how my she handled so many things during and after pregnancy,” the Austin-based dad told us via email. “She’s incredible.” From enduring pain to dealing with poop, here, in Kevin’s words, are five moments his wife’s strength, humor and patience, blew him away.

How She Handled the Pain of Delivery Without An Epidural

“Bloodwork determined that my wife had a low platelet count, which meant that nurses couldn’t administer an epidural during birth. And as my wife didn’t want the other medication that would knock her out during delivery, she opted to go drug free. I thought she was crazy and tried to convince her otherwise. Leading up to delivery, she expressed a lot of concern. But when she went into labor, she growled and grit her teeth, screamed, cried, and, as happens, pooped a little bit. I couldn’t imagine the pain she experienced during the seven hours of her labor, but she never once asked for additional drugs. She did scream “fuck” a lot, which, considering she’s pretty mild-mannered, had the nurses in stitches. I knew childbirth would bring something out of her but this was beyond my wildest expectations.”

I don’t know if it was adrenaline or simply some eye of the tiger magic, but she was awake and at attention through those first 24 hours and stayed vigilant and upbeat during those first nervous feedings, swaddlings, and wake-ups.

How She Stayed Up for Nearly Two Days After Our Daughter Was Born

“That birth I mentioned? Sounds exhausting, right? I know I would’ve needed a good couple of the days on the couch to recover. And while she certainly slept for a bit in the hospital, once we got home, my wife was a ball of energy. I don’t know if it was adrenaline or simply some eye of the tiger magic, but she was awake and at attention through those first 24 hours and stayed vigilant and upbeat during those first nervous feedings, swaddlings, and wake-ups. It was incredible. And ever since, she’s been an absolute champ when it comes to operating during a sleep-deprived state.”

When She Consoled Our Daughter During Her Colic

“Our daughter had a really bad bout of colic. And there were some nights when she just wailed and wailed and wailed. While I know it hurt my wife to hear her scream so much — it really wounded men — she was such a rock. Together, we tried massage, different swaddles – all the stuff you do, but she cried for hours. My wife bounced her, soothed her, and whispered to her the entire time, and, while she was visibly frustrated with the situation, she never once complained or did anything other than try to help her.”

I know it’s silly but I looked at her laughing off this poopy mess that was all over her and thought, what a woman.

How Defiantly She Breastfed in Public

“We were out one day in the city and on a crowded subway. The trains were all delayed and we couldn’t really find a place to go. Our daughter was hungry and very fussy and my wife, who, as I said, is shy, summoned her strength and started feeding on the train. Now, the train is full of all sorts of people, some of whom judge and some of whom leer. But she focused on the task at hand and paid no mind. I was wildly impressed by how she ignored everything.”

When She Got Pooped On For the First Time

“My wife is a pretty squeamish person. She hates blood and is not a fan of any sort of gross-out horror movies — things like that. So I didn’t think she’d take being pooped on too well. We had some near misses that freaked her out a bit. But when it happened for the first time like really happened — she was the center of the drop zone and it was a messy one —  she freaked out for a few seconds, laughed it off like a champ, and simply asked for the baby wipes. I know it’s silly but I looked at her laughing off this poopy mess that was all over her and thought, what a woman.”