New Kids On The Block star Joey McIntyre has opened up about his struggles as a father after revealing his baby boy Rhys was born severely deaf. McIntyre's wife Barrett gave birth to their second son in December 2009, but the tot was found to suffer from a serious hearing impairment after failing a series of tests shortly after he was born.
The couple admits it had difficulty coming to terms with the news at first, but the family is gradually learning to deal with it. Barrett tells People.com, "What's wild is we will never really know how (anything) sounds for him. We went through a full range of emotions. As a mother you want to protect your kids. I thought, 'How could I let this happen?' I felt responsible."
McIntyre adds, "You're just shocked, and your stomach gets in knots. It feels like you're holding your breath. And that feeling lasted for a few days, until you get educated. You go from, 'Oh my God' - fearing that someday my son might be walking into the street and I'm calling after him and he's not going to hear me - to 'It's going to be OK' to 'It's going to be amazing.' Rhys' hearing loss is part of who he is. His life is going to be as special as Griffin's. There's just work involved."
And the singer is determined not to let little Rhys' disability affect his childhood. McIntyre says, "We're being totally proactive about the situation... He knows our voices now. He's a sweet, responsive baby. He's doing all the things he should be for a baby his age, and that's beautiful. It's all of the things you take for granted. His hearing aids make a huge difference."