Edward F. O’Neill, MD

Dr. O’Neill is a dad of six- and four-year-old sons and five- and two-year-old daughters and one on the way,  the medical director of the NICU  at the Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky, and an assistant professor with the University of Louisville Department of Pediatrics.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while your wife was pregnant and/or as a dad, and how did you overcome it? We have always lived where we did not have extended family, which isn’t a problem with no kids or one, but after the first one, labor comes, and you have to get to the hospital quickly. When we moved to Louisville, we had two children, and our third was due three weeks after we moved in. My wife went into labor at 4 am, so we knocked on our new neighbor’s door at 4 am and asked them if they could come over and watch the younger two while I ran my wife to the hospital! Luckily, we had great neighbors who were happy to help.

What’s the most surprising lesson that being a dad has taught you? You can try to read, prepare, and study what it means to be a great father, but I have found that it’s a lot more fun to roll with the punches. Don’t try to overthink it, but be present and engaged.

What’s the one bit of advice about fatherhood you wish someone had given you much earlier? Go out with your spouse more.

What’s the one thing about being a new dad that shouldn’t be missed? Your children are so impressionable at such a young age. Do not postpone for anything playing, wrestling, and reading with them. There will come a time when they will not want to be with you all the time.

What’s the most overrated thing about fatherhood? Absolutely nothing. I would rather be remembered for being an awesome dad than the best fill-in-the-blank.

What’s the most underrated thing about fatherhood? The sense of pride you feel when you see your child achieve something for the first time or for the 99th time. We live in a very egocentric society, and it’s a rare thing to feel pure pride and joy about something other than oneself except when you are a father or a mother, for that matter.

Career, marriage, kids … how does a guy stay sane? The best way to stay sane is to have first found a wife who has the same values and virtues as well as complementary strengths. We stay sane by doing things as a family. We work together and have fun together. No one has assigned jobs.

Profile by Wyatt Myers

Dr. O’Neill’s Q&As

My baby spits up all the time. What can we do about it?

When can we take our baby out in public?