From the moment parents welcome their babies into the world, we do everything within our power to keep them safe, including getting them vaccinated against deadly diseases. These shots protect our children, but hearing a newborn cry after a needle poke is absolutely heartbreaking. The conundrum is perfectly captured in a now-viral video of this dad watching his baby get his shots and every parent can relate.
New father Antwon Lee shared his incredibly relatable video via Facebook on Oct. 27. In the clip, Lee is with his 2-month-old son, Debias King, as the newborn gets his first shots at the pediatrician’s office. (I know, right? Talk about nerve-wracking.) However, the way this new dad speaks to his little guy is remarkable, and completely heartwarming.
“I really didn’t know the video was being filmed at that time,” the 29-year-old dad from Warrenton, Georgia, tells Romper. “What happened was, when me and my wife went to the parking lot, she said, ‘I have a video to show you.’ So she sent the video to my phone and something just told me to push it on [Facebook].”
From the bottom of my heart, I’m so glad Lee’s wife decided to shoot his candid reaction. “I felt his pain, wait till the end,” he captioned the clip. Watch for yourself!
At the beginning of the video, Lee was chatting with his little guy as the nurse orally administered a vaccine. The nervous daddy tells Debias to stay strong, giving him a pep talk about what’s to come. (Although in hindsight, Lee’s pep talk was probably more for himself.) As the baby boy stares at his daddy, Lee continues to talk to him, assuring him everything will be OK.
It wasn’t until Debias began receiving his series of pokes that Lee’s emotions started to get away from him. With each needle stick, Lee shouted out in sympathy for his wailing son. “It hurt my feelings,” Lee tells Romper. “I just told him, ‘I’m gonna be with you. Look at me, I’m going to be here with you.’ I knew he was going to cry.” Viewers can almost feel the father’s pain, at times.
Lee tells Romper that on the same day this video was filmed, his own father, Anthony Lee, ended up passing away due to complications from drinking. He was only 57. As the bereaved son mourns this loss, a continued source of joy is little Debias. Lee told ABC News:
Lee says he wasn’t prepared for just how much others would relate to the video, which has attracted more than 11 million views so far. “I didn’t know that video was going to go viral,” Lee says, noting that a friend was the one who suggested he should make the video public.
“He’s a beautiful, beautiful, peaceful child,” Lee continued. “And he’s only 2 months, and he listens to me.” Judging by how little Debias was staring at his daddy and reacting to his soothing voice, I’d definitely have to agree.
From experience, I know how the cognitive dissonance of vaccinating your newborn can play with your emotions: Causing short-term pain to prevent long-term illness. It’s not easy. Still, I’ve never doubted that immunizing was the best choice in order to protect my children from things like measles, mumps, pertussis, and more.
That doesn’t mean watching your precious baby recoil in pain — sometimes multiple times, depending on how many shots they’re scheduled to get at a given appointment — is any less heart-wrenching. Lee did a commendable job for a first-timer. I swear it gets easier, man. Keep up the good work!