Patrick Gomez
October 10, 2017 08:29 AM

Nick Lachey knew opening up about his wife Vanessa‘s premature deliver of their son Phoenix Robert was going to be hard — but he also knew it was necessary.

“What I’ve found is so many people go through similar experiences and there is strength in sharing those stories,” Nick told PEOPLE after Monday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, where Vanessa performed a dance inspired by her experience giving birth to Phoenix at just 29 weeks in December.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve gone through but honestly it’s okay in the end and it’s important to share that.”

Fabio Chizzola

Nick admitted he was “petrified” during the six weeks Phoenix spent in the NICU, but he says the experience brought him closer to Vanessa.

RELATED VIDEO: Vanessa Lachey Breaks Down on DWTS as She Reveals Her Son Phoenix’s Premature Birth Story

“Kids in general bring you closer together as a couple and anything you go through and you overcome, whatever that struggle might be, I think strengthens you in the end and you lean on each other,” he told reporters.

Nick revealed that Vanessa spent more time at Phoenix’s side while he was home watching their two older children. (Phoenix is now 10 months while older brother Camden John is 5 and sister Brooklyn Elisabeth is 2.)

“Our youngest wasn’t even old enough to go see him, so only Camden got to go see him,” says Nick. “And then its scary, there’s beeps and alarms and this and that and tubes and it’s like you don’t want to … it’s a hard thing. There’s just no two ways about it.

“But we leaned on each other and got through it with great friends and family around us and in the end everything was perfectly fine, so I am thrilled to be able to tell that story tonight and I hope it inspires somebody else out there to kind of keep their head up.”

Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (at 8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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