Today on the Mil Spouse Book Review: An interview with Barbara McNally, author of Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife.

A licensed physical therapist, Barbara McNally found herself drawn to working with injured combat veterans and their families”While an individual person may go off to war, it is the entire family that truly serves.”


Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife offers an intimate look into the chaotic and demanding lives of military spouses as they adjust to living with injured combat veterans. These women are thrust into caretaker roles for soldiers who return home with amputated limbs, brain injuries, burns, and disabilities, with virtually no support or training. Post-traumatic stress tears their families apart, and they must wrestle with huge, imposing questions: Does he still love me? Must I sacrifice my career forever? How will this affect my kids, my sex life, my happiness?

Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife reveals the innermost thoughts of women who faced these challenges and prevailed—to not just survive, but thrive.” – from Barbara McNally’s web site


Q. What was your inspiration for writing the book?

McNally: Driving across the Coronado Bridge, I saw a man jump to his death. I thought of his wife, mom and family. Curious, I did a little digging and found out he was a wounded warrior who felt he didn’t have any other options. Working with wives of Wounded Warriors, this was my impetuous to turn such a horrific death into something positive. This book offers resources for the wives who are living with someone who suffers from physical and mental war injuries. When someone we love is wounded we are wounded too.

Q. Is this just a book for wives of Wounded Warriors or are there universal themes you hope mainstream readers will take away from the book?

McNally: We are all on our own heroes’ journey crossing the bridge. We either jump off or find the resources to cross to the other side. We learn from those who lead heroic lives. We love stories about inspirational people who have overcome life challenges. They motivate us to live a heroic life. Anyone who is a caregiver or interested in the emotional cost of war will want to read these compelling stories.

Q. Tell us about the Barbara McNally Foundation?

McNally: I started the foundation from the proceeds of my first book Unbridled: A Memoir to sponsor events for women to grow as Mothers, Lovers, Warriors, and Sages. SPA Day for wives of Wounded Warriors has been my primary focus for the past 8 years.


Author Barbara McNally

Q. What is SPA Day?

McNally: Support, Purpose and Appreciation. A day to nurture our nurturers. The heroines in the shadows who care for our Wounded Warriors. Where there is a Wounded Warrior, there is a wounded wife. SPA Day helps these women find the resources they need and bond with other women going through similar challenges.

Q. What have you learned from meeting women who attend SPA day?

McNally: That their lives have changed drastically. I’m learning to live bravely and heroically from those who are. They are the silent strength behind our Wounded Warriors. It gets me out of myself and any petty dramas in my own life.


Wounded Warriors’ wives enjoying some much-deserved rest on a SPA Day

Q. Can you share a story from SPA Day or your book that touched you in a certain way?

McNally: One story is called “Making Margaritas out of Lemonade.” The lemons were her husband is a paraplegic, but the lemonade was he came home alive. The Margaritas they created out of the lemonade, was their inner and outer resources they discovered. Their personal growth and closeness as a couple showed their resiliency and offers hope for others that they too can find a meaningful life after war injuries. The outer resources they found were Operation Home Front who gave them a mortgage free home. Operation Family Caregiver provided tools to overcome their inner challenges to find happiness again.


Q. How did you go about selecting stories to be included in the book?

McNally: Poignant and heartfelt stories. One women said her husband was too crippled to be at war and too damaged to be at peace, but there is a turning point, a transformation in each women’s life where she grows emotionally or spiritually, finds a connection and resource that changed their life for the better. This gives hope to all of us overcoming challenges. They are uplifting stories that motivate me.

Q. How can readers get more involved in SPA day or supporting Wounded Warriors and their wives?

McNally: Back to the man on the bridge. We are all on our hero’s journey crossing the bridge. By giving this book to anyone you know facing life challenges, they will find the resources within the book to help them on their journey. If you want to help, please contact me! My goal is to have a day of support, purpose, and appreciation for every wife of a Wounded Warrior throughout the U.S. If you have a Spa, or other services you want to donate please contact me. If you don’t have the time or facility to help, just $99.00 will provide a day for a wife so that she can find the resources she needs to care for herself and her Wounded Warrior.

Purchase Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife here

Barbara’s web site