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If there was a duration of multiple, consecutive years where I felt drastically ill-prepared and under-equipped, it was Dadhood.  

My wife and I started our lives together building a startup chiropractic practice in Toronto, Canada for five years before our first child was born. My wife took a leave from the business to be at home full time with our baby and I suddenly felt very alone with an unfamiliar weight on my shoulders. For the first time, I was the only one financially responsible my wife and I and now a child too!

When I allowed myself to think about it and the consequences of failure, I was overwhelmed. Not to mention I felt I was completely winging it when it came to most things to do with Dadhood. This was not how I envisioned what having a family would be like.  

Have you ever had a dream where you are suddenly writing an exam that you didn’t study for? In the dream, there are flashes of panic, while wondering how you didn’t know about the exam. 

That was me in real life! 

The paradox was that I had studied. I had read books on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I attended the hypnobirthing classes and the midwifery appointments with my wife. I studied the human body for three years in my undergrad and four years in Chiropractic school. My knowledge of childhood development from embryo to adolescent from nearly all aspects of the human body were extensive.  

But, I question any of that made a difference. I had missed out on the course notes.  

Within two weeks of my daughter being born there were some strange things happening. Twice her breathing would suddenly get ridiculously rapid. At the hospital we were labelled the over concerned “new” parents as her oxygen saturation and vitals were normal and sent home. 

We persisted and when my wife told our midwife of the episodes, she sent us straight to the hospital and within two days our baby was on life support and having open heart surgery to save her life.  

I studied for none of this.  

There is no comparison to any other stress I’ve experienced in life. I thought I knew stress and the fear of losing someone.  I witnessed my Dad lose his battle against cancer when I was 17.  But, the experience with my daughter was another level. There are no words or comparisons.  

She made it through and immediately things improved in her.  However, the concern for her having a full recovery and a normal life didn’t go away. It hummed in the background constantly for years, and surfaced heavily with yearly medical checkups.  

My wife and I would be labelled high achievers and we he had a fairly aggressive family plan that we forged ahead with even though mentally and emotionally I was not in a good place. I was still dealing with the financial pressures and the lingering concern for our daughter.  

We continued to live, and had two more children. We had a boy 18 months later. Another two and a half years after that, another daughter was born. It all happened seemingly as fast as a blink of an eye and I was suddenly drinking from a fire hose.  

The financial worries escalated with each child. I became consumed with worry about financially failing as a Dad and as a husband. I had moments I thought we would have to uproot the family and move to a cheaper area, away from the home we loved.  

Emotionally I was a mess. I remember leaving the house to go to the office, and sitting in my car with my hands on the steering wheel, trying not to break down to tears. I had no choice but to leave but I didn’t want to. I just wanted to be home with my kids. Work was pressure and high stakes.   

None of this was in the books I read either. 

The worst thing I could have possibly done was hide everything I was experiencing from everyone.  

I felt weak. I didn’t feel like a man. How could a real man feel this way I thought. I was embarrassed it had gone this far. How would I ever get through this? 

It seemed like over night things started to collapse with my health. Of course there was a long lead into the crisis that was on the horizon. I wasn’t listening to the whispers from my body and then the whispers became yells.  

I was diagnosed with a life threatening disease and suddenly my world was turned around even more. 

Would I even live to see 40? 

Would I die sooner than my Dad did? 

I knew the impact losing him had. I couldn’t bear to think of this happening to my family. 

I was in a tough spot as life already felt really heavy. I was already messed up. This disease made it all worse. 

I considered for moments that dying would be easier. Maybe I couldn’t really do “this.” This whole Dad thing. Maybe I wasn’t made for this?

I attribute making it through that time, to my wife. She stepped up and was a rock. She seemed stronger than I have ever been. She still didn’t know how bad I was inside, but she knew I was struggling to survive.  

None of this was in the research I did either. 

But, I made it through all that and I’m alive and stronger than ever. I learned a heck of a lot along the way and discovered through sharing my story that I wasn’t alone in what I went through. Even close friends I had no idea were struggling, were going through massive challenges too, and did it alone as well.  Some didn’t come out with an intact marriage and no longer live with their kids full time.  

I don’t believe we are meant to go about it alone. It was a mistake I made. A huge mistake that nearly cost me my life. 

This is why Daddius exists today. If we can help one Dad make it through the inevitable challenges along the multiple decades of  Dadhood, then it’s all worth it.  

This is my time to give back for the life I’ve been given.  

I pray this book helps you. This is for you, Dads. The book that prepares you for the unpreparable. The one that only Dads talking straight with you can write. The chat that no buddy will likely have with you for fear of looking unmanly. But, it’s the one we need to have and should have been having for generations!  


Evan Thomas Hill

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