Richard Johnson, 21, welcomed his now-ten-month-old daughter Persephone in January, but just one month later, the baby’s mother left them. Postpartum depression likely played a part.
Instead of holding a grudge against his daughter's mother, he is sharply focused on giving his daughter the best life he possibly can.
But he's had to learn to deal with plenty of "parental issues" on his own, and has even taught himself to braid hair and paint nails. Thankfully, Johnson says, he came upon Life of Dad, a Facebook page for fathers, which offered the advice and support he needed.
So, Johnson took to Facebook this week to thank the people behind the page — and the post has since gone viral.
"My name is Richard Johnson, and I’m a single father to a beautiful little girl named Persephone. Her mother left about a month after she was born," Richard wrote in the the private message, which Life of Dad then posted publicly, with permission.
"We still don’t know exactly why, but we suspect postpartum depression played a part. In the first few weeks of it being just [Persephone] and me, I stumbled upon your page by accident. I was so nervous and scared about being a father in general, but now I was a single father and had to fulfill two roles. I wasn’t sure I could do it.
"I had read every 'new parent' book I could find and clocked in over 1,000 hours in YouTube videos from everything to braiding hair and painting nails to theories on how to deal with common parental issues. I then started to watch your page more closely and saw that there were other fathers out there who were in similar predicaments as me. The page started to turn into a major confidence booster and really helped me through all of this."
He went on to say that seeing other stories about dads in the fathers’ group helped him through a "very difficult time," and he and his daughter are both very happy now — and has even learned a thing or two to pass on to other parents.
"I now get asked by my friends for parenting advice constantly," he continued. "We’ve come a long way, my daughter and me, and we definitely owe part of that to this page and the people within it. So from both of us, we wanted to thank you."
The post has garnered over 7,000 shares, about 85,000 likes, and thousands of supportive comments.
"Not only do you sound like a great father, but also a compassionate person," wrote one woman. "It probably hasn't been easy for you, but I think you deserve extra props for speaking like a true father & man on behalf of your daughter's situation/relationship with her mother. Keep your head up, you're on a great start to raising an incredible future woman, mother, and spouse."
Keep on doing what you're doing, Richard. Persephone is lucky to have you.
You can read the full post here.