In January of 2015, Richard Johnson, welcomed his daughter, Persephone. Within a month, the mother left him and ran away with Persephone to California. She quickly changed her mind, threatening to put Persephone up for adoption if Richard didn’t come get the baby.
The 21-year-old dad immediately boarded a plane and brought his daughter home with him — but soon, reality set in.
After the mother’s unexpected departure, which he says was the result of postpartum depression, Richard was thrust into the unknown. He realized how unprepared he was to raise a child by himself.
Alone, depressed, and terrified, Richard stumbled upon a Facebook group for fathers called “Life of Dad,” which showed him there were other men out there like him — and that it was possible to thrive as a young, single father.
Richard has done a complete, 180-degree turnaround, saving his daughter’s life. He shared his story with the “Life of Dad” Facebook page, where it quickly went viral.
In November 2015, a young single father posted a heartfelt message on the Life of Dad Facebook page. It celebrates the adventure of fatherhood.
Richard did not expect his message to go massively 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.
We still don’t know exactly why, but we suspect postpartum depression played a part.
In the first few weeks of it being just her 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.
We’re both very happy now and continue to grow together every day.
She’s now 10 months, and I now get asked by my friends for parenting advice constantly.
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.
But that’s not where Richard and Persephone’s story ends. Their eager new readers began to notice a woman popping up in Richard’s Facebook feed.
In April 2017, Richard posted a heartwarming update:
This lovely lady is my girlfriend and Persephone[‘s] wonderful and gorgeous Mother Jennifer.
We had met at the mall while I pathetically attempted to catch her attention by asking if she could help me pick out clothes for Persephone.
I explained that I wasn’t sure what actually matched and need some pointers considering my own closet had consisted of nothing but black, faded black, and dark black clothes.
We had talked for months before I allowed her to meet Persephone. Upon meeting her Persephone had made the choice that this would be her mommy.
Persephone wasn’t a fan of women and would normally shun away from them. She had only known her bearded father and his friends.
The first time they had met Persephone had cried to be held by Jennifer.
Fast forward to today, Jennifer has helped us become the family we desperately wanted to be. Persephone knows no other woman other than her as mommy.
When she cries out for Mommy it is Jennifer that she requests.
She has taken on a part of Jennifer’s personality. It is truly amazing to see the two of them bound so strongly.
Jennifer’s family has also taken the spot of grandparents, cousins, great grand parents, etc.
They have shown her so much love and acceptance I can not begin to explain.
Life isn’t about when the book ends, it’s about how you decide to start the next story in your series.
Not only is Richard an awesome dad, but he’s helping so many parents by sharing his story — and with such care and respect, no less.