Life changed for Richard Johnson back in January 2015. During that pivotal month, he met the love of his life for the first time – his newborn daughter named Persephone. But after falling in love with the baby, his relationship with Persephone’s mother eroded, and within a month, the mother ran away, taking Persephone with her to California. Then, while on her own, the girl’s mother threatened to put Persephone up for adoption if Richard did not drop everything and drive hundreds of miles and take Persephone for himself – he did not waste a second coming to his daughter’s rescue.
Richard knew it was the right thing to do. But as soon as he has Persephone in his possession, the reality of the situation sank in – his entire life would have to change if he was going to raise his baby girl the right way.
Richard admits that Persephone’s mother’s behavior was uncharacteristic. He diagnosed her with post-partum depression, which has been known to cause new mothers to behave unpredictably. But that did not matter at that moment because Richard was a single father in charge of his newborn daughter’s life – and he was only twenty-one years himself.
Richard was terrified. He didn’t know what to do, so he joined a Facebook group called “Life of Dad,” hoping to connect with other people like him. That’s where he found hope because he watches as other young men thrived as fathers despite horrifying circumstances, some of which were worse than his.
After making a complete turnaround and doing right by Persephone, Richard felt like he got the hang of things. That’s when he wrote a post on the Life of Dad Facebook group page, sharing the following.
“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.”
A lot of time has passed from the day Persephone’s mother abandoned them to the day that Richard wrote the post. And he feels he has progressed a lot as a father.
“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.”
What do you think about Richard’s ability to step up to the plate and be a good dad?
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