When Richard Johnson’s daughter Persephone was born in 2015, he was on top of the world. His excitement quickly turned to tragedy when the baby’s mother took Persephone and ran away to California. His wife was struggling with postpartum depression and threatened to put the baby up for adoption unless Richard came and got her. Richard, of course, got his daughter… and set off on a challenging journey as a single father raising his child alone.
Richard luckily found support among other single dads on a Facebook page called Life of Dad, which helped him figure things out with raising Persephone. He shared the details of his journey on the Facebook page, writing: “Life of Dad, 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.”
He continued: “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.”
This community of people going through similar challenges was critical for Richard, as he explained: “The page started to turn into a major confidence booster and really helped me through all of this.”
He added: “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.”
As if that wasn’t heartwarming enough, Richard gave another update on Facebook in 2017, sharing a wonderful turn of events, as he explained: “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.
He continued: “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.”
Richard also noted: “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.”
The family he gained wasn’t lost on Richard and he explained: “Life isn’t about when the book ends, it’s about how you decide to start the next story in your series.”
What do you think about the letter he wrote to his baby’s mother?