They say it takes a village to raise a child, and yet Richard Johnson, a young, single father, not only does it all by himself, but he makes it seem effortless. However, it wasn’t always this way…
Richard is a father to a beautiful, little girl called Persephone, who was born back in January 2015. But about a month after their baby girl was born, Persephone’s mother made the rash decision to leave Richard and run away to California with their daughter.
And then it wasn’t long before Persephone’s mother decided that she also no longer wanted a relationship with her baby daughter, and she told Richard that he would have to raise their child alone, otherwise she would be put up for adoption.
Richard, who was just 21 years old at the time, wasted no time in coming to get his baby girl. The doting father hopped straight onto a plane and brought Persephone back home. But the truth is, the young, inexperienced father had no idea what he was getting himself into. He had gone from having very few responsibilities to being the sole-carer of a defenseless, newborn baby.
Naturally, the young man felt that he was out of his depth and was taken aback by the situation he had found himself in. He wasn’t entirely sure but he believed that it was postpartum depression that had spurred his ex-partner’s decision to leave him and their baby for good.
Luckily, Richard found help in the form of a Facebook page for fathers called ‘Life of Dad’. In fact, becoming a part of a group where he could exchange stories of fatherhood with other dads totally changed his life for the better. It also made Richard realize that there were other young fathers in exactly the same situation and many of them were able to make the best out of their particular circumstances. Stumbling across this Facebook group gave Richard the extra motivation he needed to help raise his daughter.
For another inspiring story about parenthood, watch the video below to learn about the young mother who recorded a heartbreaking video for her baby boy before giving him up for adoption.
So inspired was he that he shared his story with other followers of ‘Life of Dad’ and soon enough it became viral:
“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 post-partum 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 1000 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.”
“I always look forward to photo submissions and reading the stories of some of the awesome dads out there in this community. You truly helped my daughter and me through a very difficult time.”
“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.
Persephone & Richard Johnson”
And the story gets much better than a simple, albeit heartwarming, Facebook post.
In April 2017, Richard posted this beautiful status 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 grandparents, 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.”
Richard’s story is one of perseverance, hope, and love, and it’s something that many of us can learn from. In the meantime, we wish Richard, Jennifer, and Persephone all the health and happiness in the world