A post by a young single father describing his experiences of parenthood has gone viral on Facebook, attracting more than 93,000 likes.
Richard Johnson, from Las Vegas, Nevada, is just 21. His post, on a page belonging to single father network Life of Dad, said the site had become a “major confidence booster” for him after the mother of his daughter Persephone had left them just a month after the birth.
“We still don’t know exactly why, but we suspect post-partum [natal] depression played a part.”
Reading about the experiences of other fathers had helped him overcome his anxiety and feelings of inadequacy about being a parent, he continued. Determined to be the best father he could, Mr Johnson also immersed himself in research, reporting:
“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.”
In a subsequent interview with Yahoo! Parenting, Mr Johnson described his family background, saying it was one in which “everyone is either divorced or a single parent.”
“My father wasn’t in the picture, and I never wanted that for my kids, so I was dead set on not having any.”
But he changed his mind after meeting Persephone’s mother.
“We decided that we wanted kids, and I wanted to give them the life I didn’t have.”
Unfortunately the unnamed woman left with their daughter weeks after the birth, taking her to California. She then rang Richard and told him that she would put Persephone up for adoption if he didn’t come and collect her. He did.
Mr Johnson told Life of Dad that he initially struggled with his new situation, and worried that he would not be a good enough father.
“One night in particular was the night she first crawled. She came to me and laid her tiny little hand on my cheek and stared into my eyes. I took it as “Come on Daddy, we have a lot to do.” So I told her no more crying for either of us and we were going to fight to be happy. We’ve kept true to that promise.”
His daughter is now 10 months old, he reports, and his friends now regularly turn to him for parenting advice.
“We’re both very happy now and continue to grow together everyday.”
At the time of writing, the post had attracted 5,662 comments and been shared 7,691 times. Life of Dad told the young father:
“Wow, Richard. This is such a great message to receive. We’re so glad that we were able to play even a small role in helping you with the beginnings of parenting.”
Read Richard’s post here.