A touching Facebook post by a single father about raising his daughter after her mother left her has gone viral.

Richard Johnson, 21, states that he has never wanted children. He claims that everyone in his family is either divorced or a single parent. According to Johnson, “I was fixated on not having any,” because “My father wasn’t in the picture, and I never wanted that for my kids.” But when he met the woman who would give birth to his daughter, everything changed. “We made the decision to have kids, and I wanted to give them the life I didn’t have.”

The Las Vegas man claims that the scariest experience of his life was learning that his fiance was pregnant. ” Except for what I saw on TV and in movies, I had no concept what it meant to be an excellent father. The more I thought about it, the more afraid I felt.”

In a message to the fathers’ online community Life of Dad, Johnson describes how he came to be responsible for raising his daughter Persephone all by himself. The post has more than 12,000 likes and 650 comments since it was posted on Life of Dad’s Facebook page on Tuesday night.

“Her mother left about a month after [my daughter’s] birth.” Johnson says, “We don’t know why, but we think postpartum depression played a part. During the first few weeks, when it was just [Persephone and me], I accidentally found your page. In general, I was frightened to have children, but all of a sudden I was a single father with two obligations. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the challenge. I spent over a thousand hours watching YouTube videos on subjects like hair braiding, nail art, and theories on how to handle common parenting worries.

I had read every ‘new parent’ book I could find. I started reading your page more carefully and discovered that there were other fathers in circumstances similar to mine. I started to feel a lot more confident thanks to the internet, and it really got me through everything.

During a trying time, you unquestionably made a difference in my daughter’s and my lives. Right now, we’re both incredibly happy, and we continue to develop as a family every day. Now that she’s 10 months old, my friends are frequently asking me for parenting suggestions. We have come a long way together, and we owe a lot of it to this page and the people who are on it. So, on behalf of both of us, we’d like to thank you.”

Johnson claims that when Persephone’s mother departed in February, she took the baby with her. “She took my newborn baby to California, but then called a week later and said if I didn’t come to get Persephone, she was going to put her up for adoption,” Johnson tells Yahoo Parenting. He claims that they have been together since since he went out and picked up his daughter and brought her home.

In a follow-up Facebook statement published Wednesday morning, Johnson notes that his early fatherhood years were challenging. He continues, “I held my young baby while she slept crying on more than a few occasions because I wasn’t convinced I’d be a good enough father for her.  She first started to crawl one specific night. She came up to me and put her tiny palm on my cheek while gazing into my eyes. It was like she was saying, “Come on, Daddy, we’ve got a lot to do.” I reassured her that we would both work hard to be happy and that neither of us would cry again.”

Johnson continued by saying that after coming to terms with his new position as a single parent, he sought advice from friends and even established a support group for single parents. I was unfamiliar with girls because I had never been around babies. But I asked my older acquaintances who had raised girls for advice. Johnson continues, “I worked on braiding my hair, and I’m not bragging, but I can braid hair better than most girls. Hairstyles aren’t quite ready for his 10-month-old yet. “Even if she doesn’t yet have hair, I want to be ready.”

Although they are not romantically involved, Johnson and Persephone have moved in with a friend who is a single mother with a 6-month-old son. “We are each other’s rocks,” he says. She helps me out by helping me care for her son while she is at work. Johnson presently works part-time at U-Haul, an organization he claims is especially understanding of his situation, but he wants to find night work so that he or his friend can stay with the children all the time.

Johnson was surprised by the enthusiastic reaction to his article. He declares, “I don’t understand it.” “I believed that a parent should do this,  I used to play football when I was younger, but no one in the stands could see me. My daughter shouldn’t experience anything like that. One of the worst things that had ever happened to me, it was awful. I suppose you have a choice as a parent, but I think there shouldn’t. You shouldn’t leave your kid behind. A life that you have brought into the world is meant for you to love and care for.”

According to David Guest, one of the website’s founders, Johnson’s story is typical of the men the website connects. According to Guest, “fatherhood is a universal experience and it’s the most important and emotional one a guy will have in his life.” As you read Richard’s post, you can really sense his struggles with being left alone with his young child, his transparency and sensitivity, and his anxieties of “I didn’t know whether I could do this.” It’s relatable because, even if you have a wonderful co-parent, you still experience the same emotions.

According to Johnson, Life of Dad saved his life. He continues, “When I was alone, I used to feel so depressed that I didn’t want to see a bunch of happy couples with their kids. But as soon as I left, I checked Life of Dad and saw that there were other fathers who were unmarried. Although they have a poor reputation, deadbeat dads aren’t always to blame, in my experience. It’s motivational to read about people who have overcome difficult circumstances.”

Johnson didn’t know if his post will be made public or not. “I simply wanted them to know that I will always be grateful to them for helping a stranger,” he said. He acknowledges that “there were many nights when I didn’t know if I could accomplish it.” ” But this website was crucial in assisting the father of my daughter to develop into the man she wanted him to be.”

Johnson said he finds it hard to believe he formerly opposed having kids. From there, he says, it has been “crazy” to get up before her and prepare her for the day. “I want to give her the best start in life I can. She needs to learn to have faith in me and to trust that I will be there for her both at night and in the morning. I now eagerly anticipate seeing her each day since it’s so wonderful.

She smiles at me when I look at her. She is both my closest companion and my confidante. I discuss anything with her; I realize she doesn’t understand everything now, but one day she will.

I take a lot of pictures and write to her every day in the hopes that one day she will be able to reflect on what happened and formulate her own opinions, ideally free of resentment. Facebook users believe she is lucky, but I am the one who is fortunate enough to have her.”