Nine months ago, Richard Johnson's wife left him and their then-1-month-old daughter, Persephone. She didn't tell him why she was leaving. She left no word on whether she'd return.
Johnson was on his own with his baby. He didn't really know what to do.
Like all new parents, he turned to the Internet. There, he came across Life of Dads, a Facebook group where fathers shared stories, pictures and challenges in their roles as fathers. Johnson found comfort and community in the group. One day, he told the group how thankful he was for the images and posts, which helped him see he could totally do this thing called fatherhood.
His post received more than 15K likes after just a day. So he decided to share a little more:
"The days have been rough and at times I wasn't sure I could make it another day," Johnson posted in a follow-up. "I spent more then a few nights holding my little girl as she slept, weeping, because I wasn't sure I was going to be a good enough father for her. 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."
That, too, received the kind of support we tend to give in the age of social media: Likes and replies and emojis can mean more than we care to admit.