It’s easy to pass judgment on a total stranger, especially when it comes to their parenting skills.
However, the encounter Kelly Dirkes had while shopping in Target with her baby girl proves some people take things a little too far.
Apparently, another woman approached Dirkes as she held baby Grace in her arms and told the mother-of-three she’d “spoil that baby” if she kept carrying her around.
Dirkes decided to write an open letter on Facebook in response, explaining why the “busybody” shouldn’t be so quick to judge:
“Dear Woman in Target-
I’ve heard it before, you know. That I ‘spoil that baby’. You were convinced that she’d never learn to be ‘independent’. I smiled at you, kissed her head, and continued my shopping.
If you only knew what I know.”
Dear Woman in Target-I've heard it before, you know. That I "spoil that baby". You were convinced that she'd never…
Dirkes continues to explain that Grace was adopted:
“If you only knew what her face looked like the moment her orphanage caregiver handed her to me to cradle for the very first time — fleeting moments of serenity commingled with sheer terror. No one had ever held her that way before, and she had no idea what she was supposed to do.
If you only knew that she would lay in her crib after waking and never cry — because up until now, no one would respond.
If you only knew that anxiety was a standard part of her day, along with banging her head on her crib rails and rocking herself for sensory input and comfort.
If you only knew that that baby in the carrier is heartbreakingly ‘independent’ — and how we will spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years trying to override the part of her brain that screams ‘trauma’ and ‘not safe’.”
Her letter has a certain poetic flare, sharing her daughter’s most intimate experiences in a way that really tugs at your heartstrings:
Image Credit: Kelly Dirkes
“If you only knew that that baby now whimpers when she’s put down instead of when she is picked up.
If you only knew that that baby ‘sings’ at the top of her lungs in the mornings and after her nap, because she knows that her chatter will bring someone to lift her out of her crib and change her diaper.
If you only knew that that baby rocks to sleep in her Mama’s or her Papa’s arms instead of rocking herself.”
Dirkes argues that “spoiling” Grace is the most important job she’ll ever have:
“I will carry her for a little while longer–or as long as she’ll let me–because she is learning that she is safe. That she belongs. That she is loved.”
Her post has since been shared more than 24,000 times on Facebook, with countless moms calling her an “inspiration.”
In an age where moms are fighting to validate all kinds of parenting choices — to work or stay home, to breastfeed or not, etc. — Dirkes has reminded us all that loving our children isn’t controversial at all.