It could be understood that it’s cruel and ignorant to snap-judge a person without knowing the whole story. That’s why when a stranger criticized one mom for “spoiling” her daughter, she took to Facebook to share the heartbreaking reasons.
Kelly Dirkes adopted Grace when she was 10 months old even though the child has special needs and has suffered medical problems such as sepsis and organ failure.
One day in 2016, Dirkes was carrying Grace around in a baby carrier while shopping at Target.
At the store, a female shopper came up to Dirkes and accused her for “spoiling” her daughter. The woman warned her that Grace would never learn how to be independent if she continued to carry her around.
That was not the first time Dirkes heard that she “spoils that baby.”
Hearing such a comment again, she simply smiled at the woman, kissed her baby’s head, and resumed her shopping.
Dear Woman in Target-I've heard it before, you know. That I "spoil that baby". You were convinced that she'd never…
Later, Dirkes explained in a Facebook post why she “spoils” Grace.
“Dear Woman in Target,” Dirkes wrote. “If you only knew what I know.”
The mother wrote that Grace spent the first 10 months of her life “utterly alone inside a metal crib, “with nothing to comfort her other than sucking her fingers.”
“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,” Dirkes continued. “No one had ever held her that way before, and she had no idea what she was supposed to do.”
The woman in Target never knew Grace would not cry after waking up, because up till now, nobody would respond. And now, the baby will whimper whenever she’s put down rather than when she’s picked up.
Neither did she know “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,’” Dirkes wrote.
“If you only knew that that baby made everyone cry the day she reached out for comfort, totally unprompted,” she added.
That’s why “spoiling” Grace is a privileged task and the most important job Dirkes will 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,” stressed Dirkes, who is also the mother of a girl named Charlotte—adopted from a Russian orphanage in 2011.
“If you only knew…,” Dirkes concluded her post.
Dirkes’s letter has since done the rounds online, being shared more than 33,000 times.
“You are the most awesomest mom!!!” one Facebook user wrote. Whilst another commented: “Sad that it is so easy to judge others and such a challenge to open one’s heart.”
It’s always best to think twice before passing judgement, because we know nothing about the struggle others may be facing.