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Mom's Post About Encounter At Target Goes Viral

| by Zara Zhi
Kelly Dirke's daughterKelly Dirke's daughter

When a mother was criticized for holding her child in a superstore, she posted a lengthy and heartfelt response on social media.

Kelly Dirkes, thought to be from Minnesota, was shopping at Target when a woman made a comment about her “spoiled” daughter and said she “wouldn’t learn to be independent” if babied.

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The woman’s comment hit Dirkes so deeply that she went on Facebook to explain why she “spoils” her daughter. Dirke’s daughter was actually adopted at 10 months old, having been previously neglected and traumatized, according to Daily Mail.

Her message has been shared more than 18,000 times, and even grabbed the attention of major media outlets. ABC News published Dirkes' entire post:

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.

If you only knew how she spent the first ten months of her life utterly alone inside a sterile 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. 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."

If you only knew what I know.

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.

If you only knew that that baby made everyone cry the day she reached out for comfort, totally unprompted.

If you only knew what I know.

"Spoiling that baby" is the most important job I will ever have, and it is a privilege. 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.

If you only knew.

Sources: Daily Mail, ABC News, Kelly Dirkes/Facebook / Photo credit: Kelly Dirkes/Facebook via ABC News