"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."
Kelly goes on to recount how her daughter spent the first 10 months of her life "utterly alone inside a sterile metal crib" in an orphanage with nothing and nobody to comfort her. The mom describes the first time she cradled her daughter, writing, "No one had ever held her that way before, and she had no idea what she was supposed to do."
Her deeply emotional missive continues:
"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.'"
But now, after receiving the loving care of her mother, the baby sings at the top of her lungs after a nap because she knows Kelly is there to pick her up and care for her. She rocks to sleep in her mom's or dad's arms, instead of having to rock herself to slumber."
The eye-opening letter ends, "'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."
This open letter to a woman in Target comes in short succession after another open letter to a woman who shamed a mom for buying baby formula in Target went viral. Is Target like an open forum for critics these days? Or can't a mama shop in peace, and parent the way she wants without everyone throwing in their two cents? I'm suddenly a little afraid to go to my favorite store...
This letter proves you never know what someone else is going through. We only see snapshots of each other's lives, never the whole story—so let's stop the judgment.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.