When cries from the baby monitor wake you in the middle of the night, do you run to your baby's room or let your little one cry it out? Parents who feel strongly about tough love may rethink their methods after learning the story behind this beautiful photo of a mother sleeping in her daughter's crib. Michigan-based photographer Dayna Mager posted the picture on her Facebook wall, which has gone viral for good reason.
Her husband Matt snapped the shot of Dayna and their 5-month-old daughter, Luella, when he found them sleeping in her crib after coming home from work. In her caption, Dayna wrote that she remembered the promise she made to Luella after being so deeply moved by a missionary's story at a worship concert she and Matt once attended. "Yes, I climbed in the crib in hopes to soothe my screaming, teething, blushed faced, and tear soaked little girl."
The missionary spoke about visiting a nursery in a Ugandan orphanage, where he saw more than 100 cribs with babies. Astounded by the complete silence, he asked why he didn't hear a single cry, in which the host replied, "After about a week of them being here, and crying out for countless hours, they eventually stop when they realize no one is coming for them . . ."
That was the moment that changed Dayna entirely. "I broke. I literally could have picked up pieces of my heart scattered about the auditorium floor. But instead, it stirred in me a longing, a hunger."
"We came home, and that night as Luella rested her tiny little 10lb body against mine and we rocked, I made a promise to her. A promise that I would always come to her . . . We will show her through our tears and frustrations at times, that it is okay to cry, and it's OK to feel. That we will always be a safe place, and we will always come to her."
Dayna shared how the missionary's life-changing story has made her "cherish even the sleepless nights and scream tantrums" on HuffPost Parents. And with 62,000 reactions and almost 23,000 shares, Dayna's photo and words have clearly struck a chord with other parents.