Today I want to write a post that I don’t really know how to write without it seeming as if I am mommy-shaming, criticising or even worse, judging. I am doing none of these things, I am merely sharing my thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. You are welcome to differ from me, and even to try and convince me otherwise. My best friend differs from me on this topic (a few topics actually) but that just means we can have great conversations about this, and other issues. During these conversations I have even learned a thing or two, or was intrigued enough to read up about this and that. I believe all of us as Moms or primary caregivers must be big enough to acknowledge and respect that we each do things differently, and that in the end there is no clear-cut right or wrong. We all do the best we can, in the situation that we are, with the knowledge that we have, and the resources to our disposal. As long as you keep your child’s best interest at heart, we can agree to disagree. And that should not stop us from sharing tips, advice, and warnings, because even if we feel differently we can still learn from each other. The beauty of diversity.
Some of her and other people close to me’s better argued and researched opinions have even succeeded in changing or at least shaping my own convictions. But on this one topic, my convictions remain unchanged. And that is on the hot-button topic of vaccinations. We vaccinate. Every. Single. Vaccination. According to the schedule as set out by our Department of Health. Our kids get their shots from a private registered nurse, who runs a registered clinic out of her home. Because we have them vaccinated privately, they don’t only get the government-issued vaccines, they also get the ones that the government does not provide. And they get booster shots when needed.
I am not naive about the ingredients of these vaccines. I know there are things in them that I wish my beautiful girls did not have to be exposed to. But I do believe that the pros far outweigh the cons, and that most of the ingredients that anti-vaxxers go on about are also present in so many other every-day items, things that you cannot protect your kids from. And I also know there are ways of minimising the possible effects, not that they have ever suffered from any adverse reactions. By simply following a healthy and balanced diet you are already helping your kids build a strong immune system, strong enough to fight the small nasties present in the shots. Allowing them to play outside, in the dirt, further strengthens their bodies. If you want to take precautions, you can let them sit in a hot bath with Epsom salt and essential oils for an effective detox, getting rid of any toxins that might still be hanging around. Plenty of water, and lots of exercise (that healthy children need plenty of) further helps. If you follow the prescribed schedule, you eliminate the possibility of straining their systems, and then of course if you breastfeed, that helps a ton! Not only does it sooth and calm baby, it also imparts healing and restorative properties from mommy to baby.
This was not a choice that we simply made. We read up, asked around, questioned and pressed, and then made our decision. Our kids will be fully vaccinated, as we were, as our parents were. We will not be taking any chances with them, and since both are healthy, with no immune or other health issues that could present a problem, there was no medical reason not to. We have never had any reason to doubt our decision.
In all of our research we have come to believe that the horror stories the anti-vaxxers like to spread are not as prevalent as they would like you to believe. Yes, there are horrible cases where the child was harmed or developed some syndrome, etc., but only having a fever and maybe crying a bit does not constitute a “reaction”. And the claim that vaccines causes autism has been refuted a hundred times over. I have read the studies and case-studies, and with a background in science as well as research I dismissed most of the studies based on a lack of proof, response bias, design flaws, sample size problems, population samples, and very loose generalisation and assumptions. Anybody who has a bit of research experience will know that correlation does not mean causation. Once again, in our minds, the pros far outweigh the cons. I definitely do not want my child to catch measles with the hope that that will make her stronger or healthier. The argument for natural immunity as opposed to vaccine-provided immunity is a weak one at best. The opposite would be awesome – never having to catch any of the “deadly” diseases that were on the verge of disappearing, until the anti-vaccine movement took off.
As previously stated, this is purely what we believe. If you have done your own research, and found the statistics to be alarming, or any of the other claims and information out there to be convincing, it is within your rights to decide not to vaccinate. We should all do what we think is best for our kids. If your child did have a few shots and had a reaction, no matter how small, and that upset you or made you worried, nobody can really blame you for deciding not to go through with the scheduled shots. I am not perfect, and make lots of mistakes with my own kids, so I am not here to judge you, or to try and convince you otherwise. But please remember, it does not make me a bad parent because we decided to go this route.
To end off, I have two beautiful and healthy little girls. We have never had any issues with them except for repeat tonsilitus with A1. Since they were removed she has not been hectically sick. A2 has had a cold. Once. She is now 7 months old. We hope and trust that this will continue. Both husband and I are healthy people, we hardly ever get even the sniffles. Can I attribute this to vaccines? No off course not. We try and see health and wellness as an interlinked chain, something that is only possible if all of the links are strong and well-kept. And vaccines help in maintaining our chain. If they are not a link in yours, we respect your decision.
Some interesting reads should you wish to delve deeper: