In the past I’ve absolutely jumped right in on any debate about the dangers of vaccinations. I was ready for it with the pediatrician, on my blog, with family, and moms at the playgroup: Bring It On. But over time as the years have gone by and the debate is, surprise surprise, never ending, I’m tired of it. Seriously, it’s not anyone’s business but MINE if I vaccinate my kids or not.
I couldn’t even bring myself to read the latest Babble post about vaccines- The Worst Things People Say About Unvaccinated Kids even though the tone supports not vaccinating your child.
What I think I’ve realized over the years is that I was quick to defend our stance on immunizations because possibly I was still convincing myself that I was doing the right thing. You know, searching for that validation? I sense this every time I see the topic flare up – whether you’re pro-vaccine or not. The loudest voices are often the most unsure, seeking the validation that their choice is the right one because as much as they are trying to pretend they know exactly what they’re doing, none of of us really know what we’re doing. There is always a What If?
Our family’s decision is based purely on a heartbreaking experience regarding the welfare of our own children, and through that we became knowledgeable about what we view as very real dangers regarding vaccines. Ten years ago finding information about vaccinations was limited to searching the library for out-of-date books. It was very different than it is now. I blindly went along with whatever our pediatrician recommended and to this day that is one of my biggest regrets.
My first two children were injured by their immunizations as babies- one was mild and one was a life-threatening condition that has had lasting effects. Now vaccinations are not even an option for us to decline- my kids can’t and won’t be vaccinated. I will not expect someone else to make decisions for their own children based off my experience, but I do not think adverse reactions to immunizations should be shrugged off.
I’m honestly just tired of defending it- it’s a painful subject and even more so when naysayers still continue to judge despite my very personal experience. I’ll quietly protest (see photo) and continue to answer heartfelt questions from parents still trying to decide. But reading fiery blog posts about it and offering a defense when only falling on deaf ears? I’m done.
Of course for every story of vaccine injury there will be another tale of a child that suffered because he was not vaccinated. Here is where your own research, common sense, and parenting intuition is going to kick in for you. No one (doctor, friend, or Internet) can assure you more than what your gut instinct confirms. The debate will only continue to divide parents as they are just trying to do their best and could use a little bit of grace. So can we just give it a rest?