You know that saying about how you should “never discuss religion or politics” in mixed company? Well, when you’re a parent, there are even more topics that are seemingly off-limits, and one of the clearest hot-button issues is that of vaccinations. It’s one of those topics that is polarizing by its very nature, because most people tend to be incredibly passionate about it one way or another.
Now, I’m all for passion, but I’m completely over the name-calling and judgment.
So what’s the catalyst for this discussion? The recent hoopla surrounding Kristin Cavallari and her stance on vaccinations. In a recent interview Cavallari got caught off-guard with a question about her vaccination views, and in the name of honesty she admitted that her son Camden hasn’t been vaccinated and that she doesn’t intend to vaccinate her next child either (she’s currently pregnant). As you can imagine, quite the firestorm ensued. Anti-vaxxers jumped to her defense and pro-vax parents started in with the name-calling … you know … the usual. There were comments from both sides that ranged from simply argumentative to downright hateful, and I for one just don’t understand what all the fuss was about.
I realize that many pro-vaccinators like to imagine that non-vaccinating parents base all of their vaccine decisions on the latest celebrity stance on vaccines (i.e. the autism “spokesmom” everyone loves to hate — Jenny McCarthy) or that their only concern is autism, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. I know quite a few non-vaccinating parents, and autism is pretty far down on their list of concerns and the opinions of celebrities aren’t even the slightest factor in their decision making process. I also know that many non-vaccinating parents tend to believe that pro-vax parents only vaccinate because they are being fed “propaganda” from doctors and drug companies, which also isn’t the case.
I think the problem lies in the labels and it can be incredibly divisive. Both sides assume that the other side is uneducated when in reality they’re probably all digging deep into the same articles and simply coming up with different conclusions.
So, I propose this: Let’s all just get along! Can we agree that not all non-vaccinating parents are “crazy loons” and that not all vaccinating parents are “mindless sheep”? As parents we are all just trying to do the best we can for our children and figuring it out as we go. Let’s just talk it out and maybe learn from each other in the process.
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.
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