Back in early April the controversy regarding Vaccinations was first brought to my attention, through a group of moms who’s opinions and support I value. This conversation made clear to me that I had a lot of research to do for myself, because no one has the same idea of what is healthy. There was reference upon reference of study upon study which proved and disproved, debunked and supported each other eight times over. I swear, the circle of studies were developed by a mad scientist whos main goal was to confuse concerned parents and cause each of us some level of personal pandemonium. I was alarmed at how overwhelming this all seemed, but since I was still nearly three months from my due date and was advised by another mother that I had some time, I put off my research. I was overwhelmed with enough at the time.
Now my boy is almost three months old. The time has flown by! Come time for Sterlings two month check up, I was just nicely settling into a rhythm of motherhood and had just started to feel like I had a minor grasp of how in the world I was supposed to go about this being-a-momy thing. I wasn’t confident in any decision yet and the doctor reluctantly admitted to me that there is no such thing as “too late” to get a vaccine, so I decided to delay until I could make an educated and confident decision. many extensive hours into my research over the period of three weeks and I am NOWHERE near confident in anything.
Dr. Sears is a well known, highly respected pediatrician. He published a book called The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for your Child. Shortly after I rented this book from the library I struck up a conversation with one of my like minded mom friends, who is working through the same process. We very well may end up choosing different routes, but having Marieke to bounce ideas around with is extremely helpful. She helped me notice that the book I rented was published in 2008 and the information was far outdated. She had the updated 2011 version of the same book with completely new information. Annoyed at how hard it would be to find valid, up to date information I returned the book to the library. I moved my search for information to the most up-to-date source I know of, the interweb. I again found myself mingled and seemingly mangled by the multitude of tabs I had open each with their own references and studies and directly contradicting information. I came to the unfortunate realization that the most up to date source is also the least credible source, because I could write a blog and sign it – Dr. Bob Sears.
One website I found incredibly helpful was a “.org” that many others sited. It had a PDF version of the product inserts of each vaccine! Jackpot! I cringed as I read that one of the vaccines my boy narrowly escaped at his last appointment has Aluminum and Formaldehyde in it along with the strains of more than one infectious disease (oh, and saline solution too) I read on and discovered that another vaccine he was scheduled for was one shot containing, either proteins from or a “dead” strain of 13 absolutely deadly virus’s. 13!!?? That is a lot of stress on the teeny-tiny immune system we are trying to support here people, and that was only 2 of the 4 inoculations every 2 month old is scheduled for! Also, I read a comment left by a mother who stated that her daughter has long suffered unresolved stomach disease which developed four days after her MMR vaccine. Later I read from a lovely nutritional therapist who’s credibility has spoken for itself to me, that there are natural ways to boost children’s immune systems starting with a proper diet which she teaches about. This diet along with other factors had built her 2 children’s immune system so well that when each of her children caught H1N1 and Whooping cough (not simultaneously) they were able to fight off the infections without the aid of ANY medications, even tylenol. Yes, they were sick, but their bodies were capable and strong. Sounds like my kind of health plan!
After increasing confidence built in seeking out the deeper details of this diet and further council of this friend, I came across a few more articles. In the spirit of knowledge and a well educated decision, I read on. Apparently there have been more cases of the measles in the US this year in 17 years! The alleged culprit? Parents who refuse to vaccinate. Cases had become so rare , especially for an extremely contagious virus, that the illness had been considered eradicated in 2000 and people stopped vaccinating. Other news articles, regarding different diseases, covered stories about children competing against other athletes who had come to the United States from countries like Japan and were infected by of this traveler. Some articles wrote about about the irresponsibility of not vaccinating because some viruses have an incubation time of nearly a month, meaning you’re contagious and infecting others long before you have a single symptom. One author wrote against Dr. Sears, who up to this point had been the most objective and informative source I had come across, saying he was not all that credible and wrote a book solely to cash in on the fear so many parents had fallen prey to. Many articles focused intensely on the death rate, permanent handicaps and near imminent likelihood of contracting these illnesses that are so easily prevented with immunizations. At this point, I can safely say that if my baby gets sick and consequently goes deaf due to brain damage, or is permanently paralyzed as a complication from a virus I chose not to vaccinate him for, I would never forgive myself. I can deal with formaldehyde, I just want a healthy boy.
Lets take a step back. I hope that by reading the last sentence of each of the two previous paragraphs you can see my struggle, and all of this in a single day. I have come to this conclusion: In researching this topic we are only fed fear. I am angry that I have felt so backed into a corner and rushed to make a decision before I even knew what I was choosing. Thanks to Marieke’s reminder, I know I don’t have to decide right now. One group of thought fills you with the fear of how devastating these illnesses will be if you don’t vaccinate, another how devastating the vaccine itself is. Both hold truth, but not the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is that we can’t make a wrong decision. Neither option have a 100% health rate, thus the unending controversy. We do the best with what we are given, what information we dig up, and the rest is up to God (or the universe or fate, or what ever you believe in) Take the pressure off, find your peace and decide from that perspective not the fear.
There are so many ways this lesson can be applied to life. Friends, don’t live life or make decisions out of fear. Take a breath, find your peace, remain in that peace and let it lead you to your decisions. What is the most fearful aspect of your life or decision you are faced with right now and how can you find your peace regarding it? Can you stay there?
Dr. Sears (kidding)