I typically stay away from controversial topics online. This isn’t because I don’t have strong feelings about them, because I do. I stay away from these topics because I am tired, and busy, and I don’t have time or desire to argue.
With that said, I want to take a second to discuss a very controversial topic in mommy land; Vaccines. Many of my friends are much more crunchy than I am. I am surrounded by many people who think formula companies are evil, disposable diapers are the devil, and that by feeding my children anything but organic is trying to kill them. They also have very strong feelings about vaccines; I do too.
When I find out others don’t vaccinate or that they don’t believe we should vaccinate, I typically stay silent about it. I admit that I judge them a little bit harsher, but in the end I try to respect parental choices for their children. I can’t always say they offer me the same courtesy. Multiple time I have had people tell me, both in person and online, that I am poisoning my children. I have heard comments like “You shouldn’t be allowed to have kids with parenting decisions like that” (yes, someone actually told me that once).
But there is something those people do not understand. I have seen the pain caused by one of those diseases.
So to anyone who feels like they want to criticize me for vaccinating, I ask you to stop and think. Until you have held the body of a tiny child, turning blue from lack of oxygen; until you have to perform CPR because of a disease that “most people recover from”; Until you sit by the hospital bed for a month with your infant praying that they keep breathing; you have nothing to say to me.
At two weeks old, Tempest contracted pertussis. Before she was 3 weeks old we were rushing to the hospital. She was coughing so much she would stop breathing. Her lips were blue has I smacked her back, praying that her breathing started again. I couldnt cry or think. Breathing again, I grabbed tim and we were off to the hospital.
In the ER my body shook. Days before we were told she had Bronchiolitis and that she would be fine, but this wasn’t fine and I knew something was seriously wrong. It wasn’t long before we were told we were staying and we were sent up to the pediatric unit. It was suspected that she had Pertussis. A few hours later, once again she turned blue. I stood by as I watched nurses run in, putting oxygen on her face and hitting her in the back to get her to breathe. We were quickly transferred to the PICU where we were ushered into our cramped room, with a big quarantine sign on the door. We would spend almost a month in that room. We would spend our daughter’s first holiday in that room.
At least twice a day (but more like 5-6 times) I would be asked about our vaccine plans. She was too little to have received the DTAP vaccine, but it didn’t stop doctors from assuming. I felt like a failure as a mom. I felt that my choices had put us there. But that simply wasn’t true. But I knew I never wanted to feel that way again. I knew I didn’t want to be in a position where I didn’t do everything I could to protect my children. I know that the anti-vaccine moms feel that they are doing the same thing, protecting their children. And this is why I try not to judge, or at the very least not call them out and tell them they are making mistakes. But sitting in the hospital, I realized I brought my child here. I went to them for help when I didn’t think I could help her. While I may not agree with the medical community all the time. A lot of research and mother’s intuition tell me that vaccines are more good than harm. So until you hold your child, helpless to fight the disease that might be killing them and you decide that is still better than a vaccine, you have no say in my parenting choice.