There is one more guilt thing I need to get off my chest. I haven’t returned calls from people who I love and who love me because I just don’t want to talk about the miscarriage in real life. Yet I can write about all the bad shit I’m feeling and post it publicly. It’s not like this blog has a huge readership, but I am still putting stuff out there that I can’t bear to talk about it real life. How fucked up is that?
OK. Moving on to some actual mom stuff. I’ve written about my dislike of judgey parenting here before (though to be honest I struggle with it myself). But there is one controversial issue that I can’t see both sides of. I do not understand how any parent makes the choice not to vaccinate their child. When a parent makes that choice he or she is selfishly relying on other parents to be responsible enough to vaccinate their own children and to therefore keep the unvaccinated safe. But if the safety net of being surrounded by vaccinated children and adults fails and an unvaccinated child becomes ill, that child is not the only one at risk. Every infant too small to be immunized who comes in contact with the sick child would also be in danger of falling ill.
Right now there is a whooping cough outbreak across the country. Infants under two months are unable to be vaccinated against this disease, and as the shots are given in a series they are not fully protected until six months. I have a very casual acquaintance who chose not to vaccinate her child. Her child and mine have occasion to be around each other and before I miscarried I was wracking my brain for excuses to not be around them after the new baby came. I might seem like an alarmist, but I did not want to put my newborn at risk. Part of me wanted to tell her I thought she was making an ill informed, dangerous, and selfish choice. But when I floated that idea to Z he told me I was under no circumstances allowed to do that. Usually we don’t tell each other what we can or cannot do, so when he uses that kind of language I know I’m moving into the very inappropriate zone.
Yes, there are risks to vaccinations, although Autism is not one of them. But we face risks just by waking up in the morning. We don’t even have to leave the house for accidents and tragedies to occur. To be protected from preventable disease we all have to take that small risk. And it is paying off. We are lucky enough not to have to worry about many of the diseases that killed children in the past.
I don’t know if anyone who reads this blog has chosen to forgo vaccinations. If so I hope I haven’t been offensive or mean, as usual I am being honest about what I think. Naturally not everyone is going to agree with my opinions. If you are an expectant parent or are thinking about kids in the future I urge you to thoroughly research this issue before you make up your mind. Vaccines protect the most vulnerable members of society only when as many people as possible take advantage of them.
Sorry to be so link happy, but I'm trying to demonstrate I'm not pulling this stuff out of my ass. A friend put this up on his facebook page today. I've been meaning to write about immunization for a while, but the link was the kick in my pants to make it happen.
More tiny T. Thought the helpless newborn thing would tug at the old heartstrings and help make my vaccination point. On a separate note, the photo credit here is Ellie Leonardsmith my talented sister in law. All of the really good photos I've put up were taken by her. She rocks.