Saturday, November 17, 2007

I have a headache.

When Thyra was born, I was 22, a first-time mom who was single to boot and basically did whatever "the book" or my doctor told me to. There were some things however that never felt right to me. I slept with my daughter against popular sleep theories, hated the advice just to let her "cry it out", took her everywhere by sling, and teared up when I took her for her first round of vaccinations. It didn't seem right to be poking my newborn baby voluntarily and filling her up with who-knew-what kinds of chemicals.

This time around I have changed and the world it seems has changed with me. I am much more inclined to fulfill my parental obligations as an informed advocate for my child as opposed to doing in blind faith whatever popular belief dictates.

Co-sleeping is now an accepted form of parenting. Baby-wearing has spawned an entire new industry that makes navigating the decision over sling, wrap or carrier confusing and exhausting for would-be parents . There are even more methods for getting your child to sleep and the vaccine controversy has become just that... controversial.

With Thyra, it didn't even occur to me that I had a choice. I remember hearing at one point at people who chose not to vaccinate their children, and from my blissfully ignorant foray into parenthood, I was completely dumbfounded that such parental morons existed. Who wouldn't want complete protection for their precious offspring from all the evil disease in our world?

Well, 9 years later, I am one of those "morons" who is strongly debating the necessity of vaccinating my new infant son. The topic extends far beyond the alleged Autism-MMR link that originally drew me to research this issue. Now that the Autism stats. for boys is 1 in 94, I have felt some urgency to do whatever I can to protect my son, and our family for that matter, from the havoc and absolute destruction this disease wreaks. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Delayed vaccinations, select vaccinations, no vaccinations at all... it's all so overwhelming and confusing. The rhetoric from both sides is loud and emotion-based. Everyone stands in judgment of your parenting abilities on the simple basis of whether you will vaccinate or not.

Two books that attempt to wade through all the extraneous B.S. in my opinion are:

The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Robert Sears and Vaccines: A Thoughtful Parent's Guide, by Aviva Jill Romm.

Both authors are highly respected professionals in their fields, and have each laid out comprehensive, unbiased information for parents to begin to make a decision. I found the book by Ms. Romm was not watered down in any way to make for easier reading, which I really appreciated. It offers much more in the way of the history of vaccines, an overview of how our immune systems really work, and alternatives other than vaccines to boost immunity.

Dr. Sears book, is not an anti-vaccine book by any means, but he does go through the pro's and cons of each vaccine, as well as how they are made, and the real dangers and incidence of the diseases from which the vaccines are to immunize against.

From these two books, I have started to formulate a vaccine schedule for Malachi that I believe is based on the best information I can find, and is the most comfortable for our family. I'm not sure there is anyway to know you have made the right decision beyond avoiding the side-effects of vaccination, or contraction of disease, but I will sleep a little easier knowing I have done what I can to give my son the best start to his life


Lori said...

I'm going to have to pick up these 2 books. I've been wanting to do some homework but hadn't gotten there yet. We stopped vaccinating at 1 year more to gut instinct and the few things we had been hearing and need to figure out where we are going from here. The paper work if choose not to, that the school system needs is not easy, has to go through the state govenment, etc. Big pain but may be worth it!

excess.modality said...

greetings sharmi, long time no see!!! we lived in the same house...CRAZY. i'm SOOOO in support of edcuated decisions....we have a 2 1/2 month old boy that we chose NOT to vaccinate....against most advise.
good luck and congrats on #2!!! tyra sp. MUSt be soooo grown up now!! cheers to holistic PARENTING!!! i've chosen a career revolving around these decisions:)

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