Being a parent is challenging in so many different ways.
But do you want to know what one of the hardest things is? You are literally in charge of a person’s life. Their health and medical decisions are up to you.
I’m sure most parents feel the pressure of this great responsibility. I have a hard enough time figuring out my own medical decisions, let alone an infant’s!
When I got pregnant, I assumed I’d go with the flow and do whatever the doctors told me was right in regards to the health of my child.
But as the time got closer to having my baby, everything changed.
I was 36 weeks pregnant and went in for my weekly checkup. Upon my arrival, I was told about the Tdap vaccine. (Well, not so much told about, more like guilted about.)
The doctor explained that it was very routine and they were giving it to pregnant women around this time in the pregnancy, in the hopes that it might transfer to the baby before birth, so they could be protected out in the world from whooping-cough.
I had never even heard of this. And yet, I almost just said, “Sure thing, Doc! Load me up!” But something in me took pause, and I told her I’d think about it and let her know at my appointment the following week.
So I went home and did research. I wanted to know more about this, as my gut reaction was skepticism. I asked relatives and friends who had babies just a few years earlier and discovered none of them were given a vaccine in their third trimester. That’s when I learned it was a very recent recommendation by the CDC.
Obviously then I started thinking, “Well if my mom didn’t have it and these more recent moms didn’t have it, and all of those babies were fine, why do I need it?”
I couldn’t find a single article, not on google or any scientific publication, that proved the theory that getting this vaccine so late in my pregnancy would do any good. There were no studies done that showed positive or negative side effects. And yet, they could recommend it to the point of guilting me about it.
So with that, I decided it was not a good idea.
In addition to this, I had gotten the Tdap a few years prior, and it supposedly is good for ten years.
So I went to my appointment the following week, and felt like I had to give a huge speech on why I didn’t want to get the vaccine. At the end, the nurse wrote down, “Patient refused Tdap.” “Refused?” I thought to myself. I just politely declined after being made to feel like I would be killing my baby for doing so.
**Sidenote: The day after my son was born, I got the Tdap vaccine in the hospital to make sure I was all up-to-date so people would calm down about it.
After my son was born, I had more interesting encounters with medical professionals.
When we started going to see the pediatrician for his visits, we were given a sheet with the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule–I was shocked.
How could they give this itty, bitty human three or four shots at one time?!
Now, I feel like I need to be clear here: I am very pro-vaccines! I want my children to be vaccinated–I just want to do it differently. This is something I hadn’t planned on before having kids.
But when I looked at the schedule handed to me and then at my brand new baby, my mama instincts told me something wasn’t right. And if there’s something I’ve learned since day one of being pregnant, it’s that you should always listen to your mama instincts.
I decided that it would be irresponsible for me as a parent to allow my baby to be shot up with various vaccines, especially in one sitting, if I had no idea what was in those vaccines. Are doctors typically looking out for your health and well-being? Of course. But I decided it was my duty as a parent to do what was best for my child, not what is best or easiest for the doctor’s office or the government.
So I did research. Lots of it. And I didn’t like what I learned.
How can doctors safely recommend giving multiple vaccines with loads of aluminum or mercury in one sitting? I understand that some vaccines need these components to fight off otherwise deadly or scary diseases, but can’t they alter their schedules so that only one of these vaccines is given at a time then?
I’m not saying such vaccines will lead your child to have autism or permanent damage. I’m just pointing out the obvious: when did we decide it was okay to inject a brand new human with ALUMINUM and MERCURY?!
After doing as much research as I could handle, I found an alternate plan that I really felt comfortable with. The plan would allow my son to still get all of the vaccinations before he reached school-age, but would just break up the amount of shots given in one sitting, especially in consideration of those containing sketchy components.
All this plan did was require more work for me–it meant instead of getting four shots at his every-other-month checkup, he would get two at the checkup, and two the next month when I’d bring him just to get two more shots (and not have a checkup).
This plan didn’t bother me in the slightest, because it gave me comfort. I knew if he had a reaction, we’d know it was from one of two shots he had (instead of four), and that I was helping him get the safest amount of aluminum/mercury possible (if you can call putting any amount of that into one’s body safe).
From day one, my son’s doctor seemed okay with our beliefs. However, the office didn’t, as they first sent out a form explaining the dangers and risks of an alternative schedule (CHILL OUT, he’s not going to get polio)!
One time when we brought him in on the “off-month” for just the shots, a nurse said, “When I had kids, we never questioned the doctors.”
I’m not even surprised to get backlash anymore, I just expect it.
I never thought I would question a doctor or be one to follow my own plan, but having my own child changed how I perceive so many things.
Here’s what I’ve learned: The doctor is NOT God. The CDC is NOT God. They are not omnipotent or omniscient. They do not know my child like I do, nor do they care about my child like I do. In the end, I am going to do what’s best for my family, regardless of how that aligns with anyone else’s plan. We’re all just trying to do the best that we can, and that looks different for each and every family.