OK... One of my pet peeves right now is the debate about vaccinations. It's frustrating me because I feel like it's turning into a blame game. I personally vaccinate for some things, but I choose not to for others. I feel I have some good, solid, reasons, and I have done my best to educate and research out the information I THINK is correct.
I know the hot topic ones right now are MMR and HPV. Also, the Flu shot and a few years ago the H1N1. Now, I'm not going to write this and then not tell what I've done because I don't think that's right. I feel that if I'm going to open the can of worms here, I need to be honest. I vaccinated for MMR, DTPT, and Hep B. Also, some of the boys have had the Meningococcal C. That one leaves me feeling a bit uneasy, but we did choose to do it. It was important to me for the boys to be vaccinated against Polio, out of respect for Sylvia, a special woman in our lives who is a quadriplegic due to the Polio outbreak of the early 50's.
The MMR left me uneasy, but when I started my Motherhood journey, it was before the internet age, and so information was limited. I don't regret it, but I sure don't love it.
I have not, and won't, vaccinate for Chicken Pox, Flu, HPV, or H1N1. Which leads me to rabbit trail #1.
Did you know that the virus that leads to HPV basically doesn't exist within the Jewish race? They have linked the lack of the virus to circumcision. Another hot topic item, I know. On a side note, they have also discovered that in African countries where male circumcision is done, there is a lower rate of AIDS. Granted, this could also be due to a higher rate of monogamy, but what are the odds it has been linked twice. Now, before the debate starts about circumcision, please respect mine and Jody's decision to go that route, and before you tell me it's mean and it hurts, let me respond by saying...
"I have spent more time in my parenting journey watching my boys experience pain from self-inflicted injuries, vaccination needles, blood tests, and IV's, then it took for them to be circumcised. In fact, I have had to pin their little legs and arms longer for vaccinations, and their was no general anesthetic. All four of my boys have cried during vaccinations, only two cried during circumcision."
Now, as for Chicken Pox, Flu, and H1N1, well, we chose not to. I know there are children out there with compromised immune systems that benefit greatly from these, and although I had a child with a compromised immune system for 5 years, we still chose not to partake. Which leads me to rabbit trail #2!
Nolan was diagnosed with Colitis at 2 1/2, but we were told he would grow out of it. I am very thankful that he has! When Nolan would have a bout of Colitis, his immune system would bottom out, and if he was around anyone with a bad cold or flu, his would turn into Pneumonia. He was hospitalized quite a few times for this the first year, and twice ended up with Pleurisy.
He still has scar tissue on his lungs. (The little spiderman tattoo and bandaid you see on his left side in the photo, is where his scar tissue is. I would know we were getting into trouble when he would come and ask for a bandaid.. ) Again, the Flu shot was pretty new then, and I just couldn't do it. Instead, I chose to focus on building his immune system and stressing personal hygiene within our home. I researched, talked to, did more research, and decided on a natural way to help him. He is now my healthiest child... :) You know what frustrated me the most through it all though? Parents would judge me for not giving him the Flu shot, then send their child to school hacking, coughing, and snotting all over my healthy child with the low immune system. When I knew he was bottoming out, I kept him home. In a society where a parent practically gets court martialed for not sending a pre-packaged "peanut free" snack to school, why are we not also supporting the parents of children with compromised immune systems by keeping our sick children home until they are better? It makes no sense to me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about the single working Moms, trying their best to make ends meet, who can't afford to take a day off. For them? I say, shame on us stay at home Moms! We all know how to look after a sick kid without getting sick ourselves, so why aren't we supporting them? Why aren't we pledging to be their child's "sick Mom" for the day. Why aren't we heading over to their homes where we can tuck their precious pumpkins onto couches, throw on a load of laundry, and take a Lysol wipe to their bathroom for them? All we need to do is practice some serious hygiene habits, and spend the day lovin' on their child for them. We all know they'd rather be home anyway! So, yes. Please don't misinterpret my complaint here. We should be working together way more then we are.
As for H1N1? Well, I wasn't going to do that one either, but even if I had, we couldn't have got the vaccine before we all ended up with it anyway. Yes, our household got hit with H1N1. It was a rough one, but we did alright. Unless I had been a line jumper, we couldn't get it in time anyway.
Rabbit trail #3? Parents being insensitive to other families beliefs. You know what? It's funny how we can get our panties in a knot about what's passionate to us, and completely offend people with stuff that is passionate to them. I personally am allergic to cigarette smoke. So is Ethan. Our throat tightens up and we struggle to breath within minutes of being exposed. Yet, people still smoke. Ethan and I both know it is up to us to avoid it. I have a close friend whose daughter is deathly allergic to peanuts. Her motto?
"The world is not, and never will be, peanut free. She needs to learn to be self aware, and be responsible for what she eats."
This being said, when they have been here for a meal or a birthday party, I am extremely sensitive to her needs! (Although, Ethan spent a few years eating his lunch in a different room at school when he had a peanut butter sandwich, and was taught to wash up very carefully afterwards! This I had spoke to my friend about, and she was totally fine with it.) I have had homemade snacks sent home because they may not be "Peanut Free", when I know darn well that it is. Am I supposed to load my boys up on pre-packaged baking because that's safer?? Well, that goes against some of my parenting thoughts. (Again, that doesn't mean they don't get them! It just means I try my best to make most of those types of food at home. But let's be honest here, you just can't beat a Mr. Christie Oreo Cookie, and I'm not willing to try to make them!)
I guess I'm just asking people to respect the differences. We all have our own opinions, and our own reasons for our opinions. It seems unnecessary to attack each other over health issues, when we ALL have differing priorities. How about instead of making fellow Mother's feel bad over our parenting choices, we choose to embrace the differences and rely on each other's experiences.
OK, one more rabbit trail! I was blessed to begin my parenting journey on a small Island. Once the ferry was gone, you had no way to the Hospital and so I felt the need to learn. I learned how to deal with croup. I learned how to deal with letting a fever kill the virus, rather then killing the fever and prolonging the virus. I learned the benefits of eating local foods and hormone and chemical free meats. I learned that Acetaminophen is better for fever, and Ibuprofen is better for pain. I learned that eating only your local honey can help prevent allergies. I learned to deal with Mastitis without antibiotics. We had chicken pox parties for heaven's sake!
I learned the benefits of green tea and honey for my 2 year old. I learned the benefits of working together to support a family financially and emotionally, during times of stress. I love how this shaped and helped me. I loved that my sons could play with the unvaccinated child. It was those parents that stressed and taught me about the benefits of the Green Tea and Honey that kept Nolan going some days. That was their way.
So, to end the opinionated post here, I just want to ask for grace and tolerance amongst us Moms. We are so overloaded with information nowadays, that it's hard to wade through it all. Every Mother I know, is just doing her best to protect her own family, and we need to embrace the diversity instead of causing division.
Now, I'm off to hurry through my chores of laundry and dealing with the last of my Okanagan apples, so I can research more on the benefits of Vitamin D!