Why I Won’t Vaccinate My Children

Let me preface this post with this statement:  this post is based on my personal opinion and experience.  I am in no way advocating pro- or anti-vaccination, and respect the choices that parents make when it comes time to vaccinate their children.

typhoid-inoculation2
This is a post that has been weighing on my mind over the last couple of weeks.

It won’t be a post full of statistics.  It won’t be a post that says you should, or you shouldn’t, immunise your children.  It will simply be a post expressing why I have chosen to not continue with vaccinations for my children.

My hope is that it will encourage others to make an informed choice on whether or not to vaccinate their children, based on reputable and evidence-based research.

My story is as follows…

my children have been vaccinated up to their 4 years immunisations

I vaccinated my children in their infancy because I believed it was the right thing to do.  It was what was expected of a responsible parent – to protect your child from childhood diseases – and to protect those in the community who were at risk from those diseases.

The visits to the doctor for those needles were ones that I dreaded.  My kids would scream (whose didn’t…!?) and I would feel terrible because I was causing them pain in that present moment.  But we still went through with it, because it was the right thing to do.

They had no major adverse effects.  Lumps and bumps at the site of the injection, the odd raised temperature and irritability, but otherwise immunisations passed without event.

then at 33 year of age I got chickenpox

Husband was away at a 2-day course for Uni.  I thought I had a sty on my eyelid, but by the time 48 hours had passed and I was picking up Husband from the bus, I knew I had chickenpox.  After the original pox on my eyelid, they started in my hair, and after 2 weeks had finally finished their pustule-advance at my feet.  I had chickenpox where ladies shouldn’t ever get chickenpox, and I still thank my Husband for his attentive administration of paracetemol and Phenergan that kept me comfortable, and sedated, until the worst of it had passed.

i passed the chickenpox on to my children – they were aged 6 and 2 at the time

Both of them had Husband and I had chosen not to have them vaccinated for chickenpox, as we believed the risks involved in contracting this particular disease were minimal.  Both of them had a mild dose and they pulled through with a minimum of fuss, and we felt confident in our decision to not vaccinate them.

fast forward to Daughter aged 12

She got sick.  Really sick.  It was a scary time for us.  But it was the initial diagnosis of mumps that set me on my journey of evidence-based research about vaccinations.

I questioned how it was that my Daughter – who was fully vaccinated – was able to contract mumps and get so very, very sick?

All of the literature I’d read when I’d had my babies vaccinated had led me to believe that vaccinations were the cure-all for these diseases.

It was around this time too, that she was offered the Gardasil vaccine.

Now this one scared me.  It was new.  There were news reports of serious side-effects and deaths among girls who had received it.  I followed up my concern with a lot of reading of studies and reports that helped me to make the choice not to vaccinate Daughter with this one.

Her immune system was already compromised with what we later came to call ‘Patrick’ – a virus similar to glandular fever, but one for which there is no test (and interestingly no vaccine…) – so not having her immunised at this point in her life was a no-brainer for us. Why put her system through an addition stress when it was already stressed enough?

Which made me start thinking about when they were babies, and the stresses that having their developing bodies injected with vaccines had put them through.

With the Little Man being in Year 7 this year, he is being offered several vaccinations.  And interestingly, Daughter is being offered the MMR vaccine this year – her final year at school.

neither of my children will receive an immunisation this year

I’m still not convinced – from the readings and research that I have done – that Gardasil is safe for boys or girls.

And I’m curious why the MMR vaccines aren’t on the  New South Wales vaccination schedule.

I’m not going to go into the statistics on vaccinations.  With some careful research, you can learn all about the pros, cons, safety and side-effects yourself.

I am going to say though, that both of my children are healthy.

We are firm believers that your body’s natural state of health is good health, and with a good diet, enough sunshine and exercise, good sanitation and methods of dealing with the stresses of life, you can keep yourself in good health.  If you are in good health, then you’re going to be less likely to get the diseases that children are routinely vaccinated for.

i know that this is a simplified and idealized way of putting it and many would shake their heads at me at this point

Only time will tell if our decisions were the right ones.  The fact that my children are in robust health, while children in our community – who are only recently vaccinated against – are contracting these diseases, reinforces my belief that I am doing the right thing.

Immunisations are something that we’ve spoken openly about with the kids – letting them know why we’ve made the choices we have.  Daughter was the only one in her cohort who didn’t receive them, and I have a feeling that the Little Man will also be.  We share the research with them.  We explain why good health is so important.  And we know that if our circumstances change, then we will have to re-assess our situation.

Until then, my children will not receive vaccinations.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, this is simply my story and I am in no way advocating for or against you immunising your own children.

Each of our kids is special and precious and unique – and as a parent, we do what we believe is best for them.

I would love to hear the stories of others though – whatever the reason, choice or outcome.

please share your story here – and be assured that it will be read with compassion and acceptance

Much love, Txo

Photo credit: Foter / Public Domain Mark 1.0

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The Weekend Photo Project: March

twpp-march-2015

Despite every good intention of taking a photo every weekend (or week!) for The Weekend Photo Project, it simply hasn’t happened, and now I’m going to have to do a major catch-up….

I originally started The Weekend Photo Project as a way to encourage myself to take photos weekly.  Being a busy working Mum to 2 kids sometimes meant that I wasn’t picking up my camera for weeks at a stretch.

good in theory, but I really just need to stop and make the time for photography

So I start my catch up session now.  Each afternoon, regardless of how much I have left to do for the day, I am going to take 10 minutes to be mindful and make beautiful photos.

If you’re a little bit like me, with lots happening and never enough moments in the day to do what makes your heart sing, I’d love it if you would join in The Weekend Photo Project with me.

I’ve met some wonderful people along the way as a result of this project, and even though we’re a very small group, we really do look out for one another – we’re more like a family really.

Here are some of the places you can share:

Blog: If you have a blog, post your photo there.
Flickr: Add your photo to your Flickr photostream. Create a set dedicated to The Weekend Photo Project and add it to The Weekend Photo Project group.  Don’t forget to tag it with #twpp.
Instagram: take your photo… pretty it up! Caption and hashtag #twpp.  Share.
Twitter:  You can share on Twitter by uploading your photo and adding #twpp.
Tumblr: Add your photo to your Tumblr feed.
Facebook:  You’ve a few options here.  Simply share with your friends on your own personal page, or you can upload it to my biz page.  Add the hashtag #twpp when you upload so that we can see who else is playing along (now that FB does hashtags!)
Pinterest: Add your photo to The Weekend Photo Project Pinterest board.  You’ll need an invite to do this, so simple follow the board and I’ll send you one asap.

Wherever you share though, please use the #twpp hashtag so that anyone can search your photos.

Want to check out other people’s photos?

Please do!  Leave a comment, a smiley, a link – whatever!  Again, the more people we can get involved, the better.  Let’s build a community of busy people who love photography.  Share your love!!

I’ve missed a weekend…

No problems. We’re all busy folk and sometimes our weekends get away from us before we know it. Just keep an eye out for the next weekends prompt (live each Friday at 2 p.m. on the blog – hint, hint… subscribe so you don’t miss them) and start planning your photo for that weekend.  We all understand that sometimes life gets in the way of your lens.

The links:

The Weekend Photo Project on Flickr 

The Weekend Photo Project board on Pinterest

my business Facebook page

The Weekend Photo Project on the blog

And please share this project with your friends.

If you have any further questions or suggestions, leave me a comment on the blog, Facebook or email me.

Now go have some no-pressure fun with your photography again.

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{beautiful to me} Manuela Adreani

while browsing through our local bookshop the other day, Daughter and I found came across this copy of Alice in Wonderland.

alice-in-wonderland

The cover illustrations spoke to us, and after a flick through it, we decided to have a further look at the illustrative works of Manuela Adreani.

A resident of Turin, Manuela began her career as a graphic designer before moving into the world of freelance illustration.  Her work has a simple whimsy to it, while her colours are muted and textured, which (I personally think) lends well to the genre of fairytales.

We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her works whilst we browse other book shops!

my cat & I

my cat & I

dragonflies

dragonflies

my dog

my dog

star white kids

star white kids

You’ll find Manuela Adreani’s blog here, her Instagram profile here and her Pinterest profile here.

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The Weekend Photo Project: February

The Weekend Photo Project: Februaryt promts

how did you manage with the January prompts?

I’ll admit that I got off to a shocking start… it was the 22nd of January before I finally got my arse in gear and got some of my photos on to Flickr.

I know that last month I said I would get all of my #twpp photos on to Instagram as well.  Not sure that’s going to happen now.  Instead I’m going to post my Weekend Photo Project photos to Flickr and play along with Fat Mum Slim (and the thousands of others) with the Photo A Day challenge.

Anyways, February’s prompts are a mix of technical and fun again.  Trying to keep it light and simple this year also.

i wonder what wonders we’ll all find this month?

Want to join in and share your Weekend Photo Project photos?  Here’s where you can -

Facebook: Create an album (title suggestion – My Weekend Photo Project) and upload your photos (and don’t forget to add the hashtag #twpp now that FB does hashtags). You can make your album public so that anyone can have a look at your photos or you can share your photos with me over on my biz page.

Your blog: Upload your photos to your blog and share them with the wide world. Leave a link here so that others can follow the snail-trail.

Flickr: Share your photos at The Weekend Photo Project group.

Pinterest: If you’re on Pinterest create a board for your weekend photos. Don’t forget to add the tag #twpp so that others can search for them. I have a The Weekend Photo Project Pinterest board that I’m going to invite people to pin on. If you’d love to be involved, follow the board and I’ll send you an invite!

Instagram: Snap a photo with you phone or i-device and upload your photo to Instagram. You’ll find me here on Instagram. Don’t forget to add #twpp to your caption. Proceed to share!

Twitter: Use Instagram, link to your Pinterest board or your blog. And remember to add #twpp as your hashtag.

Anywhere else you like: I’m sure I’ve left out others ways of sharing, so leave a comment below and let everyone know where your photos will be!

Be sure and leave a comment below to let me (and everyone else) know where you’ll be sharing your photos. Visit other peoples photos. Like them. Comment.

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My 2 Favourite Photography Apps

As I mentioned last week, I’ve gotten back into the world of Instagram over the last couple of months, which has led me on a merry hunt for the best photo apps currently available.

As a (previously) dedicated DSLR user, I’ve embraced the camera in my iPad, and continue to be amazed at the quality of photo it is able to produce.  So today, I share my two favourite apps with you.

Camera+

I take all of my photos with Camera+.

Why?

I love that you can set the focus and exposure points independently.  Simply tap on the square for focus and the circle for exposure, and you can control where you want your camera to focus and how light or dark your shots will come out.

camera+

your focus button is the purple square and the exposure button is the orange circle – to activate them you tap on the square and circle in your menu

The macro function gets a workout with me, and the clarity function (you’ll find 2 of these – one in Scenes, which is the automatic one and one in The Lab, which is Clarity Pro and lets you be a bit more selective with its impact) can really breathe life into your photos.  Scene modes – which is like playing with your white balance – is also another favourite function of mine.

There are dozens of 1-touch effects to experiment with – my personal favourites are Ansel in the Retro effects and Mono, Tonal and Noir in the Standard effects.  An added bonus here is that you can head into the Advanced Settings and play with the slider to decide on how much of the effect you want on your photo.

the Ansel effect

the Ansel effect

All of your pictures end up in the Camera+ Lightbox, which makes it easy to keep track of your photos. where you can quickly and easily skim through them and get rid of bad shots. You save only the photos you’re satisfied with so that your camera roll stays neat and clean.

This is seriously just the tip of the iceberg with this app.  My recommendation is to download it and play.

Just a heads up here too.  I’ve got the iPhone version.  The iPad version doesn’t seem to have been updated since January 2014, so consequently the reviews are all that great on it (lovely Camera+ developers, please feel free to update me here!) .

VSCO Cam

My other go-to app for photography is VSCOCam.

I mainly use this one for editing my photos with the presets that are available (both free and paid), which are honestly stunning (again, I have my favourites – Minimalist and Clean being two I quite frequently use).  They have been developed to look like film stocks that photographers still widely use – to replicate the tones and colours – for an authentic and beautiful rendition of your photo.

Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset (and some others I can’t remember!)

Again, this is just scratching the surface of the functionality of this app, and if you want to get a better idea of just how much you can do with VSCO Cam, head over to this post – The Complete Guide to VSCO Cam.

The VSCO crew also have an awesome community with inspirations and, best of all, tutorials!

If you’re new to the world of iPhoneography, I hope this really short and sweet post helps you out (honestly, there are far more comprehensive posts on both these apps out there, from people who have been using them for a lot longer than I have).  The best thing you can do is muck around with these apps – and any others you have in your arsenal.

and please share any of your favourites with me – I’m always on the lookout for the next best photography app available!!

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A Year of Instagram

I’ve recently delved back into the world that is Instagram, and am quite loving the simplicity of photo-making that it inspires me to create.

Processed with VSCO Cam - m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with g2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with g2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with b4 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with b4 preset

I’ll be following along with Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim, and the millions of others, who take a photo a day (nothing like a little accountability to keep oneself on track).

All of my photos are taken with my iPad mini, using the Camera+ app and edited with VSCOcam.  I’ll blog about both of these apps next week, because I highly recommend them for the serious (and not so serious) photographer.

Until then, I’m off to play – photos to take, world to see, life to live.

Have a good one xo

Almost forgot, you’ll find me on Instagram here.

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