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.
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