This started out as a Facebook post, but quickly got too long. So I turned it into a blog post... but then it started to run long here, too! So now I'm breaking it into several blog posts. There's a lot of info, but I want to make it easy as possible to understand. I'll share some of my views, but I also want to keep this neutral. I strongly believe that each parent is entrusted with their child's life, and therefore needs to make the decision for themselves. In my humble opinion, way too many parents vaccinate just because it's 'what you're supposed to do.' That is a terrible reason.
So sit back and enjoy the cliff notes of what I've learned.
Before Hazelnut was born I was uneasy about vaccines. In my heart I just felt there was something fishy to the whole thing. Sure, there were a lot of people who were perfectly normal, but then there were many people I knew that their children had strong adverse reactions to vaccines.
I was encouraged to go ahead with vaccines-- "they're safe and normal. Just don't get too many done at once."
So I went with it... without researching anything. I felt bad about it, but I was overwhelmed with so many new things and just didn't have time. I told my doctor that I didn't want her to have the combo vaccines and I wanted to separate them as much as possible. He suggested doing half the 2 month shots at 2 months, and the other half at 3 months. Then half the 4 month shots at 4 months, and the other half at 5 months, and so on. Sounded good to me, so I went with it. I really had no clue whether that was what I wanted or not, but it sounded good and I hadn't done any research, so what could I really suggest otherwise?
Looking back I can't believe I let the nurses inject substances into my baby that I knew nothing about. Nothing! I wouldn't let my doctor check me at my last few appointments when I was pregnant because I didn't want the risk of introducing infection... yet I let them give Hazel vaccines that I knew nothing about? How very hypocritical of me. I was arbitrarily picking and choosing what was "safe" or not.
I've been researching vaccines for about a month now. Once I really got my hands on definite information and what little research has been done, my choices were very clear. I strongly suggest that each parent research them before giving them to your kids. If you think you're going to vaccinate then do a little research-- make sure that you are able to back up your decision. Worst case scenario (& I know no one wants to think about it), if something negative does happen, you don't want to go "Oh no! I wish I'd researched more!" Instead, you can know that it's the risk that you chose. That given the risks and benefits, you made the best decision you could for your child, and you won't regret that decision.
And on the flip side. If a parent chooses to not vaccinate, or to choose only certain vaccines. If their child gets a disease or has an adverse reaction to a vaccine, the parent can at least know that they made the best informed decision that they could. That they carefully researched and did not make the decision lightly.
That's my 2 cents for now. In future posts I'll share the highlights of what I've learned, the best resources I've found, and other tidbits. Feel free to ask questions as it goes. I'm not going to promise that I can answer them because I am in no way an expert, but I will do my best to find the answer!