To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate
Deciding to vaccinate has been a big topic of conversation in my house since we decided to have a baby. You see, I grew up very differently than most. My upbringing consisted of meditating, martial arts, eastern medicine and philosophy, and natural/homeopathic approaches to healing. Much of what you see trending these days is what I grew up knowing: that yoga & plant-based food heal, thoughts become reality, meditation works wonders, exercise keeps you young, and so much more. It seems obvious now, but it wasn’t a few years ago. My parents have always been ahead of their time. So, when it came to vaccinations, naturally, I wasn’t about them. As a result, Eric and I had a lot of conversations that sometimes grew into arguments. He’s very well read and educated and comes from a family of renowned doctors and professors in neuroscience and complex systems. Totally different from my upbringing. I was pretty convinced vaccinations caused autism in children. His impatience with my thought process grew because of the overwhelming evidence that my belief simply wasn't true. It took him years to get me to change my mind. You see, when we are programmed to believe a certain thing or think a certain way, and someone challenges that part of you, it’s very hard to shift because you essentially begin question more of you long-held belief. That is, after all, why they're called belief systems - they're interlaced, and rooted in my upbringing. He persisted because that's just who he is. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in all the aforementioned ideals. But I don’t shut myself off from the facts when they're presented. What really hit home was the measles outbreak. I mean, how do you go from no cases to almost 1000? This is a serious issue. I don’t take my daughter out of our residential complex because of it. Each year, 1.5 million children under the age of 5 die of diseases that can be prevented. Wouldn't you want to protect your LO?
On April 29th, we took Stella for her first vaccinations. She got Dtap, HIB, IPV and HepB. Her dad was by her side the whole time. Before heading into the doctor's office, I did some research about how to sooth a baby who just got vaccinated. I imagined an inconsolable, screaming baby in terribly pain. I wanted to be prepared to lessen the blow. The nurse came in and did the preliminary vitals that measure her growth, such as head size, weight, and height. Eric and I have a running joke that she has a big head so I tease him about that. The pediatrician came in and looked at her, tested her motor skills and talked to us about any questions we had about Stella's progress. We love our doctor. By the time she left and the nurse came in, Stella was asleep in daddy's arms.
The nurse is a young girl who is always super sweet and friendly to both us and the baby. She let us know it was time for shots and you could feel the tension in the room escalate. We swaddled our little girl, left her legs out and daddy held her arms down by her side. I stayed by her head to shush her and reassure her that she was okay. Prick, Prick, Prick! Three shots in the frame of 10 seconds released a howling scream from Stella that we hadn't witnessed before. Daddy had tears in his eyes as he grabbed her and put her on his chest, kissing and hugging her. She settled a bit and I put her on my breast to breastfeed. She was quiet and calm from that moment on and we soon saw our little baby smile again. Whew! That may have been worse for us than it was for her!
Coming from someone who believed the misleading hype about vaccinations causing autism for so long, vaccinating your child is not only necessary and safe, but responsible and life saving.
What to do now? Do your research!
To learn more about how to soothe your child here is a great article.
To learn more about WHY vaccinations are so important, and HOW we are now faced with the highest level of measles cases in 25 years, check out this New York Times The Daily Podcast.