Phew. It is rough to be a parent these days. It’s always been a tough job, but given the current climate of social media and an invisible force that urges you to define your parenting style – helicopter mom, baby wearer, breast feeder, anti vaxer, free range parent – the list is endless and yet well defined.
And if I’m being honest, I think it’s amazing that so many moms are talking, sharing, posting. I constantly question my parenting method, look for new skills and sigh with relief when I read that I’m not alone. It’s all good.
Except when it’s not.
That’s right. I’m jumping on the bandwagon of posts about vaccinating your kids.
My bottom line is this: get educated. Ask questions. See more than one doctor. Read articles, posts, journals. Do whatever you have to do to reach the conclusion that vaccinating your healthy child is the right decision. And I emphasize healthy. Because those not healthy kids are the other reason we need to vaccinate our children. Herd immunity is meant to protect those that aren’t healthy enough for vaccinations, those that can’t be vaccinated for health reasons, and those too young. Choosing not to vaccinate your children out of a fear of the vaccination is not an excuse. Fear is not an excuse.
If you’re still conflicted, then think over this scenario in your head. I was sitting with Auggie in the emergency room a few months ago. He had a horrible case of croup and was in severe distress. His sweet little chest caved inward with each gasp for air because he was sucking in so hard. At some point my brain flipped into survival mode. Gone were the emotions and my only focus was to get this kid some help and fast. I realized after the storm had passed how awful it had been. How horrible it is to have the thought his oxygen levels are ok so if they have to, they could do a tracheotomy and then he could breathe.
It is not a fun when the thought of having a hole cut into your child’s throat is comforting.
The one thought that popped into my head over and over was how I could have prevented him getting so sick. And while the answer for his condition was “nothing”, that would not be the case for whooping cough. I cannot imagine the guilt of watching my beautiful little boy not be able to breathe because of my decision not to vaccinate him.
Which is why we do vaccinate our kids. When Baylor was a baby, I talked extensively about vaccinations, vaccination schedules and risk with our pediatrician. And the bottom line for me was when she said “I totally understand your concern. I do constant research about vaccinations and as a mom and a doctor, I fully vaccinate my child and that’s why I require this schedule for my healthy patients”.
That was all I needed to hear to make the decision to prevent the preventable. There’s enough unknown with our kids. Being able to check life threatening illnesses off that list? I’m in.