Dear Friends and Family,
I have a confession to make. It’s really important to me that you hear me out on this one. I love you and value your friendship and your support. This is a really hot topic right now, and I face a lot of judgment for it. It’s scary to talk about sometimes. I usually don’t. I get called names an awful lot, and it can be really stressful. There are a lot of misconceptions about me, and why I make the choices I make. That’s why I’m coming to you today: I need to know the people I care about are in my corner.
Please listen with an open mind. Don’t assume anything when you hear my confession. Let me tell you in my own words why I do what I do. I’d love to answer your honest questions if you have any. And I appreciate and understand you may not agree. Just please remember that I love my children and I really want what’s best for them — I know you’re concerned for them, too.
So here it is: I don’t vaccinate (yet).
You Don’t Vaccinate?!
I know, it’s a hard confession to make. At this time, we feel it’s best for our family if we don’t vaccinate. We may be planning a selective or delayed schedule. Or we may never get them. Our decision will be continually evaluated as new scientific evidence comes out, or as our family needs change. This is just where we are right now.
I know you may have some strong feelings about this. There are a lot of scary stories out there about babies who have died of whooping cough, or children who have come down with measles or mumps. I know that you can’t imagine someone you love going through these things. It’s hard for us to think about sometimes, too.
But the thing is, we know that vaccines come with risks too. And not just that Jenny McCarthy said they cause autism — we’ve read lots and lots (and lots) of medical journals about the risks. And we’ve read a lot of books. We’re still reading everything we can find, to learn as much as possible about vaccines, and the risks and benefits that come with them. There’s a lot of information out there, and I’d be happy to share it with you if you’re interested.
Believe me, this isn’t a decision we’ve made lightly. It’s one we’re constantly thinking about, reading about, learning about. It’s one we feel that we’re very informed about (and none of that information came from the media). Honestly? It’s really, really hard to take the shaming that is so prevalent in the media these days. They don’t understand how we feel or why we made the decisions that we did, and it feels like they don’t care, either.
That’s why I’m telling you this today. I need you to understand that it’s hard to walk a different path when it feels like people are so violently against you. I’m hoping you’re close enough to me to understand that I’m doing what I believe is best.
Agree to Disagree?
I don’t expect you to see eye-to-eye with me on this. I don’t expect you to avoid, or even delay or selectively choose vaccines. I respect your right to choose to fully vaccinate, or whatever choice you make. I know you love your children and want them to be healthy and safe — just like I want for mine.
All I want is the same respect.
If you ever have a question, or ever wonder about something you’ve heard in the media, please ask. And give me the benefit of the doubt. I’m not trying to ride on the coattails of society’s herd immunity (many of us don’t believe in it), I’m not interested in what the ‘cool’ celebrities are doing with their children (I take medical decisions much too seriously to be swayed by that), and I don’t google random websites for information (I like to search the CDC, pubmed, and other scientific sources).
In fact, I might even have a vaccine-injured child. That’s something that our society doesn’t talk about very much. We talk a lot about children who die from pertussis, but not about the children who are damaged or killed by the DTaP. And it happens. I don’t say that to scare you, but to let you know that this worries me. That it’s a reality for me, in some way.
Let’s agree to disagree. We can each choose what is best for our children, and not have to fight about it.
Can I just ask one more thing?
Can we please stop trying to prove who is really “right?” Everyone is different. Vaccines are a medical procedure. They can be right for some, and not right for others. And that’s okay. It’s hard to see people saying that everyone must vaccinate fully “or else.” That just isn’t true. We truly are all different. And even if you can’t agree on this point…please just remember how much I love my children, and that I’d never make a choice that would harm them.
I really hope that we can preserve our relationship, and not let our differing opinions come between us. Your friendship is important to me, and I don’t want to fight.
Thanks for listening,