Below is a guest post by Lydia G., mother of three:
When I met my husband over about 15 years ago I was a quality control chemist at a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. I tested raw materials and monitored plant reactions and the purification process. You cant fart in there without documenting it. So I know how much care goes into these products. Still, I fell for the anti-vax rhetoric. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.
We moved for my husband’s career when I became pregnant, so I quit my job. I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom, and give my child the best start I could. I breastfed, I cloth diapered, I baby-wore and made my own baby food. I also planned to vaccinate. I did vaccinate. I got a flu shot while pregnant. I took her to her 8-week appointment. I was nervous. I remember sitting there thinking, we can’t undo this if it goes wrong. But my daughter got 3 vaccines. And a few hours later she started crying and crying in a robotic high pitched squeal the likes I never heard. When she stopped she slept so deeply I was afraid she would stop breathing. She nursed poorly and stopped looking at me. This was scary. When I talked to the public health nurse, she brushed me off. She said this was normal, and that the baby was fine. When calling me for the next round of vaccines, she lied and said my daughter would not be able to go to school. Then she said there was a polio outbreak in Toronto brought by immigrants. Then she said she would do anything to vaccinate my baby. This broke my trust completely. I didn’t know what to do. My daughter did get better after a couple of days, which seemed like an eternity.
I brought her in for her 4-month vaccines, but I had lost my trust so I decided to skip DTAP-IPV-HIB because the anti-vaxxers convinced me that my daughter had “cry encephalitis” from brain inflammation. She got her MenCon-C and Prevnar and was fine, but after that, I fell into the rabbit hole and just could not continue. I became consumed by their stories. SIDS, autism, cancer, autoimmune disease, allergies. They shared PubMed studies and articles. I believed these parents and supposed health professionals. I believed I was saving my child. That maybe I could prevent her from getting my autoimmune disease. I went on to have 2 more children. I did not vaccinate them at all. I ran into other moms that were questioning vaccines and we felt like we were sparing our children. It was a dirty secret. We knew the other moms feared us. So we kept our mouths shut. That said I was never one to say nobody should vaccinate. I believed that we should have informed consent. And that we should do what we feel is best for our families.
Fast forward to 2020. I have 3 kids, 12,5, and 2 years old. COVID happens. I know what you are thinking, but it wasn’t COVID that made me question my choice. It was the uncertainty of the economy. I know these diseases are opportunistic. Whenever natural or economic disaster hits they come back. When you need the vaccines it’s often too late. Venezuela had a decent standard of living at one time. The collapse of their system brought back measles and diphtheria. It happened in other places too. Thinking about that made me question my choices. In questioning my choices, I started reading scientific rebuttals to many of the talking points I heard over and over. I started realizing the anti-vax movement was predatory. I read about Catie Clobes. This woman accidentally suffocated her baby, and they convinced her it was vaccines. Then I read about other mothers that were contacted by anti-vaxxers after their babies had died or fallen ill. What a horrible thing to do. I also started seeing that these families were obsessed with purity which is something that happens in a lot of cults. They think vaccinated kids are contaminated, and their kids are pure. I also started seeing a lot of cross-over with other conspiracy groups like flat earthers. They also love homeopathy, which frankly, I think is baloney. I found out that vaccines don’t cause cry encephalitis. It is actually thought to be localized injection site pain. And that even when infants react like mine, they statistically won’t have a reaction like that again. Another thing that surprised me was that babies are born with an intact blood-brain barrier. A lot of people put off vaccines because they think it doesn’t form until age 2 or 3. It is not true. People are waiting for no reason. I started reading Vaxopedia every single day and feeling more and more regretful. (Thank you Dr.Iannelli)
And then I did what I never saw myself doing. I called public health and explained my kids were unvaccinated and made an appointment. The nurse was so kind. She said we would do anything I wanted and to look at the current schedule to see what my kids missed. Together we will have my children caught up in a year. I was so nervous about my kids’ vaccines that I took an Ativan before their first shots. It went well. None of my kids reacted with so much as a red mark. They all got ring pops to distract them during the injections. I even decided at the last minute to do more shots than I planned. Their boosters are in a month and I no longer feel nervous, just happy to protect them.
ITS OKAY TO CHANGE YOUR MIND.
Lydia’s related links:
- Vaxopedia: Vaccines and the Blood-Brain Barrier by Vincent Iannelli
- Vaxopedia: What Causes Non-Stop Crying After DTaP Vaccines? by Vincent Iannelli
- Forbes: A Serious Reaction After Vaccination Rarely Occurs Again With Later Immunization, Study Finds by Tara Haelle