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Friends don't want us to visit

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I'm feeling so sad today. Last night my dh's best friend called to let us know that they weren't allowing anyone around their new baby (not born yet, due in a week or two) who hasn't had the DTaP. Both of my kiddos are vax-free. They said "no one", but from what my dh relayed to me it didn't sound like they meant adults needed to have a booster, just that if we wanted to bring the kids to visit we needed to get them immunized. I don't really know if they think we're going to run out and get the shots just to appease them or if they have a certain amount of time (3 months, 6 months, a year) in mind in which we should stay away, but then after that we can visit, or what? I don't really know what they're thinking. These are probably our closest friends, we just spent much of last weekend visiting with them at my dh's sister's wedding. I just feel like my decisions are under attack. Are we ever allowed to be around their kid?

I do understand why they're scared. We both live in CA (we're in the bay area and they're down in LA area), and obviously a lot of people around here are fearful of pertussis. The thing is I think both my kids just got over Whooping Cough anyway. It started with dd back at the beginning of August, it started with a regular cough, but progressively got worse. It was the worst at night when she would cough until nearly throwing up (horrible gagging, but not actual vomiting) and she did indeed have a whoop after particularly severe coughing attacks. My son started in with the cough about a week after dd. His never seemed as bad though, which I wonder if it was due the breastfeeding. About 2 weeks ago there started to be a marked improvement, and now they seem very healthy though they still have an occasional mild coughing spell here or there. So if that's what they had, then aren't they probably as safe to be around once they're well, as someone who has been vaxed? I do realize that immunity wanes regardless of whether it is natural or vaccine induced.

Is this just the price we pay for choosing this path for our children? How do I deal with this gracefully? Is there a way to have the kids' ped test for antibodies or something to see if indeed the children had WC and that now they aren't likely to pass it on to a baby? And of course I would never bring my kids around a new baby if they showed signs of illness. We have other friends who had a new baby back in July, who we had planned to visit mid august, but then the kids got sick and so of course we stayed away. I didn't even go visit by myself because I didn't want to transmit anything to them if I was just asymptomatic. Hopefully we'll come see their baby in a few weeks.
post #2 of 35


I'm sorry, mama. That really stinks. I'm sure they're only doing what they think is best for their new baby and it's not an attack on your choices. They're choosing to limit who can see their baby--their right--even if their reasoning is a little...off.

Anyway, I wouldn't get titers or anything else for my children based on these people's fears. I wonder if they're going to stay quarantined at home with the baby for the next several years? Surely not everyone they'll come in contact with in public is up to date on their DTaP/TDaP...and that's if we're pretending the vaccine is 100% effective...

You sound like a good mama and a caring friend. Hopefully they'll realize how irrational and unfair it is to expect the whole world to take powerful pharmaceutical drugs just to cater to their own fear of death and disease. I would definitely try not to take it personally.
post #3 of 35
Are they having the baby at home? Because none of the other babies in the nursery at the hospital will have had the dtap.... When their baby is 2 months old it will have had the dtap itself, at which point it will make even less sense to ask you not to let your kids near it. It sucks, i'm sorry.
post #4 of 35
We don't vaccinate and my feelings would be a little hurt if I were in your situation, but really....they are about to be brand new parents. That entitles them to be totally irrational for at least a few months. I know I did things with my first that I won't do with my second. That said, pertussis is actually a scary thought for a newborn and if you are still occassionally noticing your kids coughing and think they had pertussis, I wouldn't want them around my newborn either. Hopefully time will pass, your kids will quit coughing, and they'll relax a little or vaccinate so it won't even be an issue.
post #5 of 35


That is so hard

I can fully understand the concerns of the new parents to be. And I also fully understand your feeling hurt by your children being rejected.

To the best of my knowledge there is a blood tests to check titers for pertussis. You would need to look into how much it costs and where to do it. If the titers come back positive, this should be considered equal to having had the vaccine.

I will have a newborn in about 10 weeks and I will not let anyone into our home who is sniffling or coughing - whoever they are. People will also need to wash hands if they want to touch the baby. I know this could hurt some people's feelings, but as the mother of my child, it is my prerogative to look after the best interest of my baby, to the best of my ability.

It sounds like your friends are going with advice that has been given to them by their doctor and it is advice that they are comfortable following.

I would not worry about how this will all develop in the future. A newborn is far more vulnerable than an older baby or toddler. And parents are rightfully very protective of newborns. It sounds like you are not going to see eye to eye on how to best protect newborns. And that is OK. Friends do not always see eye to eye.

Having said all that, I really would be very upset if my son was rejected due his vaccine status. Having the vaccine is no guarantee that the vaccinated person is not carrying pertussis asymptomatically. And there is no evidence to support the recommendation of everyone getting the vaccine to prevent transmission.

More
post #6 of 35
That's lousy, but I don't think there's anything you can do about it. They're making a choice because they're concerned for the health of their baby, which I think is reasonable. It seems that they value vaccines in a way that your family does not. Again, their choice.

I've been on the opposite receiving end of this. We had friends that didn't want us around because we DO vaccinate and they were worried about shedding viruses. *shrug* You just can't win all the time. All you can do is make the decision you think is best for your family, and accept that others will do the same.
post #7 of 35
We're a non-vaxing family, and with my first, I set similar rules. I didn't have any kids around dd for the first two months. It wasn't because I thought my friend S or M had germy kids, it was because I thought all kids were germy. I also seriously limited who could hold her. So, for a vaxing family, I don't think their choices sound unreasonable or really off-base. I wouldn't take it personally if I were you.

By the time ds came around, I was still protective, but the whole germy kid thing went out the window, since dd goes to pre-school and loves to kiss and hold her brother. Chalk it up to new-parent worries and leave it at that.
post #8 of 35
They are really pushing the Pertussis vaccine in Southern California and telling new parents and parents to be these exact things: get all adults vaccinated in a household with a new baby. There are even commercials on t.v. There seems to be a an "epidemic" in Southern California right now. And they fully aknowledge that a baby isn't fully vaccinated until 9 months when they get all of the shots in the series. I just had a baby 5 weeks ago and I got the Pertussis Vaccine talk numerous times at the hospital AND at the baby's well checks.
post #9 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I just wanted to make very clear that I would NEVER bring my kids around their new baby or any newborn while they had any symptoms of illness. I know I said my kids still have a slight cough (Like they cough once or twice a day, and my understanding is that they are not really a risk for transmission at this point), but we live 400 miles from these friends so we would not be visiting them unless the kids were 100%. In fact we have other close friends with a new baby in July that we still haven't seen because I didn't want to risk getting the baby sick. I don't think we'll visit for a few more weeks because I don't want to take any chances. I definitely take the risk of Whopping Cough very seriously.

Also I just didn't get the impression from dh that they were talking about just the newborn period or even the first 6 months, but that they were saying we couldn't bring our kids around their kid unless we get them vaxed. I mean they live in an area with a fairly large unvaxed population and I don't think they're going to be asking every single person they ever come across whether or not they've had the dtp, you know. In fact they'll probably be in playgroups with the baby where at least one other baby is either not vaxed or delayed vax you know? Also I don't think they're asking all the adults in their life to get a booster, it's just focused on our kids and it kind of feels like scapegoating. I also think that in their mind they think they're doing us a favor because now we'll feel pressured to run out and vax our kids which is in our kids "best interest" of course.
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker'smommy View Post
They are really pushing the Pertussis vaccine in Southern California and telling new parents and parents to be these exact things: get all adults vaccinated in a household with a new baby. There are even commercials on t.v. There seems to be a an "epidemic" in Southern California right now. And they fully aknowledge that a baby isn't fully vaccinated until 9 months when they get all of the shots in the series. I just had a baby 5 weeks ago and I got the Pertussis Vaccine talk numerous times at the hospital AND at the baby's well checks.
Northern CA is similar. There are billboards all over the place, and the last couple times I took the kids to the doctor they really pushed the vax. I think part of why I'm upset is that while I totally get the scare for newborns, and honestly I think newborns should be kept at home away from germs as long as possible (My homebirthed baby #2 didn't leave the house until 2 or 3 weeks old and then it was a bit limited) and limiting guests in general is probably a good idea, but I also feel there is a lot of fear-mongering going on. My guy was 9 months old and the doctors continued to try to scare me with dead-baby stories and honestly it's under 3 month old babies that are dying not 9 month olds you know? So l think if our friends had just said they were limiting visitors and whooping cough is going around, so why don't you just plan to visit after the new year when the baby is a bit bigger and stronger I think my feelings would be less hurt, but I feel like it was more, "you can't bring your kids around ours unless you get them vaxed"
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
Also I just didn't get the impression from dh that they were talking about just the newborn period or even the first 6 months, but that they were saying we couldn't bring our kids around their kid unless we get them vaxed. I mean they live in an area with a fairly large unvaxed population and I don't think they're going to be asking every single person they ever come across whether or not they've had the dtp, you know. In fact they'll probably be in playgroups with the baby where at least one other baby is either not vaxed or delayed vax you know? Also I don't think they're asking all the adults in their life to get a booster, it's just focused on our kids and it kind of feels like scapegoating. I also think that in their mind they think they're doing us a favor because now we'll feel pressured to run out and vax our kids which is in our kids "best interest" of course.
Maybe just give it some time and let them get over that feverishly terrified stage that most of us went through as new parents. I'm not saying they AREN'T scapegoating you or targeting your family specifically with this new rule, because it's possible they are! I don't mean to minimize your feelings about it at all. Just remember that their attitudes will likely change quite a bit as they become more experienced parents.

And being vaccine-free isn't exactly commonplace, but it's not all that rare anymore either. They're going to encounter plenty of other people who don't vaccinate, and they'll then have to decide whether to shun those vaccine-free families entirely or develop a slightly more reasonable stance about it. Either way, I suspect their attitudes and opinions will change as they get more experience. As you said, they can't exactly go around asking random strangers about vax status (without seeming like total loons, that is).

What they don't get to do is dictate your family's health decisions based on their own choices. Any friend who would demand such a thing is no friend at all.

Give it more time and try to hang in there. I know it hurts.
post #12 of 35
We're not allowed either at DH's cousin's house. Their son is 4 months now, and not even adults without a TDaP may even enter their house. They live in San Jose, and I quite frankly don't care. Their loss that they cannot see us! But anyone who is vaccinated for pertussis toxoids and has a cold can come... Oh well they believe that having the shot will protect you from any other cold or disease... So a sick person can come, since it's not WP, it's fine! No logic whatsoever.
post #13 of 35
I know it hurts, but it sounds like you're projecting a lot in regards to their reasons. You assume that it's just your kids, no adults, and their way of coercing you into vaccinating. But really, you don't know. I agree with PP that I'll give any parents license to be paranoid and over-protective for at least the first six months after their baby's birth. That's sort of their job. When your toddler had WC and was struggling to breathe, choking while she coughed, that must have been really scary and heartbreaking. I imagine that your friend is afraid of her newborn going through that, and I can't say that I blame her. I would just let it be, stay friendly when talking to her, and hope that as the baby gets older mom will relax a little bit.
post #14 of 35
On one hand, I get it- they want to protect their child, but they should go beyond "keeping them away from anyone who isn't up to date on their vaccines." And if they're your closest friends, you should certainly ask them if they mean adults or not.

The jerk in me wants to tell you to be sure and tell them to keep their kid away from yours when they get any live virus vaccines (like rotavirus) and see how they respond.
post #15 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

I've been on the opposite receiving end of this. We had friends that didn't want us around because we DO vaccinate and they were worried about shedding viruses. *shrug* You just can't win all the time. All you can do is make the decision you think is best for your family, and accept that others will do the same.
See that would hurt my feelings too. I think everybody makes the choice for their kid and then lives with it. If I was that afraid of shedding kids, I guess I wouldn't take my kid out in public. But I think it goes both ways. If you're seriously afraid of the diseases you'd have to stay home 100% to avoid ever coming in contact with them.
post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heathergirl67 View Post
I know it hurts, but it sounds like you're projecting a lot in regards to their reasons. You assume that it's just your kids, no adults, and their way of coercing you into vaccinating. But really, you don't know. I agree with PP that I'll give any parents license to be paranoid and over-protective for at least the first six months after their baby's birth. That's sort of their job. When your toddler had WC and was struggling to breathe, choking while she coughed, that must have been really scary and heartbreaking. I imagine that your friend is afraid of her newborn going through that, and I can't say that I blame her. I would just let it be, stay friendly when talking to her, and hope that as the baby gets older mom will relax a little bit.
You're probably right, I am probably projecting. I can be overly sensitive sometimes. I tend to take things like this very personally. I do want to say though that although the WC was the most sick my kids have ever been and that it was really exhausting and I hate seeing my kids so miserable, but honestly the only thing I was scared of was me going crazy from sleep deprivation before the kids got better. I never once thought my kids were going to die, and it really cemented for me that the need to vaccinate against the disease is really exaggerated. That being said, I realize that as the parent of a newborn it is a much scarier prospect. I'm so glad that my baby was over 6 months when the epidemic started. I can only imagine how sick with worry I would have been if my baby had been much younger when we'd had to deal with this.
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlec View Post
On one hand, I get it- they want to protect their child, but they should go beyond "keeping them away from anyone who isn't up to date on their vaccines." And if they're your closest friends, you should certainly ask them if they mean adults or not.

The jerk in me wants to tell you to be sure and tell them to keep their kid away from yours when they get any live virus vaccines (like rotavirus) and see how they respond.
I called dh at work and asked him if they specified the kids or if they want all adults to get boosters as well. He said he didn't know and that he would get clarification.
post #18 of 35
It doesn't sound like you see them much anyway .

Just give them time to get through the new parent hyper-protectiveness. Obviously your baby survived having unvaxed siblings, eventually that will sink in.

It could be worse; someone on the main vax board posted awhile ago that their children were banned from the home of their first cousins (twins) for two YEARS because the poster's children were unvaxed.

You could say that you understand as the number of pertussis cases are particularly high this year, but that you hope they know that the vaccine does not prevent transmission of Pertussis so any visitors pose a risk -- though true, it may be viewed as passive-aggressive so it may be better not to say it...
post #19 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
It doesn't sound like you see them much anyway .

Just give them time to get through the new parent hyper-protectiveness. Obviously your baby survived having unvaxed siblings, eventually that will sink in.

It could be worse; someone on the main vax board posted awhile ago that their children were banned from the home of their first cousins (twins) for two YEARS because the poster's children were unvaxed.

You could say that you understand as the number of pertussis cases are particularly high this year, but that you hope they know that the vaccine does not prevent transmission of Pertussis so any visitors pose a risk -- though true, it may be viewed as passive-aggressive so it may be better not to say it...
we actually see them a fair amount probably 6-8 times a year, maybe more. They live a couple miles from my mom's house. When we lived in LA back when dd was a baby we saw them at least once a week. But its not like we have to see them that often, I mean if they don't want to see us we have lots of other friends in LA to hang out with. But we've always spent lots of time with them cause we enjoy their company, and my dh has very few friends and this is one of them.

I think one of the things I find interesting is that my kids are unvaxed and they did catch WC, but we know tons of unvaxed kids and no one else but my kids had it. So that means one of three things either a) my kids caught it from someone who was unvaxed out in the community who had it that we didn't know and couldn't have prevented coming in contact with, b) someone we know who may have been vaxed had a low-level or asymptomatic case and passed it to my kids, or c) someone who was vaxed that we don't know out in the community had a low-level or asymptomatic infection and passed it to my kids. Either way keeping my kids away from the unvaxed kids we know about wouldn't have prevented my kids from catching it you know. I mean if you go to a park, a playgroup, the grocery store, anywhere sooner or later you're going to be exposed to people who don't vax or who aren't current on their vaccines.
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by junipermuse View Post
I mean if you go to a park, a playgroup, the grocery store, anywhere sooner or later you're going to be exposed to people who don't vax or who aren't current on their vaccines.
You don't even have to leave the house. When #2 was an infant we all had a cold and the only one who had left the house in 2 weeks was dh!

I wouldn't approach like they have created a law and you are looking for loopholes it will probably irritate them and frustrate you. Often things change once people have children; it can be more difficult for some to overlook differences.
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