I've really enjoyed the posts coming up on the "case for vaccination" thread of mothers sharing their thoughts on the lack of a link between anti-vaccination beliefs and other parenting styles which Mothering advocate. Many of us AP parents are proudly (and thoughtfully) vaccinating, and I thought it might be nice to have a thread just to share our experiences, since they're getting a bit buried in the debate on that other thread.
For the anti-vax mothers out there I respectfully request you not post here, but start another thread on why you choose not to vaccinate after doing your research (which I won't post to). You could even do it on the entire board you have to share your experiences (which I also try to keep out of, although I did recently post a primary source for the statistic for pertussis deaths in infants). I am asking nicely that you let this thread stay as a list of personal stories of why some of us choose to vaccinate after doing our research.
As my signature says I'm a keen Mothering Mama. When I lived in the US I subscribed to the magazine and enjoyed most of the articles. I had both my babies naturally with no pain killers under midwife care (although to be fair that's the norm here in the UK where my second was born) even though both were early labours in which I was recommended to use pitocin to move labour along (after 24 hours for my 34 week preemie first child, and after 60 hours for my just full term 37 weeker). I exclusively breast fed both for 6 months, and extended to around 18 months with both of them self weaning at that point. I used cloth diapers/nappies for both babies, while a working mother which was much easier than it sounds. I also did a lot of baby wearing, and co-sleeping.
That all might seem off topic, but one of the reasons I did all these things is that I believe they are supported by good scientific evidence that demonstrates they are best for babies. They make sense - newborns need their mamas, and we are designed to give birth naturally etc. Cloth nappies are demonstrably better for the environment, and also just cute! ;)
For me this same reasoning (the science, not the cuteness) backs my choice to vaccinate. I believe the research is clear that vaccinations work and prevent, sometimes rare, but sometimes very dangerous diseases. Some of the ingredients sound scary, but once you look at the quantities and the environmental exposure our kids cope just fine with it's clear to me that it's negligible. Obviously vaccine reactions happen, and sometimes are nasty - but I believe the statistics that show they are very rare. I also think it's a responsible thing to do to help herd immunity in my community, and try to wipe out serious diseases. I believe we should continue (and that we are as a community with talented scientists continuing) to research possible dangers/rare side effects of vaccine, but I have yet to see a convincing study of any serious common side effect.
Anyway at the risk of going on too much that's my opinion on the matter. I'd love to hear from other AP vaccinating mothers about why they choose to vaccinate, or just hear from you that you're there too. I have had periods of avoiding Mothering (forums, and online articles) over some of what I see as an anti-vaccination stance, so I'd also like Mothering to know we're here, and we're thoughtfully vaccinating. :)