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As a parent who chooses not to vaccinate...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
... or chooses not to do all recommended vaccines, do you feel like you have local, real life, or online support for your decisions? Do you feel like your concerns over vaccine safety (or fears over vaccine danger, perhaps) are validated? How often do you face ridicule and hostility?

Honestly, I don't talk about this stuff much IRL, because I'm afraid of backlash. I feel like we receive a number of messages socially about vaccines, and that they are almost all fearmongering and emotion driven. I don't see intelligent, logic based, or balanced messages about vaccines. This is part of what scares me off- watching vax skeptics get demonized for raising concerns does nothing to assuage my own.

Any thoughts? What is your experience like with this, IRL and online?
Edited by Jennyanydots - 12/29/12 at 2:12pm
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
And Chicharronita's post on another thread brings up another, related, question. She said exposure to vax pushers and the way they push their agenda has made her even less likely to consider vaccination (hope you don't mind me piggybacking, Chicharronita!). I'm starting to feel like this, too.
A silly metaphor:
Have some soup.
No, thanks, I'm ok.
Please eat some soup.
No, I'm really not hungry.
Eat it!
Why? Wait, what's in it?
Don't worry about it! Just eat the damn soup!
Why are you freaking out, what's in the soup??
Just eat it!!! Now!!!
No way! I don't trust you or your soup!

Just a little goofiness, in case your day hasn't been goofy enough smile.gif
post #3 of 26

I have had decent support in real life.  I feel very blessed. I suspect from one or two snippets over the years that my mom wishes we were more sel/del than non vax, but it does not really bother her.  She only mentions it if I bring something up.

 

My sister is good.  She has bigger fish to fry.  My other sister is probably clueless (vaccines are not on her radar) but it would not surprise her, she thinks we are pretty steeped in granola.

 

My inlaws do not know.  No one is going to tell them.  They might very well be a PITA.  They are a PITA about anything non-mainstream, and they can be a little ignorant to boot.

 

Among friends some know I vaccinate and some do not.  None of them have really cared.  

 

The internet has been a source of support but also of riddicule and nastiness.  

 

In reality, I do not need much support around not - vaxxing.   My kids are older, we only see doctors on an as needed basis and they do not usually give me a hard time,  our exemptions were easy to get…my family and friends are good.  All is as it should be - I wish the same for any non-vaxxer reading!


Edited by kathymuggle - 12/29/12 at 2:49pm
post #4 of 26

I no longer have close relationships with my immediate family over our decision to stop vaccinating.  (My first child had dreadful reactions and is now mildly autistic.)  It has been one of the most painful parts of my adulthood... losing my family.

 

That said, almost all my close friends vaccinate and have been respectful of our choice, knowing what happened to my son.  My in-laws have chose to honor it as well.  I am very thankful for that.

 

I have found, as a rather insecure woman, that not vaccinating has made me stronger and more confident than any other decision in my life.  Fighting doctors, schools, family, society... if you can stand up to that, you can stand up to *anything*.

 

Having a supportive husband is immeasurably helpful.  Coming here helps too. Doing my research and having a thorough grounding in vaccine theory and pediatric immunology?  Invaluable.  People can't invalidate you if you've done your homework, and they've done none....  which I find to be the case the majority of the time in the vaccine debate.  Repeating, "But my doctor says...!" means nothing to me.

 

Hang in there.  Support is out there.  But there is no greater feeling than trusting in yourself, in your own education and beliefs.

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I have had decent support in real life.  I feel very blessed. I suspect from one or two snippets over the years that my mom wishes we were more sel/del than non vax, but it does not really bother her.  She only mentions it if I bring something up.

My sister is good.  She has bigger fish to fry.  My other sister is probably clueless (vaccines are not on her radar) but it would not surprise her, she thinks we are pretty steeped in granola.

My inlaws do not know.  No one is going to tell them.  They might very well be a PITA.  They are a PITA about anything non-mainstream, and they can be a little ignorant to boot.

Among friends some know I vaccinate and some do not.  Noe of them have really cared.  

The internet has been a source of support but also of riddicule and nastiness.  

In reality, I do not need much support around not - vaxxing.   My kids are older, we only see doctors on an as needed basis and they do not usually give me a hard time,  our exemptions were easy to get…my family and friends are good.  All is as it should be - I wish the same for any non-vaxxer reading!
Kathy, it's great that your family is on board, and that you don't feel the need for much support with this stuff. I guess family-wise, we're similar- my parents share some of my concerns and suspicions, and my MIL is totally on board. Outside of family, I have discussed this with very few people.

I just wonder whether the very expensive campaign(s) to control public sentiment toward vaccination is working as well as it seems to be..? Even on this tiny corner of the internet we can feel the backlash against vax skeptical discussion. Are we skeptics really few and far between?
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookingup View Post

I no longer have close relationships with my immediate family over our decision to stop vaccinating.  (My first child had dreadful reactions and is now mildly autistic.)  It has been one of the most painful parts of my adulthood... losing my family.

That said, almost all my close friends vaccinate and have been respectful of our choice, knowing what happened to my son.  My in-laws have chose to honor it as well.  I am very thankful for that.

I have found, as a rather insecure woman, that not vaccinating has made me stronger and more confident than any other decision in my life.  Fighting doctors, schools, family, society... if you can stand up to that, you can stand up to *anything*.

Having a supportive husband is immeasurably helpful.  Coming here helps too. Doing my research and having a thorough grounding in vaccine theory and pediatric immunology?  Invaluable.  People can't invalidate you if you've done your homework, and they've done none....  which I find to be the case the majority of the time in the vaccine debate.  Repeating, "But my doctor says...!" means nothing to me.

Hang in there.  Support is out there.  But there is no greater feeling than trusting in yourself, in your own education and beliefs.

I'm so sorry you've faced such painful ostracism over this, even in the wake of your son's reactions. That makes me think of the oft repeated vax apologist argument that we all need to vax to the max to protect those who can't. Here's your little guy, falling squarely into that category, but where is the sympathy for your position?

I'm glad you've found strength through standing up for him on this.
post #7 of 26

Basically I don't talk about it. My mother, my midwife, my doctor, and my pastor ( who also doesn't vax) know. So far no problems from er docs.

 

My mil would pitch a fit and if we explained why (hubby has gotten very sick from them) she would take it as a personal offense.

 

I answered a question on fb once, phrasing it so as not to oust myself, and another older friend I don't really have contact with except on there went off about bringing back diseases and graveyards full of dead babies. I don't think we'll be getting the kids together for playdates.

post #8 of 26
I never discussed my vaccination, or lack thereof, with my parents or siblings. I get enough crap about food allergies and homeschooling to give them something else to attack me about!

Ditto for in-laws.

My husband could care less about either my son or I getting medical treatment, so he hasn't said anything about vaccinating, either.

Boy! Writing this down, it all sounds crappy!

I never discussed vaccination with friends. It just never came up!

I've never really specified what I did vaccination-wise here. I'm not really looking for support for my decision, just information, so as we move forward in life I can make the best decision possible. My vax position is "currently not vaxing". In the vax debates, however, I probably come across as anti-vax. And I like these threads very much!!
post #9 of 26

Jenny, based on arguments I have seen repeated over and over again I don't know who it is we are supposedly supposed to be vaxxing to protect, because it certainly isn't the child with immediate and repeated reactions or familial history of reactions. No, those are just coincidennces and we all better go get caught up to protect "those people" who can't vax. 

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyanydots View Post

And Chicharronita's post on another thread brings up another, related, question. She said exposure to vax pushers and the way they push their agenda has made her even less likely to consider vaccination (hope you don't mind me piggybacking, Chicharronita!). I'm starting to feel like this, too.
 

Caveat:  I am talking about pro-vaxxers I have run into across the web.  This is not specifically about any poster or MDC.  

 

I try to guard against the above.

 

At the end of the day, my decisions around vaccination stems from the research I have done, nothing more or less.

 

I don't want the fact that I think xzy is a b*tch to colour my interpretation of what they are saying, you know?

 

Lately, though, I have come to believe that they are not simply people who have come to a different POV than me on vaccines.

 

I think they have a different POV than me on pharmaceuticals in general (i.e. their love of vaccines stems from a love of pharmaceuticals)  I don't share the love of pharmaceuticals.  I am really coming to think we are a pharmaceutical generation, and I don't want any part of being a pharmaceutical generation.

 

I also think different people hold different discussion tactics than others - some never like to admit they are wrong.  After awhile, I find posters who cannot admit when they are wrong, being rigid, etc lack credibility. 


Edited by kathymuggle - 12/30/12 at 5:31am
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitfulmomma View Post

Jenny, based on arguments I have seen repeated over and over again I don't know who it is we are supposedly supposed to be vaxxing to protect, because it certainly isn't the child with immediate and repeated reactions or familial history of reactions. No, those are just coincidennces and we all better go get caught up to protect "those people" who can't vax. 

I think it is the immunocompromised, such as those with cancer. The thing is, most people are not immunocompromised from birth, and thus are vaccinated. A severe allergy to some things, such as eggs, is a contra-indication for some vaccines. Once again vaccines start at birth, so how they are going to know who is allergic is beyond me. I wonder sometimes what percent of people are unimmunized due to pro-vax accepted health reasons. I bet it is really low.

Some people immunisize to protects infants who are too young to be immunisized as well.
Edited by kathymuggle - 12/29/12 at 4:40pm
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyanydots View Post

... or chooses not to do all recommended vaccines, do you feel like you have local, real life, or online support for your decisions? Do you feel like your concerns over vaccine safety (or fears over vaccine danger, perhaps) are validated? How often do you face ridicule and hostility?
Honestly, I don't talk about this stuff much IRL, because I'm afraid of backlash. I feel like we receive a number of messages socially about vaccines, and that they are almost all fearmongering and emotion driven. I don't see intelligent, logic based, or balanced messages about vaccines. This is part of what scares me off- watching vax skeptics get demonized for raising concerns does nothing to assuage my own.
Any thoughts? What is your experience like with this, IRL and online?

 

I'd have to say that it's mixed. In my close circle, I have a lot of support. My husband is totally onboard. My best friend as well. Same with other parents I met in a "natural" playgroup. My in-laws, well, we haven't discussed the issue since my eight year-old was a baby, but they tolerated it well enough and let that subject drop. Our GP supports our choices.

 

However, I do see the venom online, not here obviously but other sites, against anyone who refuses to follow the standard schedule. I'm not talking about anger against so-called "anti-vaxers," but against any parent who questions the timing or ingredients, safety or effectiveness, of vaccines. It's like a directed wave of disgust, anger, and hatred against anyone who does not follow the mainstream. That disturbs me and makes me think about the safety of my children. When others post that your children would be better off dead or removed from your care, alarm bells go off about the mental state of such individuals and what they would be capable of. 

 

Thus, we keep our cards close to our chests. My kids' school knows they are not up-to-date. As far as I know, privacy laws keep that info private. I am under no illusions that there would be a witch hunt if their vaccination status were leaked. 

 

So, we do have the support needed IRL. I try to ignore anything non-supportive and treat it as background noise. 

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by japonica View Post

When others post that your children would be better off dead or removed from your care, alarm bells go off about the mental state of such individuals and what they would be capable of. 

Thus, we keep our cards close to our chests. My kids' school knows they are not up-to-date. As far as I know, privacy laws keep that info private. I am under no illusions that there would be a witch hunt if their vaccination status were leaked. 
This is the kind of thing that scares me as well. And the automatic rejection of any talk that remotely questions vaccines in any way (timing, ingredients, links to other health conditions, etc) is something I see frequently online.
Because it is only online where I read this kind discourse re vaccines, I have no way of knowing whether it's representative of most people's feelings in general...?
post #14 of 26
I'm fortunate to have a local close-knit AP group with online and real-life support. Most of us don't vaccinate. A couple of us have had national exposure with the New York Times, NPR and other media. 
 
Once a few of us and even publicity-shy me got asked to do a local t.v. interview about our choices. However the final aired news segment only showed me in the background, not my interview.
 
I think it's because I was the only one who brought up having a supportive anti-vaccine doctor. Can't let the sheeple know about those kind of doctors on the mainstream media! 
 
I belong to a couple of other smaller splinter groups that have some overlap with the larger AP one. They're mostly full of homeschoolers, but what's nice is the variety of different cultures and lifestyle philosophies. There's Christians, Muslims and Pagans; vegans, meat-eaters and SAD'ers. 
 
Surprisingly the vaccine issue hardly ever comes up. A couple of months ago someone brought it up online and it generated a respectful lively back-and-forth and I learned that just like on MDC there were the staunch vaxers, the selective vaxers, and the staunch anti's. 
 
But refreshingly there was no trolling, baiting or snide remarks. The thread naturally died out because everyone who wanted to have a say spoke their piece and that was that. 
 
No one was trying to one-up anyone else or prove anyone wrong. It was more like "these are MY concerns and this is why I (vaccinate/ don't vaccinate)." Everyone had good reasons that they backed up with meaningful information on why they did what they did. 
 
As for my family, my father is anti-vaccine and likes to read up on health topics just like I do. My mother is the opposite. So I hardly ever talk to her about my views. My sister was on the fence for a while but is now anti-vaccine, so only one of her two kids have had some vaccines. 
 
My dh is anti, so that's easy. His family is all pro-vaccine, but the kind of pro that just follows what the doctor tells them to do. Outside the doctor's office they hardly give vaccines or any other health topic much thought. So they've never asked us (I think they assume we do). 
 
Outside family and friends, the topic hardly ever comes up. It may be because I hide my inner dirty hippie with an outer conservative vanilla persona.
 
But I'm always prepared to speak my mind if it comes up. I have bowled people over with my love of woo. They are so surprised how much I'm into alternative health that I think I've gotten past their defenses! I use these occasions to slip in some tidbits about homeopathy and herbs. *evil laugh* 

Edited by Chicharronita - 12/29/12 at 10:21pm
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyanydots View Post


A silly metaphor:
Have some soup.
No, thanks, I'm ok.
Please eat some soup.
No, I'm really not hungry.
Eat it!
Why? Wait, what's in it?

 

Just some minute chicken excretions!

And maybe some cow's blood!

But just a teeeeeny tiiiiiiiiiiny bit. So small it's practically not there, like homeopathy! Never you mind.

 

You're constantly exposed to EMFs and jump on unsafe trampolines and drive in cars without a thought.

 

Consuming microscopic amounts of (mumble mumble*) won't kill you!!!!

The experts say so, and they're ALWAYS right. Always!!!! You may get a tic or start exhibiting autism-like behavior but it's totally unrelated...

 

And I KNOW you have some Tollhouse cookies hidden in your cupboard despite claiming you eat organic. So this soup is NOTHING compared to that. Everyone drinks a bowl on schedule! You need to too. Stop asking questions and follow the herd! Say Baa good little sheep and don't worry be happy. 

 

*Extra special super duper proprietary ingredients. You're not a scientist, so don't worry your pretty little head about it. 

post #16 of 26

I never discussed my kids nonvax status with others...i didn't  and still don't feel anyone needs to know.  My kids are practically grown, and know that if they want to vax themselves, they know what to educate themselves on, as far as ingredients, reactions, etc, and what jobs also require vaccines.  I had a lot of support when we lived in colorado, because most of our friends were nonvax or very selective vax, and this was back in the 90's when the vax schedule was very different.  The internet is a whole different world, as people are truly divided on the issue, and try to 'make' others hear their point on the pc...i find arguing/debating about vaccines online  with someone who repeats the same argument all the time,  to be boring, lacking new information, and only parroting what they've heard, not what they've lived or really educated themselves on.  My attitude about my choices for my kids has always been,  'my kids, my choice', and it's not up to anyone else to decide what's best for my family.  Not even a dr.  The dr is handy for some things,  and i am so thankful ours is on board with my decision about nonvaxing.  He has even told me how much healthier my kids are, compared to others he sees constantly for illness.  I have never been harassed, bullied, or talked down to by our pedi about nonvaxing.  Luckily he takes young adults til age 21, as my kids don't want to find another dr.  

post #17 of 26

We do not vax, currently.  Our little girl is almost 4 months old and right now, we don't see a need for it.  As she gets older we are open to revisiting discussion as things change.  If we do decide to vax, it will be (obviously) delayed and very selectively.

 

My husband has shared this with co-workers (I cringed when he told me that), but they were supportive.  Most cited at least one person they knew personally who had a child with a very adverse reaction to vaxxing.  One co-worker stated that they selectively vax because his niece has autism due to what his sister believes was reaction to vaccination.

 

I decided early on that we would be very careful about vaccines after witnessing a friend's two year old stop talking altogether after being given "too many" shots at one visit.  We stopped seeing the family practitioner we were going to after she began insisting on shots at the 1 month check up.  We're currently looking for a new doctor in the Oklahoma City area if anyone knows of one, as the only ND in our area appears to only work with long-term ailments and is not accepting new patients.

 

So far, I have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy in regards to our vax status.  I'm hoping dh keeps it zipped if his mom asks, but I know he won't so I'm going to have to decide how to handle that battle.

post #18 of 26
Great thread, thanks for starting it!

The reactions I get depends on the people I'm with, and I'm starting to notice some correlations that I don't really understand.

It does seem like most of my friends, relatives, acquaintances, etc., who identify themselves politically as Republicans tend to be the ones who unquestioningly believe every bit of propaganda fed to them by the pharmaceutical industry, to the point where they are horrified that we don't get...flu shots. When confronted with the facts (like the Cochrane review, and/or cases of US Govt-compensated and admitted severe reactions), they bleat, "but we have to do it to protect the people who CAN'T vaccinate!"

There doesn't seem to be any way to convince them that the shot doesn't protect, and that there is some evidence that it may harm more that it helps. They don't listen, and they are horribly unsupportive and condescending about ANYONE'S decision to even delay a vaccine, no matter what.

It does make me wonder who they think "CAN'T have vaccines," when they lash out at even parents whose children have had serious reactions.

On the other hand, most of the people I know who identify themselves as either democrats or independents are not only extremely supportive (even if they fully vax), but often disclose that they either don't vax, Sel/delay vax, or have stopped vaccinating.

It might be just a coincidence, or maybe political affiliation (or lack thereof) is an indicator of a general approach to authority? Not sure on that one.

Full disclosure: I have nothing against either party, and have voted for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. And I think that both parties are already bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical bid dusty, anyway, so I don't see that it makes a difference, either way.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennyanydots View Post

... or chooses not to do all recommended vaccines, do you feel like you have local, real life, or online support for your decisions? Do you feel like your concerns over vaccine safety (or fears over vaccine danger, perhaps) are validated? How often do you face ridicule and hostility?
 

I'm a selective vax person who supports the choice to not vax at all. I do feel like I have a lot of support IRL. Or, at least, I feel that the choices I make for my kids are understood as something I have put a lot of thought into. Last night, in fact, I had my DC's elementary school principal over for dinner and told her about the vax forum at MDC. It was so interesting to me that she did not express any opinion on the issue and genuinely seemed to want to know what I thought. It was nice. 

 

I did have a tough time with a few of the doctors and nurses my first DC saw over the years but my current doctor is really, super supportive. I seriously think her attitude is, "Don't force this choice because doing so makes it less about parent/family responsibilty." The fact that she doesn't nag me makes me more active about making my choices because I know I can't just wait to cave to her pressure. If that makes any sense. If her goal is for me to take personal responsibilty for my children's health, not nagging is the way to go for my personality type. 

 

With parent friends, nearly 100% of them are vax questioners (even if they end up fully-vax). I would be surprised if anyone I knew didn't put a great deal of thought into it. 

 

As far as online support, I do a lot of reading online. I love to search old MDC threads and I like the WHO site, personally. So, I suppose I feel supported there as well. 

 

 

I do acknowledge that part of why I think I am accepted is in part to do with being selective vax. I think being 100% opposed would probably raise some more eyebrows. I'm sympathetic to those of you who do not feel supported. 

post #20 of 26

DH allows me to make all medical decisions for DD, no questions.  He knows I stopped vaxxing her after reactions and at some point he will learn that I'd like to go non-vax with future kids.  He knows someone who had Guillain-Barre syndrome directly following a flu shot so that one is a definite no-no for him.  As for other vaxxes, he works as a firefighter for a city municipality and I doubt he would file exemptions for himself so I suppose he's ok boostering himself but def not the kids.

 

My parents accept and embrace my crunchy self and while I wasn't raised in a non-vax or select vax home and we did our share of pharmaceutical contibutions, for the most part they try to live as chemical free as possible nowadays.  As a result, my father sees an ND who helped his neurologist take him off his seizure meds after 40yrs of use and he controls the remaining 'tics' with rescue remedy.

 

My sister could care less what I do (she's younger) but she supports me and I hope that when the time comes she will look to me for advice, especially if she stays with her currrent beau who is big time pro-pharmaceutical.

 

 

My IL's....sigh.  Well, FIL watches DD so I can work p/t, but other than that great offering of help, I really want to pull my hair out everytime I see them!  MIL works at a hospital in the offices so she's vaxxed to the nines.  BUT, while they do think I'm a looney tune, I scare them enough that it never gets challenged!  So MIL is curious about what goes on at our well visits if we aren't doing shots but I default to major attitude so the conversation ends pretty quick!oops.gif

 

I have ONE friend who knows I no longer vax and doesn't give me crap about it.  She's asked for links to read as she plans her own family so it's nice to have her to bounce things off of.

 

Our entire friend list otherwise consists of nurses, firefighters, emts, and police....all of whom follow doctor's orders to a t.  I don't bring up vaxxing, and at this point I walk away if it comes up, but if asked I will tell people.  Maybe not fully divulge unless they ask for it, but I'll say, oh we don't do that and see where it goes from there.

 

I deleted a former highschool/college friend from all social outlets as he works as a chemical engineer for the big pharm and was constantly belittling and attacking my FB posts (not even about vax - god forbid i say i was going to a chiropractor!) and to the point he had his wife (also had become friends with her) posting nasty things.  Immature to say the least and no longer in my life!

 

The one friend I can't delete or eliminate - our DH's work together and have been friends forever and we're godparents to the youngest of their 4 - she's going for her nurse doctorate and that in itself would be fine, but she's the type who likes to stir shit up so when she's feeling feisty she'll try and see if she can get to me.  I'm pretty good at diverting her at this point.

 

Online, on here, is my best support if I feel I need something be it an answer to a question, advice, or just somewhere to share my thoughts.  and I appologize, my posts apparently get long winded when DD naps - don't worry she's up now and off I go! :-)

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