Well, dd and I just had a conversation about the issue, and she let me know that she'd said she didn't care one way or the other because she didn't want to get into an argument with her dad in front of the doctor -- but that she'd actually like to get the shots. She's started to feel "like a freak" when she goes to the doctor and they keep bringing up the issue and saying how good it would be for her...also, on the day when dh had been called into the school nurse's office about dd supposedly needing a doctor's note if she wasn't going to get vaccinated, apparently the nurse had initially called dd out of class and told her she wouldn't be allowed to return to school until she'd had her shots. Even though the nurse later learned she was mistaken and we were in total legal compliance, dd still felt rather singled out.
She feels like she's not being allowed any choice in the matter. And I told her that I just want her choice to be a fully-informed one, because the stuff that goes into her system will stay in there. I said it's perfectly normal not to want to feel like a freak, but if she gets vaccinated, I want it to be because she really feels it's the best thing for her health. She talked about how long many doctors study, and wondered if I really thought they were all liars. And I said no, I don't think most doctors would deliberately lie or do anything to harm anyone, but they also believe what they're taught in medical school. I shared the example of how a few years back, the consensus was that thimerosol was safe to use in vaccines, but now it's been deemed unsafe and removed, and I explained that there are other elements to be concerned about, and described what ma2two just said about aluminum, and I said that maybe a few years down the line, those elements will be deemed unsafe and removed, too....
I feel like I'm trapped in a very tight place right now, because I still have a responsibility to make the best decisions I can to protect my children's health -- but dd1, at 13 in a public school setting, now has her own opinion regarding the best ways to protect her own health. Since I can't say with 100% certainty that not vaccinating couldn't result in her dying or being severely harmed by a disease (though I can say I'm 99.9999999% sure that my decision won't harm her physically), do I have a right to deny her a form of treatment that she currently wants -- a form that the mainstream medical and scientific communities currently uphold as a necessary preventative measure?
Dh and I were both fully vaccinated, and as far as we know, we didn't suffer any ill effects from this. But chances are, if we hadn't been vaccinated, we probably wouldn't have suffered any ill effects either. All those years ago when dd was a baby, it just made sense to put more trust in the body's ability to build up immunities and protect and heal itself, than in medical opinion which is formed by people who've spent years and years focusing on what can go wrong.
I'd just started learning about the wonders of human milk production, and was struck by some of the negativity I encountered in the medical community -- for example, one of my nurses got really stressed at me when, the day after dd was born and she was spending lots and lots of time at the breast, I couldn't tell her how many minutes dd had been actively feeding as compared to comfort-sucking. She needed a number for her records; if I'd been more experienced, I could have just rattled off some figures, but I'm afraid my mind wasn't very organized in those early days. So I got a big lecture about how I shouldn't just be letting her spend all that time on my breast -- but later learned from the lactation consultant that I'd actually been on the right track all along.
In those early years, it seemed like the healthiest thing to do was distance myself from doctors as much as possible, and just tune in to my own children and my own inner sense about various things. But now, with dd1's recent development of asthma, I've obviously realized that sometimes medicine can be a real godsend. Where to draw the line -- especially now that dd1 is weighing in on this matter and is feeling like she has no say in her own healthcare decisions?
Have any other non-vaxers encountered similar issues with their own teens -- and if so, how did you proceed? I know that no one can tell me what the exact course should be for my own family, but I'd appreciate any input anyone has.