Is it just me or is this REALLY rude? - Mothering Forums
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Parenting > Is it just me or is this REALLY rude?
TrinitysMama's Avatar TrinitysMama 03:52 AM 01-20-2003
My sister (who has no children, BTW) thinks that a lot of my parenting choices are nuts. She totally disagrees with the fact that we don't vax. I just figure that its my business and that she can do whatever she wants one day when she has kids.

Anyway, she works at a preschool and has talked to her coworkers about the way we parent Lily. One of her friends/coworkers whom I have never met gave my sister an article to give to me about the 'dangers' of not vaccinating against polio.

I find this EXTREMELY insulting. This woman, whom I don't know from anyone, has taken it upon herself to criticize (albeit passively) my parenting choices. By sending the article, she implies I have never researched anything and am just blindly making my decisions or intentionally depriving my daughter of proper medical care.

My sister says that she was just trying to be helpful. How would this woman feel if I, not knowing her, sent her an article out of the blue that informed her of the potential danger of certain vaccinations? I know for a fact that my sister wouldn't pass on an article like that to her.

Am I just overly sensitive here or do I have the right to be a little pissed?

OceanMomma's Avatar OceanMomma 04:44 AM 01-20-2003
I think you've got the right to be pissed. It really gets up my nose as a non-vaxing parent as well that ppl seem to think that we don't vax coz we're stupid or don't care or a combo of both.

Unfortunately there's not much you can do about it. The whole need to vax myth is very ingrained into our society. We have an immune awareness society here who do leaflets & stuff. Maybe send her something like that back with a nice flouro yellow smiley face sticker on the front
charmarty's Avatar charmarty 04:52 AM 01-20-2003
Send her an article on why the polio vax IS dangerous,and info to support your decision.If she fells she is helping you by giving you knowledge,then you may return the favor.
Elphaba's Avatar Elphaba 10:39 AM 01-20-2003
i WOULD give your sister something to take back to that woman -- IN A SEALED ENVELOPE. i'd slam that woman, and your sister, with every anti-polio vax article i could find. and i'd put a little smiley face sticker at the end and say "please mind you own business! have a nice day!"
Susana's Avatar Susana 11:23 AM 01-20-2003
Hi Trinitysmama
Believe it or not, I too have a sister who works at a daycare and she also feels compelled to discuss my family with her coworkers! I have heard all about how these women want to know just who I am, and why I make the choices I make. Actually, it freaked me out! Why in the world do they even care!?
I was most upset with my sister for discussing me in the first place. I told her to please not discuss my decisions or how we do things with anybody anymore, and then I basically quit talking to my sister about anything that was important. I know- hard to do, but I did it. Now I just listen to her ramble on about trivial boring crap and I just go, "uh huh, yeh, all right..."

Yeh, if I were you I'd be pissed and rightfully so!
Lucky Charm's Avatar Lucky Charm 11:50 AM 01-20-2003
i think you have a right to be angry.

I agree with Char & Shosh....send information to your sis about the dangers of vaxing.

often times, people think if you do things differently, especially something like not vaxing, you havent really thought about it.

that is so not true. as a more mainstream mother who has vax'd all 3 of my kids, i have a very good friend who homebirths and non vax'd, and i found her to be much more informed, then i ever was. she has a wealth of information, which she used to make her decision. meanwhile, i not knowing there was even another option, went to my pediatrician faithfully and had all three of my kids vax'd. now, who is more informed?

you know, this wont be the first time people will criticize you and your choices, especially when it comes to parenting. just wait till your sister actually has a baby!

stay strong, stand firm. you are doing whats best for you and your baby.
gretasmommy's Avatar gretasmommy 12:32 PM 01-20-2003
I would be angry as well! As mom, I always have my DD's best interests in mind when making any parenting decision. We do vax, but that is our choice.
I think I would probably not reply to this woman, as I doubt you could possibly change her mind. It sounds as though she is capable of finding pro and con- vaxing info on her own . . .
I wouldn't waste my energies.

mommy to Greta 3/14/02
TrinitysMama's Avatar TrinitysMama 01:00 PM 01-20-2003
Thanks for all the replies.

You know, I'm pretty used to being questioned about my choices by now. After planning a homebirth this time around it became pretty much a normal thing. None of my family really seems to agree with my choices, but they leave me alone for the most part. My family understands that all of my choices are informed ones and that while they may not agree, I'm making the best choices for our family. I just couldn't believe that someone I don't even know would send me an article like that!

The article was about children in 3rd world countries that contract polio because they haven't been vaccinated. It wasn't even slightly relevant to our situation. It was just something she conjured up to scare me or guilt me into vaxing. Perhaps I could have dh's aunt call her out of the blue and tell her the story of her baby that died due to a reaction from a vaccine. It seems just as appropriate, don't you think?

Ugh. Whether she was trying to be helpful or not, I think she was WAY out of line.
Faith's Avatar Faith 01:20 PM 01-20-2003
Maybe you could get the day care a subscription to Mothering, starting with the back issue with the article on vaccines causing autusim.

I would be so mad if that happened to me!

I have had a lot of comments from people about not vaxing. I immediately supply them with my back isues of Mothering, etc, and it has *always* shut them up for good! I think, like other people have said, most people just have no idea. They don't even know enough to question things. But of course, they do feel perfectly okay with telling you how it's supposed to be!:

I also now try to remember to keep my mouth shut, unless I realy believe the other person will be receptive to the idea. As hard as that may be at times, it just isn't worth it to me anymore.
adventuregirl's Avatar adventuregirl 01:34 PM 01-20-2003
If I were you, I'd send her a mountain of articles/research/etc that support your decision. She sent you a message, and should accept your courtesy of a response. It's apparent that these women don't understand that you made an informed decision, so here's your opportunity to let them know.

LiamnEmma's Avatar LiamnEmma 01:36 PM 01-20-2003
I can see why you're pissed, and I agree with sending some articles in return, but I don't think I'd write anything incendiary back and here's why. If you just return the article with a comment to your sister like, "I thought you two might like some of my research too..." you're more likely to be taken as a serious, thoughtful researcher. While, if you strike back, they're going to wave you off as some hotheaded extremist and then they don't have to give anything you say or do serious thought. If you feel strongly about the need to vax, I think it's a great idea to allow others to really see why. I hope I said that in a way that makes sense. Our next door neighbor used to make lots of comments to and about me in regard to our parenting. I vented to my DH about it a lot but I was always polite to her (stealing my sister's statement--Take the higher moral ground ) Now she sees, and I think in part because I didn't erupt everytime she made an ignorant comment. kwim? She still wouldn't make the same decisions, but at least she's piped down about mine and I can tell she realizes that mine weren't so bad after all.
Irishmommy's Avatar Irishmommy 01:54 PM 01-20-2003
My guess is she is trying to be helpful.

What I don't get, though, is how everyone knows everything about your (general your, not aimed at anyone) parenting choices. Vaxing, and to an extent, circing are "invisible" decisions, and others won't know either way unless they are told or ask.

I can safely say that the only times vaxing has come up in conversation with others is when I have brought it up - mainly from info from here. Same with circ.

No one in my family knows whether we vax or not, because I have never said, so it's not an issue. (In the interests of full disclosure, I do vax).
mamazee's Avatar mamazee 03:44 PM 01-20-2003
I've had very similar problems with my sister (a nurse in a hospital nursery) in regard to co-sleeping. I tried to keep it a secret, and did well for a while, but then my sister was around when I was changing dd's diaper and came into the nursery, where it was evident no baby was sleeping.

I vax, so this issue obviously hasn't come up between us, but I completely support parents making this choice for their own families.

It is NOT your sister's business, and even less the business of a total stranger. I would be pissed off too!
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 05:08 PM 01-20-2003
You have every right to be angry with your sister for talking about your descions with strangers. That was just rude.

The friend however was probably just concerned and trying to be helpful. Perhaps you should right her a note thanking her for her concern and taking her time to send the article but assure her you have researched this thouroly(sp?) and have made your descion. Perhaps send her a copy of one or two very good articles, offer to give her more if she is intrested and then leave it at that.

i don't know how many times people here have suggested that when someone is doing the whole parenting thing wrong according to us, that we give them an article, or book on AP, Gentle discipline or not circing or vaxing.
laralou's Avatar laralou 05:39 PM 01-20-2003
I think your real issue is with your sister, not this woman. I would tell your sister that you can't confide in her anymore until she is willing to respect your privacy.
jkwatkins's Avatar jkwatkins 05:48 PM 01-20-2003
I understand how you feel. After going to visit my family 1300 miles away in OK and not seeing one of my relatives for a few years, one of them found out that we didn't vaccinate our children and was very upset. She did not want to expose her children to our one child at the time.
People just haven't done personal research and reading on vaccines. The pharmaceutical companies make so much money off of them and pediatric doctors do too.
Personally, I would just ignore the article you were given. I would thank the person who gave it to you and leave it at that. I would try to make a friend and who knows someday in the future she may change her thoughts. I have lots of friends and family who vaccinate their children. I try to make it a non-issue since we have such differing views. I know that I've done my own personal research and stand strong in that. Most of my friends and family have made choices based on horror stories the docs have told them. It's their life and their choice.

traci5489's Avatar traci5489 05:57 PM 01-20-2003
The issue really seems to be that your sister can not respect your privacy not whether you vaccinate your children or not (for the record I do and always father had polio in childhood and I see things from that perspective, but respect others rights to do as they see fit for their children as well). My sister would never understand cloth diapers, co-sleeping or extended breastfeeding so I just choose not to discuss it with her, perhaps you should refrain from discussing certain issues with your sister unless she can agree to keep private issues private.
shematrix's Avatar shematrix 06:04 PM 01-20-2003
It sounds like the woman was trying to be helpful. I can't see the point in why she would set out to make you angry and offended. Be strong in your parenting choices and don't let something like this affect you so much and make you defensive.

Sofiamomma's Avatar Sofiamomma 07:34 PM 01-20-2003
I do think what the woman did was rude, but I'd like to also point out that you have picqued the interest of your sister and her co-workers. They wouldn't be sitting around discussing how you parent if they didn't care/weren't interested. Perhaps you have initiated some cognitive dissonance. Who knows where it may lead? Pat yourself on the back for getting someone thinking!
Tracy's Avatar Tracy 08:32 PM 01-20-2003
you know I kind of have a different take on it..... just a smidge. As annoying as it is that your sister is sharing your stuff out there.... the truth is that your just having the conversation is something....
I mean what if that friend of your sisters ends up knowing someone that has a child with a severe reaction to a vax.... it might make her think. She might ask your sister for your number...or if not that, she might at least wonder if a child's reaction is to the vax.... I guess it sort of keeps the conversation out there albeit in a grassroots manner. I too think I would send her a l little snippet of literature back, probably something from Mothering with a little note....thanks for your note, I have been doing extensive research... here is something you might enjoy reading... and if you ever have second thoughts about vax, please call me and I'll definitely give you some data.....
I don't believe in accidents, maybe knowing a nonvaxer will be important in her life....
as for your sister blabbing, for me I don't care, people blab about me a lot.... i'm more than happy to share stuff if they come back to me.... and if they want to just waste their time gossiping...ah, let them....
there is so much more to life...... but then you know that.
Piglet68's Avatar Piglet68 08:47 PM 01-20-2003
When reading the OP all I could think about was which one of us would do the same as that woman if it meant educating someone about the benefits of....breastfeeding, for example.

Let's say somebody at your workplace is confiding in you that their sister is going to not even try BFing, says that formula is "just as good", etc....this coworker of yours is upset and wants the best for her future neice/nephew. She thinks that maybe if her sister could get more support she'd at least try to BF. You mention that you have some great article about the benefits of breastfeeding and ask her if she'd like to show it to her sister.

Now what's so bad about that?
LunaMom's Avatar LunaMom 09:18 PM 01-20-2003
If someone asked me directly for an article in support of breastfeeding or co-sleeping or whatever because they wanted it for themselves, sure, I'd give it to them. But if someone told me that their sister or friend was committed to a certain choice, and that they disagreed and wanted an article to help prove their point, I wouldn't get involved! It really sounds as though the sister was at fault here - she clearly feels the need to butt into the non-vaxing decision and the fact that the article was provided by someone else is irrelevant. It's still a case of TrinityMama's sister trying to impose her own views.

So, no, Piglet68, I wouldn't do that. I am all for breastfeeding and I am happy to educate people if they are interested or in need of infortmation, but I draw the line at being pushy.
Piglet68's Avatar Piglet68 04:27 PM 01-21-2003
Lunamom, you are right. But I doubt that Trin's sister presented it that way. She probably discussed it from her own POV as if it were her issue, like "this is really upsetting me, blah blah blah".

Anyways, I don't blame you Trinity'sMama for being upset. I just think that your issue here is with your sister, not the woman who helped her. Your sister obviously is not listening to you when you say you have done your research, and she is not being accepting of your choices. I agree that this is not fair of her, and you do have every right to be upset with her.

I just don't think the woman who provided the article did anything wrong. She was trying to help out a coworker, she doesn't know you, and I'm betting the way your sister presented the issue to her, she felt she was helping your sister.

Anyways, that's just the way I saw it. YOU are the one dealing with it and any anger you have over the issue is totally valid and you have my sympathy and support!
Seeking Refuge's Avatar Seeking Refuge 04:33 PM 01-21-2003
My family is terrible about this too. I think that you have had some good suggestions as to how to handle this just wanted to say that yes I think that this was rude.
I agree that the issue is with your sister not the co-worker.
I hope your situation doesn't call for this, but you know there is no law that says you have to be friends with your family.
Due to some great advice I got here on MDC, I have cut back a lot on my the amount of time I spend with my anti-AP family and have focused on building some healthier relationships in my life. It is easier to ignore meddling from people like your sister and co-worker when you have supportive like-minded people in your corner.

take care,
USAmma's Avatar USAmma 04:48 PM 01-21-2003
I think you have a right to be upset, but at the same time just realize this woman's heart was in the right place and she probably felt she was helping you.

I mean, I bottlefed dd (pumped breastmilk for 4 mos.) and I would sometimes get a concerned breastfeeding advocate who would say something to me about breastmilk being best, until they heard my story. I never was offended by them. And then there are the neighbors who are very religious and can't understand why I'm not of the same faith. She too has given me advice and literature to read and I know she's doing it because she cares, even though I don't agree with her.

I could list so many examples. And while part of me feels they are being nosy and instrusive, I'm also touched that they care. I think it's the manner in which they do it that counts the most. Just throw the article away if you don't agree with it and keep doing what you are doing.

BTW I was much more of an expert on baby care before I had my baby! lol!

nuggetsmom's Avatar nuggetsmom 08:49 PM 01-21-2003
It does seem forward to send you an article, but I don't think it was rude. I agree that I wouldn't send an unsolicited article on the benefits of BFing to someone who wasn't either. But what was her intent really? Probably se just thought you would be interested. Sending her something back will only escalate the situation. You made an educated choice, tell your sister that. If you slam this woman you will only make nonvaxers seem crazier and that is not what you want.

My MIL and SIL slam me all the time for various things. My MIL sends me a lot of unsolicited articles of research on various things. I am a scientist and some of these things are so bogus, that it just makes me crazy. So when she sent me info on not vaxing I rolled my eyes and tossed it out.

What I am trying to say is that their attitude just makes me ignore whatever they say. So if you want your opinions to be valued, respect her position and take a deep breath and agree to disagree. And who knows, maybe your sister's talking will make someone else think that what they are dong is not so crazy.
I thought I was crazy for cosleeping till someone mentioned that they did it too. Then I actually found out a lot of people set out to cosleep. People come by information by roundabout ways.
Sofiamomma's Avatar Sofiamomma 12:16 AM 01-23-2003
If you're doing something that goes against someone else's set, unquestioned way of doing something, it is likely to upset them. I was certainly very upset with the first non-vaxing folks. I encountered. It creates what is called cognitive dissonance. A person experiencing that is going to first seek to validate their original way of thinking. One way to do that is to talk to people who are going to agree. Which I did, and felt better, for a little while. Yep, I was right, not vaxing is nuts, it's wrong, it's bad for society, selfish, etc. etc. But I kept thinking and asking questions, and reading and eventually changed my mind. At first the pendulum swung the other way and I thought it was bad to vaccinate. Now it has settled to center and I can see both sides and respect any well-educated, well-considered decision a parent may make for the child whether it be fully, partially, or not at all vaccinating.

Personally, I don't, but it was and continues to be an agonizing decision. There are so many what-ifs, but I feel better knowing I made the decision after doing a lot of research and figuring out what is best in our situation. I'm glad somebody showed me it was something to question, something to think about. Perhaps you have done that for your sister. I honestly don't think what she is doing is a problem at all, other than being annoyingly unsupportive of you. I was probably just as annoying to the friends that I was having a fit about! But they were patient with me and didn't get too mad at me.
casmi's Avatar casmi 02:05 AM 01-23-2003
yep, I'd be pissed too.
oatmeal's Avatar oatmeal 04:29 AM 01-23-2003
Personally I think it's a waste of time to be even talking about your sister or that woman. Frankly, the world is filled with mindless lemmings who just go with the flow and never ask questions, and the two people you are complaining about are in that category.

My brother and his wife slammed their baby with vaccinations when he was teeny, cut off his foreskin, feed him Gerber's, Carnation formula and cheese doodles, think I was excessive for breastfeeding my baby until 1, think I'm a lunatic for being vegetarian and mock me for it. "Well, what if DD WANTS to eat meat, THEN what will you do?" - etc etc.

When they have colon cancer and lung cancer from smoking and thier kid has ADD or something worse from the awful food they stuff him with, they will STILL be asking me why I'm a nut.

Like I said, it's a waste of time. I say wipe your ass with her stupid article and smile on your way to the health food store. Who cares what they think say or do!

(BTW: their baby has been hospitalized for upper respiratory problems, is on antibiotics, has had 2 ear infections that wouldn't go away (he's 9 months), never sleeps, is a picky eater, is hyper active and whines all day long (though I love him and his cute smile). My baby had her first little cold at 11 months, smiles all day long, is mellow and likes to entertain herself with books, eats like a champ, and impresses everyone with her level of contentment. I fully believe it's because she was spared vaccination and eats only mother's milk or organic vegetarian food! Plus cosleeping and wearing, etc. - you have to do whatyou know is right and ignore the naysayers)
Kirsten's Avatar Kirsten 06:57 AM 01-23-2003
I agree with those who thought it was forward of her to send an article but not rude.

I think the real issue I would have if I was in that position is with your sister, not her coworker. The sister discussed your business with her coworkers. She hand delivered the article which she knew would not sit well with you. IMO she is more deserving of your anger or annoyance or whatever than the coworker.

I agree with one of two routes now. One is to ignore it. Two is to send said coworker a note thanking her for the article, stating you have researched thoroughly and came to a different conclusion - if she is interested, check out x,y,z websites. Vent to us or your AP friends IRL but showing anger to those who have a different viewpoint will not bring them around to your side. Calm, well thought out and researched info will. Or at least might!
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