I see many of you are new mamas or expectant mamas of your first and are researching this issue for the first time, so I wanted to say this...please take the time to make a decision you can firmly feel confident about and can make with no regret. I know, that sounds near impossible on this issue because there is a trade-off no matter what the choice. Most of you are trying to figure out which way the scale tips and choose "the lesser of two evils". Please try not to look at it this way. We're also geared to going into this with the thought that you have to figure out which is the "safest" route, when we should be looking at it as what is the "healthiest" route for our children.
When it comes to spouses/significant others, I think that they should be just as responsible for fully understanding this information as you are. You should not be justifying to them why the best decision is to do something other than the full on-time schedule. They should be justifying to THEMSELVES why it SHOULD be done, just as you should be doing yourself. Imo, if the other is not willing to educate themselves regarding the vaccination decision, then they need to just step aside and give the reigns to the parent who does. One bad story of polio or meningitis in the family does not justify blindly vaccinating. Some will do that to avoid taking responsibility, if things should go terribly wrong. Don't let the responsibility being put on your shoulders be a reason for you to give in to what you don't feel right about. Them choosing not to take part in making an educated decision makes them just as responsible for the decision. And, please, make an educated decision and insist your SO do the same. This is an issue about health, NOT safety, which is important over a lifetime, not just during early childhood. Remember, once the vaccine is injected, you can't take it out. (The only thing I'm going to say about safety is this - if even the CDC says that one has a higher risk of having an adverse reaction to a vaccine than they do of acquiring an illness (and a much, much less chance of ever dying from one of these illnesses), then one has to really wonder how worth it vaccinating is)
Researching this issue can have your head spinning, as most of us have already found out. You'll never be able to research everything there is to know on the topic. So, I thought I'd give you my perspective on how to go about it.
First, I think this is more about the illness and the human body, than it is what's in that needle. Learn, first, learn about how the immune system operates. Your child will become sick, regardless of how many vaccines they have had, at some point in their childhood - probably many. Know how the human body contracts different types of illnesses and how it fights them off at it's different stages. When learning about the different levels of defense, learn how YOU, as a parent (even for yourself), can help to boost your child's immune system naturally, either through diet, supplements, excercise, clean air, environment, etc. Basically, learn how your child can avoid getting sick and keep a healthy body that can easily fight whatever illness they face. Vaccinated, or not, they are still looking at contracting Fifth's Disease, croup, stomach viruses, the common cold, pertussis, "viral rashes", etc. We all need to be prepared.
Secondly, learn about the different diseases "we" vaccinate for, separately. Learn how they are contracted and how the immune system fights them, at various stages. Read about the symptoms, the general course of each illness and the possible outcomes. Then, read about the history of the disease, the disease rates and what makes a person more susceptible to acquiring each illness. Imo, learning about the illness takes away the fear of it. You CANNOT make the vaccine decision with fear. We have to be realistic and educated about life...and life includes illness, at some point. Of course, we're afraid of certain illnesses more than others. But, will vaccination take away that fear, necessarily? Do we reduce the odds of our children getting that illness by vaccinating? Or can we do it by keeping them healthy and their immune system "intact"? The vaccine is the last thing you should be tackling, imo.
Thirdly, after educating yourself on how the immune system works and about the diseases you could vaccinate for, educate yourself on each vaccination. They cannot be looked upon in one fail swoop. First look at what the ingredients are and what affects they can have on your child. This is independent of how the vaccine works in the body. Imo, you have to not only decide if the affects of the ingredients are something worth injecting into your child, but you also have to decide if how the vaccine affects the immune system is something you feel is right to do to your child. And, please, don't take it as if I am accusing those who vaccinate of attacking their children, or something of the sort. The truth is that vaccinating "does" something to the body and you need to decide if it's the right decision to "do" that something to your child's body. You need to know how that vaccine is going to affect your child's immune system...permanently. Some think those effects are good and some think they're bad. That's for YOU to decide. There is so much recent discussion of this in several threads in the main forum, with references, that many of you may find fascinating. I know, many discussions are confusing, esp. before you're really at this stage of your research. However, if you just keep reading through it all (sometimes repeatedly
), you'll find it fascinating.
And, through all of that, you'll also get into the history of disease, the history of vaccination, autoimmune diseases, and how the pharmaceutical companies & the U.S. government play into all of this. Please look into all of these aspects, as well.
I know it's A LOT to cover, but one cannot make an educate decision with conviction without looking into all aspects of the issue. I think that many parents get caught up in a delayed schedule because they think it's a good middle-of-the-road, safe, compromising place to go and then don't fully inform themselves of the risks. It's an assumption that delaying is an automatic reduction in the risk. The issue is just too complicated and the decision too permanent to make that sweeping conclusion.
Good luck to all of you in your research. Take your time and, PLEASE, don't allow anyone, esp. your doctors or family members, to pressure you into a decision you are not ready to make.