Do you engage the debate? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-20-2014, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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On here, Facebook, with family and friends... do you engage the conversation? Or has it just become an exercise in frustration? Are you "out of the closet"? 


My close friends and some family are aware of our decision not to vaccinate. Neither of our families has said a word. I'm not sure how they feel about it but I get the impression that they trust we've done our research. I've had debates with some friends - some of them have been respectful and some of them have devolved into dramatics and name calling. :eyesroll Some disagree with me and we just don't talk about it.


For my own sanity, I've created a qualifying criteria, of sorts, for when someone shares an article or says something in conversation. I now only engage the conversation if:


1. I believe the other person is genuinely open to more information. 

2. I believe the other person will still disagree with me but will be respectful and have stimulating dialogue with me - I love these conversations because they challenge me.

3. It's blatantly false information AND I have source material to back it up - with the caveat of who the audience is and how I feel that day. :wink


I will NOT engage the conversation if:


1. It's a Facebook meme. If the most effort you can put into it is sharing a snarky, ignorant picture that someone else created, it's not worth my time to tell you all the reasons why it's moronic and/or incorrect.

2. If we've had dialogue in the past and you've proven yourself to be incapable of maintaining a mature attitude.


I make exceptions once in awhile depending on how much time I have and how surly I'm feeling (because as snarky as I'm tempted to be, I do try to present from an angle of education and that always goes better when I'm not being obnoxious), but that's generally the kind of the I consider when I'm trying to decide if I want to debate or not.


What about you?

Happy mama to our sweet pea  (08/25/13), loving wife to my brilliant gentleman  (09/10/11)
Breastfeeding, babywearing, and promoting natural health one day at a time!

*Excitedly expecting baby girl number TWO May 28, 2014*

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#2 of 6 Old 03-20-2014, 01:24 PM
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No, I don't. Given the dislogic I've seen from some militantly pro-vax people (all people who question the official CDC schedule in any way worship Jenny McCarthy, outbreak of something that has no relevance whatsoever to the current vax schedule is the fault of antivaxxers, things like that), I suspect that the study showing that people who are strongly anti-vax don't have their minds changed by evidence also works the other way.


I also don't particularly enjoy debating with people whom I consider friends, especially if it runs the risk of impacting an otherwise good friendship. Which is an honest worry for me with vaccine debates. Not from my side, but from theirs.


Which isn't to say I'm not tempted when half of someone's posts are militantly, insultingly, pro-vax and the other half are about the horrible life-altering effects of their autoimmune disease.

DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.
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#3 of 6 Old 03-20-2014, 01:31 PM
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I'm the same as you. I mainly try to avoid she debating and focus on learning as much as I can. We are halfway out in the open about our non vaccinating status. I don't advertise it (I used to until I realized people get really mean about it) but if someone asks me I'll tell the truth. Most of the people I deal with are very ignorant about vaccines. They have done little research on their own but they are quick to post those Facebook articles that berate "anti-vaxxers" and they get very nasty very quickly. I've actually lost a friend Over this (she informed me that even though we don't understand why all of the ingredients are in vaccines the drs who make them do and I am in position to question them). I'm tired of being told that I can't make an informed decision on this. If someone is genuinely interested in my opinion I will direct them to the resources I've looked at but I still try to keep my personal opinion out of it. I mainly find arguing about it an exercise in frustration since both sides are so deeply committed.
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#4 of 6 Old 03-20-2014, 01:38 PM
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Good question!  I have a love/hate for debating.  I'm not always good at it because I tend to let the emotional aspect overrule and I don't always come off well so I've learned to curb that a bit :wink


Who knows?  My parents and sister, and subsequently her BF who thinks it's all a bit nutty but doesn't argue with me!  My IL's, although what they "know" is debatable because they are a bit clueless and don't listen very well/retain things they've been told.  I'm not on speaking terms with one cousin who disagreed with a link I posted a while back and subsequently bashed all of my decisions from breastfeeding a toddler to not vaccinating in a drunken FB posting spree (he has no children).  After that I was angry enough to post a "here is who I am" list and made it clear that anyone who came to bash that could delete me themselves or would find themselves deleted if in the future they ever came to my page to talk shit or make accusations. I don't have time for that! There are a few of my close fiends who know and a few not incredibly close ones have come to me privately to ask questions and were very respectful and curious and even leaning towards a path of non-vax themselves.


I suspect DH has probably told people I'm not even aware of, guess that happens when you're stuck in a firehouse with a bunch of guys for gossip like 13 yr old girls!  I do believe that the times he has asked about doctors' visits and vaccines it was triggered by conversations he's had at work and I'm pretty straight forward with answering him.  He's made zero attempt to enlighten o educate himself in the matter therefore he gets no say in it, end of discussion, and he always drops it there.  He knows I'm not out to endanger us all, he's aware of DD's vaccine reactions from when we did vax, and he does know more than one person who's suffered guillain barre following a flu vax so he doesn't argue over her vax status.  Hell, every sniffle he gets he runs to my box of essential oils and asks me to whip him something up so he's not all brainwashed :lol


I try to keep my arguing to a minimum on FB, mainly I just post things to my own page and I'm always pleasantly surprised by some of the people who will like the postings and then pm me with other links they think I might like.  I've had some really hard criticism from some, but you know what?  I don't care.  I'm always respectful even if I'm posting an opposing opinion, I never go in with the intention of pissing people off and if it happens that way, I know it's them and not me, and I can live with that.  Plus its always good to know who the pro-vax fanatics are in any group so you can keep a close eye on them!


Now I do plan to be much more reserved with DD's vax status with school once we find out if she made the lottery for pre-k, not because I want to hide, but because with the way things are going, I just don't want to deal with the hassle of it!  I literally cringe at the thought of having to hide my personal decisions.  I'd never go out and parade around with a flag or banner, or plaster my car with bumper stickers about not vaxxing, I don't feel like it's necessary, but I don't like the feeling that because I'm not in the majority that I should feel awkward when everyone else talk about their kids shots or that I'm taboo for not.

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#5 of 6 Old 03-20-2014, 01:47 PM
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No I won't engage on fb. Occassionally I will say something to a friend I know is on the same/similar page as me on the issue, but on my page I do not say anything at all. Too much asking for trouble there. I just hide any rabid posts I see pop up. These are all people I know irl, otherwise I would just unfriend them. Pretty much only my mother knows we don't and doesn't seem to care one way or the other.

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#6 of 6 Old 03-20-2014, 02:30 PM
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I learned my lesson as a six year old in the 1950s advocating against vaccines, with a classmate with a leg brace from her round with polio.  I got a reputation that followed me through private religious school for seven more years. I changed schools at that point and I kept my big mouth shut.


I never mentioned it again til I was in graduate school during the swine flu fiasco; I refused to have anything to do with anyone who got the vaccine, which is how I met my husband. He agreed with me.  As we had our children, AT HOME!, and never vaxed them, I kept my mouth shut, but I was militant when I registered our children in school - I always brought my very tall husband and a copy of the law with me if I got challenged.  Oddly, I never did.


Over these many years, interestingly, I did meet mothers here and there who were cautious and  leery of vaccines and had "heard" that vaccines could be avoided through exemptions.  They were always shocked but happy to know that I knew more than I ever let on. I found that gratifying.


Now as a  grandparent and as a senior citizen, I do not care what anyone thinks. If I am asked, I will tell, and they will get an earfull! So what if I am a pariah? I always have been and always will be.  And guess what, I am an example of what I preach because I was never vaccinated as a child, and I have the scarless arms and legs to prove it! I never vaxed my children either.

"One can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." - Plato
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