I posted this in the thread "worse thing a doctor ever said to you..." but I thought I'd like to give it its own thread, and ask...
Has a doctor influenced your decisions to vaccinate or not?
When I was pregnant with my first baby ten years ago, I came across some conflicting information about vaccines on the internet. I felt confused. I had never even heard of the debate before, but now I was reading things that made me worry that vaccines might be unsafe. I entertained the idea of not vaccinating, and it made me uneasy. I was too indoctrinated to even consider it. I thought that maybe I would delay/select, but I had no idea how to even begin researching, and it made me feel extremely overwhelmed. Science scared me and I felt I wasn't smart enough to understand the information even if I tried.
So late in my pregnancy, I decided to stop tormenting myself over it, and to just do whatever the pediatrician said. It was such a relief. I figured that this was a person I was supposed to be able to trust with my child's health, so why not take her advice when it came to vaccinating? Ahhh, blissful Ignorance. I basked in it for a while, giving myself a break from considering the terrifying idea that so many doctors could be wrong about vaccines (after all - what else might they be wrong about?)
For weeks and weeks I focused on learning about breastfeeding and natural birth. I devoured Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. I attended a La Leche meeting. I didn't let the word "vaccine" cross my mind.
Then my baby was born. At the hospital, I cringed at the idea of her getting any injections, but they did it in the nursery where I couldn't see it and didn't have to deal with the emotions.
Our pediatrician walked in on the day we were being released. She said, "I'm so glad you decided to vaccinate."
I was a little taken aback. I didn't expect to have the pediatrician expect me to make a decision in the matter. I didn't make a decision as far as I was concerned...I just signed whatever forms the nurses told me I should sign.
The pediatrician continued: "Some parents these days are choosing not to vaccinate. A very bad idea, in my opinion."
Even though she made it clear that she did not support non-vaccination, she legitimized the choice in my eyes. She brought it from a silly paranoid internet fear to a real-life concern that real-life parents were dealing with.
The next few weeks, I started reading what I could on the issue. The information still overwhelmed me. I ended up taking Emma for the first 2 sets of infant shots, delayed by a month because of general uneasiness with the whole thing. After the 2nd set of shots, Emma's temperament changed and she started having brief seizure episodes, among other symptoms. Her health went downhill...she was sick most of the time for several months after the shots. By the time it was time for another set of shots, I was set on *at least* delaying further shots until I understood more about the whole thing. I decided that my child would not get a single vaccine unless I thoroughly researched and investigated the reasons why I thought that particular vaccine was a good idea.
Thanks you, Dr. Maiher, for giving me that very important heads up.
P.S. I've had Emma's titers checked, and she was immune to some diseases, non-immune to others, and her immune status didn't necessarily coincide with the vaccines she'd had.
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