My Unvaccinated Children Were Just Uninvited to A Family Party. Need perspective. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 08-02-2013, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My children, 3.5 and 1.5 are rarely sick, at most, 3 times per year. When exposed to anything, they either fight it off successfully or they get a much milder version of it than their infected counterparts. There is a new baby in the family. She's now a little more than 2 months. After a ridiculous family fight on vacation about my children's vaccination status, the information spread like wildfire. We received a call asking us to get a babysitter. My husband was outraged, offended and confused. Bring your germs, but leave your babies?? Other babies in the family are welcomed at this party. They are less than 1.5 years old and not fully vaccinated either. One is a day care baby and has been sick every time we see or hear from him. My husband and I always use a common sense approach and never bring our sick children around others. Our vigilance increases dramatically with a newborn around. There has already been much discussion amongst family members about this. Our brother and his family will not be attending since we are not welcome. He's the only one who took a stand on our behalf. How would you feel about this and what would you do? 

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#2 of 23 Old 08-02-2013, 04:55 AM
 
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I think if family had that strong of an opinion based on fear, i'd have to cut ties.  There's no reasoning or talking with someone who has a closed mind. 

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#3 of 23 Old 08-02-2013, 04:59 AM
 
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I would be angry at first and maybe even for a while.

 

At some point I would try to remember they are doing the best they can with what they know right now.  People who are angry or rude or attack other people are insecure and afraid.  Period.  People who are happy and confident, don't need anyone to agree with them.  They can go on about their business without needing to convince or try to control others.

 

In their heart, they probably know they aren't doing the right thing, but they have to try to convince themselves they are, so you have to be wrong.

 

I would let it go and walk away until they apologise and be very grateful for your brother and his family.  You guys can have your own family party and have a lot more fun !
 

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#4 of 23 Old 08-02-2013, 05:12 AM
 
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Let me say first that I do vaccinate, however I would be outraged and deeply hurt in your shoes; in fact I feel outraged and hurt on your behalf. I don't know the vax status of every child I have over for playdates or birthday parties. Frankly it's not my business and an unvaxed child is NOT some disease riddled petri dish. I honestly think unvaxed kids are no more or less likely to spread germs than vaxed kids. I don't get the logic of the relative's uninvitation except that maybe the debate hit a sore spot - but it sounds like they were going off rumour and whispers. I would keep my distance. I wouldn't waste precious time and energy on these people. I don't know how close you were before all this though. All I have is hugs and support for you, mama. I have NO clue what these people are thinking. I'm sorry you have to deal with such ignorance and negativity.
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#5 of 23 Old 08-02-2013, 02:48 PM
 
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That they are willing to include other kids who are not fully vaccinated, but want to exclude yours, shows that it isn't really a (somewhat illogical IMHO) disease fear, but rather a control/punishment thing.  

 

If it was straight forward fear of disease in the unvaxxed, the  undervaxxed children would not be welcome, either.  There is also an excellent possibility many of the adults in the party are not up to date on boosters.  

 

I would not cut ties. I would be hurt. I would probably compose an email or some such thing laying out my points (if you have not already)….and then I would leave the ball in their park.  If this is the only instance of family lunacy it is not worth cutting ties over.  I would just wait - eventually their child will have his or her vaccines, and they might feel safer.  Sorry you are missing a family party and your family is doing this :( 

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#6 of 23 Old 08-02-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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I have no words for how hurt I would be. It doesn't even make any sense! Are the adults all up to date with their boosters? Are they asking the vax status of everyone there?

I would be so hurt that words could not express. I don't think I could talk to them for a long time.

So sorry about this. :-(

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#7 of 23 Old 08-02-2013, 11:33 PM
 
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I'm with kathymuggle. I would be hurt, but I would try to talk.

 

I suspect this is coming from a place of ignorance, not malice. You need to explain that your kids are only slightly more likely to have a VPD than vaccinated kids, because there's so little of them circulating (I shall resist here pointing out why that is!).

 

 I wonder if they have been reading about concooning young babies from pertussis. Ask if that's the reason they have done this, and offer to not bring the kids if they have any sign of a cough (although you could point out that that should be applied to all visitors to young babies if they are going to be consistent).  

 

 I think dialogue is always better than stalking off in a huff.


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#8 of 23 Old 08-03-2013, 06:47 AM
 
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I have no words for how hurt I would be. It doesn't even make any sense! Are the adults all up to date with their boosters? Are they asking the vax status of everyone there?

I would be so hurt that words could not express. I don't think I could talk to them for a long time.

So sorry about this. :-(

I'd probably feel like this but I take things very personally and am sensitive. After I'd spent some time reflecting and sorting through my thoughts, I'd send them a kind email just expressing my hurt and attempting to explain things from my view while being respectful.

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#9 of 23 Old 08-03-2013, 08:27 AM
 
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In situations like these, I always wonder if the adults are "up-to-date" on all of their vaccines as recommended by the CDC.  This list would include all of the relevant childhood vaccines, including titer testing to make sure that immunity hasn't faded, as well as Hep B, DTaP, HPV, Shingles, Influenza, Meningococcal (for those who attend college, even some community colleges require this vax), and Pneumococcal pneumonia.  I'm unfortunately the snarky type who would "audit" all of the adults in the family for this information and make it their "ticket" into the birthday party.  Or at least I would fight that urge.  But I don't recommend that you stoop to my low. :Sheepish  Remeber that fear-mongering works both ways in this debate. I'm sorry you're dealing with this drama.  :irked

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#10 of 23 Old 08-03-2013, 09:27 PM
 
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I'm so sorry. I agree with everyone in a way. I want to tell you to send them the snarky email or be passive aggressive regarding their own vax status, but I also feel like I would cry and never want to speak to them again. Then, I would try to remember they are ill informed and want to keep their child "safe". I think I would send them an email or something, if you think it will help. I'm really sorry. Huge props to your brother- I know way too many people who wouldn't get involved in this type of family stuff. Maybe by his response, they will think a little more about this. 


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#11 of 23 Old 08-03-2013, 10:15 PM
 
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Agree with most of the replies above. It would definitely be hurtful. Kudos to the OP's brother for standing by them. I would probably send an email or message along the lines of, "Sorry you feel that way. Hope the party goes well," and leave the door open for any contact down the road. I would probably also mention as politely as possible that if they are attempting to cocoon their LO and are worried about the threat of infection, then throwing a party with a bunch of other semi-vaccinated kids and adults whose vaccine immunity probably lapsed a while ago is possibly not the wisest choice right now and that pertussis (if that's their main concern) presents with minor cold symptoms in the initial stage, so advise them to keep anyone sniffly away, regardless of vaccine status. 

 

It's tough when it's family and things can get heated for sure. I'd probably let things lie for a good long while, send that semi-conciliatory message, and wait for them to initiate future contact. Perhaps after their LO is older and had everything on the schedule and they feel the baby is protected, they'll be more willing to have you back in their social circle.


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#12 of 23 Old 08-04-2013, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so grateful for all the thoughtful responses. I knew this community was mixed on the vaccine issue and I really wanted an objective opinion. I do understand that they are operating out of fear and ignorance. I've learned so much about the immune system and vaccines over the last four years. I really felt like they were not only being illogical and unfair to my healthy children, but that they were leaving their daughter vulnerable to illness, based on their own flawed reasoning. So, I wrote them an informative letter. My husband wrote them a very heartfelt letter. Their stock response was cold and detached...something along the lines of "right or wrong, we are doing what we think is best"...blah blah blah. Anyway, if anyone is interested in the long letter I sent, I'd be happy to post it or email it to you for your own guide should you ever encounter this situation. I'm still deeply hurt and confused by their alienation of my family. Thank you again. 

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#13 of 23 Old 08-04-2013, 08:54 AM
 
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Big hugs. I can't do emoticons on my phone but I think the little group hug smileys are in order here. <3

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#14 of 23 Old 08-04-2013, 09:53 AM
 
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I'm sorry for your hurt.  I don't believe they were fair in uninviting your unvaxed children for all the reasons discussed, but I do think that writing an "informative" letter telling them that they're wrong about vaxing THEIR children is not a way to  find common ground and heal the breach, if that's something you were interested in doing.


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#15 of 23 Old 08-04-2013, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh no...I would never judge or try hard to dissuade them from their stance. I simply wanted to let them know that their daughter is still at risk to illness even with our children being excluded. I gave them some basic information about vaccines in general, their effectiveness (or lack there of), and about the need for adult boosters to maintain vaccine-induced immunity. 

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#16 of 23 Old 08-09-2013, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE: I sent one letter last week. Informative. Kind, but yet slightly surprised and offended. They responded, "Right or Wrong we are doing what we think is best. We hope you can understand and respect our decision."  Here was my reply: 

 

'Hi Guys,

I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to respond to your email. I've given it so much thought over the past week.  I have to say that it is hurtful to me that after everything that has been discussed, my children are still the only ones excluded.  If your decision was based on a straight forward fear of a vaccine preventable disease, then they would not be the only ones alienated. I know that there is no malice behind your decision, but I honestly feel that we have been unnecessarily discriminated against based solely on our philosophy. My children have been exposed to these diseases at the same exact rate that every single person at that party has been. They are no more a carrier than anyone else. The theoretical difference is, that my kids may not be able to fight it off whereas others may have some degree of immunity. But for a certain amount of time, anyone who is exposed can be carriers while the body is defending itself. It's hard for me be understanding about the exclusion of 2 family members when their absence does little to protect your newborn. Savannah is still at risk for a vaccine preventable disease and for other illnesses, as she will be in the presence of undervaccinated children, adults without boosters and people who may be sick but not yet symptomatic. So, sadly, I will respect your wishes. I fully understand your need to do what you think is best for your baby. We would have loved to celebrate your mom's birthday with her and the family. I sincerely hope you all have a great time. And even more, I hope that we can work through this issue together in a way that we are all comfortable with. 

                                                                                                                                    Love J'

 

To which the husband responded to my husband via text: "Got her email. Upset my wife a lot once again. Stop sending emails attacking us". 

 

My husband wrote back something to the effect that you don't get to decide when the conversation is over, MY wife has been upset everyday for a week over this.  

 

Anyway....I wanted to get back to everyone. We are very, very upset at the turn this took. 

 

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#17 of 23 Old 08-09-2013, 05:04 PM
 
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Ugh. What an awful situation. I'm so sorry about all of this...

I wonder... Is the wife having some PPD? Being a new mommy can be so scary. She may be kind of irrational right now.

I think, if I were you, I would stop saying anything about it for a while. Give it some space. Be good to yourself. Maybe they will come around once the storm has cleared. <3

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#18 of 23 Old 08-09-2013, 06:31 PM
 
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Ouch. I thought your email wasn't antagonistic or attacking them, but at the same time, I can see how they (with their perspective) might feel like you're not willing to let things go. 

 

I would do as I advised previously. Walk away. Let them initiate any contact from here out. You've made your point. They've made theirs. They're not willing to budge. Okay, maybe after their LO has had her full set of vaxes on schedule and is, in their minds, protected from the supposed threat your LOs pose, then they might be willing to admit you to their social circle again. The question remains if you want to be part of it. I think they've demonstrated pretty well what their true feelings are. I'd be cautious in future of a close relationship with someone who will always see my kids as a potential danger to theirs. 


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#19 of 23 Old 08-09-2013, 08:50 PM
 
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UPDATE: I sent one letter last week. Informative. Kind, but yet slightly surprised and offended. They responded, "Right or Wrong we are doing what we think is best. We hope you can understand and respect our decision."  Here was my reply: 

 

'Hi Guys,

I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to respond to your email. I've given it so much thought over the past week.  I have to say that it is hurtful to me that after everything that has been discussed, my children are still the only ones excluded.  If your decision was based on a straight forward fear of a vaccine preventable disease, then they would not be the only ones alienated. I know that there is no malice behind your decision, but I honestly feel that we have been unnecessarily discriminated against based solely on our philosophy. My children have been exposed to these diseases at the same exact rate that every single person at that party has been. They are no more a carrier than anyone else. The theoretical difference is, that my kids may not be able to fight it off whereas others may have some degree of immunity. But for a certain amount of time, anyone who is exposed can be carriers while the body is defending itself. It's hard for me be understanding about the exclusion of 2 family members when their absence does little to protect your newborn. Savannah is still at risk for a vaccine preventable disease and for other illnesses, as she will be in the presence of undervaccinated children, adults without boosters and people who may be sick but not yet symptomatic. So, sadly, I will respect your wishes. I fully understand your need to do what you think is best for your baby. We would have loved to celebrate your mom's birthday with her and the family. I sincerely hope you all have a great time. And even more, I hope that we can work through this issue together in a way that we are all comfortable with. 

                                                                                                                                    Love J'

 

To which the husband responded to my husband via text: "Got her email. Upset my wife a lot once again. Stop sending emails attacking us". 

 

My husband wrote back something to the effect that you don't get to decide when the conversation is over, MY wife has been upset everyday for a week over this.  

 

Anyway....I wanted to get back to everyone. We are very, very upset at the turn this took. 

 

 I think your response was perfect, and of course your logic is upsetting to someone who wants to think their baby will be "safe" if she is kept from all the yucky non-vaxers. You kind of showed her that it wasn't the case; what is up with the irrational need to protect her child only from unvaxed kids. As if all kids aren't full of germs. Too bad you didn't mention the plethora of scary diseases her kid could catch for which there are no vaccines. Kidding...kinda.

 

Good for your husband, but yea, it's time to walk away. P.S. How are you related to them? 

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#20 of 23 Old 08-09-2013, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's my husband's first cousin. And in my first email I rattled off about coxsackie, hand-foot& mouth, roseola, the croup....etc. They don't care. They are unflexible beyond belief. Thanks so much for your feedback. I guess we will be laying low for a long time because of this one. 

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#21 of 23 Old 08-09-2013, 09:45 PM
 
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I know it's no comfort now, but they will understand someday, when their fully-vaxed child, or maybe a friend's or relative's, has either a vax reaction, autism, or both, while your children remain bright and healthy.
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#22 of 23 Old 08-09-2013, 11:19 PM
 
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I'm sorry too. Your email seemed very reasonable to me, but I'm often surprised about what upsets people and what it found to be ok on these boards. The vaccination debate can be a very touchy issue.

What Taximom suggests is extremely unlikely to happen. And I don't think it's very nice to wish that on anyone in any case.
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#23 of 23 Old 08-10-2013, 03:47 AM
 
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I'm sorry too. Your email seemed very reasonable to me, but I'm often surprised about what upsets people and what it found to be ok on these boards. The vaccination debate can be a very touchy issue.

What Taximom suggests is extremely unlikely to happen. And I don't think it's very nice to wish that on anyone in any case.

Good heavens, I'm not wishing it on anyone! Why on earth would you suggest that? Remember, I've posted many times that *I* did not understand until my own children had severe adverse reactions.

Sadly, it seems that people continue to believe the extremely effective pharma propaganda until someone they care about is affected adversely by vaccines, to the point that they will even attack those whose children had reactions and dared to talk about it. I wish it weren't so, but I think you have kind of demonstrated my point.
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