As parents, we always strive for the best for our children. We want them to be happy, bright, strong and healthy. And there are a million people and books and articles telling you how to do all of these things and, of course, all contradicting each other. So as parents, we are left to decide for ourselves what is best for our children. As parents, we quickly learn to go with our gut on most things.
I am new to lumping myself under the “parents” group. Like all new moms, I am faced with a million +1 decisions every single day. Some decisions you don’t even realize you’re making because they are being made on the fly with a tiny human impatiently waiting…(is this bath water to warm or maybe its cold? Which outfit should I put on? Should I feed my baby or change him out of his puke soaked outfit first…should I eat, sleep or shower with the 20 minutes I have during this nap?)
Other decisions are a little harder, more controversial, and they usually involve pain being inflicted upon your child. His first vaccinations came pretty much right after birth, if I can even recall correctly. Not only did I just have my insides pulled open and then put back (c-section), I was staring at the face of this little person I was now in charge of. Talk about emotional. As the nurse cleaned him up, she administered his Vitamin K and Hepatits B shot and gave him his Antibiotic Eye treatment. We knew this was coming and gave the go ahead before he was born. And I would still give the go ahead now, but knowing that everything changes once your baby is born. Doing the right thing suddenly becomes even more important.
We must question everything as parents. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we weren’t.
The vaccination debate is so scary because parents and their babies are involved. Because we all want the best for our children.
My son had his 2 month shots today. I get that vaccinations are scary. The things that go through your brain as a parent bringing your baby to the Doctors to inflict pain and inject foreign things into such a little, helpless body! (Is this the right thing to do? Should I have done more research? I should trust that the health professionals know what they are doing…but didn’t they used to think lobotomizing people was good?! Holy shit, I should turn this car around, crawl back in bed with my baby boy and throw the covers over our heads!) But since keeping my baby in a bubble for the rest of his life isn’t an option, I knew that this had to be done.
Because do you know what is scarier than modern vaccinations? Turning on the TV when I come home from the hospital with a newborn and learning that there is a measles outbreak. I thought I had enough to worry about having a baby during flu season!
Today was hard but now I can rest easy knowing my baby is now at least partially protected against things that used to kill babies. This round of vaccinations also holds significance with my family history. My grandfather contracted polio when he was a boy. He almost died but his mother made the decision to let the doctors try an experimental drug on him that ended up saving his life. Other parents that refused, lost their children. My grandfather walked with a limp his entire life. But he had an entire life!
Today I took steps toward protecting my baby from 8 serious diseases: polio, diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Hib, hepatitis B, rotavirus and pneumococcal disease.
I’m proud to be able to say that! I feel lucky that my son was born into a time of such medical advancement that he can be protected from a lot of serious diseases.
Yes, he cried when the first needle went into his pudgy, unsuspecting little leg. Then his eyes widen even further and looked at me in fear when the second went in. His mouth opened up even wider and screamed a scream I had never heard. Yes, I cried and my heart tightened in a way that I didn’t know it could. Yes it was a hard two minutes…But getting polio would be a lot harder. I nursed him right away and he quickly fell fast asleep. I drove home with mixed feelings. On one hand, I had ruined my happy little boy’s morning. On the other hand, I had protected him. When we got home, I took him out of his car seat and laid him down. He opened his eyes, looked up at me, and smiled.
The vaccination debate is scary because being a parent is scary. Because our babies aren’t able to make decisions for themselves yet and we are responsible for their well being. I want to protect my baby, but I also need other parents to help protect my baby. He still can’t get his measles vaccination until he is 1. Now with an outbreak of a disease that was almost completely eradicated, I can not protect my baby for another 10 months. Talk about scary. I respect that you want the best for your babies. Please respect that I want the best for mine.