There are many decisions that we make as parents. We have to decide how many sweets we keep in the house, how much TV time our kids get, and we have to decide if we will be following the CDC’s vaccine schedule or use an alternative schedule.
While the majority of the public does not stop to consider their options in vaccines but follow the doctors schedule, some of us choose to question how much and how often we are willing to give our children vaccinations.
Neither route is wrong.
There are people, of course, on both sides of the argument who will vehemently argue that the other party is wrong. Either wrong for questioning the safety or practice of vaccines or wrong that the parent doesn’t do more of their own research on vaccines, it is important to state that neither option is right or wrong. It is only what is right for YOUR family and the only thing wrong is assuming your family’s method is best for every family.
Vaccinations is a touchy subject. People feel very strongly on it one way or another. It can be hard to have cool, mellow discussions on vaccines with others, especially when one is searching for more information and looking to their peers to see what they chose to do.
Families choosing to research vaccines and find studies are often left disappointed with the amount of (or lack of) well done studies that exist.
In the end the choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate does exist and is the parents to make, despite how those around feel about it.
First, All states in the US have vaccine exemptions for school children who are not vaccinated.
-All states have the standard medical exemption, which is only accessible to a child with an established, medically proven, allergy to vaccine ingredients that has been documented by the pediatrician (or other medical facility like a hospital) and the doctor can show that information to the school system.
-Most states have the option of a religious exemption. By religious, it means that vaccinating conflicts with your families personal (or religious) beliefs.
-Some states have the option of a philosophical exemption- where the reason for not vaccinating can be further removed from the “religious” aspect and more just because the parent isn’t comfortable with it or has a personal reason for not agreeing with vaccines.
It’s important to look up your specific states laws on how to register an unvaccinated (or not fully vaccinated, if doing an alternative schedule) child into school for any families planning on public school.
When thinking about doing an alternative vaccine schedule, there are multiple ways to approach the subject.
-One can choose to Fully vaccinate but administer the vaccines more spread out. Many parents are concerned about how many vaccines their child is given at one time and how that can overwhelm their tiny bodies. They instead make arrangements with their pediatrician where they only get one vaccine at an appointment and make more frequent appointments to get all the vaccines administered in the “correct” time frame still. This method is also great for those who are also watching their child for potential allergies and want to know exactly what vaccine their child is reacting to.
– A Parent may also choose to selectively vaccinate depending on issues like ingredients in the vaccine or the risk of the vaccine vs the risk of the illness it is for. For example, One parent may decide to not use any vaccines that include aborted fetal cells because of their personal discomfort or religious stance on the ingredient. Or a parent may decide to skip vaccines like rotavirus vaccine or the chickenpox vaccine because they feel the vaccine itself carries more potential problems than the illness’s it’s suppose to prevent or that it’s protection rates are not high enough to be worth exposing the child to the ingredients it contains.
– Parents may also choose to decline all vaccines, which is what we refer to as “unvaccinated”. There are just as many reasons for families to choose this option as there are families who choose it. Sometimes it’s because of ingredients in the vaccines, sometimes fear of vaccine reactions, and sometimes it’s purely because they feel a healthy natural immune system is more effective than a vaccine induced immune system.
Rarely, if ever, do families choose not to vaccinate because of autism fears. Despite how many articles and “professionals” claim that autism is the (poor) reason for not vaccinating, most families who choose not to vaccinate have reasons that have nothing to do with the risks (whether real or not) of autism.
Blaming “trends” and “lack of education”
I hear a lot of people accusing unvaccinating parents of just being sheep and blindly following other ignorant people. This is an offensive assumption and is not winning over anyone to the “vaccine team”. While there may be a small percentage of parents who follow others in not vaccinating without properly educating themselves on vaccines, illnesses, risks, benefits, studies- ect, the majority of families who choose not to vaccinate or follow an alternative vaccine schedule do not make that decision lightly or info-less. Actually, the majority have passionately and maybe borderline obsessively studied and researched before coming to a final decisions.
We know how to identify illness. We know that a dry cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, red eyes..ect could mean measles. We also know that 95% of children with polio show no symptoms and in the 4-8% of children who are symptomatic, it shows itself as a mild flu and about .1% of those cases can be the more severe paralytic form of polio. We can also tell you about 60,000 cases of polio that occurred in 1952 and that about 3,000 children died that year from it. We are not blindly following trends or uneducated. This decision weighed on us and we chose to take the path that best fit our family’s beliefs and lifestyle and felt right for us. Before assuming any nonvaccinating family chose to avoid vaccines for shallow reasons or because of blind, uneducated fear- try talking to them and opening up a conversation with them in a nonjudgmental way. Or, just accept that whatever their reasons are that it was still their legal right to make them- because in the end- whether your reasons are good or poor or based on education or following the crowd – vaccinate or not vaccinate- the decision is still yours to make, as the parent of your child.
– Nonvaccinating families have always existed. Not vaccinating is no new trend. What has become more widespread is knowing that the family next door, or your cousin or that child in your kids class is not vaccinated, due to social media and people sharing more private information in a more public way. The unvaccinated families have always been here, though. We are not a new trend. We are now just more public, thanks to twitter and facebook and other forms of media sharing.
I respect your decision, whatever it is. It is not an easy one to make and the results can be unpredictable no matter what path you choose. You can be the vaccinating parent whose child ends up with a permanent seizure disorder from the HPV vaccine or the unvaccinating parent whose child gets Pertussis (whooping cough). Or you more than likely will be the parent who chose whichever path felt right for their family and it all worked out fine and your family grew healthy and happily. Either way, it’s a major decision to make and one we should never assume others took lightly.
I know we all want to put ours and our unborn babies health into our OBGYN’s hands without question. I know so many moms who have told me that they did not have the degree and their doctor does so they will go with his word on the matter. I get that logic but here are some reasons to question your obstetrician when he (or she) is suggesting a cesarean birth.
1- He gets paid significantly higher for a cesarean delivery.
Who right now doesn’t want a bigger paycheck? If he is a younger to even 50 something year old doctor, he very well could be trying to pay off his student loan debt still and what better way to get it payed than a paycheck that can be significantly higher (depending on his contract) than his paycheck for a vaginal delivery? Or, he may now be trying to get his son or daughter through college. Or is saving up so he can retire. Either way, I’m sure he has something he could use more money for and that is a huge temptation to most people.
2- C-sections are a lot quicker.
He can wait around for your unpredictable natural birth or schedule it into his day. Most people like having a life outside of their jobs and your OB isn’t immune to that same desire. He likes making it home in time for dinner. He likes sleeping at night. He likes going on family vacations and catching Monday night football games. It makes his life a lot easier, more predictable, and gives him more personal time for himself if he schedules your cesarean.
3- He is less likely to get sued
Nothing ruins a day quite like getting sued for $250,000 (or more) and having your name destroyed in the medical world when you are an OB. A c-section is seen as the “everything that could be done was done” procedure. If a doctor just does the Cesarian then there’s a lot less of a risk that he can be blamed for not doing everything in his means to save mom or baby. So, when a patients blood pressure is slightly high at her 38wk appointment but she is feeling fine and baby is stable and there is no sign of pre-eclampsia, his suggestion for a 39wk cesarean may not be in her best interest, just his. Or when baby looks a little “big” on the ultrasound (remember that late in pregnancy ultrasounds are VERY inaccurate for measuring baby size. They can be up to 2 lbs off in any direction. That means that perfectly fine 8 lber can look like a 6 lb baby or a 10 lb baby on ultrasound.) the mom will start hearing the words c-section coming from him and things like “shoulder dystocia”. He has no real evidence that this is a risk for the moms baby but if it were to happen, you can bet your buttons the mom could sue him for not warning her and doing a CS. So, he will be more than happy to push a cesarean to save himself that risk of “If’s”.
4- It isn’t personal
How many patients does he have? How many births has he done? He is so numb to birth. Cesarean birth is not traumatic or horrific or unnatural to him just like the amazing-ness of natural birth that he may have felt in medical school and the first year or two of working out of school is gone for him. It’s a job now. It can be done vaginally or surgically. It does not make an emotional impact on him one way or another. The only way he is going to “fight for your vaginal birth” with you is if he is a very empathetic doctor who knows how strongly you desire a vaginal birth. Even then, though, he has all those other factors listed pushing him to consider doing a cesarean.
5- He’s human
Let’s face it. Your OB is no god. He isn’t holier and mightier than normal human temptations. He has good enough reasons to desire doing a cesarean section and he makes mistakes just like everyone else. At the end of the day, no matter how much faith you have in your doctor, he is human.
Your OB has enough reasons to suggest a cesarean section. He can come up with a reason to make you feel cornered into one and he has the knowledge and the “head over you” mojo to make you feel like it’s medically necessary. This is not to say your doctor is never being honest, and it’s very possible he feels very genuine about his CS suggestion every time. This is where I go back to him being human. There is not much incentive for an OB to want to keep his births vaginal.
I normally walk on eggshells with this subject. After all, I haven’t always been on this side of the debate and I know there is a process to cleansing your own brain from cultural misconceptions and lies and swallowing that big red pill of truth. But lets get blunt.
I understand most people and can relate to where they are at when it comes to circumcision. After all, had my oldest been a boy, she would have been amongst the circumcised and I’d be among the moms wishing I had known better then. I know what it’s like to be in support of circumcision and to believe it is a good thing.
But let me ask you something.
If you are a mom who has had a home birth, or even fought for a super natural hospital birth– Why is it you can see that your body is meant to birth naturally and births best when not interfered with, but you cannot see that your sons body is meant to be kept the way it is at birth and functions best when left alone?
If you don’t vaccinate or do an alternative vaccine schedule– why is it you are willing to see that immune systems are strong when built naturally and that messing with your child’s body can have serious consequences- but you can’t accept that cutting off part of your sons penis is effecting his body’s health and can have serious consequences?
If you are a Christian and believe that God made us in his image– Why do you think you should circumcise your son when God created him with a foreskin and the New Testament tells us that circumcision is worthless?
Click Here for more info
If you are Jewish or a Jew turned Christian- and a doctor is performing the circumcision, Why are you not having a real Jewish circumcision if it’s for religious reason? You do know that a medical circumcision does not meet all the requirements for the religious ritual done at a Bris, right?
Click Here for more info and Here
If you are a mother against circumcision and leaving it up to the dad– Why aren’t you fighting for your son? Why do you not just put your foot down? Marriage is 50/50 these days and if anyone, including my husband, tried to let a knife cut any one of my kids- Id flip my lid. It would not happen.
Click Here for more info
I know that there is a process to learning. There is a process to adjusting to a new understanding. There is a process to having your eyes opened to the fact that circumcised penis’s are not “normal penises” but intact penis’s are normal. When parents who have opened the door to being educated, Parents who do question cultural norms and doctors and grandparents and do research for themselves decide to circumcise- I question. And my heart aches for you too. That you are so so close to being ok with natural and comfortable with how our bodies were created to be. I feel for you because I am so sure you will some day look and see a mom-mistake. Maybe today you don’t see it. Maybe today your tail feathers have been ruffled and you’ve been thrown into defense mode about how your sons body is yours to what you want with. You’re the mom and how dare I. I feel positive, though, someone as open to truth and learning as you are will someday regret that you didnt trust his body to be perfect. That you, his mom, felt he needed cosmetic surgery to be complete. That you, his mom, felt you owned him and had the right to make such permanent alterations to your sons body. Your son who will grow to be a man. A man who was raised by a smart, open mom, who will teach him to question life and research and , as a result, may regret the choice you made over his body for the rest of his life. Because you are a good mom. You want what is best. And though the rest of moms are good, well desiring moms too- they are so far from the truth on this issue that they will have that excuse to ease their hurt one day if they come to regret their sons circumcisions. But you were so close. You were so knowing. You were so “there”. My heart hurts for you moms.
I try to be really aware of my language with my kids. No, I’m not talking about bad language, though I don’t do that either. I try to phrase things and speak to them in ways that will make them grow as people. For example, when I discipline, I try to speak words that will correct their behavior so that they will grow to become better, respectful, loving humans. I try not to use words that tear down or rip apart or shame in the name of disciple. I even desire to stay away from the neutral language that does neither. If it does not uplift and help them grow and be better than it isn’t necessary. Of course, I fail at this regularly, being human and all, but I am hoping that even just having this desire in my mind and heart will help keep me doing better than I would if I didn’t have these concepts in my mind.
So with everything I’ve been asking myself, “How are these words, this phrasing and this tone affecting their minds, self esteems, desire? How will this effect who they will be? How will this effect how they treat their own possible kids some day?”. If I can’t say I’m instilling good behaviors, feelings, and habits I start planning out a new way to treat situations that are more productive.
So I stopped calling my kids smart. I used to call them smart. “Wow, Ariel. You finished that puzzle fast. You are so smart!”. “Eve, you know all the words on that page? You are so smart”. I do not say those things anymore. I have traded in my language. Instead of rewarding natural ability I praise their efforts, the work it took to get something done, whether it took them little effort or great effort.
You might be asking Why? What is wrong with being smart? It makes people feel good and more confident to be told they are smart, right? That’s good for self-esteem.
Actually I’ve learned it is not that great. An article I recently read went into great depth discussing how children who are complimented off of their natural born intelligence get frustrated by harder work easier. Even children with really high IQ’s give up almost immediately when they hit a tough area because if it does not come natural to them they think it is not something they can do. While Children who are complimented for the work they put into a job, work harder and feel they can accomplish things if they just put the time and effort into it.
The research done showed that the children whose focus was based more on intelligence felt that needing to put effort into a subject or activity was evidence that they were not actually smart so avoiding those more difficult content areas was their preference over working harder at it so others wouldn’t believe them to not really be smart. While kids whose emphasis was on working hard felt that their smartness could grow and develop with effort. Teaching kids that their brain was a muscle that got stronger when worked had kids focusing more and getting better results.
No matter where my kids all fall on the IQ scale, I want them each to know that if they work hard for something they can achieve it. That if they desire to learn it and devote their time to learning something, they can learn it, whether it’s a natural skill or not. We are all born with different natural abilities and different levels of intelligence, which means we are not all equal in this area but we all have just as much potential if we are willing to work for it. I believe all my kids to be smart and am looking forward to continuing to work and learn with them and watch them grow and develop. I know that my kids “are smart” and I love that they will be able to see that their smarts are effort based and that they are intelligent people and all they have to do is put some effort into it and they can be as intelligent as they work to be.