Vax, Non-Vax

In a world where controversy reigns supreme, I am never surprised by the debates that pop up. At the epicenter of controversy right now stands to very heated sides… Vax and Non-Vax.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you are living in a hole somewhere in a distant land. Because, wow. You can’t get away from it.

I have read and re-read article after article, in which a very passionate writer states their case. Vaccines cause autism, death, and other damages, says one side. Non-vaccinating causes the spread of disease, says the other. Both sides resorting to scare mongering and belittling in their search for world domination… Or something of the sorts.

At the early stages of motherhood, I looked into this topic in great detail. At this time, the autism stories were starting to circulate again, and some of my crunchy, granola moms were putting the scare on. I sat down with my doctor, who has a son close to the age of my own, and asked him what his opinion was. I trusted him. He is a father, he is very well educated, and he is a friend.

After much debate and even more research, we decided what was best for our family was vaccinations. My son breezed through shots like a champ. Fast forward four years and my daughter was born. She did not happen to fair as well with shots. Her reactions were fierce and unpleasant, with a fever of 104.6 after one round.

I again began to question my decision to vaccinate. That year, we skipped flu shots. Then, H1N1 happened. And with it, it’s good friend pneumonia.

My sweet, 7 year old son lay listless in a hospital bed for 3 days. Struggling to breathe, and at one point suffering from hallucinations. In those moments, God spoke to me. Showing me a glimpse into what can happen without the use of modern medicine. I became a firm believer in vaccinations once again, because I knew that in most cases the side effects of a vaccination were far less tragic than the side effects of the diseases they protect against.

This is a decision that we made based on evidence, and years of research showing near eradication of many diseases due to the use of vaccinations. We knew that the risks for vaccinating weren’t nearly as large as the risks for not vaccinating.

However, our world is suddenly seeing an increase in diseases from decades ago due to non-vaccination and increased world travel. Friends, these diseases are not gone. This latest measles case at Disneyland is proof of that… And proof of how quickly those diseases can spread.

But I want to say, even in spite of all this, the decision to vaccinate is personal. Many factors go into this decision. I vaccinate with the trust that this will protect my children. I trust in medical advances. I believe in a whole approach to wellness… And that you can safely mix Eastern and Western medical practices to reach a compromise.

These are the choices that fit my family. I do not need to belittle you for choosing differently. Nor do I need to threaten non-Vax parents with lawsuits (yes, that is happening). I also don’t need you to belittle me for my choices. What I do need, is a solid group of mommy friends who can support one another despite differences in opinion and parenting.

Why can’t we all just get along?

~Aleah

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