Needles were something that I always hated but never really thought about. You just did them, they sucked but they kept you from getting scary diseases. I had heard a tiny bit about some people connecting vaccines to autism but that seemed a bit out there to me. I really didn't think about it.
When PK was two months old, we went, had them done, had the sucky sleepless night and I didn't really think about it. Same at four months.
In the meantime, I started doing some yahoo groups with some wonderful, anti-vax ladies. I appreciated their opinions and a few of them had some great links to some info that sounded interesting but it still all seemed very "out there". I mean, love my ladies but who gets this information on major health stuff from a bunch of moms, many of whom are stay at home and haven't gone much past high school? Doesn't really sound like a qualification for making sound medical judgements.
Unfortunately for my peace of mind, the things I was reading started to make more sense. I bought Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book, which provided some interesting reading and seemed like the most rational approach to me - delay vaccinations and spread them out and avoid those that really aren't necessary. Unfortunately, his protocols have limited benefits for Canada and in the meantime, my chiropractor and my naturopath and several of my friends who are very rational expressed concerns about the safety of vaccines.
Here's my struggle. Vaccines contain chemicals and additives that are dangerous. Live-virus vaccines contain viruses that are dangerous. Even those who swear that vaccines are safe will admit that there are mild to fatal reactions to vaccines. They are NOT SAFE. On the other hand, vaccines came about because some of these diseases are potentially life threatening. I think of one mama on one of my lists - totally well meaning but ridiculous in her approach - she tried to aggressively argue with me that measles have never killed anyone. I had two great aunts who died from it. Is that normal? No. Can it happen? Yes, it can.
I also really struggle with the sources of the information as to whether they are unbiased and reasonable or not. As I said before, I find it hard to accept the opinion of some mother somewhere who has no medical training. Natural health practitioners have a very set outlook and let's be frank, they also make a lot of money from people who want to boost their immune systems to fight off diseases that they have opted not to be vaccinated for. On the other hand, governments certainly don't have my child's best interest at heart - they are thinking from a general public health standpoint and if my child is injured or killed in order to protect the rest of society, they are going to be o.k. with that. Then, there are drug companies, greedy men in suits who have no contact with the people they are potentially harming with their stock options, big cars and bank accounts - sorry, I have a hard time thinking that they have my child's best interests at heart.
So, what's a worried mom to do? Fortunately for me, I live in Canada and have a fantastic doctor, who, instead of threatening to drop me as a patient when I raised this (as I have heard from lots of my U.S. yahoo group mamas), was very open to discussion, suggested which vaccines she was less comfortable with (she won't give the new gardisil one) and was totally willing to have us postpone or even forgo the MMR (which was have decided to do). Her only request was that she really wanted us to protect our daughter against meningitis but she would give the older formula since she felt more secure in assuring us it is safe. I am not entirely comfortable with our decision but really, I don't think that I will ever be comfortable on this one. Shocking your child's immune system with a cocktail of toxins and viruses just doesn't seem like such a great idea but having her brain damaged for life due to a horrible disease doesn't strike me as something I can risk.
Cross your fingers for me that it doesn't interfere with her sleep tonight. We get little enough as it is.