hippy, single mom

To Vaccinate

I think I’ve mentioned only a few times how I was raised….”outside of the box” by reasonably odd/progressive hippies. Dad was a musician/jack-of-all-trades, and mom was a social worker/teacher/angry feminist. Add my dad’s parents, who were Christian Scientists, to the equation, and people basically thought of our family as “the freaks”. Most people thought my grandparents belonged to that “Creepy Hollywood cult that Tom Cruise is a member of,” to which I would respond…. “HUH?”

My mom put me in cloth diapers, tie-dyed my onesies, added tofu to my tuna sandwiches, threw the TV in the garbage, and refused to get my vaccinations. Yeah, we were total radicals, but mostly just freaks. My mom was outspoken, serious, smart and most of my childhood friends were scared of her. My dad was silly, goofy, “in his own world” and most of my high school friends were convinced he smoked pot.

But the decision to be shot-free never seemed like such a big deal (thankfully, my sister and I were healthy kids, and never traveled over seas), until I became a mom myself. Then I realized what a HUGE decision it was NOT to vaccinate. I’ve had moms tell me straight up that they don’t want their kids around my daughter because she didn’t get her shots, like she’s some kind of carrier monkey. Like we live in the days of the Bubonic Plague.

Growing up in a idealistic bubble of positive energy, I’m used to rude awakenings by now. In high school, I wasn’t so prepared. Not only did my parents refuse to give me my shots, they also forgot to tell me that during adolescence, you should probably start wearing deodorant. To them, its not what you looked (or in my case, smelled) like, or how you presented yourself, its whats inside that counts. Needless to say,  most of my freshman year of high school was spent in the bathroom crying, trying to figure out why no human being would get within a 3 foot radius of me. I have subsequently developed a phobia were I’m convinced I stink all the time.

I know there’s such thing as good health, and that all parents should teach their kids how to follow social norms, but does getting your kid vaccinated fall into that basic group? Are you putting your kid at risk for permanent damage if you refuse to get their shots? Yes, but I would say that MANY decisions you make for your child put them at some sort of risk. My parent’s decision not to place “typical” social expectations on me, has definitely caused a little emotional damage to my self-esteem. Some could say that letting a teenage girl who didn’t realize she may offend people with her “all natural” aroma into public high school, is selfish, cruel and dangerous.

Do I hate them for the decision they made?


Well, not anymore at least.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, and believe me, I grew up with a lot of crazy hippies ranting about the Moon’s position with Mars, and how the end of the world is coming. My dad has friends who believe that you shouldn’t pay your taxes, because there is no law saying you have to. I was told by my first boss that according to the ancient health philosophy of Ayurveda, all I needed to clear up my acne was to eat 3 limes a day. Yeah, I’ve heard some stories.

I’m not convinced that vaccinations cause Autism. I’m not one of those hyper-health-conscious moms who only let their kids drink soy and have gluten-free diets. However, I cannot deny the fact that the Autism rate has gone from 1 in 10,000 in the early 80’s to 1 in 150 currently. That fact FLOORS me. What has changed in our world during the last 25 years to make this such a crazy statistic? 1 in 150? CHRIST that’s a lot of kids. Is it a change in our environment? Our society? Our health care system?

I was reading about a class action lawsuit that over 5300 families are involved in. A lawsuit that is against the government, trying to prove the link between Autism and Vaccinations. Yeah, I know, we Americans are a sue-happy country, but there was something about this case that got to me. The government apparently has a fund set up, a fund with over 2 billion dollars, in order to protect itself from lawsuits ONLY involving shots and vaccinations. Its called the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. When I heard this, I was like WTF? The government has a fund with BILLIONS of dollars JUST to pay off families who have been injured by vaccinations? Why have a fund if you knew you weren’t gonna use it? I don’t wanna go off on a government rant, but obviously this fund is in place to protect the vaccine manufacturers from getting sued, and such an overwhelming amount of people have apparently been injured by vaccinations. If you go to the federal website, it still claims that “there is no link between vaccinations and Autism.” But the government also claimed that DDT wasn’t responsible for killing off wildlife, and we also once believed the world was flat.  I’m torn when I think about those 5300 families, searching for answers as to why their kids are afflicted with such a mysterious disorder, but is it just coincidence that so many families feel the  exact same way? 5300 is a lot of people.

 For me, there are too many unanswered questions about Autism, and until the link to vaccinations are completely ruled out, I’m probably going to remain skeptical. However, I’m not going to judge anyone who decides to get their kids shots. I’ve heard lots of cases where both kids got shots and only one is Autistic, or both kids got shots and neither are Autistic, so how can you prove anything?

I’m not trying to discredit any Doctor’s recommendations here, but I definitely don’t trust pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies or the government’s relationship to either of them. If we lived in a perfect society, where nothing was corrupt, I may be less suspicious. Until then, I consider it my job as a mom to do the research, compare the facts, and trust in my own instincts. Also, to send my daughter to high school wearing deodorant.


13 thoughts on “To Vaccinate”

  1. Wow, talk about a hot button issue. I have heard so many people debating over this lately that it’s amazing. I actually heard a guy at the hardware store the other day talking about why he hadn’t vaccinated his kids. Not that I’m a parent, but I think that you have to do what you feel is right for your child (duh, right?) It is definitely a huge decision to make and I can also definitely see both sides of the argument.
    My bro and I both were vaccinated all throughout our childhood; he recently even had to get a couple more vaccinations to be able to live on campus at his college. I can say though that when he was little he got really sick from a vaccination and they weren’t sure if he would even make it because he was so allergic to it. He ran a temp of 104 for a couple days and basically just whimpered on the couch. He was super small, under a year when all of this happened, but I still remember it even though I was really little too, so I can definitely see why you don’t want shots for LB.
    Anyways, have a great day! Love you lots =)


  2. Bless you. Thank you for your words – as a Mom of one of those seemingly gazillion kids with autism, I’m so pleased when I read things like this – I just want people to THINK about it, to QUESTION it instead of just accepting everything like sheep (of which I was one….at first). I too can see both sides of the argument on this one. Yet I am really, really tired of people thinking those of us who even have the nerve to question vaccines’ safety are a bunch of ignorant, crazy, horrible people. I just want to laugh when people point at all those studies that supposedly (sarcasm intended) prove that autism and vaccines aren’t at all related. I, for one, thing it will come to show that there are many, many triggers, and that in fact some autism may be a simple neurological difference while other cases of autism will be medical in basis. I think my child is a combination of both.

    And further, thanks for the lovely Colorado shot. I miss it. We moved away to be closer to family when they move away and I can’t wait for the day when we feel like we can go back!



  3. I agree with JL–definitely a hot-button issue.

    I recently went on a Walk for Autism. Along the walk, there were all these statistics about autism–the 1 in 150 stat *really* struck me. The daycares around here won’t take a kid if they aren’t vaccinated. Just wondering, how do you get around that with LB?

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate… because I really don’t know what to believe–I wonder if today people are more sensitive to the autism diagnosis–and the whole “spectrum”–than back in the day–also, that there are more children?

    There was this girl in my school growing up. She was so freakin’ shy. She would never talk. Like EVER. Whenever we had a sub who didn’t know about her, and mistakenly asked her to read out loud in class, she got so freaked out she cried–in like 10th grade. We just thought she was shy, but I bet today she might be diagnosed with some sort of autism–Asperger’s at the very least.

    Son has been vaccinated. He still has one “major” one left–and I can’t say I’m not a little worried. Just because I worry about everything.

    Sorry for the book.


  4. Hahahaha as if adolescence isn’t painful enough. And yeah, I think we are more sensitive to diagnosing our kids with whatever is diagnosable, but I think it may be more than just an entire society of hypochondriacs (and I totally believe we are!).


  5. We ran into another problem when we were considering not vaccinating our youngest kids. Our eldest boys are both on the autism spectrum – and yes the speech delay and behavior problems came on for both with the completion of booster shots… But then… that could also simply be an age where problems become evident. Still we were feeling pretty wary of vaccinations by the time Emily came along.. and decided to at least delay (spread out) the vaccination schedule a bit… UNTIL we were informed by her pediatrician (and the only pediatric clinic in town, mind you) that they would not treat her unless she was vaccinated. Emily’s developing speech absolutely disappeared following her second round of booster shots… Something we’ve been through before of course. She’ll be three in August and her vocabulary consists of “Mama” and “No” exclusively. Now I’ll always wonder if the vaccinations we were effectively forced to have administered have anything to do with it…


  6. I began working with autistic children as a behavior therapist almost ten years ago when autism was not as much of a mainstream topic as it is today. Even then, when I attended conferences on autism, often the speakers would ask the parents in the audience to show hands if they believed vaccines were the cause of their child’s autism. The room would fill with raised hands. I have seen home videos of children who were fine before their vaccines and worked one on one with them (after vaccines) to try to do a simple thing like make eye contact with me or sit still in a chair. When you know the families and you see it with your own eyes and you meet the children, it is hard to deny that vaccinations are not responsible for this nationwide problem. You are right in being cautious. Now that I’m approaching the time in my life when I want my own children, I’m starting to wonder myself what I will do. I’ve heard of parents being unable to enroll their children in school without vaccinating first. This puts parents in such a difficult position.


  7. Hi,

    My son is 3 years old and currantly enrolled in the “special education” program at my local school. I wonder and wonder if vaccinations did this to him. He is diagnosed as severly expressive and receptive speech delay. I often wonder if he is on the autism spectrum, although the people assessing him seem to think no. He was like most of your children – developing normally until his shots. Things took a drastic turn at around 2 years old. He has quite a bit of negative behavior to go along with his speech delay. Although he does make good eye contact and defiantely understands more than he conveys. I am caught in a horrible catch 22. I so desperately need him to go to the district school were he gets help for his issues, yet everything in my does not want him to have any more vaccinations. I NEVER would have had him vaccinated if I had known what it could do to him. I had my daughter vaccinated and she is fine. We never had any problems. My son has very severe allergies and I have read that it children with compromised immune systems are the ones most at risk for problems handling vaccinations. I honestly think my son is allergic to them. Why won’t somebody do something to help us? My pediatrician became very angry with me when I mentioned that I thought vaccines could be linked to what is happening to my son. As if I were accusing him somehow. I get on my knees and pray everyday for a mircale.


  8. I hope you did some research for a natural deoderant. There a many harmful chemicals in the commercial brands and the pores in the armpits will obsorb then into the glands and the breasts… possibly contributing to breast cancer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s