To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That is the question a growing number of parents are asking themselves and others. How does a mom navigate through the plethora of propaganda on both sides of the issue? Both arguments can be very compelling, so how do you make this important health decision for your own family?
As a young mom, I signed every waiver the hospital staff handed me in my post-birth exhaustion/euphoria. It never occurred to me to question these medical gods at the time. When my son was two and my trusted pediatric clinic tried to administer redundant rounds of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) due to a record-keeping error (oops!), I started asking questions. I woke up to a sobering revelation. I am responsible for my children’s health, not the doctors. Fortunately, we had an open-minded pediatrician who was very honest with me about medical limitations, the religiosity of standard protocol and the power I have as a parent to make my own choices about my children’s healthcare.
So how can a conscientious mom attempt to simplify this important decision?
Step one: Self-educate. Read both sides of the issue. Proponents for vaccination include the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics. There are also reputable proponents of natural health who have brought to awareness the serious risks of vaccine ingredients to the central nervous system. Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny and the International Medical Council on Vaccination are just a few. Read with your mind and listen with your heart. Feel the energy of the differing viewpoints. Of course there’s a lot of propaganda out there; feel your way through it.
Step two: Wait until you feel prepared to make the best decision for your family. Discuss it with open-minded friends. Discuss it with professionals. Be prepared to feel confused about the issue. Confusion just means contrasting ideas are stirring. Sit with these a while and let them settle.
Step three: Let the decision emerge from a place of love and wisdom within you. This isn’t about making “the right” decision. It’s about honoring your heart as a mom. Understand that you may question your decision at times. Let’s face it, questioning ourselves is a recurring parental side-effect to which there is no immunity. Unfortunately, we cannot vaccinate self-doubt but we can inform, educate and empower ourselves.