“I believed I was doing the best thing for my children.”
Like most modern mums-to-be, I was once pre-occupied with scrutinising every aspect of impending parenthood.
This included whether or not I should vaccinate my children.
Before I became pregnant with my first child, I’d never really given much thought to vaccinations. I was vaccinated as a child. I vaccinated myself against deadly diseases before I travelled overseas, and I agreed to the free flu-shot given to teachers at my work-place every year. I had always assumed I would go along with the vaccination schedule for my future children without giving it much thought.
This was the case until the day someone asked me if I knew what was in vaccinations, and if I was going to exclude my children from receiving them?
It sparked a long and overwhelming journey looking into the vaccination debate, which eventually, and somewhat wrongly, led me to become a staunch “anti-vaxxer”. For the next 4 years or so (and one more child later), I turned away from everything vaccination related. I had made a decision (fully backed by my partner), and I was content with it.
Of course, there were times I had questions and concerns, but the very posts and opportunities that were meant to convince me to support vaccinations, only succeeded in turning me away. They called me a “bad parent”. Those two words upset me and I couldn’t look at, or read any pro-vaccination material without feeling unfairly condemned.
I felt I had valid arguments for my choice and along with most anti-vaxxers, I believed I was doing the best thing for my children.
Even a visit to my local GP to get answers left me in tears when she failed to give me any kind of appropriate information. Instead she chose to condemn me and insult my integrity from the moment I said I was questioning vaccinations.
It wasn’t until there was a meningococcal scare in my area that I re-visited the research. And although I don’t believe vaccinations are completely risk-free, for nothing is ever risk-free, and there are cases where some people cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, I am now comfortable knowing the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the negatives. Both my children are now fully vaccinated.