It was a relative’s child who gave it to baby Elyse, a relative’s child at a family function.
A function Melissa says she didn’t really want to attend anyway.
But she did – as you do when family expects such things – and with her was her five-week-old daughter Elyse.
Melissa and her daughter Elyse, who is now 3. Image supplied.
Melissa was careful. She ensured that the only people who held her tiny daughter was her and her partner, as well as her mother-in-law. She’d been so careful over the last five weeks to make sure her newborn had not been exposed to too many people, worried at her delicate age she would catch a cold.
But it turned out that she feared the wrong thing.
At just five-weeks of age Elyse caught chickenpox from an unvaccinated relative, a child from a family who didn’t believe in vaccines, but who chose not to tell anyone at the time. As she wasn't yet six weeks old Elyse had not been fully vaccinated herself.
“She got really lethargic and unresponsive,” Melissa explained to Mamamia.
"She was not eating, she had fevers and every hour I had to check her breathing and temperature in case we had to rush her back to hospital.”
But it wasn’t just Elyse who was affected. Melissa, from the stress and anxiety developed postnatal depression. The mother and baby were admitted to hospital and spent four weeks recovering.
“I had extreme anxiety. As a first time mum I felt like I had not protected her as I should have.”
Melissa says she gave the other family “a piece of her mind” but still they refuse to vaccinate.
“No one knows the pains and the heartache that we really went though. The scars are for me to deal with saying sorry doesn’t fix it.
You think that it won’t happen to me. But it does. Via IStock.
Melissa, now a mum of two, says that the anti-vaccination movement worries her.
“They disappoint me, when we vaccinate our children we are protecting the community, there are children who can’t be immunization. I feel comfortable that my daughter is vaccinated to protect other children. But they don’t care.”
Melissa is speaking out at the start of World Immunisation Week and in light of a Victorian government public health campaign, Immunity for Community.
Melissa says that its important people take notice of this campaign.