About a year ago, Jessica Boren made the fateful decision to stop vaccinating her six-month-old son Brody.
The Missouri mum had become “terrified” by the anti-vaccination propaganda being posted on her social media constantly. And so, out of fear she was “poisoning” her son, she didn’t take him to get any more of his vaccinations – despite his two elder sisters being fully-vaccinated.
Now, Jessica regrets her decision. Her 18-month-old son has contracted whooping cough.
The guilt-ridden mum-of-three shared her story on Facebook last week in the hopes it could serve as a warning to other parents.
“This is a baby boy struggling to breathe and turning blue with every cough,” she wrote next to photos and videos of her son in pain. “Coughing for over a minute each time. Multiple times an hour. For five days. Getting worse by the second.
“This is my happiest child, unable to laugh without having a coughing spell.”
Jessica explained that at first doctors misdiagnosed Brody’s condition as a “viral infection”. However, after sending her home from hospital a second time, called her back with the devastating news that her son had contracted pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.
“This is our son getting diagnosed with a deadly illness that could’ve totally been prevented,” she said.
Jessica described the following hours and days as “pure hell” as her son struggled to breathe and was treated with various medical instruments.
She also described the “guilt” that came with the knowledge she had put “not only my son at risk, but my community too” by not carrying out all of Brody’s vaccinations.
“This is embarrassment.”
Jessica said she did not blame anyone else for the decision she made not to vaccinate her child “based purely on my lack of knowledge and fear”.
However, she wanted to share her family's story hoping that it could "educate other families" on the potentially deadly consequences of not vaccinating your child.
"This is why you SHOULD vaccinate and protect your children."
A few days after sharing the post - which has been shared and commented on by thousands of parents - Jessica reported that her son had his "first cough-free night", and that the little boy was on the mend.
The mum also told followers she was overwhelmed by the amount of love and support being thrown her way after publishing her post. She, however, has declined their offers of financial aid as she doesn't feel like they "deserve" what is being offered.