There’s nothing more terrifying than not knowing whether your baby will wake up in the morning.
And it is this fear that has kept a Brisbane mother whose four-month-old son has whooping cough up every night for more than three weeks.
Now, she is pleading for people to be vaccinated against the disease, also known as pertussis.
And the video of her baby boy’s laboured breathing and hacking cough – plus a warning of a spike in the disease from Queensland Health – is extremely concerning for parents.
Watch the video here:
Rebecca Harreman posted the video (which has been shared more than 23,000 times) to Facebook, along with a message telling her followers that not trying to prevent the potentially fatal disease “is just wrong”.
She wrote: “Okay so I know I said I’d let the hate go. But I’m tired. Damn tired. I’ve been on duty for over 3 weeks having to wake every single time my baby boy coughs for fear he will stop breathing. Every. Single. Time. I cannot and will not pass that duty to anyone else, because I just can’t sleep.”
“So for those of you sitting on the fence on whether to vaccinate yourself and your kids or not… maybe this video will convince you.”
Ms Harreman said the coughing fit recorded was a “good” one – meaning “that’s absolutely nothing”.
“Not even long enough to be called a coughing fit. Nothing compared to watching him turn blue from coughing for so long and so much he can’t take a single breath.”
But now she’s been slammed by anti-vaxxers, despite the fact Queensland Health issued a whooping cough alert for greater Brisbane just days ago after 10 children contracted the disease in the past six weeks – double the number over the same time last year.
The organisation said the spike was “particularly concerning” and vaccination was the only way to minimise the risk of the disease.
Ms Harreman strongly urged others to heed the warning.
“I don’t care whether you want to try and prove to me that vaccinations and herd immunities don’t work,” she said.
“I don’t care that vaccinations have side effects, because every person in this world reacts differently to all types of food, products and medicines. I could not care less, even if it is ever proven one day that they don’t work.
“You know why? Because at least at the end of the day I tried to do something to prevent this and not sit there and say ‘oh well, vaccinations don’t work so I’ll just sit here and do nothing’… because doing nothing goes against every cell in my body as a mother. Doing nothing is just wrong.”
The stressed mum was flooded with responses, including many negative ones from anti-vaxxers.
“I really didn’t think that people would personally message me to tell me I am wrong,” Ms Harreman wrote in a follow-up post.
“I didn’t intend to offend anyone in particular with my views. Because they are just that – MY views.
“But since some anti-vaxxers seem to feel they can share and say anything they want, even if it is unreliable, and I’m not allowed to have my say or share my own personal experience … well then I say bring it!
She has since posted again, saying she is choosing to spend her time concentrating on her son, Austin, who is back in hospital.
You can see her full original post here.