Vaccinations: the deeper, less dark side.

This post has been a long time coming. Everyone must be dying to know. What’s my opinion on vaccinations? Are they a medical gift to humanity? Or are they an evil chemical burden to our bodies?
I have spent a lot of time reading about vaccinations and talking to people on both sides about it; years and years. This will not be an article giving you vaccine statistics, there is enough of that already if you’re interested.
I would like to explore the deeper sides of vaccinations and the reasons why we do or don’t. I want to delve into the reasons above numbers and charts and horrifying images of children burdened by disease.
I’ve spent a great deal of time agonizing in thought over what is the correct choice? Which course of action will leave me superior and right? I want to be right.
The more I learned, the more complicated it got… The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears, suggested what they call an “Alternative Vaccine Schedule”. Meaning that you weigh the risks of the disease at the time during the risks of the vaccine. It also means that you delay some vaccines until your children are older and have a more developed immune system. The problem I found with this is that Public Health is not really designed for this. The vaccines offered are combined and so if you want tetanus, you also get the standard five (for children under seven) diphtheria, pertussis, polio and rubella and on occasion (according to our public health nurse here) you get the influenza vaccine in it as well. Even for adults you cannot just get a tetanus shot. It still has tetanus and diphtheria.
This certainly doesn’t make things easy when being selective with vaccines. I wonder why this is?
So I dug deeper and listened to all the arguments, and came up with many of my own. I could not identify with most people’s positions on the issue, on both sides. One side, I would hear them declare emphatically how necessary it is to vaccinate children for their health and how stupid it is not to do so. Many implied that not doing so was downright neglectful to their well-being while containing to feed their children processed foods, large amount of sugar and other things known to cause and contribute to every known ailment. It was as if they didn’t believe trans fats contribute to cancer but vaccines prevent illness. I was baffled.
People on the other side that I came across were so adamant in being right with their approach against vaccines that it seemed to be ingrained in their identity. It is a dangerous thing to build your identity on opinions because it makes it difficult to shift and grow with new information. Anyways, I was no longer in it for a fight, but most were still there. Both sides considered the other to be dangerous and harmful and were extremely passionate in this.
As I reflected on what I thought my opinions may be, I realized that many of my arguments could be used to support either side of the debate. They were common, and weak: “I want my children to be healthy.” And “I couldn’t live with myself if anything bad happened.” and “There is so much we don’t know.” and ” I’d rather be safe than sorry.”. None of these statements demonstrated a holistic (all encompassing) understanding to health and safety. They were simple, blanket statements intended to justify one’s actions. But were they right? I figured something life changing out…
That in order to see the whole picture I needed to make a decision that wasn’t based out of fear. My first child was not vaccinated due to fear instilled by my father (thanks, Dad). He lectured us on the toxic ingredients like aluminum, mercury, animal blood and formaldehyde. He stated lawsuits due to vaccine damage, and it was high. He protested against my school’s principal insistence to vaccinate me with playful yet serious threats “I’ll cut off your head!”. And so I stayed away from vaccines and felt confident enough in that, I was 18.
When my second son was born I was faced with the same decisions again and my arguments against vaccination felt weak. I became bothered by doctors and nurses description of dead babies with whooping cough and deformed children due to polio. Horrible posters of complications due to measles and mumps hung in nurses offices where it is custom to get your baby weighed. It became obvious that with age I had matured. My instincts kicked in with a deep desire to breastfeed and never let my new baby cry it out. I had to know more about vaccines. I chose not to vaccinate him due to all the fears I had read about Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Dr.Wakefield’s accusations of them contributing or even causing Autism, not really a decision based on instinct. The fear on both sides is intense. I have felt them both. There was fear of debilitating illness from the diseases which vaccines can prevent and then there’s fear of rare adverse reactions to the vaccine and death on both sides. In the darkness of our room with a sick child coughing and hot, I would become wide-eyed and wondering… have I made a terrible mistake? I asked myself if this would be the rare time a child dies needlessly. I could see the sorry looks of “I told you so. You should of vaccinated.”.
I needed to sit with myself in a still place and really let it all sink in. With my third child, I had more information yet and was still comfortable not vaccinating her. We spent hours with the public health nurse, drilling her with question after question. Her words lingered in my head for a long time. We then came face to face with a vaccine-preventable illness. It was the time that the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) was going around claiming to be life-threatening to pregnant women, infants and the elderly and it was everywhere. It was a huge deal. People wore masks and news stories inciting fear spread like wild fire. I was pregnant with my fourth child and test results confirmed what most people feared at that time; I had contracted the H1N1 virus. They called me into the office and handed me a mask that I was to wear everywhere I went. A masked person is a frightening thing to see (or be) in a grocery store. So I had the swine flu and my symptoms included a mild cough, heart palpitations (I think) and being tired. I had experienced MUCH worse flus in my life. I understand that people did die from it, but as a common person, it was no big deal to me. Why all the hype? We lived through it and for it acquired natural immunity to it. Had I gotten the vaccination, it would have turned out to be an over reaction to media induced fear. Not getting vaccinated in that instance proved to be right for us at that time. But how can we know before hand? We can’t. We didn’t. Things could have turned out much different. I lived the risk and was fine for it, but life doesn’t always go that way. I can imagine what an insult refusing vaccinations is to someone who has lost an infant to whooping cough or has seen someone through polio.
I see the extreme situations like that and I notice how it gets out of hand. But where does it end? Can we vaccinate against everything? Is the chicken pox vaccination really necessary when it is a harmless childhood disease? When I got shingles I started researching it. Many people were suggesting that the rise in shingles is due to children not getting chicken pox. This is because older people were no longer being exposed to it and getting natures “booster shot”. Could this be true? What else works in this way? Our bodies truly are amazing and want to survive, but they need the right tools. Could one of those tools be vaccinations which work with your immune system?
Let’s go deeper and challenge it further: We could also consider vaccinating healthy adults to limit exposure to the elderly, infants, pregnant women and those with auto-immune disorders. People with healthy gut flora, those who drink adequate water and nourishing foods like bone broth and fermented drinks will will be able to flush out a lot of the toxic ingredients in vaccines.
It may be apparent by now that I have not chosen stance on either side even though my actions indicate I am anti-vaccine. Yet I can not be anti for something where it is clear that it has prevented many deaths and debilitation. That is another one of those statements that could be used for the opposite position to support not vaccinating… Wink, wink. Is it really possible to support the opposite of what you do? I’m going down the rabbit hole here and I don’t imagine it ends… We can philosophize and meditate on it forever, but one wants to make a choice.
Ultimately, it resonates with me to allow nature to do its work with building strong immune systems naturally. I feel passionate about building and maintaing amazing health with increased immunity through bone broth, organ meats, eggs and fermented foods. That’s the path I have chosen; it speaks to me. I can sit with that choice and feel secure. I am comfortable with allowing natures way of always trying to gain strength over what could harm it; evolving and gaining one up on the other with my help by providing nourishment for it. I’m focusing on more than just food to prevent severe illness. It’s also important to practice proper and frequent hand washing, breastfeeding from age two and beyond, diet (this is HUGE) and limited exposure to pathogens. These vaccine preventable illnesses are most risky to children under two and some even just children under six months. It’s possible that my child has even had pertussis. A blood test could confirm their already existent immunity to it, there’s another route you could go. Because of all this and because my children are not in school they are not in the high risk group for infection. Besides, exposure to germs is what builds strong immune systems. Lab rats born to sterile mothers in sterile environments proved to be sick and weakly.
I also know that I could deal with whatever nature has to give me. For me, it is what is and therefore always “right”. I know we are strong and our diet is rich in deeply nourishing foods that are alive and nutrient dense. I’ve also made peace with the fact that there are no guarantees in life. Even if I attempt to control every aspect of life, things can go wrong, people can die. I accept it.
The final answer is this: make your choice from your quiet and still place unburdened by fears. We’ve chosen not to vaccinate for now but I support anyone who does. Both can stem from ones sacred path. I see that both our choices come from that same place.

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3 responses »

  1. Well done Nadine. A very compassionate and heart felt post on what is often a difficult and emotional subject for many families. Thank you for proving that we can be passionate about our choices without condemning others for their own.
    Yippee yi yay. I am a beautiful butterfly.

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