I have my own story of vaccination.
When I was a child I got vaccinated like everybody else around me. In Spain in the 1970 and 80s. I had never heard of, or met anybody that was not vaccinated. As far as I knew, vaccination was to prevent major illnesses and everybody did it. As far as I knew, it was not an option to refuse to be vaccinated. It was something you had to do; your parents, mostly your mother, would have told you to do so and brought along to the consultation.
I only remember my last vaccine shot. I was 14 years old and it was the rubella, the one you get to prevent your child from dying when you are pregnant, I was told by my mother. That’s why I needed to take it. For when I got pregnant.
I remember I did not want to take that shot. I would refuse to go to the clinic. Because of that, I was slightly older than normal when I took that shot. The reason was mainly I was afraid of injections and I didn’t really like it.
Fast forward twenty-five years or so. Another place. Ireland.
I started reading about vaccination not being safe on the Internet. I was on the fence. I didn’t know what to believe. I have read enough to suggest that it was not a good idea to do it.
Then, I got pregnant. Eventually, the baby came along and a decision had to be made. It must have been in the latest stages of pregnancy I started to find more information about vaccination.
How the minute you are born they give you a shot.
I was horrified. To me it didn’t make sense. It still doesn’t make sense. Babies have hardly any time to breathe; their immune system is hardly developed. I didn’t want that for my baby.
This is probably one of the reasons why I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital. You are at their mercy. They have in place routine procedures that nobody questions as they go about their job. There is no space for you to say “I don’t want that done”. They don’t ask for your opinion and when you have a strong opinion about something suddenly you are a problem and you end up with the procedure done anyway. Do first, questions later.
In summary, I was afraid of giving birth but as I advanced into my pregnancy I realized I was more afraid of not having control over the situation.
When she was born, I looked for the vaccination schedule for babies. I had also read that this schedule had greatly changed since I was a baby, introducing more and more vaccines, so babies and children nowadays have to cope with a greater number of vaccines. Again, I looked at the page in horror staring at the number and types of vaccines you give a baby at birth, and then again at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months and 13 months.
I knew I didn’t want that for my baby. I had always been quite healthy or so I thought. I never liked being sick or taking medicines. In the last few years, through different experiences, I had gradually stopped taking antibiotics whenever I got sick. So, certainly this over medication was alien to the way I wanted to live.
I had previously read on the Internet about how vaccination had not stopped the major diseases of the beginning of the 20th C, contrary to popular belief. My own mother would have told stories about polio and other illnesses popular in her time.
I had also read how the figures have been manipulated to make it look like vaccines work but, in reality, it was the improvement in sanitary conditions that contributed to the eradication of those diseases.
Every time I read some like that I would tell my husband, who is pretty incredulous to anything really. So the battle of “I’m right” would ensue.
In the meantime, things happened in my pregnancy that took me away from the established system of giving birth. But that’s another story.
The baby arrived. She was fine. She didn’t get vaccinated, among other things, because she was not born in a hospital.
My little chat with the doctor
I went one day with my husband and baby to the consultation just really to ask for some paperwork we needed. I had actually gone before on my own and I couldn’t do it because he had some concerns. So this was my second visit really. I think he gave the baby a check up I wasn’t too happy about. I didn’t think she needed one as she had already had one a few weeks after was born.
Anyway, somehow we ended up talking about vaccination. Needless to say, the conversation got really hairy, for me anyway. It got to a point in which I just wanted to get out of there. But, polite me, I stayed. (If I had been Richard Branson I would legged it).
It transpired in the conversation that I didn’t want to vaccinate my child for the reasons above indicated. Because I didn’t expect a third degree, I didn’t really have my reasons that clear in my mind so I wasn’t as articulate as I could have been, presenting facts and figures. I managed to say I didn’t want to vaccinate because I thought vaccines were dangerous, because they didn’t cure the illnesses they were supposed to, so I didn’t really see the point.
The doctor proceeded to tell me how people in Africa get vaccinated, how they come here and are so thankful for vaccination and they and himself cannot understand people who don’t vaccinate.
I said that the improvement in sanitary conditions made possible the eradication of illnesses and how in Africa, well, they don’t even have water “What kind of example is that?” I thought. I don’t live in Africa.
He said how illnesses could be coming back because people don’t vaccinate.
Then, he changed and started talking to my husband about how it is his responsibility to have an informed choice and not leave it to me. After all, it’s his baby too. And it something happened like she could die, he would not forgive himself.
My husband didn’t like the tone the conversation was getting. I could see him started to get annoyed especially when the doctor started saying she was going to die. My husband replied that we didn’t believe she was going to die; we have already been told before that and it didn’t happen. The doctor was getting really annoyed and his level of threat went up: it is a huge responsibility you are taking, you are putting the life of your child into you own hands and you will not forgive yourself if something happened.
At this point, I was too distraught to say much. I replied politely but I was in switch off mode. I was mumbling, yes and no, whatever. Too upset really. I just wanted to get out if there as quickly as possible.
The doctor wanted me to come back and have “another chat” after my husband had done his research on vaccination and not leave it to me, and I was able to put across my points, like responsible parents.
I never went back. To exactly what? I think we had a row over this. I’m not going back to basically be put down and convinced of something I know I don’t want to do. Maybe, a few years previously I would have done it. I would have been innocent enough to believe I could change his viewpoint or, at least, explain my position better, the eternal explaining, explaining myself to people who don’t understand.
It was not going to be a conversation of equals, anyway. I call this abuse of power. I think it is unprofessional to talk to people like this. At any point he gave us facts and figures or scientific evidence. The doctor also tried to instil fear in us, the real fear that our daughter could die and we will be responsible for it. And do we want that kind of responsibility?
“Yes, I do” I thought.
I think we muster to say that precisely as responsible parents we are doing the best for our daughter.
This was the second time since I got pregnant that somebody in the Health System threatened us with the death of our daughter. “She will die if you don’t do this” we were told. A terrible thing to do to anybody really but more so if you are pregnant or after giving birth as you are more open and sensitive.
The threat didn’t work for us. We didn’t give in to fear. I didn’t give in to fear. One of my best moments. Victory. Although I didn’t feel like that at the time. I was crying and, as they say in Ireland, I was in bits, not only because of what they were saying but in the manner that it was said.
I had arguments about this with people and couldn’t really talk to anybody about it because it is so against the norm that people feel threatened by it and it’s basically a waste of my energy.
It’s only now after nearly three years I feel victorious. I feel empowered.
Why I didn’t give in? I knew that fear is a tool for control and manipulation. I knew that I cannot live my live in fear. “Do I choose fear or love?” is one of the questions I ask myself when I need an answer. I knew to do things that feel good and this didn’t feel good, to follow my intuition in spite of what they are telling me:
We, the professionals know better. You don’t know. You are not a doctor.
I’m sorry to differ but
YES, I know.
I’m telling you this story just to add one voice more to the subject. It is a warning to wake up and smell the bacon. To see what happens when you don’t follow the rules and want to live life on your own terms. To ultimately say, it is possible not to vaccinate and have a happy child.
She has had no vaccinations, no medications of any kind and she is hardly ever sick, occasional colds, cuts and bruises. That’s it. She is the healthiest child I know.
Refuse to vaccinate
I would also add: it is necessary to stop vaccination. To ask yourself: what is the real purpose of vaccination if it is not to stop you from getting sick?
Lesson learned? TRUST MY BODY.