To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate

Yesterday I came across a mother on twitter who said she was not going to follow her pediatricians advice. Hearing her short tweet I couldn't help but to wonder what advice her pediatrician had given her that she deemed unfit to follow. Unable to contain my curiosity I asked her and her response was:

"We don't vaccinate--which is against the "advice" of the practice."

"We don't vaccinate" One of the cornerstone topics of the mommy wars. It's right up there with spanking, circumcision, and breastfeeding. Every parent has their own (usually strong) opinion on each of these topics. Virtual wars have been known to burn for weeks when two parents with different opinions begin to argue over which way is "right"

If this post starts one of those fires, so be it. I encourage everyone from both sides of the fence to feel free to voice their opinion, but with that said, I would first like to voice my own.

My youngest daughter caught whooping cough at only 4 months old. She stopped breathing, was hospitalized, and if it had gotten worse she could have died. All of this most likely due to the fact that someone who came in contact with her was not vaccinated and was a carrier of the disease. (When I say not vaccinated I mean both as a child, as well as the less widely known booster vaccination given to adults)

So you can imagine, as I read this mother's words my heart began to pound as my pulse raced. My first reaction was to cry out WHAT?!!?! Are you INSANE!?!?! YOU are the reason there is still so much disease in this country! You don't vaccinate?!!! You might as well teach your child they don't have to wash their hands after going to the bathroom too! If you have no problem spreading one disease, why not spread them ALL?!!? Do you realize that it is BECAUSE of those of us that choose to vaccinate that some families have to luxury to choose not to. Disease does not run rampant like it used to. Some diseases, such as small pox, have virtually been eliminated in the United States thanks to the enormity of the vaccinations given to each and every child in this country. Vaccinations keep our children safe! So safe that they are a REQUIREMENT before enrolling our children in daycare or school. How could you not vaccinate?!

Thankfully I did NOT let those thoughts come out of my mouth. I realize part of it is overly emotional due to my situation and it also comes off really bad. So instead I let my sensibility sink in first. I took a step back and reminded myself that while I might not AGREE with another mother's choice, it does NOT give me the right to attack her for it. It does not give me the right to force my opinion on her, and it does not give me the right to assume my opinion is any better than hers.

As mothers we all want to do what is BEST for our children. The problem, and the beauty, of that is we don't all agree on what is best. While my first reaction to her words are indeed my true feelings on the subject, I am mature enough to know that it is just that MY FEELINGS. I do not need to...
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