Wednesday, 22 January 2014

To jab or not to?

I have always been a relatively compliant individual.  I follow the rules. I am generally a law abiding citizen.  OK I occasionally jaywalk; if I drive I might exceed the speed limit. One could never describe me as somebody living on the edge.  I always listened to a doctor’s advice, if unwell and prescribed anti biotics I take the entire course of tablets, even if I don’t think I need to.

When I met Mr. Right, he empowered me to ask questions, think and seek second opinion. This rule abiding girl started to wake up and see that she could break some rules and become an active participant in the decision making process.

This was all fine and dandy until we had children and discussed immunisation.  Did I want to inject my girls with a range of medical cocktails?  Was I prepared to watch my babies howl in pain? Was I prepared to risk the side effects? If I didn’t immunise was I prepared to see the girls get sick and fight an illness I could have prevented? Would they get sick at all? Did they really need to be immunised?

As post World War babies raised in Europe, my parents were never immunised. They’re in their late 70’s soon to be 80’s now. Yes my father experienced a damaging / scaring incident of whooping cough in his 60’s but other than the regular issues relating to age combined with a heart condition both parents are and have been relatively OK.

Despite my general love of drugs during labor and when I am in pain – I do like to consider alternative therapies / treatments. Sometimes I even let nature run its course.  When it comes to my kids – things are a little different.

Like a swinging pendulum I couldn’t decide whether or not to immunise. Mr. Right and I talked it over at length.  We read up on it, we sought opinion, we spoke to specialists. Did we do enough? I don’t know.

For a range of reasons based on advice, research, our own medical histories and experiences, our environment, and the countries we planned to live in or visit, we choose to immunise.   But let me make an important point. I am not pro immunsation.  I am pro-choice.  

There are plenty of reasons out there to immunise and not to. Parents are burdened with making a range of decisions for their child. Immunisation is just one. This is an enormous responsibility.

It scares me that parents can be prosecuted for their decisions, read Mommypotamus’ blog for more information and opinion on the pro's and cons of immunisation.

I have been silently following social media conversations between people I know, and some I don’t on the merits (or not) of immunisation.  This self-confessed immunisation fence sitter has become frightened.

The opinions flowing back and forth like daggers are dangerous. In publishing opinion, have they read enough?  What defines enough? One book, one research paper or ten? Have they talked to the right people? Are they hearing only what they want to hear or learn?   Who are they influencing by publicly expressing their opinion?

What terrifies me the most is the suggestion of bad parenting.   Words escape me when I think of this. The suggestion is WRONG WRONG WRONG!

All parents I know or have recently met want the best for their child.  I can safely say most parents in the world want the best.  Of course the world has it's freaky nasty parents. We read or hear about them and shake our heads in disbelief . But, I am not talking about them.

Call me na├»ve but I suspect that parental decisions (for immunisation) are generally reached and agreed upon based on what is right for that family, person or circumstance.  Public slamming of these decisions can become dangerous.  I worry about the consequences.

Do you?

This blog, albeit late in the day forms part of Lisa Lintern's blog a day challenge. Visit Melodramatic Me for more blogs.

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