It’s the day and age where the information we find, whether through the use of the internet or by conversing with parents, is difficult to decipher, whether factual or not. With conspiracy theories abounding over mainstream media, there is no wonder that so many people fall into beliefs that are just, quite frankly, absurd! There is so much pseudoscience to back up such theories and hypotheses’ which make all conspiracies not just interesting, but many convincingly believable.
Before I get anyone’s knickers in a bunch, I want to advise you to take what I’m about to say with a big grain of salt. Don’t slander my opinions too much, because they too are evolving and may change over the years of my life. But this I am open to and I am willing to say that, even with my few years of parenting experience, I’ve already altered my perspective on many a thing.
With said that, I encourage you, while reading this article, to ignore your defense mechanisms. Over the past few years of motherhood, I have learned how hard it is to ignore that very honest reaction.
In the beginning, especially as soon as I met someone with a completely opposite point of view or method of raising their children, I would automatically feel the need to defend my own parenting choices. Whether this was reasoning behind the why we chose not to baptize my child or the reasoning as to why I continue to believe that the earth is a sphere, as the years carry on, I welcome other viewpoints, no matter how eccentric or bizarre that they appear to be.
Not only do you get the opportunity to hear what and why people believe the things they believe, but you are offered the chance to get to learn about the individual in ways that you may not have had before. You may get to explore their true belief systems. It’s quite interesting; eye opening, if you will.
For example; my son had a reaction to his first round of vaccinations at two months. Before you gasp out loud, unless you already have, I want to assure you that he is safe. He had experienced the usual acquired fever, along with hives. But our son is incredibly sensitive and has developed multiple food allergies ranging from minor to severe. We now know that we have to take extra precaution when and if we vaccinate.
With the incredible concern both my partner and I have developed from this experience led us into a rabbit-hole of Internet exploration. Sadly, these articles containing government recorded information and personal reflections written about first-hand-experiences brought on an immense anxiety that I had never experienced in my life. Not only had I become concerned with my child’s wellbeing, but I now also worried that he would not even make it to experience being at all!
But, I did not stop there.
This immense fear had led me to the next step: speaking directly to non-vaxers. I was then connected with a very intelligent and caring woman who does not vaccinate her children. This one particular phone conversation brought me the empathy and connection that I wasn’t necessarily searching for. It was a total light-bulb-over-the-head ephiphany moment.
Without disclosing the woman’s name, this wonderful mother had been a pediatric nurse for over a decade when her second child had suddenly experienced an extremely swollen and inflamed leg; the same leg that had received the vaccination. After an evening in the ER, the experience had driven her decision to stop vaccinating her children. Something in the medication did not ‘mesh well’ with her daughter’s chemistry. She had had a bad reaction.
“Bad reactions can occur with any medication, food or substance, which we ingest or touch”, she explained to me. This was the woman which with her story convinced a close family member of mine not to vaccinate her children. This was the woman who studied medicine and further studied the severe reactions that vaccination can cause, considering her daughter’s reaction.
The longer we spoke on the phone, as I grasped the spreadsheet of annual international deaths per decade due to vaccination in my sweating hands, the more my fear abated. The more I realized that no matter what the decision revolved around, whether to vaccinate our children or not, all parents experience these common fears that inevitably come along with decision making regarding your child’s health.
We can research all we want, regarding the issues that we’re concerned about, but we may never know all the answers.
We may speak with hundreds, thousands or perhaps millions of people, but still have difficulty sifting through the truths from lies.
Even when we are faced with scientifically backed evidence, there may be something in your heart that directs you to the opposite side. And that’s ok. That’s you using our Mom Gut; your intuition. But despite what others may try to influence you into believing, you must be open to discussing your concerns more with the people you trust than with internet strangers.
Each and every one of us wants what’s best for our children. We will raise them alongside other children who are taught opposing things. We do not have to be defensive over why we’ve decided what we have, but we can continue to be open towards other’s view points.
Parenthood is a beautiful experience, one that forces us to grow and learn about ourselves than any other. As we teach our children the morals and values that we stand by, we should encourage them to always be curious; to use their intuition. To always be curious and search for the answers that they are looking for.
But most importantly, to understand that if those answers are left unsolved, to never compromise their instinct out of fear or discomfort.
Because no matter what path they take in life, all roads will lead to home.
Words by Julian Jamie