I was in a shopping mall the first time it happened. We were at the food court, I’d ordered a coffee. My friend had ordered a sandwich, she was waiting for it to be ready. I had a stroller, I was rocking my baby girl as I sat and my friend and I chatted. My friend was expecting.
“Holy crap, have you spent a lot of time on these mommy blogs? These idiots post stuff about researching NOT vaccinating our children,” she said.
I paused. I hesitated. I felt my palms get sweaty. I am the first to admit I am not good with conflict. When political conversations arise, I hide behind the disguise of the naive. I fear conflict. It’s not my best trait, but I’m allowed.
When political conversations arise, I hide behind the disguise of the naive. I fear and cringe at the first sign of conflict. It’s not my best trait, but I’m allowed to have it and freely admit it.
“Well, I looked into it. To be honest, I’ve delayed hers,” I replied, motioning towards my rocking baby girl. It was a true statement. I was unclear on what I was going to do because I’d read both sides of the argument and felt it was best to at least delay the shots, if not avoid them altogether.
We had some exchanges which followed which aren’t worth rehashing. But that was the day I learned that the first rule of being around other moms: Don’t talk about Anti-Vaccination unless you’re prepared for the conflict and the backlash.
The sentiment is troubling, but it is true. If you even question vaccines in the mildest way, you are instantly labeled an “anti-vaxxer” and often called a long list of unpleasant names. People look at you sideways and raise their eyebrows, insincuating, “Oh. You’re one of them.” It’s a very uncomfortable situation, especially when other suggest that by not vaccinating you are somehow harming your children!
Why do parents just vaccinate? When a new vaccine comes out, they unquestioningly inject it into their child without even asking simple questions, like, “What side effects should I watch for?” And then, when the unthinkable happens, the doctors deny it was the vaccine and the parents are left holding the bag…
Did I eventually vaccinate my children using an unapproved, alternative schedule? I am not going to tell you.
I am not going to tell you.
But what I will tell you, is the answer isn’t relevant, because I’ve been labeled an anti-vaxxer for even questioning.
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