Someone I respect immensely recently had a very visceral negative reaction when I posted the attached graphic on my personal Facebook page. She is not yet a mother, but I respect her position and her right to express the following:
"This really, really bothers me. I don't know anything about most of it (my gut reaction is "bull$hit"--but leaving that aside...), but the anti-vaccine rhetoric is downright dangerous. People have *checked* this, and nobody is finding any evidence that vaccines cause autism. As far as I can tell, it all comes from one bad, unscientific article that got published ages ago. In spite of the total lack of scientific evidence for a link of any kind, the hysteria won't die down.
Vaccines are the reason parents aren't living in terror of smallpox and polio, not to mention the bevy of other ones. Vaccines are how forward-thinking parents can protect their kids from the cancer-causing strains of HPV, which *I* think is pretty cool. The very effectiveness of vaccines is the reason that people can get away with *not* getting them--these diseases gain much less of a foothold if nearly everyone in the population is immune to them. But the more kids *don't* get vaccinated, the more danger they and everyone else are in."
The reason I posted the graphic at all is because my son had a frightening neurological reaction to vaccines as an infant. Because of our experience (which many parents share and don't require a *study* to tell them so), I believe that there is a cumulative impact due to all the reasons that are depicted, not vaccines alone, that, for some children, all these things can add up to a serious problem--and unfortunately there's no way to tell who is most likely to be impacted. Hence the graphic.
Unfortunately, our society bombards infants with an unbelievable amount of toxins in their first year alone, and it's absolutely frightening. The problem is the Russian Roulette of not knowing whether your child is the one who will be profoundly changed, and boys are twice as likely as girls to be on the autism spectrum. The problem is that no one knows the cause of autism, ADD/ADHD, a dramatic increase in asthma, as well as devastating allergies to foods, peanuts especially.
We think an aging population is having a frightening impact on our workforce and on our economy? Wait until we see the results of the monumental number of those who are profoundly autistic weighing on our economy, not to mention their families, and the numbers are only growing exponentially.
I raised two daughters successfully and completely conventionally (they are both grown and married now) in a very different world than the one in which I'm raising my son. I've had to learn to parent very differently with this one, and I'm absolutely an advocate of a) getting to know your baby in the first two months of its life with NO toxins on board (I absolutely encourage declining Hep B in the hospital), and b) unfortunately in a rapidly changing society where MORE individualized care is needed, exactly the opposite is happening in our healthcare system--nothing is exactly right for every individual. You have to be your own best advocate and that of your children, and it's essential to find a practitioner who believes that it's an individual choice we're all entitled to make for ourselves and for our children.
My son napped like any other newborn in the first two months of his life; a good 2-3 hours in the morning, and another good long nap in the afternoon. After his two-month round of five different syringes loaded with 8 various vaccines, he became nothing but a cat-napper. Twenty to thirty minutes at a time was our new normal. In addition, he had an episode of tremor that started in his head, and when I gently held his head against me, it moved down into his arm and hand. I was sleep-deprived, wondered if it really happened, and for a long time it didn't happen again. I pretty much forgot about it in my newborn fog, until he received a similar four-month vaccine protocol, after which he had TWO episodes of tremor. Talk about a visceral reaction that frightened me beyond all reason, and left me physically incapable of taking him back for more--ever.
My son's early childhood healthcare was provided by the same pediatrician who had seen both of our daughters through their growing up years; a man I adored. His office had a policy that they wouldn't see any patient that wasn't fully immunized, and so we never went back, which broke my heart at the time. Later, when we were in San Diego, my son saw a neurotherapist to receive neurofeedback to aid with our transition and the ever-increasing problems he was having in school, and whose testing confirmed that my son was vaccine damaged. He has issues that linger, but all told, he's a pretty fantastic kid with a great sense of humor and a wondrous imagination, even if school continues to be challenging for him.
I can't pretend to know how catastrophically he might have been impacted had we continued--had I just accepted that vaccines were part of the drill, and swallowed the instincts that took over every fiber of my being. Had I been a first time mother, I might have been easily bullied and shamed into doing what everybody else does.
I can't pretend to know why my son was adversely impacted by the cumulative effects of the toxins delivered by syringe and environment that none of us can escape completely, while many other children seem to tolerate all of it just fine.
What I do know is that there are far too many children with learning difficulties today. I know that there are far too many children on the autism spectrum, with Asperger's, being drugged for ADD/ADHD to fit into an educational system that was built largely by women and that wasn't tailored to compliment the way boys learn. And I absolutely know that our toxic food system, chock full of all the things enumerated above, absolutely makes their young bodies little more than walking trash cans, and for some, that all adds up to devastating results. And I do believe that those children, like my son, who are a long awaited blessing after years of infertility are very likely among those most susceptible.
While I respect my friend's position and her right to express it, I absolutely stand behind posting this graphic. It perfectly depicts my experience and knowledge founded on twenty-six years of parenting, and if it can give a young mother pause, perhaps even my friend someday, to carefully evaluate what's right for her uniquely beautiful children, to ADVOCATE for them, and to trust her instincts as their mother above the books that some doctor learned from thirty years before her babies were brought into a very different world.
I believe that most doctors are well-meaning individuals, but they are taught about trauma, illness and drugs, not about prevention. Period. And there is a vast and monumentally wealthy machine at work to lead them and you to believe that children NEED a vaccination against chicken pox, for instance, on top of the multitude of others they receive, or that Guillaine Barre' syndrome is a worthwhile risk associated with pushing that untested HPV vaccine on nine-year-old girls. Drugs are fast-tracked through the FDA, and they've leeched more and more insidiously into our food supply because the Food and the Drug Administration has no business being one machine. Food plus Drug is far too powerful and incestuous an industry that is ruining the health of our citizens, and is bullying us and using fear mongering to convince the public to "remain within the confines of the mainstream that's been created by them,"* all for greed. And because of this, we can't trust where our "science" comes from these days, or even know who may be sponsoring it.
There are several books that have been written by MDs and nurses, some of them former pediatricians, and by parents who have had practical experience that has lead them, like me, to question, to follow our gut instincts, and to always ask WHY. These books don't have the money behind them that big food and big drug (aka Big Pharma) have to produce the various "studies" that convince a large percentage of the public to continue to drink the big food and big drug Kool-aid cocktail. And who do you think sponsors much of the medical education our doctors receive? But an ever increasing rate of autism, ADD/ADHD, asthma, allergies (including to peanut, at an equally increasing rate with much higher incidence of severity, including anaphylaxis, etc), Type 1 (which has been linked with the HIB vaccine) and Type 2 diabetes and obesity, or how about arthritis--in children and adults, which is also directly linked with vaccination--any number of auto-immune diseases (I haven't mentioned yet celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance, and other chronic illness) as well as adult conditions like Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases, migraine, depression and mental illness...the list goes on. We have been brainwashed, as we eat box after box of chemical-laden processed food, to tolerate pain and illness and discomfort (but God-forbid we should take a couple weeks off to stay home with a child with chicken pox) and to be so cavalier and unquestioning about taking a pill or a shot full of toxins and chemicals--multiple pills and shots that come with unpleasant to deadly side-effects of their own. We are little more than sheep, and we swallow what they dish out by the fistful.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, "(the no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims) from 1989 to 2010, has paid out almost two billions dollars in compensation to over twenty-five hundred families whose children have been vaccine damaged,"* which isn't something the government comes clean on when they quote the CDC's "studies". But it's something, as a parent, you seek to learn when suddenly you're met with as pressing a reason to ask WHY as the quality of life or death of your child.
So who is a mother to believe?
My child. Myself. My gut instincts as a mother, because NOBODY knows my child or loves my child as much as I do, and because I knew what was normal for my child in his first two months. Maybe it sounds all woo hoo, but I believe to my core that if I hadn't recognized a divine intervention, or if I hadn't listened to God (or the Universe or whomever) when he physically, and all but shouting at me, kept me from taking my son to his six month appointment for more shots, I firmly believe that had we continued, my child could have very well become one of those profoundly disabled children, affected by all the things on the attached graphic. I thank God every day that I listened. Some of us are believers when the Universe speaks to us, or leads us down a certain path, some of us are doubters. I'm just glad I was, and remain, a believer.
My son has had one frightening episode of possible whooping cough. It was when we were in San Diego and it was the first time he ever had to go on antibiotics in his entire life, despite two ear infections before the age of six months. I took us both (I was nursing) completely off dairy, and he's never had another one since. His immune system obviously struggled when we were first in CA and for a short time he seemed to get every little regional virus, but he recovered quickly except for that one episode of possible whooping cough, which the antibiotics took care of very quickly (once I could be convinced to go there by the doctor of Chinese herbal medicine I had taken him to first). Incidentally the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is one of the most controversial components of the DPT cocktail vaccine.
Our improved sanitation from one hundred, from fifty years ago, and our advanced medical capabilities combine to make us far more able to treat those diseases which vaccinations were supposedly created to eliminate, although they were reducing in occurrence prior to wide availability of most vaccines. And I won't even dig into the fact that it is often the vaccinated children who come down with the very illnesses they've been vaccinated against.
I agree with one part of my friend's statement, "these diseases gain much less of a foothold if nearly everyone in the population is immune to them." However I fundamentally disagree with how we achieve that immunity. I believe that we do so by treating our immune systems with care. By incorporating VARIETY in our diets; a rainbow of colorful produce, and avoiding an assault of wheat three times a day every day, by avoiding processed and packaged foods, by avoiding destructive habits and drug use and chemical exposure whenever we are able (Febreze-type products and all those plug-in chemical fragrance producers, as well as laundry and cleaning products, are an example of toxic chemicals we voluntarily assault our immune systems with on a daily basis because commercials tell us we need them, but they contribute to asthma and to migraine in many individuals, etc., me and my son included), by getting regular exercise, by partaking of sunshine and fresh air, laughter and friendship, and by promulgating a spiritual connection in some way, whether it's something you do through spending time in nature or in a church, or through meditation, these are ways that we support our immune systems and leave them better able to cope with and overcome pathogens when they are exposed to them. Because it is only through exposure that we can achieve proven and reliable lifelong immunity. And if we are unhappy with or bitter about something in our lives, then we should seek to change it, because stress and unhappiness has a chemical impact on our bodies and on our immune systems, and forgiveness is just as healing a tonic as is vitamin D absorbed the old fashioned way.
It hasn't been without cost, this choice we've made. It's often far easier in the moment to follow the status quo than it is to fight for your right to be different. I've lost "friends" over this choice, when my son was very little and we were told by a "friend" that we couldn't attend an outdoor activity because my son wasn't vaccinated and a pregnant woman would be in attendance. The same pregnant woman was more at risk to contract German Measles in WalMart by a recently vaccinated child than she ever would have been from my unvaccinated child in wide open spaces. But I'm far more willing to lose friends than I am willing to lose the light inside my child, to lose his future.
When my friend who was so bothered by the graphic I've posted here is a first time mother, I hope she will listen to her mommy gut, and I hope she will do the appropriate research for the time and prepare and do what the Universe screams at her is right for her child. And most of all, I hope she and my daughters become mothers at a time when these issues are of far less concern. I will make it my mission to ensure that whether or not to vaccinate their future children remains their choice to make.
"Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children" Edited by Louise Kuo Habacus, MA, Director, Center for Personal Rights, and Mary Holland, JD, Research Scholar, NYU School of Law (Skyhorse, 2012)
"Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies" Kenneth Brock, MD and Cameron Stauth (Ballantine, 2008)
"How to Raise a Healthy Child...In Spite of Your Doctor" Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD (Ballantine, 1987)
"What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Childhood Vaccinations" Stephanie Cave, MD, FAAFP (Grand Central Life & Style, 2010)
"A Shot in The Dark" (Why the P in DPT May be Hazardous to Your Child's Health) Harris L. Coulter, Barbara Loe Fischer (Avery, 1991)
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