Choices, Choices

by Dawn Allcot

Parents-to-be face many important decisions. Breast-feed or bottle feed? Cloth diapers or disposable? To go back to work after the baby is born, or not? To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?

For me, many of these answers were easy. Breast-feeding, disposable diapers, and continuing to work-at-home as a freelance writer after a short maternity leave.

Before greener readers condemn me for my diaper choice, let me point out that I do not have a washer-dryer in my home. My husband is lucky when he has clean socks.

The true sticking point for me was the “great vaccination debate.? Much to-do was made over news headlines and studies discovering a link between autism and the mercury found in some vaccines. Later studies debunked these findings, but the buzz continued.

Then the premiere episode of ABC courtroom drama Eli Stone brought it back to the forefront with a compelling, albeit fictional, storyline.

I’m not one to make a decision based on prime time television viewing, so I delved further into the evidence. I turned up enough long-standing studies from what I believed to be reliable sources to convince me that vaccinations are safe—at least in terms of vaccinations not causing autism.

Many parents eschew vaccinations for a variety of other reasons, including religion, a belief in 100 percent natural living with no chemicals or medications, or fear of other side effects related to vaccinations. Some parents believe the human body’s immune system grows stronger without intervention, and don’t wish to cause undue trauma and pain for the child by putting them through a series of shots. Parents who make this choice, whatever the reason, believe they are doing the right thing for their children.

In many states, parents can get a medical, religious or philosophical exemption from vaccinations, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy path to follow. Parents who don’t vaccinate their children should be prepared to face legal and social consequences.

Some parents who won’t let their children play with unvaccinated children. In some states, parents may face charges of neglect. Of course, there is always the risk your child will contract these childhood diseases, facing discomfort, pain and possibly dangerous symptoms and long-term side effects.

The decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate your child is highly personal; what is right for one parent is wrong for another.

Should you choose to vaccinate, speak with your physician and also research potential side effects and reactions so you can make an educated decision. Insist on getting a full list of ingredients in any vaccination. Knowledge is the key to making the right choice for your child.

I should add that Julie Fletcher, chief blogger here at FR, wrote an article for the upcoming March/April issue of theWAHMmagazine, which further explores the vaccination debate, points to evidence that there is no proven link between autism and vaccines, and talks about food-related causes of autism. This Web-only, interactive publication hits cyberspace March 5, so be sure to check it out.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, March 1st, 2008 at 3:19 pm and is filed under Uncategorized, Concerns and Expectations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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