My teeth are the only sharp things that belong near those thighs

I believe in vaccines.

I hate vaccines.

I am grateful that we live in a time and a country where many childhood diseases have been eradicated. Vaccines have saved many, many lives.

I am terrified of autism (and any other possible reaction to childhood vaccines). I know the overwhelming consensus of scientists and research shows there is no connection between vaccines and autism. The parents out there who believe in a connection still scare me.

Today I have to take my girls to a new pediatrician; it is time for E.'s four month old shots. I will have to hold her little legs down and watch her perfect smiling face transform into a red mask of fright and pain. This is at the heart of why I hate vaccines so much. It goes against every fiber of my being to willingly inflict that kind of pain on her, even for a moment, even for "her own good". I think that's one of the reasons why the vaccine/autism debate strikes such fear in me: instinctively, watching my child gets these shots feels WRONG in my evolutionary mama bear CORE. Despite what my head knows to be true, I will forever hate these visits to the doctor's office.

Poor trusting, unsuspecting thighs.

It is one of the first major decisions CG and I have to make as parents. It is one of many, many times that we will have to educate ourselves, weigh the options and then do what we think is best for our girls.

Believing it to be the right decision doesn't make it any easier for this mama bear.


Marie Green said...

I feel very conflicted about it too. Our kids are vaccinated, but STILL.

Also, I just found out the Dr. Sears has a Vaccination Book out that includes a "modified schedule", if you're interested. This may be old news. I'm out of the baby loop a bit!

Anyway, I'm not sure I would trust _my_ sharp teeth near those thighs!

Hillary said...


I hate vaccine appointments. I hate that The Boy is just now getting over his fear of the lovely German nurse who always delivers the shots. I hate constantly second-guessing myself because, you're right, even if I know with my brain it's the right answer, my heart struggles with it.

Grateful Twin Mom said...

You ambivalence resonates for me so much. T1 and T2 have all their vaccinations. Before Kindergarten, they received the last ones. You've never heard such screaming. They really know what it feels like before it happens. The doctor told them they don't need shots again until junior high. Every developmental or learning obstacle that arises between now and then will always lead me back to think about whether or not the vaccines have something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Ask your doctor about EMLA cream -- a topical anesthetic that makes it a pain free process. You have to call in advance for it.

Kate said...

I am so with you. Ugh I hate those appointments SO MUCH. My husband went with me to our son's 18 month appointment and I therefore nominated him to be the one to hold the arms and comfort the head, and I would hold the legs. We both cried.

Not to sound old and cranky, but with all our technological advances, can we seriously not figure out a way to do a pain free shot - we could start with one that only works with chubby thighs and go from there!

Amie said...

I might as well just say ditto to this post. I totally agree with you. I believe in vaccines. Why subject a child to a horrible illness that is preventable? I am scared of vaccines. Can so many mothers be wrong about the link to autism? I hate vaccines because they hurt. Why haven't they figured out a less painful way to give them? Seriously.

Good Enough Mom said...

I hate vaccines, too. They scare me, too. My little tot became lethargic after one of his earlier shots, and it totally freaked me out. I could see why parents link vaccines to behavioral change. That said, my husband is an MD who does research on autism for a living. He is very clear that there is not a link between autism and vaccines, and he also reminds me that the mercury (which was thought to be the culprit) has been removed from vaccines. Even with this knowledge, I still get nervous. We have a doctor whose office is near my husband's work, so hubby can come to the appts and hold down the kids while they get shots, while I FLEE for the bathroom! Incidentally, our nephew has autism, and his mother believes it was caused by the huge quantities of swordfish she ate in pregnancy. It'll be a relief when the autism mystery is solved!

parkingathome said...

I wish someone could teach us how to cope with the appointments better than just blind fear, and rage, and sadness, and heartache...

Existential Waitress said...

It is so refreshing to hear someone articulate these opinions about vaccines b/c I've become accustomed to feeling judged for my decision to vaccinate my children. I too am afraid of vaccines, but I'm more afraid of diseases such a Polio and Whooping Cough. I really don't know what to think about the link with Autism - perhaps some children do have a certain reaction to vaccines - but I do believe that a mother should trust her instincts either way. In my case, my instincts told me to vaccinate.

jos said...

I have mixed feelings too, mostly b/c while I believe that vacs overall do much much more help than harm, there's still risk-- small, but nonetheless still there. I'm not a fan of the multiple shots in a visit... when they're young & their systems are so undeveloped-- it just seems like too much stress on their body. when our son was born we started with the "typical" vac schedule, but it didn't sit right with me. after researching & thinking about it we decided to delay/spread them out so that he only ever has 1 shot at a time & only when he's fully healthy. he's completely up to date now & has been since age 2.

I had a funny (funny-strange) experience w/his MMR shots. we had requested ahead of time to do them as separate shots. our ped was very supportive, as were the nurses-- one nurse even helped me track down a place to find the measles shot, since they were out of it. super helpful. anyways, after the 1st one, mumps, I think, I asked about scheduling the next one & both the nurse & the ped were very adamant about waiting at least a month between shots, "to let his body recover." I almost laughed, I was so surprised. I'd already planned to do so, but their serious, thoughtful (disconcerting) insistence caught me by surprise. all 3 in one day is fine, but if you do them separate you should really wait a month... ?

I think you're absolutely right about weighing the options & making the best choice you can from there. & in that vein I think your "mama bear" instinct is very worth listening to. imo, it's often there to help round out the logical choice/direction that's been made, to help it be a better one. and at least once it's been a life-saver for us, when things seemed "fine" but I just felt like something was off.

artemisia said...

Oh, I hope this day goes better than you are anticipating. Such a tough day for parents!

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