This should be short and sweet. I have started to share other people's thoughts, experiences, and stories on FB regarding vaccines. In particular I am sharing people who write about their lives after vaccine injury.
Basically it has gotten to the point where I just feel I CANNOT be silent anymore. It feels wrong. It feels like I am being a coward. If feels like I am leaving people out in the cold, all alone: Good people. Brave people. Suffering people. People like me and you. Fathers who had the same hopes for their children that all daddies do; dreams that are wrenched from their hands, outstretched towards a future that will never come to pass. Mothers who now dedicate their lives to children who will never grow up healthy and independent, and STILL somehow find time to share what they are going through... because they want to help others.
I started really thinking about vaccines when Gerry was born. He is 7 years old now. I have read a LOT on the issue. I've bought books. I've read way too many comment threads that have left me feeling sick to my stomach. For many people this is not "enough". "Google university" will not ever compare to an MD; believe me I'm well aware of that fact. I don't claim to be an expert and I don't think I have the answer on this controversial issue.
But I have been paying attention to the debate. Rarely a day goes by without me dedicating some time to thinking or reading about it. I've seen the legislation being passed in California and other states. I've followed the VAXXED documentary touring the country, and watched it (and others). This is an issue that is not going to just "go away."
I don't expect to change anyone's mind on this topic. People who believe in vaccines feel very strongly and people who don't believe in them are just as set in their beliefs. But I do believe we need to add a whole lot of compassion to the discussion. I will NEVER understand how people who are for vaccines for everyone, no matter what the situation, can explain away the hundreds of thousands of people sharing their stories of vaccine injury. Do they think ALL of these people are lying? Or do they believe, maybe they aren't "lying" but just misguided - looking for a reason to explain whatever ails their loved one? Perhaps the most common rationalization is that these reactions are so "rare" that it shouldn't really be part of the conversation.
Call me naive, but I do believe that the large majority of these stories are true. And there are so many of them with so many commonalities. No matter how many times people say "But, Science!" or "Correlation doesn't equal Causation" it doesn't sit right with me. There are too many people suffering. Too many babies dying or regressing within a short period after receiving vaccines. I don't believe in coincidences that happen over and over. Science needs to catch up with these real lives and real people, not just keep insisting that "anecdotes" are not scientific proof.
We all want the best for our families, children, and loved ones. We all want to lead happy, healthy lives. We don't agree on what the best way to achieve that is. Please if you think that parents who question vaccines are stupid, irresponsible, deserve to be in jail, have their children taken away, or to die a terrible death - stop and reconsider. Think about the following:
I do not wish to debate about the worth of vaccines. I think the topic is very complicated - it is NOT black and white. If it were simple and so obviously beneficial to EVERYONE this "debate" would have died long ago. I only wish to be brave. To let people who are FAR BRAVER than I am know: I stand with you. I want people to learn to question their own thoughts (I question mine every day!) and to listen to others with love.
I can hardly believe that these desires of mine are controversial, but they are. I am one of "those" people. I question vaccines. If you know me, I think you know what kind of person I am. I think you know that I am not stupid or ignorant. I hope you will still want to continue your relationship with me, whatever it may be - friend, family, loved one. I bet there are more of "me" in your life than you know. Because most of us make our choices and then go about our lives trying not to rock the boat. I've decided I can't be silent anymore and it is my fervent hope that it will not cause me to lose people in my life, but if I do I am prepared for that. Please consider your words because you never know who may believe differently than you and have a different experience than you. Love thy neighbor. It's that simple and that difficult.
I want to change the world, instead I sleep.
I had an "aha" moment today. And like most epiphanies it felt profound, even though at face value it was about as "Duh" with a capital "D" as you can get.
I realized - I can't do everything I want to.
I know. Deep.
It sounds a bit negative too, but ever since I had that thought I actually feel quite light. Free.
Let me explain a bit more. I've known for a long time that I can't "have it all" and I've never really wanted or expected that. I knew that every choice had trade-offs. Choose to stay home with my kiddos - no high powered career path. Choose shrimp scampi - no steak and potatoes. Choose another baby - put some things on hold again - like learning guitar or becoming a doula. You get the idea.
But still, we humans take a long time to learn some lessons. And many lessons we must learn over and over again. This year I had to reset my speedometer back to almost zero after Carter was born. And I did it quite easily and joyfully. But as the months have slipped by, expectations started creeping back into my brain.
Last year when I was pregnant I was able to take really good care of myself. I did start learning to play guitar (well, I started that before I was pregnant, but continued right up until I was about 5-6 months along); I continued yoga; I took naps; I ate well. As I expected it is harder to take care of myself this year with a newborn. But I know that it is important to make time to do things that are good for me, so I'm working on it. (Move, make music, and WRITE are my top 3.)
But of course I have chosen to home-school my 3 amazing kids - so that must take top priority most days. And while unschooling gives us a lot of freedom, it is still a full time commitment to be available to my kids and support them to the best of my abilities.
Then there are the less important, but still necessary, tasks - you know, like laundry. And Marisol wants to be vegetarian now, so we need to kick things up a notch in the kitchen. Every few days I like to bathe; and, cutting my nails a couple times a month takes a few minutes. I wash diapers every other day and clean the kitchen most mornings. And why are the kids hungry so often? (Ok, so keeping us fed is kinda important, but also so... daily and mundane!)
On a grander scale, I want to create a community that supports me and my family. And I want to help others. I want to re-imagine the world so that injustice and hate no longer have such prominent spots on the nightly news. I want to be a role model for my kids and show them how to help others and how they can help make the world a better place. These things are... noble, but, when I dwell on them too much and feel like I'm making little progress they can start to bring me down too.
And I haven't even mentioned yet how every week I call and text and email our peeps, to make sure we see friends on a regular basis. Trying to find time in schedules packed too tight with soccer and gymnastics, drama class and piano is no simple task!
And afternoon nap still is quite high on my priority list. I've grown to like being well rested.
I want to do all these things - great and small - but I often struggle to even keep us all fed and even-tempered on a daily basis. And so, I finally realized: I can't do it all. It's not possible. Not in one day. Probably not in a week or a month. Over a lifetime... maybe.
I've been feeling better on the days where I have a couple of small goals. For instance, one day I focus on laundry, the next on playing with friends, and the next on cooking. I've decided that the best time for me to write is a few minutes before bed. And I did some stretches and exercises with Marisol yesterday.
Maybe you will feel some relief with this thought too:
I can't do it all, but I can do something!
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.