The answer is: Of course I feel fear!
I reject being controlled by fear. I choose to face my fear. I choose to be curious about what I fear. I actively engage with my fear and try to understand it so that I can move past my fear.
I am no stranger to making "different" choices. But believe it or not I was pretty mainstream until young adulthood . I went to college. I got my degree. I got a job and then I got married.
Then I got pregnant. My mom said - "You're not going to try and do the natural thing are you??" Why did she ask me that? I like to think that she knows me better than I know myself! I'm glad she did ask me though, maybe she planted a seed. A very valuable and fertile seed.
I went to the library and I read lots of books. You know what women LOVED giving birth? The people who had natural births! They were excited and felt a lot of joy and empowerment from their births.
Is this ALWAYS the case? Of course not! Some women have natural births and feel traumatized by them. But the overall trend that I observed is this: women who feel empowered by knowledge and supported to make the choices best for them and their babies, feel more satisfied with their births.
My decisions to have natural childbirths, to give birth in a hospital, then a birth center, and finally at home were driven by love of birth - never fear.
Our decision to home school was similarly driven. Was I driven away from school by fear? No! In fact I was a total nerd and loved school. What I found, again, is that the people sharing about Unschooling were passionately in love with their lives! I wanted that. Again, I was motivated by love and felt empowered to make that decision.
When I chose to co-sleep with my children, breastfeed them for years, parent them without punishment, try putting my babies on a potty... all of these things were motivated by love.
What is amazing is that many of these things are looked down upon in our society. Breastfeeding "older" children has been called child abuse. Unschooling? Also child abuse. Parenting without punishment? Irresponsible. Babies on potties? Crazy!
The one choice that was the most difficult for me to make from a place of love and empowerment was the choice about vaccination. I was paralyzed with fear - fear of either choice. There is so much fear surrounding this issue that it is almost impossible to avoid.
Slowly I learned. I learned about the diseases we vaccinate for and how we can protect ourselves from them. I learned about the history of the diseases and the vaccines that have been developed. I learned about laws that have been passed and I learned what happens to families when vaccines harm them.
I learned ways that we can live that proactively promote health. Slowly I became empowered and less fearful.
But Fear still dominates the public discussion. And although I am no longer fearful of not vaccinating, I *am* fearful of being open about that choice.
We must move beyond fear.
It is good to be passionate about things. But passion, fear, and anger are so closely intertwined. When we are passionate, we are convinced of our "rightness". Then we get angry when other people don't understand our passion. Passion often gets the most attention. People either respond with a "Hell yeah!" or a "Get the you-know-what outta here!" It's easy to post controversial things in a "fighting" way and get attention. But will it help us grow and change?
I have noticed over the years how little response I get when I share all of these controversial topics. I believe it's because I always try to share in Love. People don't know what to do with that!
I really want to engage with people about vaccines. I want to engage in a respectful and open way though. We need to bring all of our fears into the light. No more hiding them away, letting them fester and grow. Let's grow together and learn from each other.