Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fear Based Decisions

Every now and then, the media picks something and decides we all need to fear it. A few months ago we were all drying of ebola, remember? This time it's measles. I wonder what will be next?
Let me start this by saying that I am *not* anti vaccine. I am not entirely pro vaccine, but never at any point have I decided to not ever vaccinate my kids, ever. Jon and I have put so much thought, prayer, and research into this topic and we ultimately decided to take an approach we both felt very comfortable with: delay vaccinating until Chase was no longer breastfeeding, and then proceed to do them as we felt comfortable. There are certain vaccines I absolutely will not do (chickenpox, flu, gardasil, among others) and then there were those that I am pretty sure we'd do in time, and some I am on the fence on altogether. We worked with his pediatrician and he felt that given Chase's compromised immune system due to prematurity, this was a very reasonable approach.
Because we were planning to travel, we put some thought into getting Chase an MMR vaccine a little earlier than planned. We considered it for a while and then decided we were pretty comfortable with our original plan to revisit the *idea* of vaccinating him around 18 months or so. As the news continued to report cases of measles which were traced back to exposure at Disneyland, I had doubt fill the back of my mind. Were we making the right choice? I wasn't sure, and I prayed for answers. But none came. It's not the first time I've felt like prayer and study have brought me no answers but in the past when it's happened, it's been met with a feeling and sense of peace that there simply IS not a right or wrong and whatever I decide will work out just fine. This didn't happen, either. I feel like there is a right and wrong path, and the wrong path could very well be extremely detrimental to Chase's health and safety.
I continued to seek answers but none came. We were receiving extreme pressure from family members to vaccinate Chase. A constant slew of calls and texts poured in, most talking about how our decisions were "respected" but the "just love Chase and want what's best for him" and "are concerned." All of which I'm sure came from a place of love. None of which were wanted of received that way and added greatly to our frustration as parents.
I began to question if this unwanted pressure from family WAS my answer. I began to wonder if it was Heavenly Father pushing us in a certain direction. Despite my pleas that the subject be dropped it wasn't and ultimately I did what I swore we'd never do: we let others dictate what we do with our son. Chase received an MMR vaccine months before Jon or I- as his parents- were ready to begin this process with him. Months before we felt his body was ready. Months before his pediatrician had recommended we give it to him. I justified it in my mind: we were open to doing this in a few months, it's no big deal. We planned to do it anyway, what's a few months early? But I knew... we let FEAR and PRESSURE guide our decision making. This time the media won. Mission accomplished.
I knew it the moment Jon text me and told me it was done- this was not us following our "gut." This was us doing what we needed to to please those around us. Chase has spent the last 7 days MISERABLY fussy. I failed him this time. I'm supposed to be his advocate, and I caved.
Despite the fact we were good little sheep and injected our sweet baby with God knows what against our intuition, (because, you know... EVERYTHING the media says is true, true, true!) we are still feeling fearful. Not fearful of measles. No, that's hardly a huge thread to most, but fearful of what the repercussions might be for NOT following our gut, everyone else be damned.
Dear Loved Ones,
We love you, too. We also love our son. We ALSO want what's best for him. We appreciate advice and opinions and ask that you PLEASE, by all means, VOICE THEM! We are open minded individuals, we can handle it. But please, don't voice them eleventy billion times. Because we DO love you, we also hate disappointing you. We hate being failures in your eyes. We hate feeling alienated and judged because we don't always agree. We now you love YOUR kids, though you choose vastly differently than we do, we respect your decisions. We bite our tongues when you make decisions that we feel passionately are wrong, because they're YOUR decisions, not ours. And we know YOU are far more qualified to make decisions regarding YOUR family than we are. Likewise, WE are inspired to parent Chase.
We question if we are where we belong. We wonder now if we can be open and honest. Can we share thoughts and opinions, or does that simple open us up for ridicule even among family? Is this level of closeness healthy for us? These are things we currently do not know. It's not from a place of anger, or resentment that we are pondering these things. We genuinely have to figure out what is going to be best for us. These are the things we are using our "21 day quarantine" to begin figuring out as we at least entertain the idea of what opportunities lie outside of Utah county for our family. Truthfully? The space is probably much needed.

DISCLAIMER: I am *not* anti vax, nor do I discount their role in nearly eliminating certain diseases. You know that group of compromised kids who even medical professionals recommend delaying? My son is one of those. Though my research has fallen parallel, our traditional medicine pediatrician has been 100% on board with delaying vaccines for Chase. In HIS case, it was very, very warranted. 

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