Friday, February 5, 2010

Letters of Intent: Dear Playgroup Mommies

Dear Mommies in my daughter's playgroup:

It's bad enough that we moms have to decide between cloth or disposable diapers, private education or public, to circumcise or not. Those "life or death" decisions seem like child's play when it comes to deciding between vaccinating or not vaccinating our children.

I know where I stand on this issue. However, where I stand is not important. Where I stand is good for me and good for my children and has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with anyone else. So I'm not going to tell you to either get or skip vaccinations for your child, and you're not going to do that to me either, mmkay?

What is driving me crazy, though, is to turn on the news and find out that the vaccine/autism link has been determined to be false. For nearly a dozen years, parents have been faced with the choice of either exposing their unvaccinated children to lethal diseases, or giving their children a dose of Russian Roulette in the form of an eager doctor with a syringe. Now, after all this time, are we supposed to just accept the excuse, "Whoops! Our bad! Sorry folks!!"?

But really, I can't blame the researchers. It is their job to come up with a hypothesis and try to prove or disprove that hypothesis. I don't know if Dr. Wakefield's research had enough teeth to support his claims, but the Lancet (the British medical journal that published his report on the autism/vaccine link) is a well-respected publication and apparently THEY thought his theory was valid.

Who is to blame? The media? Yes, I would put quite a bit of the responsiblilty on the media. So many media outlets put a higher value on the right to be able to speak freely that they don't consider what it is they are saying. Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should.
But, bottom line, I put the responsibility on us. It is our job to make the hard choices: watch the t.v. or don't. Give credibility to the news report or ignore it. Trust this doctor or get a second opinion. Act out of fear or act from an informed conscience.

So, mommies, please remember that when you advise another mommy to think the same way you are thinking, another child's life may be at stake. I'm not talking about giving advice on what age to take away the pacifier or where to buy the best crib sheets. I'm talking about our children's heath. It's okay to be tight-lipped when the conversation turns to hot button issues that get every mommy (including this one) hot under the collar.

Your opinion is important. And valid. And needs to be heard... by YOUR family. Not every other mom within a 20 foot radius. It's our job to discern what we hear, but when you look down your nose at those of us who make decisions contrary to yours, it isn't at all helpful. As a matter of fact, it feels a lot like being bullied on the playground.

Being a mom is hard enough without feeling like we're being judged and criticized by other moms. So, be supportive! Be helpful! Encourage us! And if you can't, then just SHUT UP!!!!


Texan Mama

Letters of Intent is a cool, fun Friday feature over at Foursons. C'Mon, join the fun!


Jennifer said...

Agreed. 100%. And I hate when they use the excuse, "but I'm just concerned about your children." Duly noted. Keep your concern to yourself.

Sturgmom said...

Great points! I think it's good to have conversations with other moms regarding the "hot topics" but I agree that any info one recieves from a well-meaning yet non-expert source should be double-checked, double-questioned, and taken with a grain of salt. And no judgies!

Foursons said...

You are absolutely right on this one. No one can be harder on a mom than we already are on ourselves. And as the mother of a child on the autism spectrum I have LOTS of opinions on this topic.

Thanks for linking up, I think your letter is invaluable to all moms!

Emily said...

I'm with you. I don't mind listening to other people's opinions and choices (in fact, I like to!) but not when I feel like they are judging mine!

Bridgett said...

You're right. There's one time a mom asked me about this, point blank, because she'd found a doctor she loved but who didn't believe in vaccinating children. She was a pharmacist and thought it was a good idea but then was unsure. I said: "Ask him for his research to back him up." As it turned out, it was simply some sort of flaky hunch (you can see where I stand on the topic). she found a new doctor who could talk intelligently on the topic.

Kristen said...

I know its been said before, but its worth saying again.
We, as Momma's, should BUILD EACH OTHER UP! Not tear each other down. We all have the common goal of wanting the best there is for our children.

So, Yes. Share opinions, but dont criticize, dont be hateful. It defeats the purpose.