Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In response to crazy vaccine lady at the park

I was walking earlier today with my many, many children to the neighborhood park. I had my baby girl in her pram, sleeping soundly (she sleeps better there, I think, than anywhere else), and three preschoolers roaming ahead of me. I was obviously a good target for the anti-vaccine zealot.

Anyway, I'm wandering along, pushing the baby and watching the three older kids, when I hear someone hollering at me. "Excuse me, excuse me!" I turn around to see a sweet little old lady chasing me down. I pause, and she catches up to me and peers in at Julianna and asks how old she is. I figured she's probably just someone who really likes babies, and smile, tell her that Julie is almost seven weeks old. She looks at me sympathetically and asks softly "How are you?" I'm puzzled a bit, but still thinking that she's just a sweet little lady, maybe she had kids and it was really stressful and difficult. But I'm good - really. So I tell her that. And she tells me that Julie is beautiful (which she totally is - she looks like a sleeping angel), and my other children (because she's assuming that they're all mine) are very nice too. So I nod, nicely, but start edging away from her, because I DO have three little kids that I'm trying to keep track of... and then she pops out with "Have you heard about the vaccines?"

I'm baffled by this - did this little old lady really run up to me just to lecture me about vaccines? But yes, she did. She's been reading studies by a doctor out of NY, and feels honor bound to tell mothers of small children about it, I guess. Apparently, the doctor that she's quoting feels as though we shouldn't be vaccinating our children, that it's "natural" for the body to be getting these diseases and it's wrong to supress them. I was dumbfounded - for a whole bunch of reasons - but mainly I'm thinking to myself that I'm sure it's perfectly natural to get these diseases, but it's also perfectly natural to DIE of them. And thank God I live in a time and a place where I can protect my children from getting them.

For what it's worth - I think that for the most part, people should do whatever they want with their children. If you don't want to vaccinate your children, that's up to you. I'm not going to yell at you about it, and I'm not going to tell you that I think you're crazy for not taking simple steps to prevent your child from contracting a deathly illness. I've done my research, plus, I don't want to brag, but my husband is a certifiable genius and has actually read all of the studies associated with vaccines. We're very comfortable with our decisions to vaccinate our children. I trust my doctor, for a reason, and rely on her advice. I vaccinate my kids. And I'd really rather not have to defend that to crazy little old ladies at the park.


Queen Bee said...

well, you shouldn't have to defend yourself to anyone, especially not complete strangers. in her overzealousness to share what she has learned, she is inadvertently steering people away from her cause. hmmm. this happens in a lot of situations, does it not? lol.

Melissa said...

That's exactly it - I totally respect her right to an opinion, but really felt sort of attacked by the whole thing. I tend to avoid talking about really hot button issues, not just on the blog but in person because I hate arguing - and I didn't argue back with her, but still felt sort taken advantage of. Like she was more indulging herself on her crusade to convince moms that vaccines were bad than trying to honestly have a conversation with me.

Heather said...

Oh man. This kind of thing makes me crazy! This woman, bless her heart, probably has the best of intentions, but really she just needs to mind her own business!

Adam said...

Just briefly:

Any serious scientific enquiry should include an open platform for Dialogue.
The title “In response to crazy vaccine lady at the park” is a good first step in creating a hostile environment for any such dialogue; and is also a fairly sure indication that the writer of this is not open to dialogue.

There are a multitude of issues with vaccinations in general. I have yet to see a scientific paper demonstrating the benefits of vaccinations which is totally independent of the profiteering drug companies or government agencies lobbied by the same.

Yours respectfully,

p.s. ...yes, I think you are all idiots. Deal with it!

Melissa said...

Adam - the reason I called her a "crazy" vaccine lady had more to do with the fact that she came running up to me, a busy mom pushing a carriage and watching three toddlers in a public park, and insisted on telling me her thoughts on vaccinating. At no point did I ask for the conversation, and very politely tried to get out of it several times. She wasn't interested in open debate, and honestly, neither was I. I was trying to make sure my son didn't tear out into the street.

I don't think you're an idiot. I just think you're a guy with maybe a little too much time on your hands.