During the latter part of Finn's hospitalization, when they started asking about vaccinations, I was paralyzed with irrational fear. Fear that had been planted and nurtured by the cloud of paranoia exuded by the anti-vaccination crowd. Fear that my baby, who had done so well, even arriving so early, would be irrevocably and instantly changed due to those shots. He left the hospital with only one (DTaP). Our neo-natalogist was remarkable patient with my lunacy, as was our pediatrician on the outside. Now, almost two years later, I can look back on my stressed-out, anxiety-ridden former self and shake my head with embarrassed wonderment that I could so easily allow my fears to rule me. But it does help me understand how useful a tool fear is, and help me to understand how otherwise reasonable people can turn into jibbering blobs of crazy when fear is applied correctly. Especially with a calm voice, easy-going manner, and credentials.
I bought Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book thinking "Hey, it's by an MD, and he seems to be talking about the science." Also, the Sears' Premature Baby book had been helpful to me in understanding prematurity. I trusted their advice because they made me feel better, not necessarily because I cross-checked and knew their information to be correct. Who does that in the midst of such a life-changing event?
I read the Vaccine Book and took notes. When you are in the midst of a stressful situation, he sounds so reasonable, and I never bothered to question why I was disregarding the recommendations from the CDC. I was a typical doctor's nightmare: a concerned, terrified parent armed with what she thinks are the facts. My own embarrassment over my gullibility is only surpassed by my resentment over the nefarious tactics of the anti-vaccination crowd.
Fortunately, as time wore on, and Finn prospered at home with me, healthy and developing normally, I also began to re-develop normally, back to my skeptical, sane self. The one that had to question myself and the fear that had overtaken me. The one that sought information in the form of facts. I still did not know how damaging the "alternative schedule" is, the one that Dr. Bob offers up at the end of the book. His reasonable tone is so soothing and reassuring. I even loaned the book to an expectant mom, silly fool that I was.
Finn is up-to-date on all his shots, and will continue to be so as we pass two years next month. I am still full of chagrin and my slip into paranoia, and am questioning other assumptions. It's difficult to find out that a lot of the information coming out of the "natural parenting" magazines and websites is not fact-based, but instead is drivel and tripe that sounds nice and crunchy. True, most of it is not harmful, like the "vaccination safety" "green our vaccines" "vaccination skepticism" stuff is, and I continue to not let my baby scream, we still have our co-sleeping moments, we wear him rather than stroller him, and use cloth diapers, because these are things we prefer to do. But I don't buy Mothering Magazine anymore because their motherhood-is-perfection, look how beautiful birth is approach leaves out all of us who didn't have that gorgeous natal experience, and their approach to the vaccination argument is not reasonable or helpful. Which makes me question their other assertions.
(I won't bother to dissect the facts regarding vaccination, as this post does that for Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book, and this blog regularly exposes the lunacy of the anti-vaccination crowd, along with other health woo. Now I just have to go back to former posts of mine and create addenda alluding to my return to reason. It's not going to be fun.)