I am about to make a very controversial public confession and I don't really care for any feedback. I know that sounds pretty harsh considering I'm the one putting this out there in a public way. However, this is a very personal choice, and one every parent makes for their own children. The reason I am addressing it now is because I want to be clear that this is in fact a choice. You as a parent have a choice.
We are choosing for now not to immunize Eleanor. I just threw up in my mouth a little as I typed that for fear that every reader just turned their snotty nose up at me. And those who didn't, just shuttered in their chairs in disgust that I would even discuss this. Discussing vaccinations is as politically-incorrect as discussing...well, politics. Or religion. But if you know me, I quite enjoy discussing religion (or, faith, that is), so I'm going to swallow hard and move forward. Today we're discussing this.
It comes up today because I feel extremely bullied by my pediatrician about our choice not to vaccinate. And I fear that their predispositions are clouding judgement when it comes to treating Eleanor. I can't count how many times today I heard "because she isn't vaccinated..." and I am concerned they may overlook symptoms and jump to conclusions because they are being short sighted.
Today's experience has led me to the decision to switch doctors. I believe we are going to seek out an alternative medicine pediatrician or even a family doctor whose sole intent is not to have every patient in the office immunized. That may seem like a harsh statement, but unfortunately it could possibly be very true.
In the article linked above, popular tactics used by pediatricians to force vaccine schedules include fear and condescension. I believe we face both of those each time we enter our current pediatrician's office. So today's rant isn't really about our choice to not vaccinate, so much as it is about our right to the choice. And I suppose our pediatrician has a right to her opinions as well, but when it distracts from proper and sensical treatment I have to be weary.
I am terribly upset by the way we were treated today. Not outwardly rude, but passive aggressive. And I really did feel that I was talked down to and my questions were not heard because of the deafening roar of pharmaceutical companies pushing a one-size-fits-all program. I am and always have been open to the advise and expertise from our doctors but when I am made to feel inferior because of my beliefs or choices it is hard to view information unbiased. I wish that a conversation could be had that would open up the floor to both of our points of view and still leave us mutually respecting and agreeing to disagree. But as is the case, it is their practice and their choice. And thus it is our choice to leave. I suppose I shouldn't be so put-out except we specifically had this conversation before Eleanor was born and were reassured that our choices would be respected by this office. And while I can't say they have ever outwardly proclaimed that our choices are irresponsible, that is how they have made me feel. And I certainly don't need anyone other than myself making me feel like a bad mom (as evidenced by Wednesday's post.)
Raising a child and making choices for their life is a tough job. The decisions we make our infinite. What diaper cream to use? What school to send them to? Do we let them cry it out? Should we spank? So many days I find myself looking into Eleanor's eyes and shaking my head, saying "I don't know baby, I just don't know." Parenting is scary and difficult. And making these choices is part of that. Having guidance given by caring individuals is helpful, but being made to feel inferior is not. Ultimately I have to make the choice that is best for my family and right now that choice is to surround myself with supportive individuals. Not "yes" men, but people who will respectfully discuss not just the facts but the emotions and common sense and all the other factors involved in decision making. As a parent I encourage you to find these types of people to surround yourself with as well. I am hoping it will make this parenting job just a little less stressful.