Mom Secrets: These Two Unvaccinated Kids Are A Bundle Of Health, Happiness and Love!
Health and happiness. The two things everyone wants for themselves and those they love. I have two children, I am a single (but supported) mama, and I am in endless pursuit of our greatest lives on this amazing planet.
My daughter, 3, and my son, 1, are still very young and we do most things as a unit, with extended family, neighbors, and local community.
Before I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a wealth of experience and knowledge about health practices (detoxes/cleanses, herbal medicines, acupuncture, naturopathic philosophies, etc.) So I have continued on this journey while mitigating some very interesting social dynamics, including the expectation that people and children are vaccinated. Before I was more confident, while pregnant with my daughter, I had decided against vaccinating her but was told I needed to take the Dtap vaccine so with significant internal but no external objections, I received it.
Immediately afterward my heart raced for the next 24 hours which I inquired about and was told was unrelated to the vaccine. Additionally, while at the mall the next day, I went completely blind for 24 hours. When I reported this symptom and requested it be reported as a side effect of the Dtap vaccine (as I was on no other medications), I was again told this was unrelated to the vaccine and to wait another 24 hours. My sight came back and my resolve immediately strengthened: health and happiness.
Fast forward to today: I had two hospital births and have two happy, healthy, and growing toddlers. Many of the negative experiences I was afraid of, including extreme pressure to vaccinate, did not in fact happen. While quizzical as to my choices, the pediatricians and nurses who I simply declined when offered vaccines for my children did not apply further pressure. I explained that I did not have enough specific information about my children’s risk to warrant use of any pharmaceutical preventative treatments.
I explained also that part of our more alternative lifestyle excludes things like childcare, going on cruise (or similar) vacations, and going to major attractions like Disneyland that may be very crowded. I do not get the impression that this logic was well-received, but it was not contradicted because no information can be provided about risk factors for vaccine treated disease based on location or lifestyle.
Both of my children are healthy and happy, which is something I am actively grateful for every minute of every day. My daughter is extremely vibrant, curious, quick, talented, connected to community, and highly expressive. She rides horses, gardens, climbs every possible rock and tree. She makes friends quickly by always having something to offer – some strawberries, a bracelet, or a helping hand. My son is 1. He is an observer, patient, naturally content, always smiling or sleeping. He learns by quietly practicing on his own. He is incredibly internal, but he also likes to express himself by singing and with musical instruments/percussion. He is still very young, so his personality emerges more and more every day. He is responsive, very eager to please, and sensitive to the feelings of others (especially his sister).
Both of my children will be homeschooled but are currently too young so we are involved in community art classes, volunteering at children’s programs and a farm, parent co-ops, sports, and regular adventures. We are able to navigate without vaccines because of a combination of creativity in terms of activities, and family help with childcare when necessary, though I am a stay-at-home as well. My daughter has had two colds in three and a half years, none with fever and both easily treated with home remedies (elderberry syrup, zinc, fresh local oranges/juice, raw local honey, and homemade bone broth) and my son had one cold which responded to steaming, increased breast feeding, and a lot of extra sleep. Both of their colds lasted 1-3 days. I consider us very blessed for our health and resources, including simple things like the ability to sleep/rest more, to treat infections if they occur.
For our family, health starts in the mind, and health of the mind starts with living as naturally as possible in terms of circadian rhythms, seasonal awareness (e.g. growing and eating foods appropriate for each season), and community involvement (e.g. elder care, co-op gardening). Vaccination the way it is made and administered does not fit anywhere in our paradigm. I suppose it is important here that I make a distinction. The label “antivaxxer” is slapped onto anyone who does not vaccinate themselves and their dependents. But a more accurate label personally would be “nonvaxxer,” as I am not in opposition to anyone being vaccinated.
I am taking a more firm stance by narrating our story because somehow vaccines and vaccination status have become political issues – even more rapidly this past year than ever before and people need to know that 1) we are all committed to our own and each other’s health and happiness, 2) there is room for different responses, and 3) different responses and choices does not mean diametrically opposed.
From the nonvaxxer perspective, a lot of social and public opportunities are quickly disappearing, so for a very practical reason, we need to stand in community rather than be isolated or peer pressured into choices that do not work in our lives. Anytime I have spoken to another parent about vaccines, no matter what choices they made for their families, I have never once been in a debate or been challenged to change my decision. Nor have I challenged anyone else because we all want the same things: health and happiness. Regardless of what is portrayed in the media, we are not divided in our commitments to ourselves and our children. So as a final message, I would like to offer this story of my path that is mostly alternative but crosses with more mainstream avenues like having hospital births.
I would like to offer this story so people know they are not alone, so they are empowered to say “no” firmly, respect each other, and confidently and consciously recommit to the two things we all need to thrive. Cheers to health and happiness, yours, mine, and ours.