Don’t Be Stupid Wednesday
Yesterday I re-posted this to my Facebook page. It was in response to an article suggesting that vaccinations were the origins of allergies and responsible for the increase in severe peanut allergies in particular.
I’m not going to pretend to know whether or not this is the case. I’m not a doctor or an immunologist. But, I am a science grad, a mother, and a fairly reasonable person capable of reading through the available information and making decent decisions with the help of our doctor. And if you read my original post on the matter, you’ll know that I have concluded that vaccinating our children is common practice for a reason. It is an absolutely necessary practice in order to keep our children safe and healthy.
Anyway, this post isn’t really about vaccinations. Because I’m not really interested in repeating myself. Rather, I’d like to comment on the extremism that seems to be plaguing the parental population these days.
Parenting is about choices. It’s about being responsible for making decisions for someone else’s life until which point they are able to make good decisions for themselves. It’s about helping these tiny humans in our care learn how to make good decisions for themselves.
And what I have a problem with today is the fact that a lot of parents seem to be so extreme about everything. What ever happened about balance? What ever happened to finding a happy medium between black and white? Why is there no grey anymore?
For example, “natural childbirth”. I am 100% supportive of women allowing their bodies to do what they are built to do. I am supportive of not intervening unless absolutely necessary. I don’t think we need drugs all of the time, but acknowledge some of the time we do. I am supportive of women’s choices to birth at home, with midwives or other trained professionals who can intervene or help in an emergency. But now women are going ahead with unassisted births. Because they have to be “natural”. I understand the desire, but when we know better we do better, right? Why not have someone there who is capable of preventing serious injury or fatality? I hated the doctors trying to convince me to have interventions that I felt at the time I didn’t need, but has the door swung to far the other way? Are we endangering ourselves and our babies by refusing all available help? I don’t know.
In the case of vaccines, I think the decision should be based on what we currently know about diseases. A friend of mine asked if I had vaccinated my kids against the stomach “flu”. In this case, we chose not to, because the worst risk from a stomach virus is dehydration, and seeing as we live in a first world country with reasonably good access to medical care we decided it wasn’t necessary. We felt that in this specific case, catching a stomach virus would help to build a robust immune system down the road. But it was an informed decision after discussion with our doctor. See? Grey area.
In the case of standard vaccines? We’ve ignored the fear mongering and inaccurate correlations between vaccines and things like autism. The science is strong.
I think that in this day and age of the internet, we need to be very, very careful where we get our information. Because people like drama. They like to stir shit up. And when you’re basing your decisions on unreliable sources, you are likely to make unreliable decisions. Know your sources. Find peer reviewed literature. Look for scientific journals, and ask the right questions at your next appointment if the scientific jargon is unclear. A good indicator of the article being sound is that it will have no fillers, no unproven opinions. It will state a hypothesis and outline the evidence either proving or disproving it. It will not be written in a sensationalized way. It will be strict fact.
And I think we owe it to our kids to do better. We owe it to them to teach them to make decisions based on fact, and discussion, not fads and extremist parents.
There is a huge difference between natural living and stupid living.
Don’t be stupid.