So you’ve decided, along with a growing number of other loving and intelligent mothers and fathers, not to vaccinate your child. You’ve done your research, however little or lot you needed to do, to support yourself in feeling confident about your decision. You’ve talked with people whose moral compass you trust. You’ve watched what other parents have done, you’ve observed how healthy unvaccinated children often are, and you have declined vaccination. Now what?
Rest in Humility
We live in a world with disease–physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Vaccinated or unvaccinated, no child is totally physically immune to disease. When we accept this, we are humbled. Humility helps us to stand in a place of surrender, where we are willing to listen to life more closely rather than pretending we know it all.
When we are humbled by the knowing that our child will face sickness of some sort in life, potentially even a life threatening disease, it motivates us to take better care of ourselves, so our bodies are more resilient. This has certainly been the case in our family.
Support Wellness and Resilience In Your Family
Drink more water, eat better foods, love more deeply, live more authentically, enjoy life more. All of these things lead to greater well being. Easier said than done, right? One step at a time is all we can ever do, and makes a big difference. Heading in a healthier, more loving direction is what matters.
Eat good, clean food, including more dark leafy greens, antivirals like bone broth, broccoli and garlic, avocado, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, probiotics like sauerkraut and yogurt, blueberries, healthy proteins, butter, coconut oil, herbal tea, juiced greens.
Move and play so your body feels vibrant and clean. Help it release toxins by moving them out with regular exercise, stretching and rest.
Breastfeed. (The one word I can think of besides “love” that merits its own sentence.) Breastfeeding is truly a superpower, and the most undervalued national resource we have. Children who are breastfed receive temporary immunities passed on by their mother’s milk.Physical wellness alone does not create a resilient immune system. Some people would even say wellness depends more on spiritual and emotional well being than physical health. There’s no one right way, so support your family in whatever ways feel good to you. Feeling good is a big part of wellness.
Honor your child’s emotions. Be attentive to their sadness, anger, confusion, disappointment, fear and joy. Emotions are especially intense for babies and children; they often feel them viscerally. Don’t let them be alone with their “big scary emotions,” as my favorite parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham, founder of Aha! Parenting, often says. Be with them, giving them space if they need it, but close enough to be a loving, accepting, safe presence they can turn to when they need reassurance, comfort, or just to be held. Naming emotions can be extremely helpful to create safety for a child. It may sound simple but I frequently see parents missing the boat on this. “You’re feeling sad,” or “You are angry. I can see that. You want to go to the playground and it is time for a bath.”
Spiritually speaking, one of the most powerful things you can do is nurture your own spirituality. Pray, meditate, hike, do yoga, dance, prioritize spiritually focused friendships, do whatever is authentically you, to honor your spiritual core and help yourself be grounded on a daily basis. Seeing your child in a clear, clean, loving and loved, healthy light even when they are sick, helps create wellness for both of you.
Even when we don’t vaccinate our children, it is very important to be aware of diseases that can affect them. Many parents who do vaccinate believe their children are immune to diseases and that they can rest assured the vaccines will prevent disease; we know this isn’t true. The human immune system is the only entity capable of establishing actual lifetime immunity. So if we aren’t going along with what the pharmaceutical industry and its supporters in government, medicine, and the media are recommending, how are we doing to foster awareness and a competent response if our child does contract one of the diseases claimed to be preventable by vaccination?
Each disease has its own degree of seriousness and could lead to severe illness or death. Parents of non-vaccinated children should do their own research about each serious disease and its corresponding recommended vaccination. Our family created a spreadsheet addressing each disease, its level of seriousness and primary geographic location(s), the corresponding vaccination, its risks, the number of shots, manufacturer, year it was introduced, year it was discontinued (as in the case of recalls), fail rate, and longevity, meaning how long before you need a booster shot.
Why research each disease? Because this is complex and serious topic and we’re better off when we are informed. Have there been any cases of this or that disease in the United States in the past ten, twenty, fifty years? If not, can we be sure the reason for no epidemics is widespread vaccination? Or could it be due to improved hygiene, access to clean water or more breastfed children?
Some diseases are very serious if contracted before a child is six months old (like whooping cough) but thereafter, they can be so mild as to even be unnoticeable. Rubella is dangerous or deadly for fetuses in the first trimester, when contracted by the pregnant mother.
Some diseases are not serious for most people. For example, my husband had measles as a child growing up in Sweden. He was a healthy kid, he got measles, he spent a week sick with two tough days in bed, and he recovered thereby establishing lifelong immunity. When he heard of the Disney measles outbreak, he was puzzled as to why there was such a ferocious reaction, when so many children he grew up with had it, recovered and it was no big deal. This isn’t to say all children would recover well or at all from it; it’s just to show that we are susceptible to fear-based reactiveness when we let the media be our primary information source.
Immunocompromised children react to disease and vaccines in their own way, and many of these children have medical exemptions for vaccination as they enter school. Their immune systems simply can’t tolerate the injections of disease particles and often- toxic preservatives.
To be responsible for our unvaccinated children, we need to be able to recognize the symptoms of these diseases and be prepared to respond to them by having information close at hand, ready to provide devoted care.
Create Healthy Relationships and Boundaries
Connect with aligned friends. This is so important. The company you keep –in person and online –makes a big difference in determining how you manage your decisions and state of mind around the topic of vaccination. It is an extremely charged topic, so choose your company mindfully.
Some of us have close friends who’ve chosen not to vaccinate their children (and at age three, eight, or twenty-four, those children are usually very healthy). If that’s you, those friendships are a safe place for you to turn for conversation, questions and research. If you don’t have any friends who align with your questioning or decisions, reach out and find some. There are Facebook support groups; depending on which state you live in, there may be a group formed to provide insight and support for you.
Whether you use phone conference calls or Skype, Facebook, email or in-person conversations, it can be helpful to create a private conversation group to explore and ask questions. Talking with friends whose children are older and unvaccinated can help you feel less defensive, because they’re unlikely to lobby you to vaccinate your child or call you selfish if you don’t. They’ve had years to reflect on the issue, years of social exposure for their children to potentially contract disease, years of insight to share.
The most challenging dynamic I have faced while engaging in the vaccination debate is around where and how to communicate. Even as a devoted lifelong student of communication in relationships, if this isn’t the toughest part of being in relationship, I don’t know what is!
Aiming to initiate respectful dialogue around the topic on Facebook, I’ve idealistically posted on my own wall three times in the past three months, realizing, (Ta-da!) that is not an effective venue for meaningful conversation around charged issues. I do understand why people who trust different science than I do, or simply trust what the media promotes, can feel like my choice not to vaccinate my child puts theirs in danger. I genuinely can see their perspective. But I have found that they’re usually not willing to see mine. Either because they want to believe industry and government have clean motives around this, or because they think I am like climate change deniers who refuse to accept science, they are often ready to attack with blame, insults, and the like. I have finally accepted that it is my responsibility as a passionate, informed and devoted mother, to not expose myself to aggressively divisive dynamics. It just doesn’t feel good. And my daughter picks up on the tension I feel while engaging (because children are brilliant!), and it affects my patience level in dealing with her challenging moments.
Let’s remember, as we courageously stand in our own observations, experience and knowing, that it is our job to take care of our own energetic vibration, our own state of mind, and that this is as important as anything else.
From my heart to the heart of all future parents, or to parents questioning vaccination for their children now…
Recently in California, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke about state legislation proposed to make childhood vaccination mandatory for all children except those with a medical exemption (SB277). He was eloquent about things I have searched for words to say. His words apply for all Americans, not just Californians. He said,
“All of the barriers that are meant to protect our children, -the government, the lawyers, the regulatory agency and the press, the checks and balances in our democratic system that are supposed to stand between corporate power and our little children –have been removed, and there’s only one barrier left, and that’s the parents…”
“This [the forced vaccination movement] is a movement that is anti-mother and anti-woman,” he said. I could not agree more; I have felt this so fiercely and clearly ever since I dove into this conversation. Thousands of children have entered the doctor’s office healthy, received vaccinations and then within hours or days or weeks, suffered severe reactions, sometimes paralyzing them, sometimes leading to death. Can we imagine the agony their parents faced, going into the doctor’s office expecting to be protected, but instead, this? And then when they seek legal support to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable for their child’s injury or death, they find there is a whole separate court system to handle these issues, and that the fees paid out, if there are any, are generated by a tax on vaccinations, and not paid by the manufacturers responsible? How dare we deny these parents the care and acknowledgment they deserve? If parents’ voices were honored, forced vaccination would be seen as the horrific proposition it is.
If you are a mother or father who has declined vaccination for your child or is considering it, hold strong in your own knowing. Follow what you sense, feel, or know, whether or not you have scientific credentials behind your name. You do not need to be an immunologist or lab researcher to know what you know. Your voice is as valid as anyone’s. And it is your responsibility to listen to and trust what you know, when it comes to your own child. You have a human right to question medical interventions that affect your child, and to fiercely stand in your own knowing, even when you’re in the minority and most people have been convinced by the industry-fed media.
Your instincts are ancient and you have substantial information to support your questioning, and declining, should you choose that path.
May ALL children thrive.
Author: Eva Young
Eva Young is the proud and very fortunate mother of an exceptionally healthy toddler. She gave birth in her bedroom, breastfed with a low milk supply receiving donations from generous mamas with an oversupply. She is a leadership coach, a writer and big fan of Sesame Street. Her lifelong art is personal written correspondence. Eva Young is the Founder of Leaning into Light, a hub for human fulfillment. She lives in Sonoma County, California.