I cried when my son got his first vaccinations, as I’m sure many moms do.  I didn’t cry because of the pain inflicted.  Nope.  I cried because I felt like I was giving my son autism.

After watching a passionate Jenny McCarthy make TV appearances urging mothers to call the White House and demand that the Director of the Center for Disease Control get canned, I freaked out.  She and many others believe that there is a correlation between autism and the current vaccination schedule used in the US. 

I remember tossing and turning the whole night after first hearing of the issue.  Whooping cough or autism?  Polio or Aspergers?  Rubella or developmental delays?   My stomach was in an unyielding knot.  I kept wondering what qualified me to make this choice.  Nobody tells you that when you have a child you have to make these kinds of decisions.  I bet abstinence pushers all over the globe would have great success with their campaign if they adopted a slogan like, “Polio or Aspergers?  Have sex.  Have a child.  You decide.”  It would keep my pants on.   

As I always do, I called my mother seeking advice.  She thought it was all “bologna” and believed cases of autism were genetically linked. 

I asked my husband what his thoughts were, “I dunno.  What did your mom say?”   God love him, but he’s hardly insightful. 

I did further research and acclimated myself with what researchers believed to be an acceptable vaccine schedule.  I went to Brody’s next appointment armed with information, yet still confused.  I asked his pediatrician a million and one questions.  She adamantly denied the hypothesized link. 

After asking how many vaccines my son would be receiving and if any could be held off, I was informed that there is a timeline in which certain vaccines must be administered or children miss their opportunity to receive them.  Shit. 

And so it was, my son received four vaccines and I cried hysterically.  I eventually calmed myself down with the notion that nothing was truly conclusive and that perhaps the alternative situation was worse.  Besides, what if Brody wanted to grow up to be in the Peace Corps and travel to third world countries? 

I felt confident in my decision until the next week when I spoke to a friend who chose not to vaccinate her son at all.  My heart sunk and for a moment I let myself believe that I was an awful mother. 

The truth of the matter is, both my friend and I made decisions based on what we ultimately thought was best for our boys, albeit those decisions were different.  Like any mom I want to make my child’s life as perfect as possible.  And at this point, I can only hope that the decision I made was the right one for me, my child, and my family.  

P.S.  Dear God,  Please may Brody not join the Peace Corps or travel to unstable regions of the world?   Thanks, Jen

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