Five years ago today is where it all began for me. It’s when I began to truly look beyond myself and think about how my decisions could affect someone else’s life. Five years ago today, I welcomed my first child into this world. What a day it was. If I could go back and live it all over again I would do it in a heartbeat. That day, at exactly 10:01AM I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of love, joy…and then a little bit of fear snuck in. Holding my son for the first time I remember thinking “This is really it. This is really my child. This is my responsibility.” By the next day it was time to make one of my first parenting decisions. Do I vaccinate this brand new, perfectly healthy baby? I had watched the news. I had been on the internet. I knew all the stories about Andrew Wakefield’s study claiming a link between vaccines and autism. After reading all of the websites out there I was scared. I desperately wanted to make the right decision for my child, but I wasn’t sure what to believe. After discussing my concerns with the pediatrician, my husband and I made the right choice and vaccinated our son against Hepatitis B (HepB).
From that point on, I still had my concerns. I had friends encourage me to delay vaccines and “make it easier” on my baby. I wondered if they were right. Are we giving too many too soon? What’s the harm in slowing down a vaccine here or there? Again, I turned to our pediatrician with my questions and she was able to give me scientifically based information as to why I should follow the guidelines for vaccinations as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
As the years went by (all too fast I might add), I became more interested in learning more about vaccines. I wanted to better understand why I was choosing to vaccinate my child beyond just saying “it’s what my doctor told me to do.” I learned a lesson that hit too close to home in 2012 when my then 11-month-old daughter (who was mistakenly unvaccinated) contracted rotavirus and spent 4 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Texas Children’s Hospital due to severe dehydration. Since then I knew vaccines were more than important…they were necessary to keep us and our loved ones safe.
My life has changed in so many ways over the last 5 years. I believe I have grown as a mother, a wife, and a friend. During this time I have also gone from a parent who vaccinated just because my pediatrician recommended it to a passionate vaccine advocate. Take the time to read through some of my other posts to educate yourself about the importance of vaccines and the invaluable medical contributions they have provided to the world since their creation. Happy birthday to my special little guy…and thank you for opening my eyes to the power of my decisions in the lives of others.