Finding your Voice as a Vaccinating Parent

megaphoneWhen asked whether or not you vaccinate your children – and why – what specifically do you say? I asked several of my “mom” friends this very question over the weekend, and I realized, although many of their answers were different, there was one common thread between them.

For parents of young children, choosing whether or not to vaccinate is a choice just like breastfeeding versus formula, or cloth diapers versus disposable. I have researched the pros and cons of most every decision I have made for my daughter, and I have found that there are very strong opinions on both sides of most any issue. Just visit a message board (for example) comparing working mothers to stay-at-home moms. The working moms feel very strongly about their decision to return to the office, and the stay-at-home moms are equally as vocal on the opposite end of the spectrum. When it comes to vaccinations, we as mothers must find our voices and take a stance in our beliefs.

So, the question posed to my mom friends was: “why did you choose to vaccinate your child?” Some of their responses are as follows:
“Because my son’s pediatrician recommended it, and I trust her medical background. She must know what’s best for my child.”
“Because I have heard that diseases like whooping cough and measles are making a comeback. My daughter is exposed to a lot of kids during the week, and you just don’t know who has gotten their shots. I refuse to let her walk around unprotected.”
“Because, although my kids are older and healthy, we know plenty of families with babies. We vaccinate to protect ourselves and those that haven’t had their shots yet.”

Even though each mom had a different approach to their answer, their sentiments were all the same. They wanted to protect their children, and keep them safe and healthy. That is probably something we all strive for, but how often do we speak about vaccinations in our circle of friends, or moms groups?

So many families have sadly been affected by vaccine-preventable diseases. (Read some of their stories here) I believe it is our duty, as mothers, to use our VOICES and advocate immunization, so that no child has to suffer from a disease that is easily preventable. Just simply knowing the facts and learning how to dispell myths using trusted resources may change someone’s mind and save a family from heartache. That – in itself – is worth it to me.

Visit the Resources page of Immunizeusa.org to educate yourself, and put your “voice” to work!

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