I didn’t vaccinate my kids, but I’m not an anti-vaxxer

Healing yourself, loving the world

Writing this feels a bit vulnerable. But I feel obliged because I have written in the past about using homeopathy, using intuition, and alternative healthcare. I want to be transparent in my thinking and decisions. I don’t intend to shame anyone, but I am asking you to carefully consider your decisions.

Not vaccinating my children was part of my parenting journey and identity

When I first became pregnant, I didn’t question authority and did what I was “told,” leading me to a few medical outcomes that I think were preventable had I had spoken up sooner. Then a series of health issues with my son and my dog had me questioning the overuse of vaccines and their negative impacts on the immune system. I explored other mothers’ stories, stumbled onto alternative health ideas, and discovered homeopathy, which ended up helping me safely manage both acute and chronic conditions for myself and my kids. I also embraced attachment parenting, co-sleeping, not crying it out, not spanking, not punishing, and responsive parenting, things I 100% still feel aligned with, and that science is proving to be accurate with time.

Back to vaccines. To me, vaccines prevent childhood illnesses but come with a hidden cost on the immune system. And I firmly believed that some children have more sensitive systems, and vaccines can tax their systems. At the same time, I had always said that if someone chooses not to vaccinate against childhood illness, that they must have a health provider or health approach that can handle those illnesses. Not vaccinating with no plan if your child gets sick is irresponsible.

My decision to not vaccinate was also informed by the fact that we homeschooled and I worked from home, so if my child became ill, they could recover at home and not expose any other children to the illness. My decision to not vaccinate was also based on the fact that there were no outbreaks of any of the illnesses in my area. If there had been active outbreaks and we were at risk,  my decisions might have been different.

I believed:

  • My intuition mattered and doctors don’t know what’s best for my family.
  • Western birthing practices do subtle harm to mothers and their babies but save lives in emergent births.
  • Vaccines prevent childhood illnesses but come with a hidden cost on the immune system.
  • Some children have more sensitive systems, and vaccines can tax their systems.
  • Homeopathy can effectively address most childhood illnesses if used with guidance and expert knowledge. (If homeopathy doesn’t address the illness, I had available to me allopathic medicine as a back-up.)
  • The vaccine schedule is based on kids going to school and isn’t tailored to my family.
  • The vaccine schedule is too aggressive based on how often kids see doctors and the public health need to get vaccines into kids when they can.
  • That western medicine is designed to treat emergencies and isn’t good at boosting health and natural immunity.

I wanted to protect my kids and questioning the system was part of that. But it wasn’t just questioning the status quo, I was exploring other views of health that have validity. Prayer can affect the outcome. Stress affects health. The body heals itself.

Note what I didn’t believe:

  • I didn’t believe that doctors are evil and out to get me.
  • I didn’t believe that the CDC lies.
  • I didn’t believe that there was an evil “other” that I had to fight.

I do still think money plays too much of a role with pharmaceutical companies, but that feels more nuanced of a discussion than evil and good.

I changed my mind with COVID-19

If you read the above carefully, you can see why getting vaccinated for COVID made sense to me. My children are adults and out and about in the world. If they get or transmit COVID, they can impact others. One series of shots isn’t an overload to the system. Even though I used the homeopathic protocol for COVID for myself, I know that others don’t know about it nor will use it. If I get someone else sick, it’s my responsibility.

I’ve been sad to see friends and colleagues go down many conspiracy rabbit holes. I’m livid at the few people behind the mass of misinformation and am disgusted at the few who are power-hungry and money-driven.

I  believe that most people want to care for their families and feel scared and then fall prey to manipulative social media and fake news.

The sheer insanity of what people are believing reminds me of what Kendi writes about in his anti-racism work:  that people make up theories to justify their behavior.

The impact of trauma

We are born into a traumatized society, no matter our race, gender, or sexual orientation. Obviously, some people are harmed by racism and sexism and LGBTQIA+ discrimination more than others. We each experience personal losses and traumas that impact our view of the world.  In my experience of working with EFT clients since 2006, I believe that a traumatized person does not have a calibrated sense of what’s safe and what’s not; they tend to experience the world as more dangerous.

If you are feeling scared and out of control, the one thing you can do is attend to your personal mental health and personal development. Dealing with your sense of unease and fear is paramount to getting ourselves out of this mess.

You need to examine your thinking, your biases, and your motivations

The current decisions people are facing about the virus are:

  • To vaccinate or not
  • To mask or not
  • To attend events or not

As you make your decisions, I invite you to be willing to examine your thinking and to compassionately acknowledge your concerns. Ask yourself what do you know and what do you not know? How did you get to this decision? What factors are going into your decision? Whose advice are you following? Whose “facts” are you repeating? What are their agenda and motivation? What do you believe (vs knowing???) Are you making your decisions out of a sense of extreme fear or calm caution? How does your decision feel to you? What if you’re wrong? Write out your answers in longhand. Spend 20 minutes exploring your thoughts. Tap if you know how to tap. Here is a PDF with the questions for you to explore: What do I know

We need people making decisions about vaccines based on their personal situation, good information, and social impact.

1,000,000 deaths in the US

I had an intuitive hit last year at the start of COVID that we’d see a million COVID deaths in the US. I just knew it in my bones, and I wanted to be wrong. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be. Maybe we still have a chance to avoid that number …

Articles by Other Authors

Make love, not vaccines, why are new-age hippies so anti-vax

Trauma impacts every decision you make

I Was An ‘Anti-Vaxxer.’ This Year, I Changed My Mind.

I’m A Mom And A Vaccine Researcher. Here’s Why You Should Vaccinate Your Children (written in 2019)

What I say to persuade parents to vaccinate their kids — and what I hold back

 

Photo by Marivi Pazos on Unsplash

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Deborah Donndelinger

Deborah Donndelinger

I'm writing from Maryland, but my heart goes out all over the world. I'm cheering you on as you tackle the hard stuff, embrace the easy, and show up to help others.

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