These last few weeks have been very challenging for me. I have reached the end of my tether on a few occasions and I am not ashamed to admit it. Being a parent is fucking hard no matter how any one wants to sugar coat it. Yes it is the most rewarding job on the planet but nothing worth anything comes easy, and that includes being a mum. I have to admit I hesitated before I decided to write this post. Why ? Not because I want to appear or pretend to be the perfect women, parent, mother with the perfect angel baby but because I was scared of what others were going to think of me. Having a blog means that I have an opportunity to speak my mind about whatever I feel fit but it also means that people all around the world get a glimpse inside my mind and may not always agree with what I am saying.
Parenting has become a huge topic in the blogging world with all these different approaches to raising our kids. People all over the world have opinions and views on the subject, and it has become an excuse to treat our fellow mummies (and daddies) like shit if they do not agree with your point of view. I am a part of a lot of online mum groups, not because I feel like I am fit to tell people what to do with their lives but because I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I look for support from fellow mums who have been there before and I am there to support other mums who need advice or just someone to listen and understand the struggle. But recently I have been finding it hard to find support.
You see, Gabriel has been a nightmare the last couple of weeks. Clingy, crying, not sleeping and it all started after he got his jabs. Ahh are you starting to understand? The oh so controversial 1 year MMR and Meningitis jabs. Now I am not very opinionated on this subject, for me what parents decide to do for their own children is their business, I can understand both arguments, however I seem to be a minority. It has become a HUGE and to be honest, scary topic, where parents seem to go bat shit crazy at one another. I understand it, I really do. As parents our primal instinct is to protect our children but I feel this war between passionate pro and anti vaxxers has gone too far.
I, as you can see, vaccinate. My son has had all of his vaccinations and my partner and I are up to date on all of our vaccinations. That is what we have chosen to do but I am not going to lie that I have had my fears, as any mother would. There are so many stories out there about the pros and cons of vaccinations that as parents you have no fricking clue what to believe. You just make a decision and hope that it is the right one. So when my son started showing signs of destress after his jabs, I looked for some information and support and what I got back was astonishing. I in no way was entering the vaccination debate, I knew better and really didn’t want to go there, all I wanted was some reassurance that his symptoms and behaviour were normal and to have some advice on how to make things better for him and for me, however mention the words child vaccinations and you are immediately dragged into a tug of war of accusations and belittling comments.
I was not supporting the anti-vaxxer cause by asking this question, nor was I pushing a pro-vaxxer opinion, I just wanted to see if any other children were suffering as much as my little one. Weeks of crying, tantrums, high fevers and a massive hard lump on his leg had me worried. I couldn’t continue giving him calpol everyday for 3 weeks. What I didn’t want to hear was how I may have given my son autism because I chose to vaccinate, or be branded a stupid anti-vaxxer blaming the vaccine for my child’s illness and thus being the reason illness such as the measles are reappearing. I was just a concerned mum asking how others had reacted, my question was no different to me asking if your baby suffered with reflux when fed.
What neither camps fails to understand is that the motives for both sides are the same. At the end of the day, all parents are scared of making a wrong decision, of something horrible happening to their child. The pro-vaxxers believe that if every child and person is vaccinated then that would keep potentially fatal diseases at bay whereas anti-vaxxers believe that the side effects from these manmade vaccines are the cause of certain diseases and developmental issues in children. Maybe just maybe, instead of letting our fears and emotions get the best of us, try and understand that we are all in the same boat and we all want the same things and hopefully the next unoffending mum can be spared the crossfire.