As soon as we became pregnant with Rowan, Dusty and I started to discuss all things "baby"…from the nursery to car seats, to strollers, to baby carriers…etc. We wanted to find the very best items for our son. And when I say best I don't mean most expensive…I simply mean we wanted items that had been tried and held true to their five-star reviews. We wanted to know that the products we were buying were the safest and most reliable to keep Rowan healthy, happy, and safe. In all of our talk about products and what swaddle blankets and bottles to buy….one day, it dawned on me that we hadn't talked much about our thoughts and opinions on vaccinations. The topic of "to vaccinate or not to vaccinate" is a pretty hot button topic as of late…I am not writing this blog post to start a fire, I am simply sharing our story.
As a medical student, Dusty had already been through numerous educational offerings on the topic…his classes equipped him with a wide range of facts, data, and evidence-based research articles. I, however, had 101 questions I wanted to ask before we just dove right into vaccinating Rowan. It isn't a bad thing that as parents we want to be cautious, it isn't a bad thing to ask questions, especially when it pertains to the health and well-being of our children. Some of the questions I had about vaccinations included – Why combination shots, isn't that a lot in one vaccine? If other people's kids are vaccinated, why do I need to worry about Rowan not being vaccinated? I also did research about breastfeeding and why that alone wasn't enough to protect Rowan. There was a lot to read, and a lot of "yelling" – I felt like parents (especially moms) couldn't just have a real, true, and kind conversation about vaccinations. So instead of getting caught up in the noise…I made it a point to look to the experts.
Dusty and I like finding the facts, and we trust medical research – and not just "research" but REAL research, medical journal research. Research played a huge part in our decision-making process, we trust the experts and believe whole heartedly that our doctors and medical specialists know best when it comes to the best avenues in fighting disease and sickness. When it comes to "research" it can be hard to sort through the mess that is blogs, articles, and documentaries. The internet has done a good job of giving people a vehicle to share their thoughts on a topic and claim it to be fact. And it likely won't come as a surprise to you that Dusty and I did decide to vaccinate Rowan. Since he's been born we've followed the CDC's recommended schedule and our pediatrician's guidelines. If you find that you are coming up with 101 questions about whether to vaccinate or not (like I had),
I Vaccinate is a great resource that provides information & tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids.
Being a parent is hard. It is likely one of the hardest things I have ever had to do – and felt so ill-equipped to do the minute Rowan was home with us. Once we left the hospital I worried….and worried a lot. It was the fall season, also known as "flu season"…I had already been seeing Facebook posts about friends battling the flu, colds, stomach bugs and the like…and it terrified me. I wanted to wrap Rowan in bubble wrap and never let him go outside. I was fearful about other people holding him. "What if they are sick and don't know it yet and he catches it. He's just so little!" my mind wandered a lot. I look back now and know that it was just my natural instinct to want to protect him – and protect him from everything. That feeling really hasn't gone away as he's gotten a little bit older. But it has changed and morphed into a more "confident concern" in his safety and well-being. And in the process of becoming more confident in my parenting of Rowan, it also meant making the decision to have him vaccinated.
In the end, as parents, all we can do is continue to do our best. Parenting is hard, it is challenging, and it is exhausting. Our little ones need so much of us…day in and day out. And our constant and persistent LOVE is always the very best medicine.
I partnered with I Vaccinate to share my story. This content is sponsored by I Vaccinate, however, all thoughts and opinions on this topic are my own!