Speaking Kindly to an Ignorant World

pensive-baby-64821287877875PlofThis is not a rant.

But it could be.

I am not against vaccines on principle, I only hope to encourage people who care what I have to say to do some research and arm themselves with the facts before they chose when and which vaccines are administered to their child.  I honestly have no problem with parents choosing to vaccinate fully and on schedule, as long as they choose to do that, rather than just bowing to the “sign here” culture prevelent in many doctor’s offices these days (and as I did with my first two children).  I have researched the topic a great deal lately and have expressed my concerns about the potential hazards of the vaccine schedule to infants on multiple forums.

I am not sure which of these forums this complete stranger got my email address from, but she read a comment I made about how I intend to at least delay consenting to the MMR vaccine for my youngest daughter because of its links to autism, and found it so offensive that she sent me a personal email.  In this email, she shared many facts about the dangers measles, mumps, and rubella, along with some images. Thankfully, my email does not show images in emails without my express permission.  I determined not to turn on the images until after I responded, because I suspected they would upset me.

It turns out that was the right choice.

I decided to respond to this stranger right away because I was in a good mood and I wanted to be kind.  I’ll include my response here (complete with typos – oops), in case it would be helpful to anyone who feels accused of crimes (chiefly, not doing our own research and not caring for the well-being of our own or others’ children) not committed:

Dear [Stranger],

I do not know who you are or how you got my email address, but I still appreciate your concern. I have educated myself with many sources, which I hope all parents will do for their own children. A couple of my favorite sources are this blog http://gianelloni.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/why-all-the-measles-outbreaks/#comment-2096 from a family who has done much more research on this subject than I have time to do. There are many links at the bottom of that particular post that site sources, hundreds total once you follow the links, confirming the links to autism the post asserts.

Another book I would recommend to anyone is Dr. Sears’ “The Vaccine Book” which offers a balanced review of every single vaccine on the schedule, pros and cons and options. It’s excellent. It neither persuades to or to not vaccinate, only offers information no one gets on those little we-have-to-give-you-these-before-we-ask-you-to-sign sheets the pediatricians give us five minutes before the shots are administered. I highly recommend giving that book at least a flip-through.

With the allergies my daughter already has, and the strains of autism and Celiac in my family, I felt it would be wise to wait until her immune system was a little more developed to introduce these three dangerous diseases at once into her system.

You may also be interested to know that children vaccinated on schedule often don’t have the immunity for life that children whose parents waited a little longer enjoy. So outbreaks are much more often because of fully vaccinated adults, not unvaccinated children.

I do not wish to persuade anyone to make the choices I am making, only that they inform themselves about the facts, benefits, and risks rather than bowing to the mighty schedule the mainstream swears by by default. I am sad when I hear someone decides not to vaccinate before they’ve really researched it, and I’m sad if someone decides to just-sign-here before they’ve really researched it too.

Again, thank you for your concern, and have a blessed Sunday!

Ashley

…One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I hit “send” and then, out of curiosity, I turned on the images. The photographs of pathetically sick children did not surprise me. This one did, though:

Please, educate yourself and help everyone eradicate these awful diseases.

https://i2.wp.com/www.cornwall.gov.uk/images/autism-spectrum-conditions.jpg

Suddenly doesn’t look so bad does it?

Not so bad?

Portraying the autism spectrum as a rainbow and adding text boxes to it in Word suddenly makes a parent’s battle against stimming, guilt that mistake  made during pregnancy might have caused the child’s disorder, and the effort required to ignore the stares from people trying to guess why a teenager would want to wear ear muffs in public in the summertime not so bad?

I reviewed the email again and realized that this person hadn’t even tried to disprove my well-research claim that the MMR vaccine causes autism in some cases. If I had seen that before I typed my response, Stranger might have gotten a novel-length diatribe asking how she could make such an audacious suggestion.

But, as they say in the South, “You can fix ignorant, but you can’t fix stupid.” I don’t know which category this email falls under, but I don’t feel the need to find out. God loves this woman dearly, and would have been disappointed in me if I had torn her apart over something she clearly didn’t understand.

So, I chose not to be angry.  I am a little sad, though.

What are some strategies that have worked for you as you try to explain things you do to people who don’t understand? Leave your experiences in the comments because I would love some suggestions – especially ones that went well for all involved.

Photo credit goes to Amy Quinn (click link to see him full-sized).  Isn’t he cute!

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