Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Autism Mom: Why Vaccines Are a Tough Topic For Me

I hate conflict, I hate it so much. I'm a lover, not a fighter:)

When I got married my super-hot/outspoken/confrontational husband informed me that I will do just anything to NOT confront a problem and that I needed to stand up for my beliefs.  In fact, the thought of someone disagreeing with me literally causes me physical anxiety.  So, with that said, I am about to put my big girl panties on and touch on something extremely controversial.  It's a topic that promotes polarizing views and unfortunately a lot of name calling.  It's a topic that, for me, stirs up much, deep seeded emotion.  I want to talk about VACCINES...

Why? Well, as I scroll through social media and hear conversations I am prompted to share our story. Am I offended when I am referred to as "selfish"  "dumb" "retarded" or "stupid" because I am one of those families who struggle with vaccinating? Maybe a little but I get it, I get why you feel so passionate, and I still love you.  I want nothing more than all diseases to be eradicated and I do want you to vaccinate your child if you want to.  I don't want your child to get the measles. Oh, and for what it's worth, I do not consult Jenny McCarthy for medical advice.

Your story is not my story, but to stand in my shoes for a second you must read on:

OUR SIDE OF THE STORY at a glance:
-My daughter was premature and was delayed meeting milestones from birth forward
-My daughter showed signs of autism before vaccination (lack of eye contact, not meeting milestones, tantrums, sleep issues, stacking, spinning, food aversion/obsession ect)
-My daughter showed signs of gut issues/biomedical sensitivities from birth (food sensitivity/allergies and food aversions/cravings, butt/body rashes, diarrhea, fowl smelling fecal matter, gas, bags under eyes)
-My daughter did get her vaccines
-My daughter did have a strong reaction to her vaccines (fever, rash, lethargy, pause in development)
-My daughter has autism
-When I chose to vaccinate Bella it was a hard decision
-When I chose to NOT vaccinate our second child Addie, it was an even harder decision

MY OPINION simply stated:
-I believe vaccines work and are important for our society to thrive (not to mention the diseases that would come back without herd immunity)
-I don't think vaccines CAUSE autism *though many parents in the autism community do and I can see why as they watch their child disappear before their eyes* just not my experience
-I do think however that vaccines cannot be tolerated by children with the genetic/biological make-up autism presents as their systems are sent into a spiral when toxins are present
-I believe some children with autoimmune issues, gut issues, a family history of autism, illness ect should not get vaccines either at an early age or at all, because the are too strong/toxic for them
-I am informed. I do constant research, have talked to numerous doctors with varied opinions, and literally pray with tears about whether or not to continue to vaccinate my children

-My husband and I researched and prayed hard about whether or not we should have another child knowing the statistics on autism and genetics.  God gave us Bella and now Adeline and we will do everything to protect our girls (which may or may not include vaccines).
-NO ONE HAS FOUND THE CAUSE OF AUTISM!!!  Did you know that?  Its hard because my child has a life-long disability yet NO ONE has ever been able to tell me why.  I sometimes envy parents of children with other disabilities because at least they know the cause.  I am left to wonder ... which is the reason many autism parents (including myself) are willing to try a myriad of treatments, not because we are crazy, but because we are desperate!
-There have been many causes offered (none yet proven):  environmental-factors, genetics, brain issues, vaccines, prenatal development (the list goes on).  What is a parent to do with all of the varied opinions on this?  If there was even a remote chance that something you do or did caused autism, would you do it again? When every doctor I see has a differing opinion, it makes decisions on treatment hard.  Do you see? It's agonizing.

As you read above, I do believe in vaccines but, I struggle with them.  I have yet to vaccinate Adeline for fear she will respond the way Bella did, is that selfish?  Maybe.  Is it uninformed? Not at all.  Do I have to weigh the risk of the diseases she could contract or conversely the autism link that has been disproven (yet I see first hand as I talk to the autism parents all around me)?  Yes, and I lose sleep over it.  Will I vaccinate my second child in the future when she's older? Maybe.  Until then, I continue researching and agonizing as a parent.

Just know, for every article you post showing no link between autism and vaccines there are hundreds of articles that disagree and say otherwise.  This is why I struggle....

1. 30,000 reactions are reported every year by the CDC, and between 10 and 15% are serious (hospitalization, disability, death).

2. Almost 4,000 people have been court awarded over 3 billion dollars (yes, that's 3 billion) in damages from vaccines. 

3. This is an interview with Bella's doctor, Dr. Bob Sears who wrote The Vaccine Book and promotes the alternative schedule.  We actually saw him the same day he did this interview a couple days ago and I hate how the media portrays him and tries to say he's "anti-vax" whatever that is.  He tells his patients (us included) that vaccines work.  But, he also sees first hand how children with certain genetic factors respond to ANY toxin put in their body, vaccines, foods, ect.  He would caution those families on further vaccinations.

I am not a doctor
I am not anti-vax
I am not pro-vax
I am not friends with Jenny McCarthy
I love my kids
I hope you now see why I, as an autism mom, struggle with vaccines
Please stop the name calling, it stresses me out:)

With love and sweating palms due to confrontation,



  1. Thanks for sharing. Very insightful!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Annie! I can't believe Dr. Sears is actually your doctor! That is so cool!! I have used the alternative/delayed vaccine schedule from his book with my kids. I did not give MMR to Wade and Holland until this past summer (ages 5 and 3). Mary Graham is due for her one year appointment, and so I will have to decide which shots she will receive. Of course with the supposed measles "outbreak" it makes it even harder for me to pass on MMR…anyway, thanks again for sharing your thoughts. xo

  3. Good for you for writing this! This subject has been heavy on my heart even more lately due to all the nastiness going around on social media.

  4. Thank you for bravely telling your story. You speak for many of us.<3

  5. I’m truly sorry for your experience with vaccines. I can see how they have caused your stress and anxiety. I’m having a baby this year and am worried about the now greater potential for him to be infected by a once eliminated virus such as measles.

    I agree that adverse reactions happen from vaccines (as with any drug). CDC has an entire program dedicated to collecting and analyzing adverse events. However, since you've cited a statistic, I thought it would be fair to consider that the CDC also estimates about 36,000 lives are saved each year in the U.S. because of vaccines. There have been 1,132 death claims from vaccines since 1988.

    1. Good stat, yes I agree more lives are saved then lost and that vaccines are overall life savers:)

  6. The only thing I want to say about this is my story is somewhat similar to yours. My son was born with autism and recently has been diagnosed with a genetic condition that may or may not be related to autism. Since there has been about five people in the entire world to ever have my son's condition they literally know nothing about it. But like your daughter issues from birth. My son is fully vaccinated for his age. Yes he does have autism. No I don't blame vaccines. My son had a slightly stronger reaction to vaccines than most kids. He ran fevers longer, was more tired after vaccines (as a baby). With that being said his MMR vaccine was delayed getting to him because of insurance reasons. He didn't receive it until three. Where I am going to disagree with you is on the part you said children with autism shouldn't be vaccinated. Despite a slightly higher reaction to vaccines my son with autism was not hurt by them. I that may not be everyone's case. But I would appreciate if you didn't generalize.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful response and I don't mean to generalize. This wS really me sharing our story and when I talked about autism/vaccines, I labeled that section "My Opinion" because I am not a doctor nor the only voice in the autism world. Who knows maybe one day we will continue vaccinations;) I wish you and your son well!

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  8. My son was premature but seemed to be growing and learning right except he needed tubes in his ears so needed speech help. Was social, cuddly and sweet as could be. Had his 4 yr shots (the 3 in 1 with Mercury) in Jan by that spring I had him in counseling cuz of tantrums and out of control aggression. It was like one day he was him and next he was not. I went through a lot of grieving! He couldn't even remember how to do something's that he had taught himself like the tape player. He played with it always and one day just couldn't remember. It was scary and the changes so noticeable. Well he has struggled now for 13yrs with memory, learning problems and worst of all Bullying because he is different. When I had to get my youngest (11 now) his 4 yr shots i felt I had to I cried and watched him so closely for a year for any change at all. I didn't want the same thing to happen. It was hard and I now refuse to have another child because why? To be tortured with these decisions? I believe in Dr. Sears and he just tells the truth no sugar coating! Go Sears!! Thank you for this because I feel I was reading my own struggle, thoughts and feelings. You said everything just right and I feel your stress and struggles! Good luck to you and don't stop speaking your feelings they help more than you know :))