I feel like having a conversation about vaccines always goes something like this:
“I question some of the ingredients in vaccines and find -”
“VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM. THAT’S A PROVEN FACT!”
“Well, no, I don’t think they cause autism, I just think that pharmaceutical companies should be held-”
“DO YOU HAVE POLIO?! THAT’S BECAUSE OF VACCINES! WHY WOULD YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO GET SICK?!”
“I don’t. And the odds of my child contracting hepatitis B are-”
“YOU’RE DESTROYING THE HERD IMMUNITY THAT YOU YOURSELF RELY ON!”
“Well no, my kids ARE vaccinated, it’s just that-”
“ZOMG! YOU’RE SUCH A HYPOCRITE!”
Now, to be fair, I believe the bulk of you guys – my friends and family – are a reasonable bunch, capable of discussing these things without a problem. This post was inspired by an article about Mayim Bialik and her “anti-vaxxer” stance – a term that I do not believe is warranted for her. It’s just that the public attitude about it (on either side) makes it impossible to find reliable information. I’m sure there are plenty of other parents like myself who do not believe that vaccines are evil or cause autism, but also don’t trust Big Pharma and its absence of accountability. But even asking questions seems to lead to nothing but a barrage of “crackpot” and “cruel parenting” accusations. It’s so frustrating feeling forced into decisions that I’m not comfortable with.
I dreamed last night that I was an orphan living on the street with a WHOLE BUNCH of other orphans. We were a makeshift family, we helped each other stay fed, clothed, warm, kept each other safe, spent nights together, listened to each other. Being one of the oldest (somewhere around 15-17), I often took on a parenting/leadership role. At some point, I got into a fight with one of the other kids, and I was SO ANGRY and hurt, so I ran from the group. I quickly realized that one of them was coming after me and since I was by far the fastest, I knew he’d never catch up. I felt bad about it, so I stopped and let him catch up to me. I laid in the grass between some houses and he built a little fire. Eventually, the rest of the kids showed up to comfort me too. One day, an agent (a decent fellow) came to strike a deal with me: I could sign a paper to be adopted out and taken to a home, or I could be arrested (my character knew why, but I don’t.). My friends were encouraging me to stand my ground, run, stay with them. I told the agent that I was “offended” and “insulted” by the offer (I don’t remember why), threw the contract at him, and ran away. I spent most of the dream running and ducking the police and agents. The other kids looked out for me a lot. Then someone got caught. So we all stopped running to face the agent and rescue our friend. I was firmly telling the others, “OK, now let’s go!” But no one moved. They all looked rather chagrined. I realized then that they had all taken the deal and signed the paper. I was heartbroken and furious. I ripped up the contract and told them all to “consider it a second chance.” But I knew it didn’t matter; they were all going to leave. The dream ended with us staring at each other, heartbroken. I awoke sobbing.
Michael and I went out on a date the other night. It was lovely. We made plans, but cancelled them in favor of revisiting our old Olive Garden stomping grounds. We drank a little, laughed a lot, and saw a few old friends.
What really struck me about that experience was just how easy it all was. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself because of just how hardened I’ve become and how irritable I often am at this stage of my life. But how quickly I was able to lighten up and be the fun, easy going, silly version of myself! How easy it was to reconnect with my husband and love him so fully! This is a tremendous encouragement to me because it was a good reminder that I’m not doomed to be this hardened, irritable person forever; this is temporary and we’re OK.