By Jennifer Westmoreland Bouchard
I went down the anti-vax rabbit hole the other night. I have to admit that I learned a lot. This not-so-fantastic voyage was prompted by the fact that several friends and acquaintances had recommended I watch “The Greater Good,” described to me as a dispassionate, fair-and-balanced documentary that offers a glimpse into the complex vaccine debate.
The people who recommended this film to me largely share my parenting philosophies. For all intents and purposes, I consider myself a practitioner of attachment parenting (AP). I exclusively breastfeed my four-month-old daughter, we practice elimination communication, I wear her as much as she’ll let me, and I am extremely careful about the products I allow her to use.
But I’ve noticed an anti-vaccine trend in attachment parenting groups (I partially attribute this to Dr. Sears’ delayed vaccine schedule), to such an extent that I always feel compelled to add that I am pro-vax whenever I’m in a conversation about AP. So, yes, I've become the AP parent who vaccinates according to the routine vaccinations scheduled outlined by the CDC. Why? Because my daughter deserves better than to be put at risk for serious illness as a result of baseless claims and anecdotal evidence. Because my community deserves better than to be subjected to an epidemic, to travel back in time to a much more dangerous time in human history, a time before safe, effective vaccines were available to a majority of the U.S. population.
I’ll be honest: I knew going in that “The Greater Good” was going to be about as fair and balanced as Fox News and as dispassionate as… well, a one-sided conversation about vaccines. I decided to approach my viewing as a sociological study, as a way to begin to understand why there are still those out there who believe the myriad falsehoods and leaps of logic that run rampant in anti-vax side of the vaccine debate.