Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Moms Who Vax: Crazy Vaccine Lady

By Johanna H.

There is a meme that comes around every so often, one that I think is very easy to relate to. It shows a stick figure thoroughly frustrated at the computer who
is resisting going to bed because "someone is wrong on the Internet." I always chuckle when I see it, because there have definitely been those times in discussions on a wide variety of topics where I've just had to step away and let people "be wrong," if they choose to be. But I still post the Facebook links about vaccine safety, what new vaccines may be on the horizon, even though sometimes it feels like maybe I'm either boring the living daylights out of all the poor people who are friends with "that crazy vaccine lady" or even causing fights but continuing to post regarding a controversial parenting decision. 

But this week a friend quietly told me that her children are now fully vaccinated in large part because of the information she was getting from me, but more
importantly because she simply had a counterweight to the anti-vaccine environment that she is surrounded by. Just having someone in her tribe of moms who fully immunizes helped give her the ability to feel confident in a choice to vaccinate her children. My friend is a loving, strong woman who makes educated and mindful decisions. In this case, all she needed was to see someone else making those same choices, too.

This is why I share on Facebook when the latest study on flu vaccine safety comes out, or when there is an update on how close to eradication we are with polio.
Every share, every bit of advocacy helps to create a culture that is more hopeful, more confident, and more at peace. I am The Crazy Vaccine Lady not because I
am so dazzlingly clever or because I’m just that committed to making sure all the "i"s are dotted and "t"s crossed, or even because somewhere somebody on the
Internet (or in the homeschool co-op) is wrong.

I will wear that Crazy Vaccine Lady badge because parents have a right to be afraid of the right things. And speaking parent to parent, mother to mother, is how
lives can be changed, and even how some lives will be saved: one conversation, one parent, one child, one shot at a time.

Johanna H. is a Catholic work-at-home mom who lives in the Northeast with her husband and six children.

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