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As a baby, I had a bad reaction to the first Whooping Cough vaccine

"As a baby, I had a bad reaction to the first Whooping Cough vaccine.  I cried most of the night and my Mum didn’t put me to bed but kept me in her arms all night.  I sometimes wonder if she had put me down to sleep, whether I might have been another victim of cot death.  If the medical profession do not know for sure what causes cot death, how can they say without doubt that vaccines do not cause it?!  As a precaution, I never received any further doses of Pertussis.  I went on to get Whooping Cough as an adult which wasn’t very nice as I was caring for my 2 year old daughter who had it at the same time.  Thankfully, she came through it without any problems and seemed to have a physical and developmental growth spurt afterwards.

As an adult, I fainted on two separate occasions, after having the Hepatitis A vaccine for a holiday abroad.  I only fainted when I had another vaccination at the same time as the Hep. A which leads me to believe that multiple vaccines must be a bigger threat to the immune system.

However, I still believed vaccines were necessary to protect our children from harmful diseases and when my first daughter was born and was so healthy, I didn’t contemplate not vaccinating her; I didn’t want to take any risks.

Fortunately, the MMR controversy prompted me to do some research into single vaccines but the more I researched, the more I became concerned about all vaccines.  After a lot of reading, research, soul searching and discussions with different health professionals, I came to the conclusion that vaccines possibly do not prevent the diseases they are intended to protect against and probably weaken the immune system and predispose to allergies, auto-immune disorders and other more serious conditions.  As a consequence, we decided not to vaccinate any more and our second and third daughters are completely unvaccinated.  I truly believe this is the best decision I could ever have made for my children.  I now firmly believe that a child needs a strong immune system for optimum health and I do not see how injecting a cocktail of chemicals and unnatural substances into their bodies could help.

Our daughters are now 11, 9 and 5 and compared with other children, are very healthy.  They have had their share of colds, coughs, fevers, sickness bugs and minor childhood illnesses.  They have all had Chicken Pox and our youngest had Whooping Cough when she was 2 but none of them have any allergies and thankfully, cope well when they are poorly.

When our first daughter was little, she had many fevers which lasted for days and lots of colds and coughs.  She was diagnosed with Glue Ear at the age of 4 and the hospital wanted to take out her tonsils and adenoids which I felt should be a last resort, especially as she wasn’t bothered by the Glue Ear at all and wasn’t suffering from any sore throats, ear infections or hearing loss.  During the next few months, I looked closely at her diet and cut down on her dairy foods which she loved and I substituted cows milk for goats milk.  I introduced Manuka honey into her diet and took her to a cranial osteopath who prescribed a Colostrum supplement for her.  When we returned to the hospital a few months later, her Glue Ear had gone and she was discharged.  The first doctor was adamant that it would not disappear and she would need to have her tonsils and adenoids out so I felt an immense amount of pride to realise that I had managed to prevent her from having an operation to remove a vital part of her immune system and I realised that the doctor doesn’t always know best!  From that point onwards, her health went from strength to strength and my confidence in knowing what is best for my children also went from strength to strength!

Our second daughter seems to have the constitution of an ox and is rarely poorly.  While she was little, her temperature occasionally went up while she was asleep but she would sleep through it and be fine the next day.   Her colds and coughs only last a day or two but she was prone to “catching” sickness bugs!  When she was 4, she damaged her front tooth and an abscess developed so the dentist decided to take it out.  I then had another confrontation as he wanted her to have the tooth taken out under a general anaesthetic in hospital which again, I felt was not necessary.  He then agreed to a ridiculous 3 step approach to taking her tooth out!  On her first visit, she was to try out the gas; on her second visit, she was to have the gas and a needle in her gum to numb it and on her third visit, he was finally going to take her tooth out!  I decided I didn’t want him anywhere near my daughter and asked for another dentist.  Thankfully, everything went smoothly, she avoided a general anaesthetic and her tooth was removed on the first visit without any problems at all.  The only thing she remembered about the experience was a numb mouth and the toys in the waiting room!  Again, the experts do not always know best!

Another decision I have wrestled with was whether or not to bring down temperatures with fever reducing medication.  I now believe that a fever is a vital part of the immune response and I observe my children closely and put my trust more in the healing abilities of their bodies.  Even the NICE guidelines state that “antipyretic agents do not prevent febrile convulsions and should not be used specifically for this”.  However, I do believe there is a time and a place for medication and would not refuse it if I felt it was necessary.

If anybody reading this is struggling with their decision at the moment as to whether or not to vaccinate, I would urge you to do your own research; read lots, both for and against; speak to many different health professionals and then make your own mind up.  An informed decision is the best decision.  This time of deliberating can be quite lonely if you do not know anybody else who feels the same.  Fortunately, my Mum was a big support and I subscribed to “The Informed Parent” whose newsletters gave me a regular boost of confidence that I was doing the right thing.  I also started to become more interested in natural health and the immune system and I would thoroughly recommend the books by Ian Sinclair.  I discovered there was an immense amount of apathy in the community so I stopped talking about vaccination and no longer felt a need to pass my opinion!  I felt that my children were too precious to just “follow the heard regardless” so I decided to inform myself which gave me the knowledge and confidence to make the best decisions for my children.  I believe that striking the right balance is the answer.  I try to provide my children with a healthy, balanced diet with occasional treats; lots of fresh air; sunshine; exercise and rest.  I do not believe in home schooling and being obsessed with being perfect.  I try to ensure my children have a balance in their lives in all areas and are able to mix in many different circles and experience all that life has to offer.  I try to encourage them to follow their dreams and be happy and if some sweets or a cake make you happy from time to time then that has got to be good for you too!

Apathy, especially with regards to our children, does irritate me immensely but I also find the attitude of those who insist on controlling every aspect of their children’s lives quite patronising and over the top.  None of us are perfect but we should always try to do the right thing and have the courage to keep going when difficulties arise.  It is also important to say “sorry” once in a while and admit that we’re not perfect!

The people I am most grateful to for helping me to reach an informed decision are:  Andrew Wakefield, who made me question vaccination in the first instance; Magda Taylor who runs “The Informed Parent”, for providing informative newsletters and helping to give me the confidence to trust my decision and Ian Sinclair for his wonderful books and wisdom on natural health.  I would also like to thank my Mum for her continuing support and my three precious little girls for providing the inspiration to me to set off on this wonderful journey!

“The answers to life’s questions lie inside you.  All you need to do is look, listen and trust.”

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