I am about to share something with you for which I have caught a lot of flack. In fact, "a lot" is an understatement.
My son has never left the house except for doctor appointments.
Not once, in eight weeks.
We haven't stopped briefly into a Target or gone out to eat. We haven't window shopped the mall or purchased groceries.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
I tell people that I am a germ-phobe and hopefully it makes them laugh. This is not actually how I view myself but I try to lighten the mood, knowing full well what is likely to come. If I speak the real reason, it seems to invite a debate or negative, unsolicited opinions.This is another one of those issues that seems to divide people, but I don't know why. We're all just doing the best we can, right?
The reason I haven't taken Lincoln out is because he was not vaccinated until this week. When I explain to people that I fear him contracting something while we are out in heavily populated areas, they seem to take personal offense. A few kind souls have commiserated with me, and even more have assured me they are current on their own vaccinations, which is a friendly gesture. But really, many people have been insulted.
Particularly at church, a lot of friends have told me I am wrong to not bring Lincoln to church or other places. Someone told me that "God wouldn't allow anything bad to happen at church." To that I say, 'Hey, he gave us free choice. He won't compel anyone to wash their hands after they poop or make sure they get their TDAP.' My own husband doesn't have health insurance and it cost us a small fortune to have him vaccinated for whooping cough and I can't expect everyone else to make those sacrifices, especially if they don't have children of their own.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard, "You need to expose him to people and stuff to build his immune system" I'd be rich. This statement is only partially true. Yes, you do build an immunity to things from exposure. However, Lincoln is breastfed, therefore I pass antibodies to him based on my own exposure to those things. Also, your immune system doesn't stop producing antibodies so whenever he IS exposed to things after his immune system has had a chance to mature, he will still process them. It's not like he has a small window in which to be exposed to things before he will no longer be able to overcome them. I am simply not interested in risking exposure to things unnecessarily.
Lincoln's doctor also told me, in the hospital, that he prefers babies not to venture out before two months. After initial vaccinations, he prefers you avoid heavily populated places during peak hours. For example, shop the mall on a Tuesday morning not a Saturday afternoon. Obviously quarantining a child will be more difficult if there is an older, say toddler, in the mix, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. For now we are cautiously venturing out. Lincoln's doctor is not a quack. He has excellent credentials and through discussions with him, I am confident he keeps up to date on the most recent data and findings on various issues. I pay him for his expertise, yet that answer doesn't satiate some "moms with experience." Apparently their own experiences supersede my own or his medical training.
Lincoln will still get sick like any other person; it is ludicrous to think I can protect him from "everything" as someone suggested I was trying to do. However, I can still be prudent and diligent trying to control certain things. We are big hand washers here, for example. I would rather he fight the flu at 1 year as opposed to 1 month, for obvious reasons. I can see people labeling me "crazy pants" with their eyes as they inquire to Lincoln's whereabouts but I am fine being labeled a loon. A snarky label is a small price to pay for trying to do my part to ensure my child's good health.
I guess I am writing this blog because I find it mildly irritating that people think I am somehow harming my child by not taking him out before he was vaccinated. The fact is, were he to contract something for which he was not vaccinated, the mortality rate is not good. These diseases are so life-threatening that they found a way to make a vaccine; they're not simple maladies such as a cold. When I see a week-old baby in the grocery store I don't stop and tell that mom I think she is insane in the membrane. Rather, I keep walking and respect her right to make decisions for her own child. Who am I to piss in her Cheerios? I did my own research on vaccines and consulted with his physician before I even consented to him being vaccinated, period. In particular, I did NOT consent to the initial treatments prescribed for newborns in the hospital so in some respects he is behind in treatment. That was my choice. At the end of the day, if something were to go wrong, I would need to live with my decision. I remain flabbergasted that people have the gall to comment on other people's parenting decisions in this way, and I know there is no end in sight. I had heard of this phenomenon prior to his birth and I am dismayed it is so true. If someone engages me in discussion I will certainly speak my truth but otherwise I butt out.
So, here is me soliciting your opinion: am I a Looney Tune for sequestering my child till he was vaccinated? You can speak your truth, I can handle it! ;)