Parents, you can either strive to be a good patient to your doctor and loyal consumer to your pharmacist, or you can strive to always do right by your child and question everything, AKA, practice defensive parenting.
That sounds like a no-brainer right? Most people would say they always choose to put their children’s best interest at heart, which is why they take them to the doctor’s office for check-ups to begin with. But let’s look at this objectively, because the reality is that many well-intentioned people deny their initial parenting instincts in submission to their doctors will under the influence of white coat syndrome.
Why parents choose conventional wisdom over their children and natural wisdom:
Reason #1: Avoiding uncomfortable encounters
When you question your doctors recommendations for your child, you instantly become a kink in their scheduling, an annoyance in their day, and a curiosity in their month. Let’s be straight – they instantly don’t like you and things get uncomfortable.
Reason #2: Fear mongering
Western MD’s aren’t yet acclimated to having their omnipotence questioned, so likely when it happens they will raise their hackles and bark out the general scary stories and propaganda passed down to them by their great and wise leaders at Big-Pharma.
The common problem arises here for well-meaning parents: decisions made out of fear are the decisions they regret.
I remember what it’s like in the pediatricians office and on the receiving end of the well-seeming scare tactics, “There’s absolutely no pressure, but let me assure you that your child will probably fall prey to incurable disease and likely death, sooner than later, should you continue to question these vaccines, and let’s be honest with ourselves ( insert all-knowing smirk ), how will you live with yourself if that happens?”
Where in that kindly spiel was room left for time? Time for research, fact checking, critical thinking, perhaps a ‘gut check’ – all of the necessary components involved in rational decision-making?
There was none.
Reason #3: Parents don’t see themselves as qualified to perform research
I remember also sitting in the pediatricians office crying about our struggles with autism as it through it were yesterday. Upon voicing my concerns about a possible connection between vaccines and autism, I was told the following:
“It is natural to want to find a cause or a reason ( I have since dubbed this natural phenomenon with its technical term of ‘responsible parenting’ ) when something like this happens with children, but there is none to be found ( that could sit well with her after years of vaccinating children ), and at this point there is nothing you can do, no matter what you see on the internet…but vaccinate this child too, shall we?”
In all fairness, tacked on at the end of that last pseudo-empathetic ‘there is no causal link’ speech, permission to “think on it some more” was granted. Unfortunately I was afraid and armed with frightfully few accurate facts at that time, so that is the story of how my second child received her first and last round of shots.
The truth is that the internet houses garbage as well as gold, and I leave it to you to use your own powers of discernment here. So long as you have eyes to see, reading is not futile, and anyone who suggests as much is automatically in question.
And finally, the solution:
My suggestion to all parents is not one of vaccinating vs not vaccinating, it is simply to become that crazed THINK-HAPPY parent doctors dislike. And to remember: good consumers buy product; good parents question those products.
Fact check: In the 80’s it was actually illegal to vaccinate a child under the age of two in Japan, a country known for valuing citizen health.
You have time.