** this letter is addressed to 2 women I know, but really, it’s to any expectant parent. “Kate” is a made-up name standing in for the two women I am mentally directing this to.
You know, I’ve never forgotten how exciting it is to be pregnant – to know you’re going to be a mother – a parent.
It’s amazing. Sooo exciting!!
The entire experience is amazing and incredible – incredibly amazing! & here am I, 38+ years later, & can still well remember my own excitement … & so much else about my pregnancies & childbirth experiences!
The world is quite a different place than it was all those years ago … in a whole lot of ways.
Some things are kind of still the same (e.g. the excitement about becoming a mother/parent; it’s a major high!!) – & some things are quite a bit different.
I want to tell you about some things I didn’t know all those years ago – & in fact, didn’t learn of until about 3 years ago! Totally relevant to the whole parenthood deal.
It’s a controversial (& potentially divisive!) topic, and I find people can get pretty exercised about it. Very often, you actually can’t even have a calm discussion about it … which is unfortunate, given its critical importance. Feelings run high – usually fast!
I’m talking about vaccination.
It’s important to remember what I said:
What I’ve learned in the past 3 years is stuff I spent 63 years not knowing!
Now, you know I’ve been an environmental activist for 30+ years now. That I’ve learned a lot along the way about many different issues/topics (waste, water, pesticides, toxics/cancer prevention, energy conservation, lead, ozone layer, climate change, nuclear issues), and that I can be counted on to really dig into a topic before bringing it up. (What I’m getting at here is that you know I’m not one to pontificate about subjects I know nothing about, as we all find some people we encounter doing rather routinely.)
I’m perfectly happy to admit when I know nothing about a topic, & to defer to those who’ve already studied it. Or to admit I was wrong about something, if it turns out I was mistaken.
So you know you can safely assume I’ve done quite a bit of homework on this topic – vaccination – or I wouldn’t be bringing it up.
I wouldn’t go into it with you at all if I didn’t think it’s terribly important.
Let me also say this right off the top:
The main thing I’m going to suggest to you is, please do some digging of your own!
I’ll point out a few key things that I didn’t know for the first 63 years of my life - then I’m going to ask you (beg you, actually!) to do some digging on your own.
I now totally believe this to be absolutely 500% true!
&, to repeat myself, I had no awareness – ZERO – on the entire topic, until 3 years ago.
Like almost everyone I know (99.999999999%, or thereabouts!), I had always just ASSUMED vaccination was A-OK.
(Assumed, I must add, on the basis of no knowledge, no research, no curiosity! I’m shocked, now, at my own past lack of curiosity.)
I was vaccinated when I was a kid (I can remember it! Didn’t happen until I was 6 & about to start Grade 1. Yeah. This aspect will come up shortly, i.e., the major increase in the vaccine schedule).
So, I got ‘em (or maybe just it – I only recall the one) when I was a kid, & when my own children (whom you know!) came along, I unquestioningly took them in & offered up their arms to our family doctor, for their shots. At the “well baby” visits.
I asked no questions. Not. A. One.
Of course, I didn’t know about this…
… about the big bump-up in the # of vaccines being given (there was a big jump between my childhood & my children’s childhood – but nothing like the bump-up there’s been since the late 1980s. If you look at this spot, you’ll see what the change in Ontario has been, over the decades.)
Nor, in recent years, was I aware of the massive increase, nor of why it had taken, & was still taking place.
Turns out there was a whole lot I wasn’t aware of! The issue was simply not on my radar screen. It didn’t get onto the radar screen for me until grandparenthood came along.
You see, I just wasn’t curious about the vaccination phenomenon.
I didn’t do any research.
I didn’t ask any questions! I was not interested.
I was oblivious.
I was just quietly going along with the crowd.
Like the proverbial sheep, eh?
(It is very, very galling for me to have to realize this now. 🙁)
Turns out that just going along with the crowd is a very bad idea indeed when it comes to vaccination (or maybe with anything??).
I should have been asking questions!
I’m pretty unhappy with myself now, that I was so very-very UN-curious about a thing that turns out to be a really big deal.
But, well …. hindsight is 20-20, as they say.
I’m trying now to make up for lost time.
Atoning, perhaps, for my past inattention.
Issues to Question
There are so many things to question, as it turns out, that for three years now I’ve just kept digging & digging, learning & learning, & I’ve been writing about the topic a lot.
One of my recent posts is ’30 Things You May Not Know about Vaccines’ – which covers some of the main, key important things that I think very few people are aware of – but really need to know!
From what’s in vaccines, to how they’re contaminated, to the ever-increasing vaccine schedule, the frequency of vaccine injury (but how little of it is ever officially recorded), the $4 Billion paid out for vaccine injury in the U.S., the pharmaceutical industry’s 1986 release from liability, etc. etc.
What may be for you an even more important (& just slightly more recent) posting is the one called ‘Vaccination: Dissenting Doctors Have Their Say.’
Even though I personally am no longer much of a fan of the conventional medical system (that’s a different essay altogether!) I do know that often, what MDs say seems to matter to some people. So, hearing from this growing # of dissenting doctors is, I think, worth looking into.
This Is Really Important!!
I neither want nor expect you to just take my word on any of this! Not at all. I’ve learned what I’ve learned, done my research, from many different sources. Friends. Documentaries. Books. MDs. PhD scientists. Mothers. Published papers. Web sites of groups with much deeper, more direct knowledge & experience than my own.
Here’s a photo of my personal book collection – that just keeps growing!
In no way do I expect you to just listen to me & accept without question what I say!
Listening to Mothers
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (I don’t know whether you know much or anything about him?) likes to emphasize that people need to “Listen to the mothers.”
RFK Jr. is a lawyer and life-long advocate for the environment & great environmental initiatives (among other things, he co-founded the Riverkeeper organization in the U.S., & was involved in last year’s successful lawsuit against Monsanto).
I’ve heard him explain how he got pulled into the vaccine issue more or less against his will. When he was working on the issue of mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, mothers would approach him to ask him to look into the vaccine issue – & eventually, he did get pulled in.
There’s a great message from him up at the top right-hand corner of the Children’s Health Defense Web site. In my opinion, RFK’s work is truly brave & heroic. I’m so grateful to him for always harkening back to the need to listen to mothers. (If you visit the main page of Children’s Health Defense, you’ll see many articles. You can also scroll to the bottom & use the Search bar to find plenty more on particular topics.)
The Big Picture
You know what? There’s a big picture aspect to this issue, about which I learn more as I keep digging & digging.
But the “big picture” piece of it in some ways doesn’t really matter so much right now.
It’s the “little” picture that matters! “Little” in terms of the world scene, maybe …. but not little to you! This is your family we’re talking about. Your children, your lives.
One of the really key lessons in my decades of work as an activist is this:
You have to make it personal
Issues can be pretty distant, or academic, uninteresting or … whatever. Until we find a way of making them personal. Making them matter to oneself.
So, for example, my very first real foray into (environmental) activism was over a water issue that was totally personal. This was that our well was providing us with contaminated drinking water! (What a story that was. I know now too that I didn’t actually grasp its full significance at the time.) Pesticides were personal too. My kids were breathing air that was poisoned with pesticides from lawn chemicals (farm chemicals too, though my understanding on that piece also came rather later).
Always, issues become personal. (Nukes = personal ‘cos of living near 2 really major nuclear generating stations.) You’re getting my point, I’m sure.
Vis-à-vis vaccines, nothing is more personal to me than the lives of the tiny, innocent children being born to the people I love!
That is why I’m speaking up now.
I couldn’t live with myself, NOT speaking up. Keeping quiet is just not an option for me, now that I know what I know.
So. I will not apologize for this “inconvenient” letter. Even if it is unwelcome (which it may very well be, I suspect).
Two More Quick Things
Pregnant women (in the U.S., at any rate; not sure about here in Canada) are being given vaccines for flu, and for DPT (pardon me, Tdap; this vaccine keeps morphing on us, & its acronym keeps changing … & that in itself is a long story ... but let’s not get into that right now. Here is another U.S. item about the risks of immunizations for pregnant women. It includes a list of what the CDC is recommending). Both shots are hugely problematic in my view, and I think you need to learn more about it. (I just looked at this page & see that indeed, in Ontario a flu shot is being recommended pre-natally.)
Another very sobering thing: in the U.S., babies born in hospitals are given a Hep B shot on the very day of their birth. (This is not the case in Ontario, at this point, anyway, & also not in many European/Scandinavian countries, I understand, either. Though it is true in New Brunswick hospitals. If you want to know what’s what for Canadian provinces’ vaccine schedules, you can go to this spot.) I personally think this day-of-birth shot is insane (even outrageous), but … if you go to some of my other posts, you can find more information on this topic (e.g. the A – Z posting).
On the day of their birth, babies are also routinely given a Vitamin K injection.
QUOTE The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that vitamin K1 be given to the newborn. A single intramuscular dose of AquaMEPHYTON 0.5 to 1 mg within one hour of birth is recommended. END QUOTE
I assume both my own babies, born in 1981 and 1983, were given this injection … though certainly no one ever said a single word about it to me, the mother who had just given birth to them! (& holy crap, I say now, to this!?)
Since the monograph that comes with the Vitamin K injection carries very strong language about the possible side effects of the injection (i.e., death), I sure wish I’d been informed it was on the table! … & that I could have said “No thanks!!” (Vitamin K is discussed here)
I guess one way you could summarize all this is by saying that there’s really been quite a lot about the vaccination scene, & what goes on inside hospital delivery rooms, that is not exactly common knowledge. I recall reading a lot when I was pregnant, & being anxious about certain things … most of which look rather petty to me from my vantage point now, given some of the bigger things I know now, that I didn’t know enough about then.
I would do things quite a bit differently, if I had it to do all over again, believe me.
But … you know? I don’t get to do it over again … do I? All I get to do, now, is encourage young women (& their partners) to be a little more curious about things now, ahead of time.
Research & an overarching word of advice
Luckily, I got plenty of research under my belt before the current scrubbing of the Internet & Facebook began to pick up such steam. Information that is questioning about vaccines is now harder & harder to locate, & if you don’t know how to go about it, all you’re liable to find is “official” sponsored materials that tell you all is well & vaccines are great & utterly safe & effective … & what’s more, vaccine “skeptics” are just a bunch of nut jobs.
If you’re a bit innocent and naïve & overly trusting, you’re liable to swallow all this “official” stuff. I can be a tad on the overly trusting side myself, but I’ve finally (& all too gradually) become more astute at ferreting out the garbage (in media reports, for example) & remembering to follow my own good advice … one key piece of which is:
My vaccine postings (of which there are soooo many now, it’s a bit absurd, even to me!) are chockfull of information sources. I suspect they can be useful as a jumping off spot for readers. You might start with one of my posts, but pretty soon go chasing down another really good source of information, in another alley, as it were … my site utterly forgotten.
& that’s just fine with me!
The key message from me is this:
Do your own research.
Follow the Money! (Always!!)
** Curiosity … and You
I’ve been curious about a lot of things, all my adult life.
I was NOT curious about vaccines/vaccination at all, until very recently, to my now-very-great regret.
Turns out it is not a “simple” topic at all; in fact, it is deeply complex and multi-faceted. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise may have an agenda that you need to question (or is perhaps just horrendously un-curious – the way most of us have been, all our lives! Just being … sheep).
The real bottom line, though, is you! You & your own passionate desire to protect your own child/ren in every way possible.
There’s no need for you to go as far into the rabbit hole on this as I have. But please-please-please … be curious enough to do some digging, & not accept facile answers about this topic.
We mothers (& grandmothers) would walk through a burning building to protect our children … & grandchildren. The love goes very, very deep indeed. Many of us, I’d venture to say, even feel in a very real way that all children are our responsibility. We’ll move mountains to protect ANYone’s children. A lot of us are pretty Momma Bear about the little people … you know? It’s called maternal instinct. (& you don’t even have to be a mother to feel it! See Motherhood quotes here.)
As mentioned, my postings have links to tons of information sources.
All of my own vaccine-related postings are listed on the main page of my blog site, under the Quotes section on that main page … over on the right-hand side, under the heading ‘On Vaccines.’
Here are several sites/information sources that I like a lot:
Dare to Question - a short book you can download free
Highwire (these weekly shows are amazing. Note that it takes a minute for it to start. Be patient!)
ICAN (Informed Consent Action Network)
Learn the Risk U.S. group (site opens best if not using Firefox browser)
National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) U.S. group
Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC)
** But believe me, there are tons & tons more!
Conversation is so simple, but can be so powerful … even life-changing!
For sure I haven’t said everything there is to say, and you may have questions you’d like to ask that could lead to more learning … for both of us!
I am such a believer in the almost-magical power of conversation.
**** One of my top-top-top favourite quotes ever:
“It’s one of the secrets of the world. We all have the key to one another’s locks. But until we start to talk, we don’t know it.” – Michael Silverblatt
It’s a shame that this topic has become so polarizing that, rather than opening up dialogue, it often shuts it down - with a bang!
** Science, btw, is very much a part of this whole scene. Hugely so!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention here the quotations about science I’ve compiled & included in the Quotation Central section of this site. (Or, for that matter, my own posting ‘Just the Science, thanks!’)
The true state of science today is not something everyone is clued in about - & it’s important! The quotations from MDs & PhD scientists will almost certainly bring you up short. This is another area I’ve clued into myself only quite recently.
This has been a long letter. I expect we’re both tired by now!
I did feel I had to write it. I hope you’ll read it knowing what motivated me to write it.
You’re still not really sure what that is?
It’s love! Pure & simple. Purely a labour of deep love, & caring.
That probably sounds pretty hokey.
But … it really is just that simple!
p.s. I spoke to my family doctor about 3 years ago now, after doing my first several postings about vaccines. I told him I’d been reading, watching documentaries, & really learning a lot. You know what he said? “You probably know more about vaccines than anyone, now.” Whoa. I was stunned that he said this. He was admitting to me something I’ve heard many other doctors quoted as saying since. That they are actually taught virtually nothing about vaccines in med school! Basically, just “They work. Use them.” Well, wow, eh??? Wow, sheesh, OMG & WTH??? (This became less surprising to me later on, when I heard Dr. Suzanne Humphries mention in one of her YouTubes that she recalls the name on her manual in med school. It was ‘The Merck Manual.’ Merck is a pharmaceutical company! Still, it took her a long while to connect the dots. I really want you to connect the dots before any crazy stuff happens…)
p.p.s. you may have some idea that the folks who are skeptical about vaccines are a bunch of uneducated, religious fundamentalist, right-wing nut jobs. Certainly the mainstream media do their very best to portray skeptics as kooks! I wrote a posting called ‘Vaccine Skeptics. For the Record’ to dispel this idea. We skeptics are far too diverse a collection of human beings to be dismissed so readily!
p.p.p.s. a few other gems I can recommend you take a look at … if you feel like it.
How I became anti-vaccine <a Mom who certainly didn’t start out that way!>
#SaidNoMother: A campaign on Facebook in which mothers (& fathers) say some tough things on the subject of having vaccine-injured children.
#crazymothers: A mother does a fact-filled (i.e. very educational!) performance piece outlining that she is NOT crazy.
Dr. Suzanne Humphries on how the human immune system works.
The Nicholas Catone family’s story: on YouTube here A print story: ‘DTaP Vaccine Shatters UFC Fighter’s Family After It Kills Their Healthy Boy’