some friends added me to a few different facebook communities for crunchy hippie attachment-style parents in lawrence. i do a lot of crunchy mama/AP-ish stuff, like cloth diapering, feeding breast milk exclusively, babywearing, etc. but a big difference between me & a lot of these parents is that 1) i don’t think food has some kind of magical, mystical properties that will either make you die tomorrow or live forever, depending on what you eat, & 2), i vaccinate.
before i had a kid, i was pretty neutral on the vaccination issue. i didn’t really have an opinion. i thought of it as a “live & let live” kind of deal & didn’t really understand why people would get so hot under the collar when they disagreed about it. i figured that i would probably vaccinate my own child when i had one, & i definitely thought that people who believed that vaccinations cause autism were just blibbering idiots but other than that…whatever. i didn’t really think that people who chose not to vaccinate were necessarily hurting anybody.
i have since changed my mind. maybe it was having a baby in the NICU that did it for me. especially having a baby in the NICU during cold & flu season. i would get so angry hearing people say things like, “oh, i don’t need a whooping cough vaccine. no one gets whooping cough anymore.” yes, people do get whooping cough! i got it myself in 2006. i was a reasonably healthy adult with no outstanding respiratory problems, & i was sick for FOUR MONTHS. like, sick in bed with a fever for four months. sick enough that i would cry & just hope to die in my sleep. but there are assholes out there who don’t think whooping cough is that big a deal, or they don’t think people get it, so they don’t get vaccinated & they don’t vaccinate their kids. & then people who CAN’T be vaccinated, because they are too young or they have compromised immune systems–people who are particularly at risk for contagious diseases–are exposed. all because some dumbass parent out bought into all the anti-vaccine hysteria.
i wish there was a way to bond with parents over the hippie stuff i do without ever having to discuss vaccinations. i don’t even want to hear that old canard about how “the recommended vaccine schedule is so hard on their little bodies”. you know what? they’ll get over it. the recommended schedule isn’t nearly as hard on their bodies as, say, POLIO would be. it’s especially obnoxious to hear these privileged western parents talking about this stuff in between feeding their babies homemade strained pears or whatever, knowing that there are parents in pakistan that are walking miles through al quaeda-controlled war zones trying to get their kids vaccinated. i guess they’re too busy trying to avoid drone strikes to catch the latest jenny mccarthy-approved austism rumors, huh?
i keep hearing people say things like, “of course there’s pressure to vaccinate your children. just follow the money.” like it’s all some big conspiracy by “big pharma” to get kids vaccinated against tetanus or whatever. like it somehow makes better economic sense to have to treat kids for preventable childhood diseases, some of which can be deadly or permanently disabling? it seriously reminds me of people who think the aurora movie theater shooting were a hoax staged by the government to create a reason to scrap the second amendment. i even read recently about people being angry about a proposed law that would require day care workers to be immunized. listen, my baby isn’t in day care, but if she was, HELL YES, i would want the people taking care of her to be immunized! jesus christ on a cracker!
jared & i were talking about it this morning & i joked that i’d never be able to have a play date because i would show up with a big BPA-laden bowl full of polio vaccines & gluten & i would be shunned forever. being a parent is so weird sometimes.
this reminds me of how there’s this local conference coming up, all about crunchypants hippie parenting. it’s a one-day conference…& it costs $45 to attend. what the hell! that’s a lot of money! plus, while “infants in arms” are welcome, there conference will not be providing any child care. people with older kids will have to secure their own babysitters…in order to attend a crunchy parenting conference. how does that make sense? i hate to be all “when i used to organize the boston skillshare” again, but…seriously. when i used to organize the boston skillshare, it was free & we offered child care. it was free because we did everything we could to solicit donations for workshop supplies, food, space, etc. & we offered child care through volunteers & by letting parents know whick workshops would be okay–or even welcoming–to kids. it’s simply not that difficult!
i miss the skillshare. i also miss running a zine distro. i miss the east coast, living in a big city, having the energy & time for projects, & having friends that i could hash this stuff out with so i don’t have to complain to my boyfriend or my blog. i miss not being so bitter.