By Erin K Costello
MAM recently wrote a blog post simulating a letter to pro-vax parents. Please feel free to read parts of it below and become just as angry as I became.
“If your child ends up hospitalized due to whooping cough, or chicken pox, or measles…or maybe, if they simply catch it and are doing okay (depending on how much you dislike illness), you want someone to blame. You want to show people the “reality” of these diseases…and beg them to help these diseases stop happening"
Ok, where to begin? What exactly depends on how much I dislike illness? How sick my child gets? How mad I get? Wanting to assign blame? Wanting to show people the reality of these diseases and beg others to help them become a thing of the past? I WANT TO SWEAR type in a fury fueled rage right now and finger punch my keyboard over JUST the first paragraph.
First of all, a child ending up hospitalized is not the worse outcome from any of these diseases. As if hospitalization isn’t bad enough, you fail to mention the whole death possibility in your post. So let’s correct this right away. What your first sentence should say is “If your child ends up dead, scarred for life, hospitalized, or they simply suffer through the disease without complications…” Now that we’ve fixed that, we’ll move on to “reality.” Not too sure why you have this word in quotation marks? Your doing so signifies that the reality of these diseases isn’t really the “reality” of these diseases, but is more like a figment of one’s imagination. . Let’s put a stop to that shit right now. These diseases have a reality and it’s not a pleasant one. It’s a reality that has involved death for babies and infants, and sometimes older children. It’s a reality that has wrecked immune systems for years after the disease, caused suffering, and millions in medical costs. No amount of denialism by “MAM” is going to change this reality. Oh, and the nerve of a parent who has just lost their child to a vaccine preventable disease, or who sat in a hospital for 7-10 days watching their baby suffer needlessly, wanting someone to blame when there are in fact a lot of people to blame! You and I had not seen or worried about measles, mumps, rubella, or even whooping cough probably while growing up because we benefited from vaccines. I had to live through the chicken pox, and judging by your age I’m assuming you did as well. We didn’t have to worry about anti-vaxxers threatening our health as children while out in public. How sociopathically convenient for you to now force your kids to risk suffering through these diseases, complications and all, while in search of more website clicks. And of course parents will then beg others to help stop these diseases from happening after they’ve witnessed their little ones in pain, miserable, unable to breathe, and become sicker and sicker from something that should’ve been avoidable. Wouldn’t you? Even for all 6 of your kids?
“These stories are popping up almost weekly on social media. (I guess that isn’t that much, since we’re talking hundreds of millions of people in several different countries - something to keep in mind.) Whenever they do, tens of thousands will share them, and warn people."
I don’t know how often they are popping up on social media. Let’s say you’re correct in that they are popping up weekly. We aren’t talking about one case per week. Where there’s one there’s several, maybe even dozens. Also, every case globally isn’t popping up on social media, so I’m not sure why you feel the population of other countries should be taken in to account. These cases are from our country alone. For granted our country has a population of about 325 million people, but that number shouldn’t relieve you, it should frighten you. That number is worrisome for the same reason why tens of thousands of people share these stories and warn people, which is that these diseases are easily spread to those who are not protected against them. Measles is highly contagious and will infect 9/10 susceptible people who have been exposed to the measles virus. Those susceptible are infants too young to have been vaccinated, the elderly, those who haven’t had a booster vaccine, the immunocompromised, and those simply not vaccinated, much like your children. Whooping cough is also highly contagious, and it too can be spread airborne. Having whooping cough does not provide a lifelong immunity. Even the vaccinated need booster shots throughout their lives. One can catch whooping cough again and again if exposed enough times and not inoculated. People feel an urgent need to warn others because of how easily one can be exposed and infected by any of these diseases, and because complications from these diseases do happen, especially in younger children. When it comes to babies I guess some parents just feel a sense of urgency to warn others in hopes it helps to protect their own.
“I understand, I really do. It feels like a “trump card” when your child has unfortunatly been ‘the one’ to experience the illness or the complications.”
I can guarantee that most parents, who aren’t narcissists, would never refer or relate to their child suffering through an illness or complications from said illness as a fucking “trump card.”
“The proof that you were really right all along, and that people really must vaccinate. You hope that your story will reach the people who need to read it, and that you’ll convince more people to see things your way…and vaccinate their babies."
No parent wants to be proven right THIS way. No parent would ever say while standing over their sick and suffering child in the hospital “I knew I was right all along! I can’t wait to tell everyone!” The fact that you see other mothers this way is quite telling however. Much like how you think this is about seeing things our way or your way. We just want safe and healthy kids. We aren’t looking to prove a point, win a war, play a card up our sleeve, or to convince anyone of anything. We hope people will stop listening to feelings and start listening to facts, but other than that we just want safe and healthy kids man.
“But you won’t."
Of course we won’t. Because for you this shit is about winning, proving yourself right at all costs, and convincing others you aren’t an idiot. You’ve largely failed in all three regards, but not enough to cease being a danger to others.
“It’s so predictable, every time. A mother (or father) shares his/her story, earnestly hoping that s/he will change peoples’ minds. Several friends and family members encourage her and tell her how brave she is and how sorry they are that her baby is sick. They tell her how needed her message is, and how people just don’t get how serious this stuff is, and how her story will make a difference. She feels justified in having shared it."
How can you type this paragraph out and not see the hypocrisy? This is exactly what AVers do with their alleged vaccine injuries, all of which are mostly anecdotal and without any data or evidence to back their claims. Many alleged injuries are parent diagnosed, naturopath diagnosed, or completely baseless. Sure, some conditions are accurately diagnosed, however there’s still no evidence they were caused by vaccines. Children get vaccines at birth, and at 2,4, 6, 9, 12, and 15 months of age. A child goes through a lot of changes from infancy to 2 years of age. Are other changes, such as walking, caused by vaccines as well? Or is walking also in our genes much like autism? While we’re on this subject, fevers don’t cause autism either. However, if you’re so worried about fevers, why not try to avoid fevers by vaccinating against diseases that cause high grade fevers, and why not lower the temperature when they have a fever by using a perfectly safe and harmless OTC medication like Advil or Tylenol?
“Peoople who are already suspect of vaccines do not read these stories - especially if shared angrily, with name-calling directed towards “anti-vaxxers” (as is often the case) and say “You know what, I was clearly wrong.” No, it only makes them frustrated."
Why don’t people read these stories? What’s the fear in reading them? We will often read your stories of alleged vaccine injuries. I have no doubt that some on the fencers, or even some AVers come across a PVer’s story that changes their mind.
“These stories are picked apart. The mother (or father) is ridiculed. People will stalk the mother’s Facebook page for additional details and often find that the child was treated with OTC medications or antibiotics or was recently vaccinated. They will blame these things for the child’s illness and/or complications."
Yes, that’s because the anti-vaccine movement is a fucking cult, with you as MAM Jones holding the tincture-aid for everyone to drink.
I have to ask, which is it though? Are these stories not read or are they read to the point that they’re picked apart?
So what you are saying is that AVers will comb through everything available to them to find an excuse, any excuse in the world, as the cause behind a child’s death or sickness, other than the illness itself or complications from the illness, regardless of what that excuse may be? Sounds awfully desperate if you ask me. Not to mention, if you look for something hard enough, you’ll convince yourself you’ve found it.
“Basically, these stories only draw the battle lines. They do not help anyone to “see the light.” They make people cling more firmly to the beliefs they already held. Right or wrong, this is the truth."
Wow, the hypocrisy. Do you believe that “vaccine injury” stories convince a single PVer of any of your claims? It’s much harder to unlearn science than it is to learn science.
One should not be clinging to “beliefs” when it comes to medicine. One should be searching for claims backed by scientific data that has stood up to multiple reviews by peers, in order to find facts.
I’m sorry this is a battle for you, it isn’t for me or other PVers. Maybe it’s a battle for you because it’s solely based in beliefs rather than facts. Facts may be hard to swallow sometimes, but holding on to them isn’t a struggle or a battle. You see, you aren’t fighting against PVers. You’re fighting against proven data, against known science, and against your own failure to support a belief system while up against a factual system.
“Can I ask you, please, to stop sharing them? It’s not because I don’t want you to share your passion. It’s because I understand what your goal is, and I know - especially if you are angry and say harsh things - that you will be accomplishing the opposite of what you set out to do."
Maybe we wouldn’t feel the urgency to share our horrific experiences, or our grief and loss, if you and other AVers had never started sharing debunked science and false claims. But, I digress.
What we are sharing is our kids. Our kids are not our “passion.” Our kids are our lives. Supporting vaccination isn’t a “passion.” It’s common sense.
Apparently you have no idea what our goal is, but you do reveal your own intentions with this assumption.
“They are the victim of nasty private messages and comments. Their stories are splashed all over many different media sources and blogs. Some are respectful (I try to be), but many are not. Screenshots are taken, and even if posts are later deleted, they’re not really gone."
You know how some people have an extraordinary skill? Maybe it’s talking, listening, or problem solving? I believe yours is hypocrisy. I have personally seen you post unredacted screen shots over a dozen times. I also have witnessed on several occasions you encourage your page and group followers to report and harass individuals you did not like or did not agree with. At least on most PV pages and groups names and pics are redacted. Even in the secret groups. I have no doubt that some AV parents are sent horrible messages. Unfortunately that’s something AVers and PVers have in common, mean individuals who are out of line and viciously attack others. All I can say for PVers is that often times they are angered by having to witness a sick child. You see, science DOES support that complications from measles was caused by measles, a disease easily vaccinated against. Science does NOT support most, if not all, allegations of vaccine injury.
“To protect yourself, especially during a stressful time, it’s really best that you don’t share your story, especially while you are upset."
Yeah, you can fuck right off with this. We will not keep quiet about events our families experienced that are backed in scientific evidence so you and your cult of believers aren’t triggered by the reality of your choices, thus upsetting your delicate sensibilities. We won’t play into your fairy tale to save your feelings.
“…..[vaccines are] a big decision for many families. They’re not something people should be deciding for, or against, based on someone’s story. Facts are important."
Vaccines are only a big decision when the choice is not to get them. The choice isn’t a big one for PVers. It’s a routine part of life for us. Going to get a flu shot is almost as common as rotating our car’s tires.
No, stories should not decide whether one vaccinates or not. The decision to vaccinate should be decided by facts, because like you ironically said…”facts are important’” Beliefs aren’t.
“So please, please. Stop sharing these big, scary stories and these angry pronouncements. It only divides people, when we are all just trying to keep our kids healthy and safe."
What’s dividing people is how AVers believe this is even a debate, let alone an equal debate with two deserving sides. Just admit it. Even you have to look at some of the claims you make and think “Yeah, this does sound like bullshit.” The part that really shows me how selfish AVers are is the “why should I set my child on fire to keep your’s warm?” line. But not for reasons that you think. You see, if AVers had just kept their mouths shut about their choice not to vaccinate their kids, we wouldn’t be in the situation. A lot less parents would be opting out of vaccines, leaving herd immunity numbers at a manageable percentage, thus avoiding many of the outbreaks we are seeing now. This would also help secure your medical choice you argue for so intently since politicians wouldn’t see an urgency to pass vaccine legislation. But that’s not what happened. Instead, AVers had to approach other mothers to convince them to join their movement and ditch the vaccines. When you ask AVers why they try and convince others, they reply with a cliche line like “To save all the babies.” Except, we know that’s not true since they won’t vaccinate their kids to help others, or even to help their own kids. To push for something so adamantly without a clear cause of why you’re doing so, besides that of a belief system, is a sign of extremism.
Mamas Interested in Medical Choice."
Which is it? You are fighting for medical freedom and choice? Or are you just “interested” in medical freedom and choice? Also, it isn’t medical choice you’re actively arguing for in this post. What you reveal to want is the right to make ignorant choices on behalf of your kids due to a preconceived bias or “ belief” regardless of the risks or costs, and to do so without being reminded of how dangerous and foolish your choices are. What you want is the right to risk the health of my kids and other children without having to face the consequences of your decision.
I’m sorry, but did you think we are all here to provide confirmation for your decisions, and to protect your feelings? We aren’t members of Modern Alternative Mamas! We aren’t your fans, or your anything. We are parents who love our kids and won’t stand for lies when it comes to their well being. If you want to avoid our backlash when you attempt to spread lies and false information, you should just get off of social media altogether. Otherwise, deal with the products that are of your creation. Deal with our measles posts.