Written by: Luise South African Mom
I have been doing a lot of research about vaccines and it has led me to many scary stories on both sides. There is one thing that keeps cropping up: parents are furious about their vaccine injured children and they keep on ranting about how damaged their children are.
I can understand the anger, fear, and disappointment that comes with a child who is not who you thought they were going to be. Parents dream about their children years before they are conceived. They love their unborn children even before they know whether it is a boy or a girl. They buy clothes, toys, gadgets, decorate nurseries and babble nonstop about their child's arrival.
You have an idea of who your children will be. They will be better at school than me, they will have more than I had, I will give them everything and anything I can to make them the perfect little human beings. They will get good grades, get into the best Universities and study the most prestigious courses to become some of the world's most respected people. The dreams of a new parent are endless. And they all have to do with your child being the best.
And then the shock. Asthma. Allergies. ADHD. Cerebral Palsy. Cystic Fibrosis. Down's Syndrome. Autism.
Slowly those dreams of a perfect child start fading away. She will never be a world class athlete. He will never go to a regular school or go to University. She might not even survive into adulthood. He will never change the world.
Those dreams are shattered.
It is normal to go through the stages of grief when your expectations are hit over the head with a very heavy frying pan. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. No one tells you how long your grief should last and to be fair, they can't. Everybody goes through the same stages at their own pace until acceptance sets in.
The problem I see is that many parents are stuck at anger and assigning blame. There is no reason why you shouldn't be angry, don't get me wrong, but it is important to move past it. They are searching for answers, trying to blame someone or something for their child's condition. Often vaccines are found to blame. I'm not debating whether this is true or not (not today, anyway).
When parents blame vaccines for their child's condition a few things happen. They are furious with the government, scientists and doctors who told them that they didn't have a choice or that vaccines are safe. They pursue legal routes to be compensated for their damaged child who will never change the world as they imagined.
They scream at the top of their lungs (or with the caps lock key on) that vaccines are dangerous, that their child is injured and damaged beyond repair and it is all to blame on the government. Vaccines are a conspiracy.
But here is my problem with this: where is your child in the equation? Somewhere between your shock and anger you have forgotten that you have a child. You are treating your child like a possession, damaged goods that cannot be returned that you are now stuck with for life.
But what about your child?
Have you heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? It basically means that whatever you believe to be true will become true. If you see your child as naughty, arrogant, damaged - that is exactly what he/she will become.
Have you forgotten that your child is still a human being? Have you considered that God made your child exactly the way He intended, whether it is a birth defect or some other external factor? Why, instead of blaming the world for your misfortune, don't you sit down, look at your child and ask "What should I learn through my child's condition?"; "How can I give this child the best within his/her own limitations?"; "What does God want from my child in this world?".
Even a perfectly healthy child may never live up to his parents' preconceived ideas and dreams. These are questions every parent should ask themselves about their own unique child. Your child is not your possession. He is not a carbon copy of you. She is not a piece of pottery to be carved into the shape you want.
This is a child, a person in his own, someone who will grow up to change the world in his own unique way. It may not be what you expected, but it will mean something to someone.
YOUR CHILD IS NOT DAMAGED
Your child is perfect in his/her own special way. If you can just stop staring at the imperfections, you might just finally see the beauty, the perfection, the person inside of your unique child. Once you see that, you can nurture that child to become the best version of herself that she can be. You will reach acceptance. You will be at peace and your rage will subside.
Look at your child. Do you see the person?