In making the decision whether to immunise our child, we wanted to prioritise her best interests, rather than respond to fear or misinformation. Just as we did when choosing to home birth. Just as we did when taking her to the Cranio-Sacral Osteopath from three days old, supporting her with Chinese herbs and naturopathic remedies, and practicing safe co-sleeping. We asked questions of friends, family, midwives, our Chinese Medicine Practitioner and our GP, and read the research. It was comforting to find that many scary things we had heard were myths, and other risks were extremely unlikely.
We felt that if our daughter was not immunised, we would have a social responsibility to keep her home every time she was slightly ill, until we could be sure it wasn’t whooping cough, chicken pox etc. in case we were to come into contact at the park, shop, BBQ or beach with a pregnant woman, newborn, or someone going through chemo. This would have meant limiting her life experiences and social contacts significantly, at an age when we wanted to let her be part of everything the world has to offer.
It turns out that she is an extremely outgoing and confident child who loves parties and music festivals. Secluding her in that way would have broken my heart. A very close family member did end up going through chemo when our daughter was very young, so our decision to immunise meant that their close relationship wasn’t affected.
We also wanted to ensure we could travel overseas to developing countries where immunisation is not available to every child. When visiting those places, I am painfully aware how the mothers in those communities love their children as much as I do, and would do anything to be able to immunise their child like I can.