Questioning Vaccines: How This Mom Went From Anti to Pro-Vaccines


Parenting with the Help of the Internet

My oldest son was born in 2003, just before the era of learning to parent with the help of the internet. In fact, as poor, broke college students we didn’t even have internet! But shortly thereafter, we logged on and I felt like my whole world opened up. In my longing to find mom friends in a new town, I stumbled on my first Mommy internet chat group and found not just friends, but a whole new world of things I didn’t know I needed to be worried about. Little did I know that in just a year or so I would be questioning vaccines for my children.

questioning vaccines

The First Seeds of my Becoming Anti-Vaccine

Our oldest son took a long time to hit his milestones. He struggled to nurse. He was sick a lot. He was hospitalized for a week with a kidney infection when he was two months old. He sat up later, crawled later, and did not walk until he was 18 months old. By two he didn’t have any words that anyone other than me could understand. He also did not play like typical children. He played with toys repetitively, would become fixated on objects like fish tanks, and would flip light switches or buttons off and on for a majority of the day.

During this time, I was taking him for each well-check up and vaccinating him on schedule. In the background, my reliance on my internet mommy friends was growing and I was expressing my concern about my son’s development. I don’t remember the first time it was suggested to me that perhaps my decision to vaccinate him was what was causing his problems, but I do know that this was the start of my realization that I had not done my duty by my son by not researching every single thing I put in his little body and that I needed to work to become a lot more educated. I found myself questioning vaccines more and more.

The Evolution of Questioning Vaccines

A midwife on my local mommy group suggested I check out a vaccine book by a particular author, a trained MD turned midwife and herbalist. The anti-vaccine author went through each vaccine preventable disease one by one. She described the harm that could be caused by the vaccine, the danger of the disease, and then suggested food or herbal remedies to treat the disease should you choose to let your child get it. Honestly I thought, these diseases don’t sound all that bad. Maybe we should just get them naturally? Except tetanus and diphtheria. Those ones sounded bad. I wasn’t sure what we would do if we got them. But all of this was in a book and the author had “Doctor” in front of her name, so she must be right.

Finding others who were also questioning vaccines

Because I was already questioning vaccines, I kept gravitating towards websites, books, and people that would support the view that I was already developing. Unfortunately, none of this was actually research, though at the time I thought it was. True research involves also honestly researching alternative viewpoints.

At our next pediatrician appointment I told the doctor I wanted to hold off on vaccines for my oldest son and for the baby that I was due to have soon. I told her I was having some questions about the safety of them and wanted to wait until I could learn more. She said that was fine and did not question or pressure me in any way. As I was questioning vaccines, I have often wondered what would have happened if she had tried to dialogue with me?

Becoming Fully Anti-Vaccine

My son was officially diagnosed with PDD-NOS in early 2006. PDD-NOS is no longer a recognized diagnosis, but it would currently fall into the group of Autism Spectrum Disorders. I knew I was to blame. I had stupidly, ignorantly, pumped him full of toxins and chemicals, and made him sick. Now I was no longer just questioning vaccines, I was sure they were to blame for my son’s autism. I was now fully an anti-vaccine.

And I was going to fix it. I was going to fix him.

questioning vaccines