Here I am, just a couple of days into NaBloPoMo, and already behind. I *did* remember to write a little something yesterday, but I neglected to post it. So, hello, I’m post-dating it. And that’s just going to be our little secret, ‘kay?!
Today I’m thinking about the flu vaccine. My son had his nine-month well-baby appointment today, and the nurse and the pediatrician both brought it up. I declined it for today, but took the CDC-published info packet.
It’s a complicated decision, for a lot of parents. And it’s gotten a lot of publicity and thought on the internet. For us, there are the ‘normal’ factors: the vax doesn’t protect against all the possible strains of the flu; the vax itself can cause mild flu symptoms; the vax can, in more rare cases, cause serious reactions; the preservatives used by SOME of the manufacturers have been linked to autism. And then there are the ‘special’ factors: NewDotDad is in the health professions field, so he spends his days in hospitals full of germy people – and he comes home in his germy scrubs and germy shoes. There are factors that weigh in toward not needing the vaccine, too: NewDotBaby is still breastfeeding, so he’s getting a great immunological boost through that; he is also at home with me full-time, so he’s not around random germy kids at daycare or in nursery at church; and I really don’t want him to have it.
I can’t even put into words my underlying dread of this vaccine. We have had all of his “regular” vaxes done on schedule, and he has never had a negative reaction to any of them. But this one bothers me.
Here’s the crux of the difficulty though: what if I give him the shot, and he has a bad reaction or gets very sick – I will *hate* myself for going against my better judgement. Or, what if I don’t give him the shot, and he gets the flu and does end up hospitalized – I will *hate* myself for not listening to NewDotDad and our pediatrician. So either way, there is a big chance that my little guy will end up miserable, and I will too.
I don’t have a nice, neat conclusion today. I don’t know what I’m going to end up doing about this. I just know that this whole parenting gig seems to be getting tougher as time goes by.