Join Me on My Journey as a Concerned Parent
Apr 08, 2010
Every Child By Two Welcomes Christine Vara as Our
New Co-Editor on Shot of Prevention
By Christine Vara
Who am I?
Well, to sum it up, I am an educated woman with a diverse background in communications and public service. I’m married to a wonderful man whom I adore, but rarely see due to his dedicated 25 years of military service and frequent deployments. Fortunately, I have mastered the art of relocating, and recently completed my sixth move in 15 years (which is actually not bad as far as military families go). Throw in the fact that I have five children between the ages of four and 13 and you can begin to imagine how my life can be complex, to say the least.
Friends and family would agree that I am an overachiever. While I hate to admit it, I’m also a perfectionist who often struggles with the decisions that I make as a mother. I would say that while I can make decisions, I struggle with the possibility that I might make the wrong decision, so I commonly belabor every choice. I try to be fair in how I formulate my opinions as a mother, wife and woman in my day-to-day life. I believe that there are two sides (or more!) to every story (which is often exemplified in how I deal with arguments between my children). Most importantly, I believe we all have the right to our own opinions and that a healthy dialogue about our views is the key to greater understanding of any topic. Which brings me to Shot of Prevention.
Like any mom, the birth of my first child brought about great joy and new choices that I would have to make. Natural labor or epidural? Pacifier or no pacifier? Breastfeed or bottle feed? Vaccinate or not vaccinate? After much investigation and discussion, I realized that each choice had its own set of pros and cons. Ultimately, the decisions that my husband and I made would forever impact our own lives as well as those of our children.
Parenting choices only continue throughout your life and over the course of the past year, I have come to realize that vaccination is also a lifelong process. Recently, my oldest child was offered the Gardasil vaccine, my youngest child received a list of immunization requirements for kindergarten and another child contracted H1N1. I suddenly recognized that vaccines are not just something to concern ourselves with while our children are young. This is a science that continues to evolve and with the recent attention on current vaccine news, I am now committed to keeping myself engaged in the dialogue.
Join me on my journey
Unfortunately, what I have found is that the vaccine dialogue can be very clinical, and subsequently confusing, to those of us who are not well versed in “public health speak.” The challenge lies in seeking out reputable sources of information to assist us in educating ourselves about the benefits, concerns and effective uses of vaccines to protect us from preventable diseases. As parents, we decipher an enormous amount of information from doctors, scientists and public health advocates, while also being influenced by the questions and concerns of our family, friends and neighbors. I have been familiar with Every Child By Two (ECBT) for some time now, and have consistently found this organization to be a credible source for fact-based information on vaccine safety. For this reason, I’m honored to partner with ECBT and the Vaccinate Your Baby campaign as a contributor on this blog. As a writer and a parent, I will be discussing these issues closely with Shot of Prevention co-editor, Amy Pisani and other ECBT staff on a regular basis.
I invite you to join me on my journey, as I attempt to make sense of the mixed messages I often hear regarding vaccines. There have been several recent events that have prompted both confusion and curiosity for me, and I hope to reveal them to you on Shot of Prevention .Through the exposure of this blog and other social media venues, I will hopefully encourage an open dialogue where I can not only address various questions of mine, but shed light on a multitude of questions that you may have. Therefore, please always feel free to leave a comment on my entries or submit questions for future discussion. I promise to read each and every one of them.
This guest post was written by Alethea Mshar out of concern for her son Ben. A version of this post originally appeared on her blog Ben’s Writing, Running Mom. Like all parents, my child’s health...
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