Moms Who Vax Are Speaking Out
May 10, 2012

Last week I heard about a woman, opposed to vaccines, that presents business cards to random strangers, like the pregnant teller at the bank.  The card directs people to information that is intended to deter them from immunizing their children.  While this woman is a prime example of the vocal minority, the truth is that the majority of parents vaccinate their children as recommended.  They just don’t feel the need to advertise it to strangers.  But perhaps it’s time for this to change.

The Moms Who Vax blog is an excellent representation of parents who are speaking out in favor of immunizations.  With increasing cases of vaccine preventable diseases, along with growing numbers of intentionally unvaccinated children, some parents are becoming more vocal in their immunization advocacy efforts.  Parents, like Jessica Parker, have decided to speak out – on blogs, on Facebook threads, in mommy chat rooms, directly to their members of Congress and, most importantly, to other parents who are faced with decisions concerning their children’s health and immunizations.
Jessica explains why she has become so passionate about this issue:

“I never even knew of the pro-/anti-vax battleground until I had children. It was never something I questioned, and it was never an option to consider not protecting them. The mere list of symptoms and long-lasting effects of preventable diseases was enough to convince me to vaccinate my kids. Then, when I got pregnant with my second child, a friend gave me an anti-vax book in hopes that I would change my mind. I’ll admit, it made me angry. The outright lies were easy to see through. All it did was fuel my passion to educate others on vaccination.”

Recently, Jessica returned from a trip where she made a surprising discovery.  A disease, which is now vaccine preventable, had impacted her family in ways she had never known.  Her story appears on Moms Who Vax to remind parents of the differences vaccines have made in our lives today – for us, as parents, as well as for our children.

How Measles Made a Mark on My Family
By Jessica Parker

I’m sure many mothers can relate when I say that family is my world. My extended family tells me where I came from. My parents helped shape who I am today. My sister was my first friend. My husband is my teammate. My children are my legacy. Family is one thing I will never tire of investing in (though I do have my moments of needing a break), and my children are one thing I will always fight to protect.

I recently got the chance to visit my husband’s family in Virginia. I love knowing our roots, so going through old letters and pictures was a must for me as I spent time with his grandma, Virginia. Seeing her eyes go distant as she spoke of memories from her childhood made me realize she was reliving every moment she recounted, from the good to the bad. It was almost like living through them again with her. I walked down memory lane with Grandma as she told stories of her late husband building churches with his bare hands, funny road trips with four daughters, and the whirlwind of moves she made all over the country with those four daughters. She pulled out a big three-ring binder full of photocopied letters, pictures, and every bit of information available on her eleven brothers and sisters. Grandma started down the list, telling about each sibling, who they married, where they went to school, where they lived, where they died, etc.
However, when she got to her sister Dovie Martin, she paused before sharing that Dovie (born January 4, 1902) died at the age of fourteen. Her sister, Ivy Martin (born April 24, 1912), died at the age of four. The sisters died on the same evening, February 29, 1916, in their home, from measles.  The sisters had contracted measles from their pregnant mother, Lillie. Lillie survived, and gave birth to baby Pansy five days later, on March 5, 1916.  Four months and nineteen days later, baby Pansy died from complications from Lillie’s case of measles.

I took a moment to let this sink in. I thought of my own children, and of what it must have been like for Lillie, pregnant, holding her daughters as they died. To know that the baby that you are carrying is probably going to die as well.  (To continue reading Jessica’s post, visit the Moms Who Vax blog here)

If this story, and others on the Moms Who Vax blog, inspire you to become a more vocal advocate for vaccines, than sign up for Immunization Alerts on the Vaccinate Your Family website.  If you have a story you wish to share, let us know at info@vaccinateyourfamily.org. It’s only when we speak out, that we can be heard and our combined voices will make an impact on parents who are unaware or uncertain about the benefits of immunizations. 


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