Do you still believe the old saying “The doctor knows best”? My pregnancy with my oldest child was my first experience with regular medical care, and I was young and uninformed and very much in need of medical guidance. Whatever my doctor said, I viewed as truth and I took the “doctor’s orders” thing pretty seriously. It was when I was at the hospital after the emergency c-section of my son (that’s a story for another time!) that I first started questioning routine practices and started challenging the system. The nurses informed me that I needed to start my son’s immunizations and I was handed the information sheets on the various shots they wanted to administer to my newborn. At the hospital I was told that I must do the immunizations “or he couldn’t go to school”. This actually was not a very compelling argument for me at the time when my baby was still hours old, school was years away AND we were discussing homeschooling anyway. As I read through the immunization information, the hepatitis B sheet in particular caught my eye and got me suspicious. I don’t remember the exact wording at the hospital, but this is the information I found on WebMD . You can contract hepatitis B if you:
- Have sex with an infected person without using a condom.
- Share needles (used for injecting drugs) with an infected person.
- Get a tattoo or piercing with tools that weren’t sterilized.
- Share personal items like razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.
Now, we are speaking of a newborn here, and my baby was not at risk for any of these things! He can’t shave, tattoo’s are OUT, and let’s not even discuss the first two options because I did not care to think of either at that moment! Now, amidst warnings and some downright hostility from the nurses on staff at the hospital, I left without any immunizations, but was told I must have them done at my baby’s first well child visit or we would “fall behind”. I ended up calling a pediatrician friend of mine because I was not sure what to do since this was over my head and all I knew is that I did not have peace about the situation. She told me that the main reason that the Hepatitis B immunization is given to babies is not that they need them as infants, but that there is no other time like the hospital stay to get them done in an efficient manner for the general population. What? In my mind this was a case of convenience for the health department with no thought to each individual baby and what the “unnecessary at the time” immunization might do to a tiny baby’s little immune system. This also seemed to push a social agenda that my husband and I were not comfortable with. We ended up choosing to forgo any vaccinations until we did more research. And my research over the last eight years has led us to not vaccinate any of our four children unless a situation (such as overseas travel) would make it necessary in the future. You may not agree with me on vaccinations, and that is fine. If you do choose to vaccinate, going the route of scheduling the vaccinations and spreading them over a longer period of time seems wise and that has been the choice of some close friends and family members. My own situation was an eye-opener for me that YES, when I was not comfortable with routine medical care, I COULD and SHOULD voice my concerns, conduct my own research, and CHOOSE what I viewed as the best option for my family. I am convinced that no one can possibly have a child’s best interests at heart as much as loving parents. This is a dangerous thought in today’s day and age and the mounting stories of parental rights being revoked because they chose to deny treatment for their child.
Now before you think I devalue all doctors, let me just say that I appreciate those in the medical field and I think there are some excellent doctors out there, and I have had some knowledgeable and compassionate care over the years. I do however think that there also are a some in the medical field who are “practicing medicine” in the most literal interpretation of that phrase! They wear the respected white coat of a physician, but their diagnosis and orders should be taken with a grain of salt and each person needs to take responsibility for their own health and well being. I believe this is true of whatever information we receive- from doctors, friends, or the internet! Do your own research and weigh what you are hearing with some other objective and science backed sources.
My husband is a firefighter who often assists with medical calls and is trained in emergency medicine and I respect and appreciate his service. The truth of the matter is that we will always need doctors and emergency personnel, but the direction that I have been heading slowly since the birth of my first child eight years ago is towards empowered parents who can confidently care for their children at home, and medical intervention for more urgent care situations or if home care does not bring about the necessary results. So instead of being my first choice, going to the doctor is more of a last choice for me.
A holistically minded friend of mine recommended the book “How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite Of Your Doctor” by Robert Mendelsohn. It is rather a compelling title and although it was written over 30 years ago, it was controversial then, and I believe it still is today. He provides great encouragement and insight with practical guidance for assessing situations at home and recognizing when it is safe to stay home and when it is necessary to seek medical help. This is what parents need to know so that they can care for their children with confidence!
We are blessed to live in a time where people are discovering natural solutions for their health and I am so excited to see the advancements of moms and dads educating themselves to make natural choices for their own families. With that in mind, I have created an upcoming series of blog posts about this book and I hope that it will provide you some “cliff notes” if you do not have the time to read the book for yourself.
I don’t expect you to share all of my views, or the authors views on every subject. We each have different upbringings, different experiences, and different definitions of what we think is best. My only request is that we have mutual respect for one another knowing that each parent is doing their utmost to make the best choice, and for some of us it is a journey of discovery. Our choices today may be very different tomorrow, and that is OK! Please join me in this series and I’d welcome any and all (respectful) comments!
P.S. Do you want to know when the next part of this series becomes available? Become a She’s So Natural email subscriber so you don’t miss out on any upcoming posts!