The proof is in the pudding
I find myself in a bizarre situation. Last week I was chatting on my Instagram stories about different baby books and I mentioned that I liked Dr. Sears vaccine book because of the way he broke down each disease and the vaccine associated with it. I did not say that I followed his vaccine schedule nor did I encourage anyone else to do so. It was light-hearted and not intended to sway anyone in any certain direction. The only thing I encouraged was for people to learn more about vaccines.
I want to be completely open and honest so let's start at the beginning. When I got pregnant with my oldest daughter I knew I needed to figure out what I wanted to do about vaccines. At this point, I was indeed leaning towards the nonvaccine route. Anyone who personally knows me this probably doesn't surprise them. But after months of research, I slowly started moving more towards vaccines, the more I read the more I was convinced this was the way to go. Though, I still wasn't feeling one hundred percent confident. It was around this time I heard of alternative vaccine schedules.
Finally, something that was feeling right to me. I sat down with my doctor and we decided on a schedule that was a more staggered approach but still insured our daughter would have all major vaccines by the age of one. Something I was comfortable with and my doctor was comfortable with. A win-win in my mind.
Fast forward to the Gazette taking my 10-second Instagram story and turning it into an article that misleads readers. It took no time at all for people to categorize as anti-vaccine.
Let the shit storm begin.
I will admit that I did not realize that alternative vaccine schedules were so controversial, I also did not know at the time that Dr. Sears medical license was suspended but again I stated that I liked having the book to reference for his information on each disease and the vaccines that go along with them.
So after the Gazette published their story I tried to go into more detail and explain that I am actually for vaccines but it fell on deaf ears. Not only did it fall on deaf ears but I started receiving threatening messages.
"Thank god you took that anti vac schedule crap off your page. You should maybe read a medical journal before offering medical advice to others on social media. You could of potentially hurt thousands of people. I hope you receive some education on the topic and think twice before gloating about something like that again."
"Shut your mouth you fucking idiot"
"I am going to laugh when your kids end up dead"
"So, I sometimes wonder about the privileged folk and people who have gotten propelled in life without having actually earned anything. Angela - you grew up in a wealthy family and have been blessed with caucasian skin, slim build, blond hair, and blue eyes. You've never actually had to work for anything in your life as essentially everything has been gift-wrapped for you. Do you feel guilty at all that you're living a life of opulence that you've essentially not earned? You've done nothing in your life to earn your looks and family money. How do you feel about that?"
"I hope your kids end up in the hospital you stupid bitch"
“Shut your mouth and open your legs you stupid cunt. Stop pretending to be a doctor.”
I laugh even though this is not funny, because it is so ridiculous. All of this directed to someone who has indeed vaccinated their child in a timely matter. In the limited discussion I have had about vaccines never did I recommend anyone do an alternative schedule nor did I offer any medical advice or "tips". I simply was sharing what I did and try to explain that I was not anti-vaccine. I actually encouraged readers to discuss with their doctors. In no way do I think I know more than doctors or that someone should go rogue on the subject.
Through all of this, I finally hit a breaking point. I got to a point that I was feeling threatened and there were too many comments about people wishing illness on my kids that I turned off commenting on my Instagram and deleted everything.
I thought "I let them win" but I am them...I agree with what they standing up for but obviously not the way they are expressing it. I was feeling censored and that is not okay. I was left wondering why can't we have a civil conversation about this?
That is when I decided I had to write this.
I am all for public health but online bullying is the means to get there? Really, is this the answer? Has anyone ever changed their opinion because they were called a "fucking idiot"? The pro-vaccine community, yes I do put myself in that category, we need to do better. We will not change anyone's mind with these tactics.
If you are still in doubt that I am "anti-vaccine" the proof is in the pudding. Not only are my girls vaccinated I even posted a picture of my youngest getting a vaccine recently.
For those of who choose not to vaccinate there is no judgment here, not from me. I respect everyone's right to choose what is right for your family, but if you would like to have a discussion on how I came to decide to vaccinate I would love to chat.
One last note some people commented that people will follow me blindly, which maybe I am naive but I have a hard time believing that. I don't think anybody should follow anyone blindly, ever. Regardless I can not and will not take the responsibility of someone else's actions. But with that said it sometimes takes things like this to remind me that I do have a platform and have quite a few followers so I need to better. I will do better.