UPDATE: MAY 2013: In March 2013 the Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) estimates autism cases now affect 1 in 50 children. Read more about the false science associated with Autism in this April 2013 article.
UPDATE: MAY 12, 2012: Dr. Laura Hewitson at the University of Pittsburgh discovers baby monkeys developed autism after routine CDC vaccinations.
Sept. 12, 2010: It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn from sand, summer and sunscreen to reading, writing and arithmetic.
And vaccines. And flu season.
If you haven’t heard, there’s a raging debate going on in America: amongst parents, pediatricians, scientists, pharmaceutical companies and autistic organizations. It’s called Vaccinate or Not Vaccinate, that is the question.
Both my husband and I were born in the ’60s, a time when parents rarely questioned whatever their pediatrician told them. We also were born during a time when the schedule of vaccines was minimal compared to the almost 30 vaccines available today.
Regardless, I am convinced that as a small child my immune system and my digestion were slowly compromised because of vaccines I received and the basic premise of western medicine which is “one size fits all.” In other words, in western medicine, we treat symptoms by applying a single concept across the entire population.
Here are the highlights: From birth I was a very colicky baby who — at the advice of my pediatrician — was given formula INSTEAD of breast milk. By two, I was a regular penicillin taker as I was continuously plagued with strep throat, tonsillitis and colds. I can still vividly remember my parents having to hold me down to get me to take the penicillin, as well has having traumatic memories of ice-cube baths in the middle of the night to bring down fevers associated with strep and tonsillitis. Having zero population of good bacteria in my system, I was on a downward spiral from there. I remained a scrawny child, extremely thin, consistently plagued by regular diarrhea and vulnerable to every bug that came along — including a very bad case of salmonella that I contracted at a state fair that landed me in the hospital for a week at the age of 10. At 16 I contracted mononucleosis, and believe me, it had nothing to do with kissing. At 19, I started experiencing chronic gall bladder attacks that western medicine treated with 1) placebos (it must be in my head); 2) tranquilizers (it must be stress). Never once was diet questioned. By the time I was in my 30s I had unexplained infertility, chronic acne and chronic fatigue, chronic sore throats and was taking antibiotics every 3-6 months.
Now western medicine does some things really, really well. Like trauma, and reproductive medicine. And it’s getting more and more holistic as humanity continues to evolve and become more and more enlightened. However, it wasn’t until I started studying Ayurvedic Medicine that I was able to learn of the body’s ability to heal itself. One reason I so love the teachings of Ayurvedic Medicine is that is sees each person as unique as the different snowflakes that fall. That means that different healing modalities work for different people when we are in a healing crisis, and no one concept works for everyone. It was through Ayurveda and yoga that I was empowered to reverse my symptoms and finally give birth to a healthy baby boy at the age of 45.
You can imagine my trepidation when it came time to vaccinate our perfect, beautiful child.
It actually started before he was born. In the process of making my birth plan, I was shocked to learn that as a matter of standard practice, all hospitals give the Hepatitis B vaccination at birth. Now, Hep B is contracted one of two ways: shared needles and unprotected sex.
Huh?? My newborn? Unprotected sex? Shared needles?
Upon further investigation I learned if the mother has Hep B it can be passed to the child during child-birth. By connecting the dots I soon realized this was more about the hospital protecting itself from a lawsuit than it was about protecting my son.
First vaccine: No.
As I continued to examine the evidence by reading books, searching on the internet and talking to friends, family and health care professionals that I respect, the case against vaccinating began to mount. Including a rate of autism in boy babies in California that is 1 in 90.
Then, I came across this video. It’s an interview from Dr. Maurice Hillerman, a doctor at Merck who developed vaccines. In the video he talks about how vaccines were injected into millions of Russians and Americans, knowingly, that were laced with undetectable, cancer-causing viruses. That, combined with very compelling research on how polio was on the decline BEFORE the polio vaccine was developed, really got my attention.
So I began digging. And digging. Funny thing: when you start to explore a certain frequency, amazingly the universe will respond with exactly what you need. All you have to do is ask the questions. When the student is ready, the teacher will come.
Dr. Lauren Feder, our family physician, came into our lives at exactly the right time. Her book on vaccinations was going to press and came out one month before my son was born. I had very mixed feelings about vaccinating before I read her book. What it did was help me get clear on my choice. I love that she is SO neutral about it, and the book accomplishes the goal of informing, which empowers parents to make the choice that is right for them.
Within six months of making the decision not to vaccinate, stories started to come to us from every direction of individuals who had negative experiences with vaccines: One man in our neighborhood was given the polio vaccine as a child and, as a result, contracted polio. Our nanny, who we hired to work with us when our son was little, was given several vaccines as a child in the ’80s. As her mother discovered adverse reactions occurring following a vaccine, she withdrew her daughter from the vaccine schedule and chose not to continue her vaccines. Our former nanny (who is now a friend) is one of the most radiant, beautiful, intelligent, healthy and glowing individuals we know. My yoga teacher, who received the pertussis/whooping cough vaccine as a child — and again received the booster as an adult (the whooping cough vaccine is not a life-long vaccine) just last year contracted whooping cough — despite the fact that she was vaccinated for it twice!
Another two strikes against vaccinating.
Then, Jenny McCarthy hit Oprah.
Let me tell you (and if you are a parent, you know): when you hear the truth, especially when it relates to making a decision about your child, you know it. It has a ring to it. When I heard Jenny describe how her son LITERALLY went — overnight — from a vivacious, lively child, to one that was dead in his eyes, I knew she knew it was from his vaccines.
Part of making the choice not to vaccinate for me included making a commitment to learn how to cultivate my son’s immune system. Consciously. In other words, not vaccinating to me means taking charge of my son’s health in a way that most parents probably never even consider. It means it is my most important, full-time job.
I also decided I would rather spend my time cultivating his health than reversing negative affects of vaccinations.
I don’t work, I am a stay-at-home mom. Are there sacrifices with this? Yes. Do we have the lavish lifestyle that we could have if I also worked? No. But wealth to me is not nearly as important as taking the time to cook nutrient-rich foods that will build my son’s immunity. Wealth to me means giving my son the very best start he can have, which included nursing him for 18 months; giving him only breast milk for the first 6 months of life; educating myself on how to stimulate his immune system to grow naturally by using homeopathy; and making sure that his immune system is growing in a way that will prevent him from getting sick in the first place. If I had to work to put food on my table, I am unsure of the choice I would make. If I were a single parent and had to put my child in daycare from the age of three months old, I might have chosen to vaccinate because I don’t know that I would have the time or the financial resources to make it work. That is why this is an extremely personal and individual decision.
Stories of children who get vaccines for the chicken pox and still get them abound. People with compromised gastrointestinal systems (like I used to have) are walking around unaware their problem may have started when they were very small. Parents with children recovering from autism have extensive stories how cutting commercialized wheat and dairy out of their children’s diets have improved their children’s symptoms. And following a nutrient-rich diet, like the one outlined at www.nourishedkitchen.com, benefits the entire family because it’s also delicious.
Educating yourself on how to keep your family healthy is an ongoing process. All I know is what I see. My son is now almost three. We can count on one hand the number of times he has been sick. We use Dr. Lauren’s book on Natural Babycare as a family guide for us all in the use of homeopathy to treat and reverse symptoms before they become full-blown illnesses. Recently we saw a HUGE improvement in our digestion by switching to only grass-fed beef and dairy products. And we continually supplement with green drinks and probiotics as an inoculation against illness.
I hope this has helped those of you who are still making your decision. It is a very, VERY emotionally challenging choice and clearly there is no guarantee on either side. I do know that fear has sold a LOT of drugs in this country. I should know: I used to do investor relations for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.