A Sense Of Relief…

MY VIEWS | | September 18, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Yesterday I had my daughters annual doctor visit. I attend them because I have to, I could say that I needed to since they include shots normally but my skepticism in the medical profession does not allow that sense of reliability.  I had recently paid an amount just to get the  copy list of shots for the school (a rip off if you ask me to actually have doctor offices charge for this service – but that deserves a blog post on its own) and I kept looking at the the 2 shots for MMR and it had been bugging me constantly.

It took a long time for me to speak easily about my daughter’s autism. It took a long time for me to become an active spokesperson on her behalf.  It took a long time to get comfortable with uttering those words. It took forever to stop being angry that this was happening to my baby. Those 2 shots of MMR had really been 3 shots of MMR, yes 1 extra. I had (correctly) assumed that there were only 2 lines listed on the form because that was the norm but knew she had had 3 shots. I also knew that the MMR was a shot under scrutiny about the link of  thimerosal (a mercury-containing organic compound) in this and various vaccines and its link to autism. Yes there are various reports that there is no proof that it causes autism, but then again there is no proof that it does NOT cause autism.

As a mama with a heavy load to bear I have been quiet at each doctor visit. But today I was calm and collected and had reached a comfort place with my situation. I knew I could talk, openly. As the doctor showed me graphs for her height and weight and did an entire check for her, she mentioned we should be getting shots. I brought up the fact that the previous record showed 2 shots of MMR when we had 3. She paused and excused herself to actually check on the records out of the room. She came back agreeing to what I already knew anyway – that yes she had. I then mentioned to her about that link to autism.

She looked uncomfortable as she started to tell me about there being no proof – it sounded like she had learned of that statement to assure and most likely quieten any doubts parents may have. When I added that there was no proof absolving it completely of it, she looked at me  knowing she could answer with no appropriate reply. She knew that I was not emotional, angry or anything – I was stating it like I saw it. I then told her that as a mama I trust the doctors -implicitly. When they recommend vaccinations we trust them. Those information pages they give with each vaccination about side-effects etc list nothing about autism. I mentioned that I wondered how measles and mumps affected kids. I recalled having had both and was still fine. I asked her that if she asked parents whether to choose between having measles or a 0.00001% (I made up a low figure) chance of getting autism which would they choose.

I knew what I would choose, but then I did not get that choice. I then relayed the whole traumatic journey we have endured before diagnosis and after. I shared that we waited 9 month in a wait list to get tested. 9 months – I could have had another baby in that time. She told me that my baby looked good. I told her it was because we took matters in our hands and are making decisions for our kid. I shared my fear about parents who were either not as resourceful, or were too paralyzed by the diagnosis, to seek alternate avenues. I could clearly see her understand.

Driving away that day I felt so light. I am still unsure why but just sharing that with her made me feel like a huge burden was lifted.



  1. 1
    Gaynelle Gilbride says:

    Thanks for sharing. When you write, it makes me smile and then I realize that I’m a human being!

  2. 2

    Wow…what a heartfelt post, and I know that must have felt good to know the facts and be so pro-active with your daughter’s care. The fear of autism with shots was not around when my kids were little, but if it had been, I would be petrified.

  3. 3
    Katy says:

    I’ll be sharing this with my FB community. An important post. We put a lot of faith in our doctors and for me, I was rewarded with shoddy medical care. I think it’s important to keep talking about this stuff–talking about it until all parents are active participants in their child’s health. This is not to say that you or anyone else was inactive, but rather, it was hard to even know what kinds of questions to ask. I know I was taught to always trust my doctors.

    Great post.

  4. 4
    karen M says:

    Thank You for sharing!

  5. 5

    As you know I’ve always had some issue with vacc. I encourage more moms to speak up with their doctors about their “recommendations” for our children’s vaccinations. Glad you feel lighter :)

  6. 6

    It’s wonderful that you have come to a place where you can feel light (and confident as being the right advocate for your child) I have a few friends that I am sending this blog post link to – I think reading it will be good for them Niri. So thank you for articulating beautifully what so many Moms feel inside.

  7. 7
    Karrie says:

    I just visited my son’s pediatrician for his annual along with my son’s father. The office was soliciting the flu spray which now also contains antigens for the H1N1 strain. While questioning the doctor regarding the shot I was shot down not only by my ex-husband but also by my 12 year old son for doing so. I seemed to have embarrassed them, for how could I possibly question and presume to know more than a doctor. Needless to say as I stuck to my guns (respectfully) the doctor said that there is nothing in a flu vaccine other than the antigens. Wrong answer doc! I would love to find a a well informed doctor in my area. One who can bring to the table modern medicine as well as alternative thinking and medicine.

  8. 8

    I am proud of you Niri and in awe of your strength

  9. 9
    Stephanie Hodges says:

    Thank you for sharing how you feel in your life experience with your child. I also select vaccinations for my child and doctors look down on me like I am a young irrisponsible immature mother. Vaccinations that was recalled or showed problems in the past was advertised just as they advertise these ones today. They advertise them as safe and protective then and still do now, even when they re called or re-made them.

    Good for you in being calm, collected and going with your heart. Just because a doctor went through 8 years of medical school etc, doesn’t make them an expert or else they would know what causes autism in the first place or any other syndroms or disorders that the cause is unknown.

  10. 10
    Allie says:

    Niri you write just as you are and when you write posts like this I can hear you speaking . From one mama to another I am so thankful you have a big voice and platform to share , because it’s important.

  11. 11

    Once again I applaud you. I was always that one parent that was too afraid to speak up or do anything, just would ask nicely and let the Docs shut me up or disregard me. Until a year ago, then I grew up, after 5 years of asking docs about my son, this year he has finally been diagnosed with Autism, and is now getting the help he so needed.

    I am glad you wrote this post and that you feel better about your stance ;)
    Beautiful picture ;)

  12. 12

    Beautiful. Being able to be honest and straightforward with her is a huge part of the relief, I’m sure.

  13. 13

    We have to be the sounding voice for our children don’t we. As a mother of a son with autism and epilepsy I have to stay on top of Dr’s. We have to remind these Dr’s that they know book knowledge and medicine but we know the soul of our children. Good for you for speaking up and being your child’s voice. Sending you a huge hug.

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