Let’s just put aside the irrefutable scientific evidence that there is no link between vaccinations and Autism. Let’s just forget that for a moment. Let’s just entertain, just for a tiny second before we let common sense prevail, that there is a risk of Autism related to vaccinations.
Even if we suspend all scientific truths, and this is where as a parent to a child with Autism, I fail to understand the logic of the anti-vaccination lobby; if Autism was a risk of vaccination (remember we are pretending), why would you risk your child contracting a deadly, preventable illness to avoid it?
Autism is a lifelong condition, something that we’ll always have to support Poss with to varying degrees. It’s an intractable part of who she is, the bits with Autism are indecipherable from the bits without. But she’s so much more than that, so much more than a label. She’s our daughter, our only child, our funny, smart, loving baby girl who walks around with our hearts cradled in her hands.
Sure, we have hard days with Poss. Days that leave me feeling like I’ve gone ten rounds with a prize fighter. Days when we have to hold onto her tighter than any parent should to stop her slipping into a spiral of depression and anxiety. Days when the world so overwhelms her that all she can do is curl up in a ball and wait for the hours to pass.
Autism can be hard, it can be an absolute bitch. And I know we’re relatively lucky, Poss is high functioning, so maybe I speak from a privileged position. But whichever way you look at it, she’s not going to die directly from it.
So when parents say they aren’t going to vaccinate because a risk of Autism, I find it hard to wrap my head around…
Are they saying that having a child with Autism is worse than having a child so sick that they risk death?
Are they saying that’s a risk that they’re comfortable with?
Are they saying that having a child with Autism is worse than putting those who can’t vaccinate (with genuine reasons such as autoimmune disorders or babies that are too young) at risk of these life threatening illnesses?
Are they saying that a raising a child with Autism is worse, harder, more confronting, than facing a possible world without their child?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. And to be honest, I’m not really interested in finding them out.
I know generally speaking I’m all for debate and conversation, but as Jo Thornly so eloquently said last month; debate only exists when both sides of the argument have valid and comparable points.
There is no debate with this. We vaccinated Poss and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. A thousand times over. Just vaccinate.
I don’t often do this, but as vaccination can be such an emotive topic, I will be monitoring comments on this post carefully and will act in accordance to the guidelines I’ve stated here.