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Motherhood was a club I didn’t know if I wanted to join when I was younger. The thought of caring for unpredictable, sticky children seemed off-putting, and I wasn’t sure why someone would want to do this. I was pleasantly surprised once I became a mother that I was very wrong about everything I thought motherhood was previously.
Fast forward to now — I’m 34 years old and living in South Boston with my healthy, happy little family of Will (husband), George (4.5 year old), and Lily (1.5 year old). I worked really hard for the life I have and am working on not taking things for granted. But one thing I didn’t even realize I underappreciated was my access to pediatric vaccines.
Come on a quick memory with me: I’m shaking with postpartum anxiety. George is a baby eating every two hours and not sleeping. I am sweaty and getting out of the house to go to my pediatrician appointment with so much adrenaline for no reason other than, well, anxiety. I had questions for my pediatrician. Lots of them. When will he sleep? How will I sleep? What if I miss a day of Vitamin D drops? What if George spits up while he’s laying on his back with safe sleep practices? Oh my gosh, when do I give him water — have I missed that completely?
Becoming a new mom, especially if not prepared well, can be wildly overwhelming. Yet, despite having a million and one questions, I did not ask my pediatrician any questions about George’s vaccines. I left the pediatrician with a crying baby in my arms who just had immunizations and worried endlessly about giving him the right dosage of pain medicine if he developed a fever.
Did that sound stressful? That’s because it was. I sought other resources to support, educate, and train me as a mom — the biggest change in my life. (And I now actually work for the group that was my primary resource — Nurture by NAPS).
So why did I never ask my number one source for parenting information about vaccines? Because I trust sound science, but, also, I did not give much thought to what pediatric vaccines actually mean for my kids and those around them.
With all of the news and opinions flying around the world at hyper-media-speed about the pandemic, new approaches to the public health emergency, and so much more, how do we cut through the noise and the craziness of life as a new parent? How do we refocus on how and why vaccines are so important to us individually and collectively?
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