I love synchronicities. Little Man and I go out on field trips. A field trip can be as simple as choosing a street in our city and meandering about it slowly and purposefully. We like to see what we can find and see where our musings lead. Or rather… I like to do those things while he enjoys riding in the baby carrier on my back, sucking his thumb, growling at dogs and saying “Uh oh…” to any trash he spots on the ground. Yes, I’d like to think he has a keen sense of order and appreciation for the composition of the world around him. In my attempt to model consciousness about our environment and show him that I am listening to the words he does utter, I can often be found ambling along a street picking up what others have discarded.
On a particular quiet morning, we set out on Mary St. The neighborhood was awash in the vibrant gloriousness of early summer blooms. Mmmm, the heady aroma of honeysuckle blanketed us in sweet deliciousness while the remnants of a night-time rain lay in puddles about us and clung as droplets to the verdant tree leaves above us. Occasionally a cool drop slipped from its leafy perch and graced our foreheads or bare arms. Can you tell how much I love the artistry of the seasons here?
While the morning itself was a treasure, the treasure we happened upon was a tantalizing book written by renowned herbalist, midwife and MD, Aviva Jill Romm.
Herbalist? Midwife and MD? How do these things coexist? Her various titles, letters and specializations were secondary to what first caught my eye. Little Man and I opened the door to the intriguing herbal shop and there poised amidst the teas, tinctures and beautiful artwork was the book:
Vaccinations- A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide by Aviva Jill Romm
As a parent who witnessed her son’s adverse reaction to a vaccine and is now an avid proponent of Homeoprophylaxis, you can imagine my mind is relatively made up on the vaccine topic. But there I was, with my hand drawn to the book. I flipped the book open and read a few lines from the introduction: “I am a conservative on my views regarding vaccination, and as a midwife and health care provider I am a staunch supporter of public health measures. I am not so naive as to assume that alternative medicines and healthy living are always sufficient to prevent disease…” Oh great, was this book presented in a way that strives to give room to all views but in the end discredits those views for the sake of the modern conventional norm? I read on:
“Nonetheless, I am also an ardent advocate of individual freedom in health care, particularly when it comes to injecting the body with substances that are known to cause adverse reactions and that may cause long term chronic disorders. In my mind, this clearly belongs to the realm of personal choice.”
Boom! Individual freedom in health care – a whole other piece of the puzzle in the conversation about vaccination. The book came home with me. I can have a voracious appetite for books. Sometimes I start 2-3 at one time. Occasionally the time gets away from me and the books, replete with my notes, dog-eared pages and underlinings go unfinished like many of my paintings. But this one…I devoured.
The book was first published in 2001. Interestingly enough, Ms. Romm includes a segment that categorizes the various vaccinations. At the time of the book writing, the Hepatitis B vaccine was not given to children until at least 6 months, if at all. The practice was still under review and there was some controversy surrounding giving the Hep B vaccine to children at such an early age as birth. Well, I know when I had Little Man in 2012, the sweet nurses were all too eager to administer the Hep B vaccine on day 2 of his life. The protocol and vaccine recommendations have indeed become more rigorous since 2001. And I’d venture to say, there is more pressure on parents to vaccinate and therefore “informed consent” is very much brushed over.
While I have my views on vaccination and I have chosen accordingly, I respect the choices of others AND, I want to continue to be informed of all the angles. I want to research and have the background information to continue to make the best possible decisions for my son and family.
Knowledge that is gathered and wisdom that is then applied to create and apply something useful from that knowledge – that is power. An uninformed populace is a maleable populace and one of the best ways to control a person, or many people, is through fear. Fear of disease, fear of death, fear of the loss of prestige or community acceptance, the list could go on. Fear is one of the greatest oppressors in both our personal lives and in the collective life of a community. Tell a person, or people, long enough that something is for their own good and eventually they tend to believe it.
Never before had I been privy to the very interesting and lurid history of vaccinations! And that is just one of the many juicy chapters in this book.
What you can get from Ms. Romm’s informative tome:
- a wonderful, well-researched account of the twisting and turning story of the rise of widespread vaccination use
- a fabulous overview of the inner workings of our dear friend the mysterious Immune System
- detailed accounts, including symptoms and prevalence of the various diseases for which there are vaccinations
- discourse on vaccine efficacy and side effects
- explanation of “informed consent”
- a useful and inspiring outline of herbs to assist the immune system in its work (this really really caught my eye)
- brief overview of homeopathy and homeopathic remedies that help people that have symptoms of the illnesses outlined
- awesome recipes that pump up the immune system (happy dance for this chapter too!)
I find this work to be one of my prized printed possessions. We’ll just say I drained a number of highlighters and went margin note happy as I read this one. This is a priceless work for anyone, no matter their stance on vaccination. It is a great, open account of the pros and cons, written to help guide parents through the maze of decision-making regarding vaccines: one, some, none or all. For me, it helped validate my own decisions further.
Big take homes for me (my words not Ms. Romm’s):
2: Corporate greed as the underlying modus operandi makes for false philanthropy. Truth eventually prevails.
3: Our freedoms are seeping away with stronger and stronger legislature. We need to stand for our health and take personal responsibility for it by being interested and informed and by the choices we make to nurture ours and our children’s health.
4. Due to prolific vaccination campaigns the epidemiology of disease is changing. Are we, as a species, prepared for that?