Vaccines And The Loss of Confidence in Mum's Today

“Birthing is about surrendering to a process that is bigger than our actual self. The intensity of emotions during birth will vary from anxiety to excitement, from pain to exhaustion, and from strength to exhilaration. Labour can be such an empowering experience and one that can be used as a platform when facing forthcoming life challenges. Birthing allows us to address some of our greatest fears and find our greatest strengths. It is a journey of self-discovery and self-accomplishment.”
-Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani

In my first two blogs I talked a lot about having confidence as a parent, and through research and being fully informed, being able to stand up for yourself and know your rights when it comes to vaccines. I really put emphasis on the word ‘confidence’. So I thought in this blog, I should explain it.

So then, why is it that parents these days seem to be unconfident?
I hear so many stories of mothers who don’t want to vaccinate their child, but feel they have to because their parents or partners want them to. I hear stories about parents who don’t want to, but get bullied into it by their doctor. And I hear stories about parents just being to scared incase their children catch the illnesses that are vaccinated against. I have even heard a mother talk about being scared of the chickenpox virus. You see this fear reflected in the way that parents rush their children to the doctor at the first sign of a cough or fever, and you see it in the way that mothers feel like they have to consult “experts” on just about everything these days.

Where has today’s mother’s trust in themselves gone?
Do you rely on, and trust your own instincts as a mother? Do you believe that a mother knows best? If you do not trust your own instincts and feel like you have to rely on an “expert” rather than yourself, perhaps you need to question ‘why?’. You may also need to question ‘where?’. Where did the thing (a mothers instincts), that has been natural from the age of time, go?
I lost mine…but now I have claimed it back!
And back I am throwing it. My blogs are my confidence being thrown into other mothers, parents and people’s minds to let them question vaccinations and hopefully help them gain some confidence back too. “They” probably did not know they even took it. “They” probably did not even mean to take it, but they did, and I will tell you how:

Fear.

Motherhood today is full of fear. From what you should eat during pregnancy, potential disorders and defects your baby could have, the size of your baby, which way your baby’s positioned, your blood pressure, what date your baby should come, how long you should breastfeed for and of course vaccinations. Once the seed of fear is planted, doubt sets in and we feel that we need instruction from ‘those that know better’. This makes us submissive and we comply by having these aggressive tests and this intrusive management done without question. We need to know everything is alright. But this doubt has led parents to question their own natural instincts. Basically, we don’t trust ourselves anymore.

After this ‘over management’ of your pregnancy, the final and crucial point is labour and birth. How this turns out, is the crux of a mothers confidence and what decisions she makes for her child afterwards. So, if a mother has a natural birth, she is going to be far more confident than a mother who ends up having an unnatural labour and birth and has to succumb to invasive, painful, unplanned and unwanted procedures. In turn, they lose their confidence. And since they needed the ‘experts’ to help them give birth, they may need ‘them’ to tell them how to bring their child up also. They may have even questioned vaccinations before this point, but now, after holding their precious baby for the first time, there is an overwhelming feeling that this baby is entirely their responsibility. They feel scared of anything that may harm this vulnerable baby and they feel that they can not do it on their own. They may just need the help of these experts, like they have just needed ‘them’ to help them give birth.

This ‘over management’ and these procedures during pregnancy and birth, that midwifes, doctors and nurses put on us, is all very well intentioned of course – and at times crucial. After all, they are only doing their jobs in the best way they know how. But do they know what damage they could be doing to a mother?

Of course we all want what is best for our children, and to protect them and keep them as safe as we possibly can. But why does that have to mean not having confidence in our motherly instincts? Why, when our child is sick and we know that the best place for them is tucked up in bed resting and receiving adequate fluids, nutrients, minerals, vitamins, love and attention, do we feel that we have to ‘just check with an expert’? There is certainly times when we do need to take our children to doctors, but why does it seem that so many parents take their children, ‘just to make sure’ and only come back with advice to keep them rested, give them paracetamol, or antibiotics (which they quite possibly do not need)? It’s because mothers are lacking the confidence to trust that they can take care of their childs sickness on their own.

Not only are we made to live in fear, but this fear is taken advantage of by multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies.
Through scare tactics we have been made to fear illnesses that are quite often not half as bad as what they have led us to believe they are. We have been made to fear illness by the push of advertisements, brochures and doctors ‘chats’. The information we are given contains images of babies and children sick and dying in hospitals, combined with words like ‘death’, ‘brain damage’, ‘permanent disability’ and ‘life threatening’. Also, by omitting crucial details in this information, it leads us to believe that the risk of developing these illnesses and the side effects caused by them are far greater than what they are. They also omit that there are other ways of keeping your children healthy through a nutrient, vitamin and mineral rich diet and supplements, limiting sugars and processed foods, plenty of water, sunshine, immune boosting foods and supplements, rest, a warm healthy home, proper hygiene, and of course love and care. And they also omit that there are other proven and effective ways of treating these illnesses. What we have to keep in mind also, is that pharmaceutical companies make billions and billions of dollars each year from these vaccines, something that can not be patented is not worth anything to them, so I am sure they would do a lot to keep this information away from parents eyes. They need you to be oblivious, in order to keep making these profits.

In Peter and Hillary Butlers second book From One Prick To Another, Hillary explains this process perfectly. I knew that mothers were loosing their confidence these days because of fear, and I pondered on it a lot. But it was not until I read this book recently that it all made sense to me. I had always just thought I was a naive first parent (and I was to a big extent) but with such an unpersonal pregnancy combined with an unnatural birth, perhaps deep down I too (like many others), was deeply wounded by this process. This may have ultimately lead me to loose confidence in myself as a mother and how I made other decisions relating to family health. It certainly took me a long time, including many doctors visits, before I started to question what I was being told to do for my child’s health. Through trusting my own instincts, and not just accepting my daughter’s eczema and allergies as ‘hereditary’, I did not just take the option of feeding her up on antihistamines and rubbing her body in steroid cream every morning and night. I used everything I had, to get to the bottom of what was causing it. And finally I did.
I would highly recommend this book (and their first book: Just Another Prick).

I will explain this process through my three birth experiences.

My first daughter was born in Australia four and a half years ago. Over there, if you did not go private, you just saw a selection of hospital midwifes (never the same). You always had to wait for hours for your time to talk to the midwife and it was a 10-15 minute check up to basically explain when your next tests were due, check your blood pressure and your baby’s heartbeat. One of those tests was Strep B (something that lives in a large majority of us but can be passed on to your baby at birth with ‘devastating’ effects). I tested positive. It meant I would have to be given antibiotics upon my labour starting. This harmless bacteria living in my body was now at risk of potentially killing my baby.
This impersonal way of midwifery meant you never built up a rapport with anyone as it was never the same midwife and always very rushed. So I just took it as that, everything was going well so I did not really care. I knew I was going to have a natural birth and believed I could do it easily. Birth did not scare me, I was so excited about it. I knew I was gong to make myself and my husband proud. It was funny actually, when I went to the birthing class we all had to go around the room and say what our feelings were about labour and birth. I was the only one out of about twenty who said I was excited, the rest of the group all looked at me with wide, bewildered ‘are you crazy’ eyes.
But Birth ended up pretty horrible for me. My waters broke without contractions and so because of the Strep B, they only gave me a few hours then put me on the highest dose of Syntocin. Full blown labour started thirty minutes later. Even after she said that my body had taken over, I was kept on it. My plans for a natural water birth were thrown out the window with me being strapped to the bed with two monitors across my stomach. I needed to be standing up, I had music playing and I wanted to dance a bit and get lost in the music so I could focus on my visualisations I had preplanned. But they kept making me lie on my back to take the my baby’s heartrate, check my dilation, and also to put a heartrate monitor clip on my baby’s head. I remember pleading with them (my husband also) for me to not have to lie down again for them. They said it was necessary though.
Because of the fast intense labour I needed gas. Seven hours later I delivered my first baby on the bed. I suffered very bad tearing at the midwifes fault, by not coaching me through the pushing, and I nearly had to have surgery to be stitched up. Luckily it just took two hours of stitching and I had that long to bond with my new born daughter. As I explained in my second blog, I handed my baby over without a second thought or question and they gave her Vitamin K and Hepatitis B injections.

My second birth was back in New Zealand. At the hospital also, but with my own midwife. She was so supportive and confident with natural births and happy with me really wanting to have one this time. She put the idea out there for tests, ultrasounds etc. but was not pushy, and I felt I had total control and always had both sides to the story. She always asked but never told. However, with my first birth and being used to being told that all of the tests were necessary, I was still under the impression that they were. So I agreed to them all. Including asking to have the Strep B test done (they do not routinely do this test in New Zealand). I tested positive again and so was given antibiotics when I arrived at the hospital in labour. They would have given me 24 hours to go into labour if my waters had broken without contractions like last time (not a few hours). They also would have only put me on a low dose syntocin after trying other methods. These two times I received antibiotics are the only two times in my life. Labour happened, it was so relaxed and calm. ‘How dialated I was’ was never checked, my midwife just believed that I knew when the time was right, and I did. You have an urge and everything changes when this time comes…a good midwife should be able to just hear and see this. I had my second daughter in a birthing pool after three and a half hours. I only suffered from minor tearing, but still needed to be stitched up by the doctor. The only bad thing about the birth was that the doctor growled at my midwife while she was stitching me up, and told her that I should have had an episiotomy (which would have meant no water birth), and if I ever had any more children I would have to have one. I was not vaccinating my baby this time, so I was not allowed to leave the hospital until a pediatrician checked my baby over (and drilled me into how dangerous I was being not giving my baby Vitamin K). No one was pushing me into injecting my baby this time round though! After I told him very sternly that I was well researched and had made an informed choice, he hovered at the door way looking at me with a look as to say ‘that stupid mother has no idea what she is talking about, and is putting her child at risk’. I kept my head up and eyes on his.

My third baby (and now six month old healthy boy) was born in the most amazingly relaxed and calm way possible; at home in a birthing pool with two midwifes sitting by watching and laughing as we listened to music in the dim light. Four hours later he easily swam into the world. It was the most invigorating thing to be able to just let the natural process of birth happen. I was consciously present at every stage of the labour. I just let my instinctive nature dominate and surrendered to the whole process. It was an amazingly spiritual time for me. No tearing too, so I certainly proved that doctor wrong! I had all of the confidence a mother could have. I knew now that I could do anything I put my mind to in life. I also knew that I did not have to comply with anyone. I proved to myself that I was more than capable of taking care of my family without the interference of ‘experts’. I believe now, it was this natural and relaxed birth that has had a cascading effect on my confidence as a mother and my stance for keeping my children healthy without the use of pharmaceuticals. Today, I have the confidence that I could take on any illness. I grow herbs and have my health cupboard stocked up with all things to keep my family healthy if something arises, I also keep us healthy with supplements on a daily basis. I gather a lot of knowledge and become more aware through reading a lot of literature on health and wellness. I also seek the help of wellness orientated practicioners. If I felt uneasy about how my children were I would not hesitate to take them to a doctor, I know that I can trust my motherly instincts and I would know if my child was seriously ill and in need of more help than what I could give them.

I can not stress the point enough how extremely important, regardless of your birthing outcome, that at no stage you should feel like you have failed. Mothers judge themselves all to quickly and they need all the love and encouragement they can get. You should feel like a super mum after the miracle you have brought into the world. A private midwife, or one who supports natural birth (as it should be) is profoundly important for you to have the confidence you deserve in the whole process of motherhood. If like me, you have already gone through this process and have lost some of your confidence, then gain it back! The best way I believe, to do this is to read and research what you can. You can never gain enough awareness and knowledge!

“As women we have all the knowledge and all the power that we need to give birth and to nurture or babies. Such strength is within us, as it has been within all women, since the beginning of time.”
-Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani