This week, the actress — who lives in California with her fiancé, yoga instructor Kent Katich, and their 17-month-old daughter, Luna Marie — tackles the tough topic of vaccinating. She shares her and Kent’s decision-making process, and invites you to share your own experiences.
Courtesy Constance Marie
Hey my peoples! Thank you SO SO much for your comments on last week’s blog — I loved to read them all! I really appreciated your support while Luna Marie was sick. I also liked reading how you all got through your little one’s sickness. It was nice to know I wasn’t alone with all that snot! Of course, right when Luna Marie felt all better, Mama ended up getting the cold. Oh boy! That was fun … not!
Anywho — on with the blog. My topic this week: To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question…?
Okay, I know this can be an overwhelming subject. It is for me. First let me say, I am not anti-vaccine but I am not pro-vaccine either. I think I sit somewhere in the middle. I do not judge anyone for making the decisions they feel are best for their child. I know that is what EVERY parent tries to do!
Here is how it went for me:
The struggle all started when — as you know — I had a bit of an issue getting pregnant. I did all that research on the toxins in the environment and I really started looking at the ingredients in everything. I became a little obsessed!
Cut to now I was pregnant and I had to make all these decisions when my daughter was about to be born. My doctor asked me if I wanted Luna Marie to receive the standard vaccinations upon birth. Uh, WHAT?!
First, I didn’t even know that they did that, ya know? Fresh outta the hot, steamy uterus, they give babies shots? Yes, I learned. One is for hepatitis B and they also put antibiotics in the baby’s eyes. Who knew? Of course, me — the pain in the butt patient — asked, “Why? Why? Why?!”
The answer I got was that the antibiotics were in case I had a sexually transmitted infection called chlamydia, and thus Luna Marie would contract it when passing through the birth canal. I thought “Huh?” Now, I already knew I had to have a cesarean because they thought Luna Marie was 10 lbs. and was four days overdue, so how could she possibly get that since she wasn’t coming out my hoo-ha? And the hepatitis B shot was in case I had unprotected sex with lots of partners or used intravenous drugs while pregnant.
My brain went, “WHAT? Wait, WHAT?!” If you know anything about me as a pregnant woman, sex was the last, last, SUPER LAST thing that I wanted to have with ANYBODY, at ANYTIME, ANYWHERE! So how could I contract or have or give her hepatitis B?
I knew I didn’t have any of that stuff. Why would I let them give the antibiotics and vaccine to Luna Marie?
So after much contemplating, stressing and debate, Kent and I decided we didn’t want her to have those inoculations. I learned I could write a birth plan on a sheet of paper and give it to the hospital and they would honor it. I was nervous but Kent and I felt in our hearts and minds we were doing the right thing.
It was really hard too! Ya know? To question what “the norm” was. So that began my journey. And of course, more research and more questions followed!
Courtesy Constance Marie
I looked into the possible link between vaccines and autism. I looked into the benefit of herd immunity — because most of us have been vaccinated, many of the ailments we vaccinate for have been eradicated. I looked into the fact that when groups are not vaccinated, outbreaks can increase minimally — and they do. Pockets of resurgence have been reported.
I looked into the fact that in the 1980s, the vaccination schedule was a total of about 12 versus now, when it can be up to 31 or more. WOW! That was mind-blowing. So many toxins! And lastly I printed out all the ingredients of each shot.
I concluded that there are risks and benefits for BOTH vaccinating and not vaccinating. The conflicting research was staggering. At times it is seriously overwhelming.
My conclusion at the end of all this was that when it came time for Luna Marie’s three month vaccinations, we would wait just a little bit longer. Luna Marie was still being breastfed which helped her immune system a lot. We thought at six months, we would vaccinate. Then, at her six month pediatrician’s visit, I was still nursing. Kent and I decided to wait a little longer. Each time, we really thought we would vaccinate her at the next visit …. and on it went.
Then I stopped breastfeeding Luna Marie at 11 months — not my choice! My boobies would just not cooperate anymore, no matter what I did. (And I did a lot!) Now she is 17 months and she is a happy, healthy, vibrant baby who is not in a high risk category; meaning she is not in day care, does not travel internationally or domestically on planes and has no older siblings to bring home germs.
So our final conclusion is: we are trying to wait until she’s two years old and then we will give her the first vaccination. I believe her immune and nervous system will be stronger then and thus better able to process the ingredients/toxins of the vaccinations.
As you can see, I was not even sure how to navigate this issue. I am still in process I guess. Every decision was made slowly as we went through this. Now, if Luna Marie were to have to travel, get on a plane, go to day care, etc. I think I would vaccinate her ASAP, but on a much slower vaccination schedule. Spread the vaccinations out more over a longer period of time.
I am supportive of asking questions about the safety of anything we give to our children. Questions never hurt anybody. And as you have come to know me, you know that I am also pro-research. I really wish there were more studies done on these vaccines, especially if there are possible side effects. In an ideal world, I also wish there were NO risks at all.
So there! That’s my process, and what Kent and I have decided to do so far. Of course we believe it is the best we can do for our lil’ Luna Marie.
I support each of us in the decisions we make, because I know we are all doing the best we can to love and protect our little babies. I welcome any feedback or information that you all can offer, because I really do believe that it takes a village to raise a child. Sharing information is a major way that parents can help each other! I thank you in advance.
Oh! And I hope you had an amazing, fun, joyous, blissful, relaxing — WAIT! Okay, how about a peaceful five minutes and maybe, maybe a quickly chugged cocktail during the Fourth of July weekend!
Courtesy Constance Marie
– Constance Marie
Update July 12: Wow! Your comments and responses have been overwhelming! I so, so appreciate the feedback and I would feel that I did a disservice if I left out a few things, so here are my additions and clarifications.
To clarify — delaying vaccinations does NOT mean never vaccinating.
1) Yes! All the decisions we have made for Luna Marie have been with information from reputable doctors, with their consent and backed up with reliable research! Ah yes, that is the rub — there is so much conflicting research! “Why? Why? Why?” is my question. That is the part that makes all of us crazy, right?
Here are a few of our research doctors:
Their sites may be helpful for some of you to check out if you’re interested.
2) We did give Luna Marie a vitamin K shot upon birth. No bruisey babies for us.
3) I feel badly for Jenny McCarthy! I don’t know her, nor have I ever read her autism book or participated in her Generation Rescue but geez! How brave a soul must she be? To work so hard to give a voice to all the vaccine injured children and parents dealing with autism and having to deal with all the criticism. Oh boy!
4) Lastly, if I gave the impression that we were only concerned about autism in my blog, I am truly sorry. We are concerned about allergies, asthma, ADHD and of course autism — but lastly, the big C, cancer, which some of the ingredients are known to cause, formaldehyde and aluminum among them.
To all the vaccine camps chiming in: To the “pro-vaxers” I would like to thank you for your — let’s just say passionate — responses. (I always try to be diplomatic!)
To all the “anti-vaxers” I thank you for your alternative points of view and for the information! Every little bit helps. More is more, I always say!
Finally to the “middle of the road” vaxers like me — A special THANK YOU for voicing your opinions! It is truly a difficult stance to take. We do the research, look at the ingredients, talk to different doctors and take into account the entire health of the child and society as a whole. The middle ground is a slippery slope. Again, thank you for your thoughtfulness and for helping me feel not so alone!
I must say, diverse viewpoints and information, as well as the right to express them are very important to us as a nation. So for voicing yours, I THANK YOU ALL!!