To my surprise, I became an anxious mother. I stress every decision I make for William. I made a long list of pros and cons, discussed everything with my partner, slept, and finally prayed — worked hard — to make the right choice. As stupid as I sometimes feel, I know other parents feel the same way.
Regardless of your background or level of knowledge before becoming a parent, something happens in our brains when we find ourselves responsible for the well-being of a new little person. Every decision suddenly seems significant.
Knowing and even accepting that many parents sweat for the small and the big, I think many may be struggling with the last big parenting decision – vaccinating our children against Covid-19. That’s why I decided to get William vaccinated.
In order for my baby to get as much sleep as possible at night, I need to know that I am doing everything I can to protect my baby from severe Covid-19 infection, known long-term effects and unknown illnesses.
Second – and maybe that’s where being a pediatrician helps – I know that vaccines are short-lived in the body and have a specific mission. It commands the body to produce protective antibodies against Covid-19, which are then quickly broken down by the body’s own cellular machinery. For that reason, it really doesn’t have any reasonable way of interfering with my little William’s development, which is something I’ve been thinking about.
Finally, in addition to believing in the rigorous process a vaccine goes through to get approval, I believe that the FDA and CDC have recruited some of the brightest minds of our time to join the panel. The data has been reviewed and a green light for a vaccine is recommended.
I understand that fear may continue to drive choices for many other parents, just as I understand that it may take more than one anxious mom to share what makes her feel better before these parents feel confident and ready to vaccinate their children.
I have a message for these parents: I hope you can break away from the online chat that keeps us questioning our choices, and instead find a pediatrician who will listen and address your specific concerns.