I will preface this by saying that before I tell you what happened to me, I was indifferent to whether or not to vaccinate. I knew that we were going to vaccinate our kids, but as to whether or not I thought others should, well I thought it was up to them and it didn't affect me.
Until I was exposed to rubella at 11 weeks pregnant because someone I know contracted it from friends who don't vaccinate.
For those of you who don't know what rubella is, it's more commonly known as the German measles and is included in the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. We all probably got this vaccine as kids but your immunity can wane. Mine did. I was immune when I was pregnant with Ewan, but by the time I was pregnant with Cecily (13 months later, mind you!), my immunity was borderline, running on the no longer immune side.
If a pregnant woman contracts rubella, it can cause all sorts of problems with the baby, ranging from deafness to mental retardation to heart problems to miscarriage. This is no joke. I spent weeks 11-20 of my pregnancy terrified that Cecily was going to develop rubella syndrome. I never developed symptoms, but I had to have all sorts of extra blood work, meet with a genetic counselor, see a perinatologist and get the highest level ultrasound at 18 weeks to try and determine if she had any symptoms. She and I passed all tests with flying colors, but even then we still wouldn't know if she would have any symptoms that can't be determined by ultrasound until she was born. She appears fine now, but we still won't know until she's a bit older if there was any damage done.
All because people I have never met decided not to vaccinate their kids.
The decision to not vaccinate your children doesn't affect just you. It affects your entire community and even those far away as in my case. Diseases that were basically eradicated in first world nations are making a comeback because of this. A perfect example is the recent outbreak of measles in Wales.
I realize that vaccines come with risks, although the autism study of the 1990s has not held up. However, the benefits FAR outweigh the risks associated with vaccinating your kids. Please think long and hard about not vaccinating. Because of some else's selfish decision, my beautiful baby girl might never have been born.
Please vaccinate your kids. It's not just for their protection, it's also for those that can't protect themselves.