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August is Immunization Awareness Month

July 29, 2009

AJ had his two month checkup on Monday, and got his first round of vaccinations. It isn’t pleasant to watch by any means, but having read up on the immunization “issue” online I was pretty much waiting for the world to end when he got the jab. (Then again, for AJ “really upset” sounds like other children’s “mildly distressed or annoyed” so I’m not discounting any child being upset.)  We spoke with our doctor beforehand and we got on the subject of vaccine’s and she mentioned that she often feels she has to sell the concept of vaccines to new parents.  I feel that its not only my duty as a parent to protect my child against some of the more pernicious diseases out there (and I’ve had whooping cough and it is NOT pleasant), but its also my civic duty to help protect herd immunity.*

His doctor appointment coincided pretty well with the fact that August is Immunization Awareness Month! Skepchick has a great article about it, with tons of resources for those parents who are “on the fence” about vaccinating their children – my personal favorite, and a go-to for medical type topics, is Quackwatch‘s information on the subject. It’s important to do – in some areas  (including parts of Omaha, where we live) certain diseases like Whooping Cough are making a comeback due to parents who are choosing to not immunize their children.

*That sounded way less sanctimonious in my head, by the way. Picture a Zap Branigan like pose with a DOOP flag waving in the background when you read that…


A SkepParent Mini-festo

July 2, 2009

When I was pregnant, I read a lot of blog articles & opinions about giving birth.  I wish I had discovered the Skeptical OB before I had AJ, but unfortunatly, I found her after the fact.  Maybe had I read some of her thoughts & articles I wouldn’t have wanted to throw my computer across the room.

While I don’t agree with everything she says, Dr. Amy has focused in the past week on two phenomena I’ve seen – almost exclusively online – since becoming pregnant. They are the “Santimommy” and the “Birth Junkie.”  I hear all sorts of online anecdotes about how moms act horrible to each other offline, but have really only seen it online. However, Dr. Amy describes each pretty well. One thing I’ve noticed (and I totally commented on the fact) that gets my hackles up about the way these types of women approach other women regarding giving birth and/or parenting is how they assume that the person they are speaking with has not done appropriate (ok, ANY) research and/or deep thinking about the related issue.

For example, I can’t think of one person I know who has had a kid recently that has not told me they wondered what they would do if they were in the position I found myself in on June 2nd – facing a possible c-section.  Knowing my friends, I know that they (and myself) looked into each possible birth option just in case it happens to them.  I believe in being forewarned and forarmed for whatever might happen – if my doctor had told me she thought I’d have to give birth in a bush wearing a tutu, then gosh darn it, I would have looked into it to see what I might say.

Unfortunately for all of us, we sometimes treat each other as stupid or unable to think for ourselves – and isn’t that what the past 40 years have been about ending? People like the Sanctimommyies and the Birth Junkies seem to think that they are the only people who really have researched or know about a topic.

Which brings me to my purpose for SkepParent. When I found myself pregnant (and even before), I was amazed at how much crap I heard.  I heard even more crap from friends who told me about the crap they heard that I didn’t get exposed to.  As AJ grew, I actually honed my critical thinking skills more and got more interested in the skeptical movement. After I had him, and started getting more sleep I figured that there aren’t enough of us out there to really rally around being skeptical parents, so I wanted to join in the conversation. Here’s a few things I want to do:

  • Speak with science based parenting experts, educators and doctors about issues parents face
  • Raise my son to be a critical thinker
  • Avoid parenting magazines at all cost (they’re pretty much fashion mags for moms & dads, so why bother?

Join me, won’t you?