When did it become ok to bully others? – By Vicky Dal Molin
I’m coming off a weekend where I had to watch my usually healthy and happy son be completely miserable…. And it was all as a result of my decision to agree to my son having his 18 month immunisations.
From the minute I was pregnant it became apparent that the vaccine debate was one I wouldn’t be able to escape and one where there wasn’t any easy answer. I got it from all sides. From the extremist “no vaccines no way” to the frankly bully tactics of medical practitioners “it’s in your child’s interest… you don’t want to see him get sick do you?” As if it isn’t hard enough watching your child get pricked multiple times with those needles, to watch their face in uncomfortable surprise and then to see them suffer through fevers and sore arms and whatever other side effect comes as a result (which could be a lot worse than what we experienced). On top of that everyone seems to have an opinion. “Are you really vaccinating”, “oh I waited for that one”, “it’s not fair for your unvaccinated child to be allowed in schools”. I feel like I’ve heard it all – both sides.
I don’t want to get into the vaccines debate here…. Trust me I’ve read a significant amount about the pros and cons, I’ve spoken to many an adult and medical practitioner. I’ve heard and considered this a lot. And frankly no one side has convinced me either way. But boy was I angry this weekend. Angry at everyone that had opined and criticised my decisions on this topic. What I really want to focus on is when did it become ok to play on a mum’s guilt into winning an argument? Any argument?
You’d think at my age I’d be past being guilt or bullied but when you have a child you have someone else’s life and well being in your hands…. So it’s easy for people to take advantage of that fact to further their argument. As a mum I want to do the best by my son, to make decisions that are informed and considered and that always in his best interest. But I’m also terrified to get it wrong – and I suspect I am not a lone mum there.
The vaccine debate is only one of those instances. I could list of many others. “You’re using the crying-it-out method… your child is going to have anxiety issues”, “you’re going to work full time…. Well I guess that’s one choice… I could never leave my child especially with a stranger [ie childcare]”. Yep I heard that one a few times. Like it’s easy to be away from your child and having someone else look after them…. Thanks for making us mum’s feel crappy implying otherwise.
So heed this judgemental bullies (you know who you are):
- I will decide – without unsolicited input – the medical decisions I make for my son.
- I will thank Dr Ferber for his advice on sleep training…. Where my son now has a full and refreshing nights sleep and doesn’t have an anxious bone in his body even if we did allow him to CIO.
- I will be a working mum and show my son what one can achieve professionally if they work hard.
That’s just a start! I’ve reclaimed my right to enjoy being a parent, to make decisions as I see fit without wresting the guilt forced on me by others and to call those out who cross that line between providing helpful advice to pushing an agenda. That I may not be perfect and may not always make the most perfect decisions… but everything I do – I do in the interests of my son and his well being and for those that want to guilt others – you are free to make your own decisions.