Vaccinations is a topic I don't particularly like getting into, but it's one subject that I get asked about constantly. Since I'm asked so often, I figured why not blog about it? When people hear that Brock has Autism some are very curious about whether or not I had him vaccinated. I'll throw this right out there, and then get into my feelings on it. Brock was vaccinated. (Gasp) the horror, right? And he's going to continue getting all of his booster shots, even after being DX'D with Autism. Do I think vaccinations caused Brocks Autism? No, I do not, and here's why. There are children with Autism who have been vaccinated, and there are children with Autism who have NOT been vaccinated. The end. Just kidding. Look, when I found out I was pregnant with Brock I spent more than my fair share time of studying the pro's and con's of every little thing imaginable. To breastfeed or to formula feed? To circumcise or not? To vaccinate or not? To use cloth or disposable diapers. What car seat, crib, or baby bottles are the safest. To have Brock see a pediatrician or would my family doctor do? I've worried about how every little thing would affect him, and didn't go into this with a blind eye. I don't do things just because everyone else is doing them or because it's expected. If the pro's outweigh the con's and I feel it's best for my child, I'm going to do it. Every single thing I do has Brocks best interest in mind. When Brock was born and it came time for vaccinations after I did my studying at home, and read through the risks, and signed the dotted line for my consent I never once regretted it. Every time you put a medication in your body there is a risk. That antibiotic you take for strep throat or an ear infection? Theres a risk. Risk for an allergic reaction, or side effects ranging from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. I'd take the nausea and vomiting versus having it progress into kidney inflammation, rheumatic fever, hearing loss, or a perforated ear drum. If you take medication for depression or anxiety some of the side effects are..well more depression and anxiety amongst other things. Do you risk worsening depression by not taking a medicine for it, or do you also risk the side effects in hopes of it getting better? I'm no stranger to side effects from medications myself. Like I've said before, I've had Crohns disease for 16 going on 17 years, I've taken my share of meds to get better. I stopped all my meds 1.5 years ago since I learned to manage intermittent symptoms on my own..but in the process of learning I also had some nasty side effects like hearing loss, bone loss, facial tics and a million other things. If I didn't treat my crohns in a flare, it could have fatal consequences. There's a risk with everything even vaccines. The pro's outweighed the con's so my child was vaccinated. It just so happened that he was diagnosed with Autism in the mist of it all. If it comes out down the road that vaccines played a part, because there's no way vaccines can cause it because there wouldn't be people with Autism who haven't received a single dose of vaccines if it were, I'm not to prideful to admit that maybe I made a mistake. Honestly we are all predisposed to a number of things, a majority never come to fruition. If vaccinations DO play a part it just means Brock was pre disposed to having it, and the vaccinations pushed it out sooner than it would have on its own. But I strongly believe that it was decided when Brock was growing in utero that Autism would be a part of him. Nothing can change it, or take it away, it's always going to be a part of him. I struggled for many years wondering if I did something differently during my pregnancy if Brock wouldn't of had it, I didn't just always accept things at face value. I know many people have asked me how I'm always so optimistic, and I don't want to lie and say I always have been this way. Anytime something happens to our child(ren) whether Autism or something else is in play, we want to know the how's, and why's of it all. Why did Brock get Autism? I don't know. I may never know, I used to beat myself up over it, but I'm past the grieving, and the blaming. Sometimes things happen just because, and there is no rhyme and reason to it. I have a love/hate relationship with Autism. I love Autism because it makes my baby boy who he is, and the hate is because I strongly dislike how much Brock struggles everyday. I live and breathe this, I see the tears of frustration daily coming from Brock on why he can't do something that is seemingly simple like all his friends can do. Nobody would like something that caused there child so much pain and anxiety. I kind of feel like if you take away Autism, you take away a big part of my son. There are so many things that make up who each person is, and this is a part of who he is. Autism isn't ALL of who he is, but a part of him. I decided a year ago that I wasn't going to sit around and wonder why Brock? Why does he have Autism? There are so many therapies available to help him along the way, and improve his quality of life, sitting around and worrying isn't going to solve anything. It would only hold him back. There have been many studies done on what causes Autism, and there is no definitive answers yet. Only opinions on what this person believes over the next. Everyone is entitled to theirs, and I'm not here to change minds, only talk about my personal experiences with Brock, and my personal opinions. I have friends who believe vaccines cause it, and thats OK. I respect their thoughts, and they respect mine. I believe it's always easier to process something when there is something concrete to blame, and it makes it harder for us parents who have children with Autism when there are no answers to our questions. Until the day all of our questions are answered we'll always be left wondering why. In the meantime I encourage you to let go of the self blame, it's a natural reaction, and fully embrace the blessing(s) in front of you if you're stuck at that stage.