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Guest Mom Laura: Never Losing a Child to a Preventable Disease

A few times a month Colorado Mom2Mom will feature a guest post from another Colorado parent who shares the same fears as you, has personal stories to tell and chooses to vaccinate their children. I hope that these different perspectives will help you feel confident in your choice to vaccinate your child. If you are a Colorado parent who wants to write a post email us!

Welcome our very first Guest Mom – Laura!

LaLaGirl Laura's Family

Laura, also known as LaLaGirl, is the mother of a crazy teenager and two sets of elementary school-age twins. She’s happily married, loves living in Colorado, and writes almost daily about married life, raising multiples, and parenting a child with autism. Although she’s a stay-at-home mom, she feels that the title is a bit misleading, as she seems to spend most of her time in the car. When she isn’t driving children to various play dates and activities, Laura spends a great deal of time doing laundry, stepping on wayward Legos, and sharing stories about her life at lalagirl.org.

The obituary was short – just one small paragraph, summing up the tragic, yet all-too-common death of an innocent child.

Carl Nelson, 2 ½-year-old son of  Mr. and Mrs. Nels Nelson of Ridgefield, passed away Tuesday night from the effects of that dread disease, diphtheria.

The year was 1918, and Carl Nelson was my grandfather’s baby brother. I never knew much about him until I happened to stumble upon my grandfather’s baby book. I found one handwritten sheet of paper, listing baby Carl’s vital statistics and the details of his tragic death.

Even more heartbreaking was the poem my great grandmother wrote in his memory. It begins,

We watched our darling boy, through the nights, until the early dawn. He closed his eyes, but to wake in a brighter morn.

I was overwhelmed by the fresh pain I felt, reading the words written in her flowery, font-like cursive nearly a century ago. These aren’t the words of some long-gone matriarch, present only in faded black and white photographs. These are the words of a grieving mother, someone my own age, who lost her precious child.

Thankfully, few of us will ever have to imagine the pain of losing a child to a disease like diphtheria. Thanks to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccination, diphtheria has been virtually eradicated from our country.

Imagine a century ago, if families could somehow catch a glimpse of the future and know that through the miracles of modern science, vaccinations would one day wipe out many childhood diseases. It’s akin to us imagining our future generations living in a world free from cancer, STDs and obesity.

Realizing how far we’ve come in less than a century makes it that much harder for me to understand the new trend of parents refusing to vaccinate their children. It’s hard to even get my head around the idea that diseases such as small pox, polio, measles, and whooping cough are on the rise in our country – after they’d been eliminated for decades!

Now the question seems to be, how do we undo all the fear and misinformation and reassure a nation of freaked out parents? I’m not sure what the answer is. The results of the original study that showed a link between autism and the MMR shot have already been officially retracted. But how far will that go with uneasy parents?

As the mom of an autistic child, I faced these same fears myself. I’ll admit that I thought long and hard before giving my younger children the MMR vaccine, but after reading up on every bit of information I could get my hands on, I decided it was in my children’s best interests to get vaccinated.

Really, I think that’s all any of us parents can do – educate ourselves as best we can and be thankful we live in an age where we don’t have to worry about losing our children to preventable diseases the way our ancestors did.

{PS Also check out Laura’s great vlog on “Is Autism Caused by Vaccinations?”}

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