Perhaps it’s because I am blessed to be surrounded by wonderful Australian young mums and dads who like to discuss their lives and always seek to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
During these conversations I found myself reflecting on the role and the meaning parents have in our children's future. We make decisions for them, having their best interests at heart. We move neighbourhoods, sometimes even countries, in order for our families to be safe and to have security in the future.
Only later will we know how these decisions impact on our children, to what level and to what degree.
The hardest decisions we have to make are probably related to our children's health.
And they are ones we have to start making right away. Breast feeding? Not breastfeeding?
While in hospital, still recovering from labour, Australian young mothers are handed leaflets about various health issues. A lot of material is placed at parents’ disposal to help them make wise decisions. For example: how do you make sure your baby is sleeping in a safe environment? Information is provided by an organisation called SIDS. Also posters offering clues about babies and crying, hang on the walls.
Generally, the staff in medical facilities are friendly towards any questions we might have, especially as this is an early stage of parenthood. Immunisation is quite an interesting topic to raise with health professionals. As parents, we can decide to immunise our children and to begin a schedule of vaccination which can start as early as their first week.
But are we really given a choice? With a lot of leaflets stating "Immunisation saves lives", it seems quite hard to say no.
Although it is very highly recommended to use vaccination for immunisation by any Australian Health Organisation, other methods are also at our disposal. However, their efficiency has not yet been proven in pharmaceutical labs.
Quoting one of the government’s leaflets, "Parents should make their own research before vaccinating their child."
Researching the information available
Last week, my daughter Celeste was due to start her immunisation schedule, so I indeed started researching. Little did I know what was in store. How could I have been unaware of so much when I went through my son's immunisation 5 years ago?
The case of Dr Wakefield in the 1990s in the UK caught my attention which raised the possibility of a link between Autism and the vaccination for Measles, Mumps and Rubella.
Could a vaccine be this dangerous? Which pharmaceutical company could be manufacturing a product with such alarming side effects? What about the people, the families, having their loved ones caught in such a disturbing argument?
In 2001, the Medical Research Council in the UK organised a review on the Causes of Autism. Autism, it said, is a lifelong, genetic and untreatable disease. If genetic, how could a vaccination be held responsible for its symptoms?
The UK Department of Health’s answer was - and still is - that even though children's milestone development were completed prior to vaccination, signs of autism would show at the same age the vaccination is recommended.
Could this just be coincidence? Unfortunately, I was unable to find a definitive answer on this matter.
After researching for this article, I have decided not to immunise my daughter against Measles Mumps and Rubella but to go ahead with the rest of the schedule. My son will not receive his MMR booster next year.
I realise other parents will look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions. I can only speak for myself and my family.
Though we shape the future of our children in our every action, in my view I wish to walk in faith in this direction, and I believe that the destiny lying ahead of me and my family has been thought out by God. For me, this walk of faith, making meaningful decisions, makes a huge difference for me, in my life and that of my family. It gives me confidence as both a parent and as a person.
Psalm 23 verse 4: "Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassures me."
Julia Baber is French who has migrated to Australia with her English husband. Julia created “The means to the way”, a non-profit body that promotes French- Australian business and cultural relations around the world.
Julia Baber’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/julia-baber.html