Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time

Calculated Risk

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January 2015

Recently had my first round of blood work for maternal serum screening. While the results won`t change what we do, at least we can be prepared.

As I struggle with my own immunity problems this winter (still catching every cold going), and with all the hype and news surrounding vaccines in the media lately, I guess it’s my turn to weigh-in on the debate.

If I ever actually get around to putting thought to screen – I have a whole blog post written in my head – it’s just finding the time and energy to actually get it down. So stay tuned for that. As far as the green challenge goes, I`ve decided to start being more careful about purchasing items with micro beads. More about that another day.

Meanwhile, the blog goes on . . .


So as I said I had this beautifully  blog post constructed in my head, and didn’t actually write anything down. That’s the problem with me and writing. I write things in my head constantly, but don’t take (or have) the time to record them properly. Very frustrating for me. Sometimes it’s useful to let things ferment before publishing them – sometimes it makes the writing better, or you might change your mind about going public with the ideas.

This particular post was going to focus around how having children is a bit of a calculated risk. And the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child has statistics associated with it. And that there are some things we can do to keep our children healthier. Like vaccinate.

I do vaccinate, but not for the reasons you might think. When it comes down to it, I would prefer that immunity be gained naturally than through a shot. Not that I believe in purposefully exposing my child to illness either (a la “chicken pox party”). I worry about the risks associated with vaccines. I worry about how well regulated they actually are, about the contents of the shot, about whether she’ll have an allergic reaction. About how their release and distribution might be influenced by “Big Pharma”. And about autism. I know, I know, the whole autism connection has been disproven. But.

As parents we always have those little voices, those little doubts. The “what ifs” and “buts” and little things that we try to control because it’s our job to protect our children but there are some things we can’t control. I have friends who are educated medical professionals, who noticed a marked change in their children’s personalities and behaviour after receiving vaccines. There has also been some research to show that it is not the vaccine itself that causes problems, but the inflammation triggered in the body in response to the vaccine.

Here’s where things get interesting. I recently read a book called Brain on Fire. The author shared her own experiences tracing the cause of some unusual and debilitating symptoms. She ended up being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. She also makes an interesting case to indicate that the root cause of all mental illness is actually inflammation in the body. This inflammation may be due to an autoimmune disease, and that immune response could be triggered by bacteria. Other researchers have been looking into this as well – see

Of course, there would have to be a genetic component. So maybe in a very small percentage of children, their bodies are genetically predisposed to respond to inflammation through what appears to us as autism spectrum disorder(s) – and it is really an autoimmune disease, that just happened to be triggered by a vaccine early in life, but could have just as easily been triggered by being infected by an actual virus or bacteria later in life. See I suppose we’ll never know.

So back to why I vaccinate. Some childhood illnesses can make children very, very sick, and cause permanent neurological damage. And for some, like diphtheria, there is a treatment but no cure. And no one wants their child to die.

More importantly, I vaccinate myself and my child to ramp up herd immunity. Because herd immunity only works when greater than something like 85-90% of the population is vaccinated. And herd immunity protects those who cannot be vaccinated for various reasons. Like my Mom.

My Mom has an autoimmune disease which makes her immune system attack healthy body tissues. This means that she can’t be vaccinated for certain things. And because she is on immunosuppressing drugs, if she were to get sick she could get very sick. Luckily (in some ways) she is in a demographic that has already been exposed and/or had many childhood illnesses that my daughter could bring home from daycare. (Ironically, her disease was first detected after having a cold. Her brother was also recently diagnosed with the same, supposedly rare disease, after having a flu shot. The specialist had never seen two cases in one family. Would be interesting to further study this potential genetic link).

I also vaccinate for the sake of other people’s children, those who are too young to be vaccinated or cannot medically receive vaccines due to allergies to the contents or the autoimmune diseases I mentioned above. Pregnant women, such as myself also can’t receive some vaccines, such as chicken pox (and while I’ve been exposed several times, I’ve never actually had chicken pox).

So while there may be a risk associated with vaccines, to me, the risk associated with not vaccinating is much higher. Not just to myself and my own child, but to other children. And I will not have their blood on my hands.

Not my best writing, but that’s the jest of it. Speaking of hands . . . washing your hands and other proper hygiene is still the best way to prevent getting sick. But I recently learned that many cleansing products contain microbeads. Toothpaste, body scrubs, all kinds of things I never thought of. Pretty sure my Tom’s of Maine toothpaste is microbead free (see Week 6). I can’t tell from the label on my body scrubs. So one of these days I am going to try making my own, using some of these recipes:

And for some ideas to dispose of what you already have:


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