March 31st, 2010 by JM Guest Blogger

Monsters Under Mommy’s Bed

I never really had a problem as a kid with being scared of the dark or monsters in my closet. I did have an awful episode once after watching Nature on snakes and then screaming myself to sleep because I could feel them crawling all over me.

My parents were kind enough to put me in their bed for that one. It was horrific.

But regular old monsters were regulated to reading Calvin and Hobbes with my dad and laughing…nothing I ever considered within my safe little reality.

It’s funny though…how the idea of a “monster under the bed” for a child really kind of stays with you as an adult. When you’re lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep, it’s easy for those “monsters” to creep out and attack you, despite all logical, rational thinking and understanding.

Baby M is 11 months old today. I love watching him these days….at lunch he had me rolling with laughter when he teased the dog. He leaned over in his high chair, chubby little hand outstretched towards the dog with food…when the dog would get close enough to open her mouth and try to take the food out of his hand he would pull back really quick and laugh. They did this all through lunch. The terrible thing is that he often wouldn’t give it to her…he’d eat it!!
The poor dog….
…she is very mournful.

But eleven months means that the twelve month shots are looming, and despite my rational, logical ability to balance risks and benefits…despite my ability to make confident decisions concerning healthcare and above all despite my belief that vaccinations are important…I find that the 12 month vaccinations are a monster tormenting me each day.

I keep saying the same thing over and over again. “I just want to talk to the doctor. My brother John didn’t have asthma until he received the MMR and it triggered something where he has had a terrible battle with severe, often uncontrollable asthma.” and I say things like. “I want him to get the MMR; I mean those things are still around and I think it’s really important.”

But truthfully…I searched for a long time to come up with a semi rational excuse to try and avoid giving him the MMR because I’m worried about a fictional monster named “MMR CAUSES AUTISM”

I know this isn’t true…I know the study was shaky and has since been disproved. If it were someone else’s child I’d be all “Crazy talk…just get it, you’ll be fine.” but with my child…I just look at him and think about all those scary internet stories where people are like “He was so bright and funny and then after the shot he was a completely different person.” I’m scared of that…I’m scared of loosing this sunny little man who giggles and has so much personality.

With other monsters…things like SIDS or I don’t know…delaying the Hep B vaccination. Things were so much more clear cut. I knew the liklehood of Baby M being exposed to a sexually transmitted disease was oh so slim, and I felt totally comfortable delaying it until he was more mobile (we would have delayed longer but at the time we were living in Baltimore and there was always used needles around despite our best efforts). SIDS was the easiest monster to ignore…I did what I could, the clear cut “right” things to do and then left it in God’s hands.

But this…this MMR thing is not so clear cut. On one hand, the risk may seem slim for Baby M to contract measles or mumps or rubella…but since these are contagious diseases still present in the general population it is extremely likely that J will be exposed and could bring it home to his unvaccinated son. On the other hand, what if I do give it to him and, like my brother, it triggers something pre-maturely in his response system that leads to an autism spectrum disorder or even just severe asthma?

I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know how to be comfortable with whatever I decide.
So I cry and curl up in my bed and close my eyes and hope the monster goes away.

copyright Bill Watterson.

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3 Responses to “Monsters Under Mommy’s Bed”

  1. Kel Kel says:

    I know what you mean, hon!! I fretted SO much about the MMR with my first, and have so many other boogeymen (that’s what I call mine) with both my kids. Good luck! In the end, we all do the best we can no matter what decision we make.

  2. Alexandra Alexandra says:

    I didn’t really worry about the MMR scare when I vaccinated my daughter. With all the other unvaccinated children (1 in 4 children aren’t) there is a big chance that mumps and rubella will become more prominent once again, and that can kill her.

    If for some reason medical science has failed, and they were right about MMR, which is unlikely given the further research on the subject I’d rather have an autistic child than a dead or disfigured one.

  3. trish trish says:

    I have the same fears now. My LO is 15mo and got her MMRv today and I am fretting the side effects the next 14 days. How did your LO end up handling it? I hope all is well!

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