I’m sure you all know that dangerous and life threatening diseases (previously eradicated) like Measles are raising their deadly heads again. Its all comes down to an anti vaccination movement. I thought we were over it . But apparently not. It seems that thousands of new parents all over the world are more frightened of the risk of ‘Giving’ their child autism rather than protect their daughter from potentially catching Rubella when she goes on to have her own child. Leaving her child with severe birth defects. OK, that’s a bit extreme but you get the picture. So I’m here to dispel the myth that there is a link between the MMR and autism. Do I have a degree? No. Am I an expert? No. But what I do have is experience.
For a long time this myth has niggled away at me. Truth is I was one of those parents back in the 90’s that was taken in by it. I had watched my eldest react to all his jabs. He didn’t get his final Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Diphtheria and Polio vaccine until he was 16 because is caused such an awful reaction. Bless him, our practise nurse gave it to him as part of our vaccinations for a family holiday in Mexico. It was no holiday when your entire sons body swells up, feels like it’s on fire and is bright red. But that’s another story.
So anyway, when second RFW came along and the internet was more readily available I was all about due diligence. My aunt said to me to be careful about the MMR vaccine. That a link to autism had been found. Well obviously no one wants to give their child autism do they? I mean, god forbid! It’s like handing them a life sentence (NOT). So like a true keyboard warrior I set about proving to myself this was the case. You see the power of one persons words had convinced me. So much so that a quick google search backed up what they had said and then, hey presto, I was a convert. It’s like a cult but without the encampment somewhere in the dessert.
And that’s the problem with a myth like this. It starts as a rumour. A game of international Chinese whispers. Before long everyone is saying the same and no amount of scientific evidence stops people believing. The world wide web can be a place of information and joy. But equally there is a dark side. Because, well, there’s no one policing it. And anyway, we live in democratic times where we encourage free speech. The trouble is though that the first wave of internet users (like me) were not taught to question what we read. It was as though each web page was a newspaper. Therefore it must be true, right? And there we have it, the link for all to see between the MMR and autism.
Well I’m here to add my own little page to the many thousands out there, to help dispel that myth! You don’t catch autism, you are born with it. And this is why I know the truth about the MMR and autism. As I said earlier I was drawn in by this whole charade. I asked my GP to give middle RFW his MMR as separate jabs and they politely declined, rightly so too. So do you know what I did, I paid a private company to give them separately. At a cost of over £150 per jab. And a round trip each time of three hours! I remember saying to myself what a great mum I am. Look how I’m caring for my child. Definitely an inner smug moment.
Fast forward 17 months and youngest RFW arrived. This time around it wasn’t financially viable to pay for those individual jabs. Oh the anxiety and anguish I went though. I couldn’t provide for the third what I had for the second. But I also wasn’t about to risk him catching Measles or Mumps either. I had mumps as a child and I can tell you it was awful. I still remember the pain. Not to mention that it can in extreme cases cause a drop in fertility for teenage boys that catch it. So this time around, feeling not quite so smug the nurse gave the MMR as a whole.
Now my boys are like chalk and cheese as is the case with siblings. Born so close together they fill each others gaps, almost like twins. Where as middle RFW is quiet and thoughtful. Youngest RFW is loud and gregarious. Middle RFW is a thinker. Youngest RFW is a doer. I could go on and on, but you get the point. One is brunette and looks like his paternal grandmothers side of the family. And the other is a red head and looks like his maternal grandfathers side of the family. But the one thing they both have in common is that they are autistic.
You see I’m in the unique position where I have tried the MMR both ways. And guess what, both my boys are autistic. The one who had the combined jab. And also the one who had it separately. And whilst research still goes on I’m sure into what causes autism, the one thing I know is the link is not the MMR. I’m not here to preach to you either. I promise I’m not telling you what to do. That would make me as bad as those who tell you not to have it. What I would like to do though is encourage you to do your own research. To read both sides of the argument.
I’m not sure what causes autism, surely there has to be a degree of genetics to it though I’m sure. I’m not the only family with more than one autistic child. I think external factors may also contribute but my boys are so different in every way even down to what they will and won’t eat that I’m unsure what those factors could be. Both myself and my husband have auto immune conditions and I often wonder if that is a contributing factor. Either way, one thing I do know is that I would never change them for the world. I love them to bits just as they are.
Do you have autistic children? What are your thoughts on the MMR and autism? Do you think there is a link? Or that it’s a load of baloney. I’d love to hear your thoughts? The more comments a piece gets, the more important Google thinks it is. And it moves up the rankings. I’d love for new parents to read both sides of the story and encourage them to make decisions based on both sides of the argument. So please do leave a comment to push this piece up the rankings so it’s not lost forever.