Vaccine refusal: how privileged mothers leverage their privilege and harm the less fortunate

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Is vaccine refusal a function of privilege?

That’s the question that sociologist Jennifer Reich asks and answers in her provocative paper Neoliberal Mothering and Vaccine Refusal: Imagined Gated Communities and the Privilege of Choice published in the October 2014 issue of Gender & Society.

Reich starts by explaining that there are two group of children who are unvaccinated, the poor and the privileged:

On one side, there are undervaccinated children who lack consistent access to medical care. These children are more likely to be Black, live in a household with an income near the poverty line, and have a mother who is younger, unmarried, and does not have a college degree. Children who are unvaccinated because of parental choice, however, look significantly different. They are more likely to be white, have a married, college-educated mother, live in a household with an income over $75,000, and be geographically clustered. Although vaccine refusal is referenced in gender-neutral terms, it is in fact a gendered process in which women are responsible for navigating meanings of health, necessity, risk, and state intervention for their children.

Indeed, Reich notes:

In a striking illustration of this, the state of Colorado, which has among the most liberal legal frameworks for opting out of vaccines, nonetheless sanctions welfare recipients whose children are not fully vaccinated.

In other words, when unmarried women of color on public assistance refuse to vaccinate their children, they are punished, but when white, partnered, economically independent women refuse to vaccinate their children, they are accommodated because of their elite status.

Reich’s description of these privileged women is spot-on:

… Bobel found that the women she termed “natural mothers,” who reject mainstream parenting advice in favor of natural and instinctual mothering practices, believed they “wrested control of their personal lives away from institutions and experts and others who claim to ‘know best’ and returned it to the site of the individual family,” even as they relied on privilege to do so…

Vaccine refusal is the paradigmatic example of the way that privileged women leverage their privilege to protect their own children and ignore everyone else.

As privilege facilitates choice, it also potentially jeopardizes the health and well-being of other children who lack resources or whose families are more constrained in their options… [T]hese women’s “choices” about vaccines carry consequences for other women’s families as well. It is thus important to understand how and why vaccines, touted as one of the greatest accomplishments of medicine and the cornerstone of public health, have been rejected by women privileged enough to do so in the guise of good mothering.

What did Reich find?

First, I show how mothers, seeing themselves as experts on their children, weigh perceived risks of infection against those of vaccines and dismiss claims that vaccines are necessary. Second, I explicate how mothers see their own intensive mothering practices— particularly around feeding, nutrition, and natural living—as an alternate and superior means of supporting their children’s immunity. Third, I show how they attempt to control risk through management of social exposure, as they envision disease risk to lie in “foreign” bodies outside their networks, and, therefore, individually manageable…

In other words, privileged mothers believe that they know better because they are “experts” on their own children; they believe that intensive mothering practices “boost immunity” to disease; they believe that disease comes from the underprivileged, and that they can use their privilege to avoid those people.

As they place their children at the center of their neoliberal mothering practice, the potential consequences their choices carry for others remain invisible, even as they claim a gendered identity of themselves as good mothers and condemn others.

What about other, underprivileged children who are harmed by their choices? They don’t care.

Only a few describe themselves as activists for all children, in which they aim to persuade other parents to also reject vaccines. None mention, for example, issues of food insecurity, even as they tout the importance of organic foods in their homes, nor express concerns about toxic exposure in other children’s neighborhoods, even as they agonize about their own. These women identify problems with healthcare systems that limit physicians’ time with patients, lack of transparency in product labeling, or inadequate emphases on promoting good health and nutrition. Yet, few describe efforts to transform these issues for all children.

Mothers who refuse vaccines claim to be empowered by their decision:

Yet, they do so by claiming their power through dominant feminine tropes of maternal expertise over the family and by mobilizing their privilege in the symbolic gated communities in which they live and parent. They utilize resources that facilitate their choices as informed consumers without feeling compelled to support the health or decision making of other families with fewer resources. They also refuse to acknowledge the role their children play in protecting or undermining systems of public health that aim to stave off infections at a community level.

Inevitably:

As in other mothering projects, women who are able to negotiate with providers, complete paperwork, and move through social worlds without fear of state surveillance are best able to exercise choice. As women aspire to be good mothers, key to their gender identity, and remain disproportionately responsible for defining these family projects, they claim and reify their privilege.

  • Steph858

    I’m guessing that there is a lot of overlap between anti-vaxxers and detoxers. So how about someone making something like a ‘Post-Vaccination Detox Foot Pad’ – a detox product that looks like it does something when it actually does nothing. Market it as a product which gets out all the toxins that enter the body from a vaccine so you can get “All the benefits of a vaccine with none of the drawbacks.” Hopefully a few woos will then be convinced to vaccinate their kids on the basis that they can detox out all the toxins that anti-vaxxers say are in vaccines. It doesn’t look like we’ll ever be able to convince the woos that vaccines are safe, so the next-best thing would be to make them believe that all the ‘bad stuff’ in vaccines can be detoxed out leaving only the immunity behind.

  • VikingRN

    Our friend Cia is now claiming to have MS over at an Infowars rant. I am not linking because I fear that readers would suffer a near instant lobotomy.

    • Mike Stevens

      I daren’t go and see.
      Originally, Cia claimed she had nerve damage in her upper limbs from a tetanus vaccine causing brachial plexus neuropathy (very rare, but it can happen, even if it doesn’t happen “immediately” as Cia claimed it did in her).
      That then morphed into “multiple sclerosis” caused by tetanus vaccine.
      When I pointed out her narrative contradictions, she changed her story to one of brachial plexus neuropathy which then set off multiple sclerosis.
      Go figure.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        I really don’t understand the need to tell all these stories other than to make us feel so bad for their condition or the condition of their children that we will just give up.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    So where are the anti-vaxxers? Dr. Tuteur invited those posting on the 2 year old thread to come here, but they aren’t. Surely they can’t be having problems following the link. Why don’t they want to come here and continue the argument? Is there something about the one link that attracts them or what?

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      They probably use the disqus function that allows lets them see who commented on their post.

  • Somewhereinthemiddle

    I thought about all the vax posts and especially this one after a conversation with the medical assistant at my pediatricians office yesterday. I saw a flyer that someone had left about a service that teaches women to be “Optimal Mothers”. No fucking kidding you guys. I picked it up and started totally snarking on it and the office ladies were totally laughing. Then they said that the new level of crazy in the office is that parents of non vaxing kids will demand that their kids not be put into an exam room that has had a recently vaccinated child in it. I’m guessing it’s because of “shedding.” Again, no fucking kidding. I mean… I just… I can’t even. Now the non vaxing crazies are acting like vaxers are out to do *them* harm???

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Then they said that the new level of crazy in the office is that parents of non vaxing kids will demand that their kids not be put into an exam room that has had a recently vaccinated child in it

      How about in the alley out back with the garbage bin?

      The doctor’s office needs a banishment door like the one in Monsters, Inc.

      • Somewhereinthemiddle

        I know right? I guess my pediatrician has been around to see so many parenting trends come and go that her tolerance is built up for the insane bullshit. I asked her staff about why she sees non vaxed kids at all and according to them, she can’t stand to turn away kids need that need care even if their parents are nuts.

        • Azuran

          At one point, you just choose your battles. I’m sure you’ve seen first hand how impossible it is to change the mind of an anti-vaxer parent or any ‘natural is better’ trend.
          You just don’t say anything, do your job, and later laugh about them with the rest of the staff to get your frustration out.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            Yep. At a certain point, seems like for personal mental health, you have to learn to let some of it go. My ped has been practicing for 30+ years so she has been there, done that. 😉

          • DiomedesV

            As long as you do other parents the courtesy of letting them know that you accept unvaccinated children as patients, then that’s fine. As in, with a sign prominently posted in the waiting room. I and other like-minded parents will find another practice for our well-baby visits.

          • Azuran

            Personally I’d take for granted that every single doctor office will see unvaccinated people, and if you are at the doctor’s office, then chances are that the people next to you are sick. Even if they are current on vaccine, they could still have some other contagious illness. So I wouldn’t let anyone in a doctor’s waiting room touch my baby.

          • Somewhereinthemiddle

            That’s pretty much my assumption and how I deal with going to the pediatrician. Every time we go, I keep small babes in a wrap/ carrier to keep curious, sick toddlers at bay. And I make my older ones wash AND use hand santizer before we leave, *then* I make them wash their hands again when we get home. Sounds a little nuts but I’ve learned the hard way too many times that a well visit to the ped can result in some nasty viral funk. I just assume that most kids in a pediatrians office are germ bombs waiting to explode. And if I see someone there who appears to be there for a well visit and I’m there with a sick one, I warn them and keep my kiddo as far away from theirs as humanly possible in a small waiting room.

          • DiomedesV

            You think the babies that got measles in Dr. Sears’ waiting room were touched by the unvaccinated kids with measles? Measles is highly infectious! You don’t need to touch someone to get them sick.

            In fact, we shouldn’t have to take for granted that doctors that routinely perform well-baby visits–ie, that routinely take patients that can’t be vaccinated–will also routinely take patients that can be, but choose not to. Pediatricians need to be upfront about this.

          • Azuran

            Except that, maybe the parent doesn’t know that their kids have measles, maybe they were vaccinated but somehow failed. Maybe they are incubating something and are already contagious without knowing.
            The standard of practice is to take everyone. Deciding not to take unvaccinated children is the exception, it is that exception that should be publicized. Normal doctor who made the normal practice decision of seeing every one who ask to see them should not be forced to put up something that might hurt their business.
            Even then, telling people that there are only vaccinated children will give you a false sense of security. People should just use common sense, hospital and clinics will, unfortunately, never be 100% safe to bring your baby in.

          • DiomedesV

            Standards change. Those who choose not to vaccinate should bear as much of the cost of that decision as possible, and not spread the cost to others. Since I vaccinate my children, I should not have to bear the cost of another parent’s failure. I think pediatricians should ban them from waiting rooms, they should be banned from public schools, and as soon as there is one case in the community, they should forcibly quarantined.

            And the idea that these parents didn’t know their kids had measles is ridiculous. At the very least, they probably suspected it. But being the self-centered jerks they are, they probably didn’t even have the courtesy to call the doctor ahead of time, voice their concerns, and ask about the safest way to get their child care without infecting anyone else. If you’re not going to vaccinate your kid, that is the *bare minimum* of behavior I expect to see when your kid gets sick.

          • Azuran

            You expect too much out of people. Many people don’t even know the difference between a cold and the flu. Many of them probably don’t even know the clinical signs of measles, the first signs are also very flu like. They are likely to think their kids have snuffles or something.
            I do agree that those who chose not to vaccinate should bear the responsibility for it. But don’t expect they will all act accordingly or even know how they should act.

          • Daleth

            Yep. That’s what we did–called good local pediatricians and picked the one whose policy for anti-vax parents was, quote, “find another pediatrician.”

          • Fallow

            Our daughter’s pediatrician office is the same way. They have a very strong policy about ideologically unvaccinated children. We wouldn’t have taken our baby to a pediatrician who tolerated that dangerous crap.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          This is exactly why I’m not a pediatrician.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      DD’s pediatrician had a family in her practice for a while who refused to vax, despite encouragement to do so, education, etc. Eventually, they all got pertussis. (Oh, I’m *shocked.*) When they called to get their kids (large number of them, extended family, etc) in for an appointment, they threw a fit when the practice told them that they could come in, but only on X day because in order to see them, they’d have to cancel all other appointments that day and then have the office deep-cleaned afterwards. The practice sees a lot of newborns, and there was no way in hell they were going to risk exposing a newborn to pertussis. The family whinged for a while, eventually came in, got treated…and apparently still refuse to vax, though they’ve taken their business elsewhere. The nurse who told me this didn’t seem exactly heartbroken to have seen the last of them. 😉
      This same practice has a sick kids’ waiting room. If your kid has symptoms that suggest he/she could be contagious, you’re waiting in there, thankyouverymuch.
      Reason #357 I love this practice.

  • Sue

    This “maximising my child’s immunity through nutrition” thing really gets me. So all of us who got all the childhood infectious diseases pre-vaccine were malnourished? I was raised on an excellent whole foods diet – much of it home-grown – but I didn’t get specific antibodies against measles and mumps until I survived the infections. My rubella immunity, however, still remains from my highschool shot.

    I’m still really healthy – hardly ever get colds despite exposure to viruses at work – but I still get vaccine boosters to keep up my specific immunity.

    But what would I know? I’m a medical specialist and a mother, but clearly not as really really well-informed as some.

    • Who?

      I just don’t think reason comes into this. I grew up in the sixties, we all ate a fair bit of fruit and veg and some meat, not much fat and sugar, and ran around outside a lot. Did we all get measles (yes, close to encephalitis), mumps (twice), chickenpox (scar on forehead)? Yep. Was that a good thing? No, but it was inevitable.

      Jessica Mitford’s biography describes the death of her first baby, of measles. She had run away from her family, married her true love, and moved to East London. Along with her sisters, she had been kept at home and had never had measles. Jessica was gravely ill herself when her fully breastfed baby died of measles: she had been assured breast feeding would protect the baby from the outbreak. The nurse in what she described as ‘that teeming part of London’ assumed that everyone had measles as a child. Only after her own recovery, and the baby’s death, was that fatal misunderstanding corrected.

      I will never as long as I live understand anti-vaxxers.

      • Sue

        So much for the supposed reliability of “natural immunity”. Sigh.

        • Alex

          Natural immunity is also not ‘life’ immunity, and it is also not as strong as the mother’s immunity. As shown by the fact that pretty much anyone had measles as kid, yet their own kid got it to. It does give a protections to babies, but it’s a short one, and not all that good, basically all it can do is slow down the infection and hope that the baby’s own immune system will start fighting back before the passive immunity runs out.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Also, a natural pertussis infection creates a lot of antibodies not needed to fight the infection. A lot of the IgA antibodies it creates are useless and can actually hinder the child’s own immune system from kicking in to fight the infection.

          • Slam

            Do vaccines have a similar effect?

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            The current vaccine does not cause the creation of IgA antibodies.

          • Roadstergal

            No. Vaccines stimulate the immune system with a non-infectious version of the pathogen, in adjuvants that biases the response towards protective IgG antibodies, generating memory cells that confer long-lived immunity.

          • Slam

            It’s very doubtful that adjuvants stimulate anything other than a toxicity response. Because it’s simultaneous to the response against the targeted pathogen, we tend to confound them.

          • Roadstergal

            Heh. Regurgitating a word salad of terms that sounded good to you when you skimmed an anti-vax article doesn’t convince. “Toxicity response”?

            Adjuvants have been _extensively_ characterized.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Breast feeding provides some protection via passive antibody transmission to the baby. But only of antibodies that the mother has. Poor Mitford had never had measles so didn’t have antibodies against it to pass to her baby.

        • Roadstergal

          But the only antibodies breastfeeding transmits are IgA, fairly useless against VPDs. If a mom has immunity, she can transmit IgG through the placenta that can confer some protection on the newborn, but IgG has a half-life of about two weeks, so after a month and change, that’s basically all gone…

      • Slam

        Most pro-vaxxers defend vaccination on an emotional basis.

        • Who?

          Your point?

        • Nick Sanders

          Really? I thought we defended it on the statistics.

    • JJ

      I think the “nutrition makes you super-immune” people like the I idea that they are 1. In control 2. Can DIY their medical care. 3. Have special information. Unfortunately it is not true and dangerous.

      • Chris Preston

        This really is at the bottom of the argument. It is the same sentiment that is mentioned in the paper.

        “wrested control of their personal lives away from institutions and experts and others who claim to ‘know best’ …”

        In my opinion, many of these people are control freaks and being in control is more important than following the evidence. It is the same with people who choose to ignore their doctor’s advice about other health issues and to get their medical information from the internet. They get to choose what treatment they use. It is pretty harmless for benign things like the common cold, but deadly when it comes to more important infections or cancer. Society seems comfortable putting up with silliness like homeopathy on the basis that it does little harm, perhaps what they don’t see is that doing so encourages other activities, like anti-vaccination.

        • Slam

          Can doctors be wrong?

          • Megan

            Sure they can but they’re a lot less likely to be wrong than someone with no medical training. And they’re very unlikely to be wrong about something like the efficacy and safety of vaccines, which has literally thousands of scientific peer-reviewed studies to back it up.

          • Slam

            If we’re talking about vanilla doctors in their office in a clinic, then yes, they don’t know a lot about vaccines. And almost nothing about nutrition. And almost nothing on chemotherapy.

    • Liz Leyden
      • Slam

        Eating McDonald’s has absolutely no effect on health, apparently.

  • just me

    I’m horrified that the welfare moms get in trouble for not vax’ing but others don’t. Why hasn’t someone sued under the equal protection clause? All should be treated the same. And preferably all would be required to vax.

    • Slam

      You can’t force someone to be medicated, especially for something that is not proven enough, yet. Proof requires absence of conflicts of interest.

      • Nick Sanders

        Define “proven enough” then explain how vaccines do not meet the criteria.

  • Mishimoo

    Kind of on topic: Good news! My husband and I don’t have Ross River Virus AND we got our flu shots today. Booking the kids in once they’re over their colds, and the youngest is safe to have his belated chickenpox booster at the same time, regardless of RRV status (as long as he doesn’t have a fever) so we don’t need to wrangle blood sample out of an unimpressed nearly 2 year old.

    • Who?

      That is all good news, very happy to hear it.

  • Mattie

    So I googled the CA Bill, and stumbled on here, now I’m having fun in comments. Especially enjoying the insults being used against me, because they know nothing about me so are just shooting wildly. Anyone else feel free to join the fun, spread some education, have a giggle, http://www.infowars.com/ca-sb277-on-vaccines-moves-toward-disastrous-passage/

    • Who?

      Nice class of person reads that paper. I wonder if you had a male(ish) name how they would insult you, since at the moment the insults seems to be based on gender alone. Oh and your communistic tendencies in wanting children to be well. /snark.

      • Mattie

        yeh, I mean, my name is fairly gender-neutral seeing as it could be short for Matthew or (as is the case) Matilda, I got hermaphrodite, which was different…I mean offensive in that the term hermaphrodite is awful, but not in the sense that ‘OMG you called me intersex, how will I cope” although since they discovered I’m a vagina-owner they seem to have got more anti-woman. With the less ridiculous comments, or even the semi-polite replies, I’ve tried to just engage with them, because at least someone else might see and have a think. But with the total nutcase “I’m going to kill people, you’re all nazis, vaccines are made out of pus” it’s just too easy to let loose

        • Who?

          Yeah, I can’t believe the things people toss at strangers on the internet. How fragile does the ego have to be to rabidly attack like that?

          All fear, all the time.

        • araikwao

          Aren’t nosodes made out of pus? Yet somehow they’re ok…?

    • First Time Mama

      I dropped in for a second, but the crazy is too strong. I feel like I need a shower now. Kudos for trying to fight the good fight though!

      • Mattie

        I mean, some are just crazy, some are terrifying, at least one is just scared I think.

        • Who?

          They are all, at their core, scared. Some of them are also stupid, some are mean, some are both.

          Clearly they haven’t yet worked out that being foul won’t make you change your mind, and doesn’t in fact make you wrong.

          • Mattie

            I mean, the scary ones are the people saying they’ll go on a shooting spree if this law passes, mostly because that could well happen and would be horrific. Also the people saying they might move back to England, lol no thanks we don’t want you, keep your diseases there.

          • Who?

            Anyone threatening a shooting spree is probably going to do it anyway, and is just looking for a gummint to blame.

            I nearly posted on that other site, where one of them said they were going to leave, that they should be sure the door doesn’t hit them in the arse on the way out, but felt that ultimately there was enough inflammatory behaviour going on.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Good gosh, the level of crazy there…
      I honestly don’t know how I feel about mandatory vaccinations. It’s probably the libertarian in me, but I really, really don’t like forcing people to do things, especially things involving their bodies. I just don’t. From a legal standpoint, I find that kind of precedent concerning.
      On the other hand, the number of crazy anti-vaxxers is getting to the point that it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when we have a really, REALLY bad outbreak of *insert nasty VPD here.* Think the former Soviet Union after the Fall, and, say, diphtheria. 50K cases in 1995. Yeah. And diphtheria is no joking matter. Admittedly, our medical facilities here are rather better than post-fall Eastern Europe, but that doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be a lot of deaths, the hospitals wouldn’t be pretty overwhelmed, and can you imagine the impact on worse-off nations when some entitled, privileged American twit decides “oh, I’m not all THAT contagious” and goes there anyway? At what point do personal freedoms trump risk? They do somewhere–I mean, we’d probably have fewer deaths on the road and less carbon emissions if we banned cars tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to do it, either.
      I’m rather glad I don’t have to make that decision; as I said, I’m not entirely certain what the decision should be. At the moment, I remember the mandatory smallpox vaccinations a rather long time ago, and wonder if they were right about that, and remember that the smallpox vaccine as used then had a heck of a lot higher complication/mortality rate than anything used today. I’m kind of leaning towards the mandatory-vax solution, but I need to think about it more. Needless to say, everyone in this household is bloody well up to date on their vaccines, and it’s going to stay that way.

      • Mattie

        I think what a lot of people are missing here is that they’re not mandatory (although that may end up happening but I hope not) they’re just mandatory if you want to send your kid to school. It’s teaching these privileged people that they can’t have everything, they can partake in society and follow the rules or they can homeschool their children. It’s a fight against ‘I am going to do what I want when I want and make you pick up the pieces’ with the pieces being picked up by vulnerable people, which just is not fair.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          There was a case recently where kids who had not been vaccinated were not allowed in school during a chicken pox outbreak. Their mom whined (and it got picked up by the media), despite the fact that the “waiver” she signed explicitly said, ok, you don’t have to be vaccinated but the school reserves the right to keep your kids out of school if there is a disease outbreak.

          Oh, it’s so unfair!!!! We won’t vaccinate, but you can’t do mean stuff like keep the kids out of school if there is a disease outbreak!!! That’s not fair!!!!

          Assholes.

          • SporkParade

            There was something similar in NY with this year’s flu outbreak. Any kid who hadn’t gotten the flu vaccine was not allowed to attend school until the outbreak was over. The fun part was that it had nothing to do with vaccination. NY was just following old quarantine laws.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            And see, I’d TOTALLY support this: if you aren’t vaccinated, you get quarantined during an outbreak. Period. I would also support making some sort of basic support system available like we did back during scarlet fever/measles/etc quarantines–someone to go to the grocery store/pharmacy and leave groceries on your porch, that kind of thing–to make this feasible.
            Unfortunately, I’m unlikely to be declared Queen of the Universe anytime soon, but in case I get elected via write-in ballot, I’m taking notes. 😉

          • Bugsy

            Sounds good to me. We were in California during the recent measles outbreak and have had 2 local outbreaks in the past year – one at an anti-vaccination religious group, and one over the past few weeks caused by visitors from China being contagious while on 2 separate flights over. In our area, it would mean that anti-vaxxers would pretty much be in a perpetual quarantine.

          • Slam

            This is like dictatorship. As if everyone will get sick on an outbreak. There are always thousands of people who don’t get sick at all during alleged flu outbreaks. You see, that’s the dangers of thinking that touching germs will get you sick. Simplistic thinking.

          • Kerlyssa

            That… that is EXACTLY how you get sick. You come into contact with bacteria/viruses, and then they begin to reproduce in your system. After that first infectious contact, what decides how much they reproduce is your immune system. The unvaccinated will have far weaker defenses to VPDs than the vaccinated, allowing said ‘germs’ to reproduce to the point where they begin spreading out to new hosts.

          • Megan

            If coming in contact with germs isn’t what gets you sick then what is the cause, in your opinion?

          • Slam

            Since germs are everywhere all the time, the determining factor (or factors) is how you fight these germs daily. This is influenced by a combination of nutrition, sleep, stress, exercice, pollutants, genetics, etc.

          • Nick Sanders

            Or you could get a vaccine and be 99% certain that none of that will matter because you’re protected.

          • Azuran

            Of course, no disease is ever 100% contagious to everyone who come in contact with it. But, unless you have the ability to see the future, you won’t know if you are going to get sick or not. Many disease also have this annoying tendency to be contagious before the start of symptoms.
            It totally makes sense to put people exposed (especially unvaccinated people, in situation where there is a vaccine) to a dangerous illness during an outbreak to be put into quarantine.

          • Slam

            No, not especially non-vaccinated people. That’s just gross discrimination. Pathogens are everywhere, vaccinated or not. Everyone is exposed equally. The difference is the defense reaction of each individual.

          • Azuran

            and your reaction as an individual will be different it you are vaccinated or not.
            And in an outbreak, you are concerned with ONE specific illness that you are trying to control. So no, we don’t care that ‘pathogens are everywhere’ We care about where Pathogen X is. And if you have been exposed to it without having proper protection to it, you can and should be put under quarantine if it is deemed necessary to protect the rest of the population.

            If you have a contagious disease that, for example, only affect humans under 20, those over 20 are immune for some reason, in case of an outbreak, you would put people under 20 who were exposed to the disease under quarantine. It would make no sense to put people who are ‘too old’ to get the disease under quarantine because they can’t get it anyway. That’s not discrimination. That’s epidemiology.

            If you have an outbreak of a disease without a vaccine, where all the population is at risk (like ebola, for example). You can put everyone exposed under quarantine.

            If you have an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease, you don’t need to worry that much about those who are vaccinated. The disease will mostly affect unvaccinated people, and yes, you will put unvaccinated people who have been exposed in quarantine. In order to protect those who cannot receive the vaccine, or the other idiots who decided not to get the vaccine for no valuable reason.
            If there is a measles outbreak in your school and you are not
            vaccinated, it’s only natural that you are asked to not come to the
            school.
            You don’t want to be put in quarantine or forced to miss work, or have your kid forced to miss school? Get the vaccine.

            Of course, the level of quarantine will vary depending on the ‘at risk’ population and the severity of the illness. In case of ‘normal’ flu outbreak the level of ‘quarantine’ is usually: Take a day off. Because despite being very contagious it’s usually not at all that deadly and is very common. So putting people under quarantine because they were exposed to the average flu would only destroy the economy.

            However, should one of those outbreaks suddenly be caused by a new flu virus with the severity of the spanish flu, or even worse, if smallpox made a comeback, you would be sure that full vaccination and quarantine efforts would be put into place.

          • Nick Sanders

            Do you realize how many people these flu outbreaks you are offhandedly dismissing kill?

        • Bugsy

          The part I struggle with is when they have no problem not vaccinating because after all, they’re going to homeschool. Do they not understand that whether or not they approve, those children are still a part of society!? It’s great that they’re keeping the children out of one of the most likely places for infection, but are they also excluding the child from other social arenas? Does the child participate in outside activities or play at the playground? Does he/she go to restaurants or the mall, on airplanes or on trains?

          I keep thinking back to Crazy Lactivist, whose son was unvaccinated and about to be homeschooled. No doubt she would say that he’s protected – gosh, do they generally shelter him – but until they 100% stop taking him to the playground, activities or even to Costco, they cannot deny that he is a potential source of spreading VPDs.

          • JJ

            I agree that even very sheltered children leave the home and can spread disease. I do think not allowing kids into school will get most kids vaccinated after they try homeschooling for a bit though. I am hoping getting more info out about how very selfish it is to not vaccinate, the forces of social pressure/guilty conscious will work on the rest. Maybe anti-vaxxers getting excluded from other private social activities and being confronted by individuals will help.

          • Slam

            Vaccinated people also spread disease. It’s not like vaccines makes you hermetic to microbes.

          • Box of Salt

            Slam “Vaccinated people also spread disease”
            They don’t spread the diseases to which they’ve become immune thanks to the vaccine.

            The completely unvaccinated will spread diseases for which no disease is available just as easily as those who are protected against those that are vaccine-preventable.

          • Slam

            You spread diseases all the time because viruses and bacteria and everywhere, your hands, your skin, your face, when you sneeze, the doorknob…

            And even if what you say is taken for granted, then it also applies to non-vaccinated people as well, since they get immune to all sorts of disease all the time…

          • Box of Salt

            Slam “they get immune to all sorts of disease all the time”

            Yes. But they have to survive the disease, first. I’ll stick with the vaccine when available. And as a bonus: I won’t be spreading that disease to others who are not immune to it.

          • Nick Sanders

            And yet, if enough people get vaccinated, it won’t matter, because no one will be vulnerable to those microbes.

      • yugaya

        Mandatory vaccination works in cultures where social consciousness is lower than in countries where there is a lot of social justice and it is cultural norm that people there embrace doing things on the individual level that benefit everyone. Nordic countries like Sweden do not have mandatory vaccination programs and their rates are similar to countries where vaccination is mandated.

        • That’s probably because they are blessed with more common sense than some other countries I could name.

      • Amy M

        I think the better angle is to mandate that unvaccinated kids can’t go to public school, day care or camp (no exceptions except medical). Then the parents still have choices but there are greater consequences for those choices. I’d even be all about having separate doctor’s waiting rooms, though I suppose that would be considered discrimination, even if the rooms were exactly the same.

        • me

          Personally, what I’d like to see is insurance companies consider any non-vax (by choice, obvious exceptions for documented medical reasons) child “AMA” and refuse to pay for treatment of any vax-preventable disease that the child could have received vaccination for. You don’t want to vax? Fine, but no school, no daycare, and if your special snowflake ends up with pertussis and you take him/her to the ER? You pay the bill.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            How about allowing children damaged by vaccine preventable illnesses to sue their parents for damages? It seems only fair that the children, who are the ones who suffer from this, should get something out of it.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Excellent idea.

        • Slam

          And create a modern version of the Apartheid in the process.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Thanks for dropping in to prove my point. Only an incredibly privileged person could claim with a straight face that anti-vaxxers are victims of “apartheid.” They’re victims all right, victims of their own ignorance and narcissism.

          • Slam

            WTF? Someone slipped hard…

          • Nick Sanders

            Yeah, you did.

      • Wombat

        I agree to an extent, but a whole ‘nother issue is when are we punishing the poor kid with no say vs. the parent? The kid deserves a real education, a real pediatrician, real social stimulation, etc. I think this law unfortunately borders on treating children as chattel a bit much.

        Rather than requiring homeschooling, how about requiring a private, public-school-equivalent-certified tutor and test proctor or private charter school? Really past the costs on to the parents being privledged asses without sacrificing quality for the child, at least as much as possible.

        Yeah it’ll never happen but I can dream. My queen of the universe solution would probably be domes and bubble suits… you can not vax all you want but you are -truly- going to isolate yourself, and take on the costs for doing so as well. They can have dome communities, and pay hazard pay if they don’t have enough fellow anti-vax workers/emergency personnel, etc. Kid might still get some emotional harm but at least most of the costs are on the parents.

    • Nick Sanders

      You’re trying to talk sense to people on InfoWars? You’re braver than I am.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Oh, my. They really don’t seem to know anything, do they?

  • Guesty

    Thank you so much for this. I have a kid who gets sick a lot. Periodic titers show she has low antibodies for stuff she’s fully vaccinated for. Really scary. One day while waiting in the preschool pickup, another mother admitted to me that she had sent her kid to school with a fever. (“I just needed the break!” she said.) Then she told me she hoped it was chicken pox, as she had exposed her son over the weekend. Her son had a brief fever and a few spots and it was done. My (fully vaccinated) daughter ran 104 degree temp for five days and didn’t go back to school for two weeks. I have never been angrier at another human being in my life than I was at that mother. How dare she. This post explains beautifully what I think her thinking was. She dared because she could, and everyone else’s kid be damned.

    • FormerPhysicist

      I wish you could sue her.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      What a selfish jackass. As FP says, if only you could sue. Unintentional exposure is one thing, and shouldn’t be litigated. But deliberate? Oh HECK yes. Of course, you could never prove it was that kid…sigh.

    • PeopleShouldn’tCrunch

      Oh what a raving bitch. Sorry. Can’t help but curse. My dad never got chicken pox as a kid, so my parents actively tried to keep it from us. My sister went to a birthday party and another mom sent her child to the party KNOWING HE HAD CHICKEN POX, figuring that everyone would want their kid exposed. W. T. F.

      My parents did their best to keep us away from my dad, but he caught it from me (the last to get it) and he got it on his lungs. Nearly died.

      Fuck this lady. And fuck the lady who was so stupid she took her kid to a not-chicken-pox party. And excuse my language.

      • Amy M

        Yeah, I got it (from accidental exposure) at a party for the Brownie troop. Pretty much all the Brownies got it, and most of my first grade class, and of course my younger sister, who got it from me. But, this was long before the vaccines were available, and my mom was home at the time. I would be enraged to the point of aneurysm is I know that someone deliberately exposed my children (and their whole class) to a VPD.

        • Guesty

          The ignorance is staggering. This woman’s position was “Well, if your kids are vaccinated, what are you worried about?” and “It’s JUST chicken pox.” Enraged to the point of aneurysm is a good description of it. She endangered my child and believed it was her privilege to do it.

      • Guesty

        Yeah. Fuck her right in the ear. She still tries to connect and be friends and has no idea that she is one of the few human beings on this planet I struggle not to hate. Like, there’s the Marathon Bomber and her. I spent three nights on the bathroom floor keeping my delirious baby wrapped in wet towels and agonizing over whether to go to the ER (for an immune vulnerable kid, the hospital is a dangerous place to be). To say nothing of what it meant to miss two weeks of work. Meantime? Another woman asked if she could bring her kids over to get exposed to chicken pox. I told her if she wanted to do that, her best bet was her pediatrician who would have some great ideas for low-risk ways to expose her children. I don’t talk to her any more either.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          That sounds awful. Your poor, poor baby, and poor you. 🙁 I’m glad that your kiddo is okay now, and for what it’s worth, I’d probably feel just like you do if something like that happened to my kid.

      • Lisa Now

        I don’t understand this, your parents were condemning you to the same position as your father. Obviously, what that woman did was wrong, but I would never attempt to condemn my children to to my same fate to protect myself. Luckily, a vaccine came along so we don’t have to make that choice. But Wow.

    • Sue

      Chickenpox “parties” made SOME sense in the days when:
      1. There was no vaccine; AND
      2. There was almost always at least one parent at home.

      They make NO sense when there IS a vaccine, and there is no stay-at-home parent to look after a quarantined child (even assuming that you would prefer your child to suffer the disease to develop immunity).

      • Inmara

        Despite this, there are tons of mothers in my country who still swear by chickenpox parties. Yeah, because keeping sick child at home is so much better than to remember to get booster…

        • It’s more “natural”, or should I say “nacheral”?

      • Liz Leyden

        I was a 1980s latchkey kid. When I got chicken pox, at age 7, both of my parents still went to work. They did the same when my sisters got it the next week. I was very itchy, but I got to watch all the TV I wanted, so in my mind it was a wash.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Can you sue for that? Seriously, you should be compensated as that woman’s greed and stupidity endangered your child.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Probably not, unfortunately. You’d have to prove that it was her kid who passed on the chicken pox, and while everyone might know it was that kid, “everyone knows” isn’t legal proof. Grrrr.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          How about her admission that she had exposed her child to chicken pox deliberately? And the lack of other cases at your child’s school? It’s probably not worth the stress on you but crap it makes me angry that she’s getting away with spreading disease that way.

          • Slam

            That wouldn’t bear a lot of weight in court, because of the ambiguous interpretation of “exposition”. You could say that for amny things, including flu. But that would open a nasty can of worms. Imagine anyone suing anyone because some child was “exposed” to some germ. Of course, we are all exposed to all sorts of bacteria and viruses all the time. This makes no case, either in law or in science.

          • Nick Sanders

            Someone has never heard of a “pox party”.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      *snort*
      I was homeschooled, and attended a homeschool co-op several days per week in a nursing home basement. (Just how depressing that was is a rant for another post.) Lucky me, I got chicken pox at 13 thanks to another idiot mom who brought her pox-covered kid to a homeschool get-together. After all, doesn’t everyone want their kids exposed? It’s NATURAL! Yay, natural!
      My mother sent me to this co-op still feeling wretched and still covered in pox. Yes. TO A NURSING HOME. And yes, we shared some common areas with residents from time to time.
      Freaking self-centered idiots. If I had a relative in that nursing home who’d gotten sick, I would have sued the pants off of the nursing home for allowing this to go on.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    The anti-vaxxers ought to join today’s discussion about privilege as a prerequisite for vaccine refusal since they demonstrate the privilege that protects them as they spout unscientific nonsense.

    http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/04/vaccine-refusal-how-privileged-mothers-leverage-their-privilege-and-harm-the-less-fortunate.html

    Anti-vax is also about ego, and it’s difficult to imagine bigger egos than the folks who have never taken a course in immunology, statistics or public health, but are SURE they know better than immunologists, physicians or public health experts.

  • I wish there was a sitcom like Roseanne around now to make fun of people like this. She did a good job of skewering 80s/90s rich people and their lack of insight into what regular people go through.

  • Bombshellrisa

    Had to share this: my “Nature’s flu shot” friend recently got back from NZ. She has been coughing and sick for three weeks. I texted to check on her and she told me she is going to the chiropractor because her back and shoulders hurt from coughing. When I asked if she had been to the doctor to see if her cough was serious this is what she replied “I’m much better. Not coughing nearly as much. On the mend thank goodness. Took my ‘natural flu shot’ concoction to avoid antibiotics. The whole bulb of garlic I’m sure scares the sickness straight! I’m making more today for added health”. Because being in another country, being in airports and flying in an airplane couldn’t have exposed her to anything. Meanwhile, her dad is having heart surgery tomorrow and she is sure she is fine to go visit him, since her garlic/ginger/pineapple juice/cayenne concoction is making her better

    • JJ

      I am sure the hospital staff will love to see a visitor hacking and wreaking of garlic in the recovery.

      • Mike Stevens

        reeking…

      • Bombshellrisa

        Yeah, exactly what every tiny hospital room needs. I think it really highlights the privilege and ignorance and selfishness. “Well, I feel good after dosing myself with something natural! I wouldn’t want to take antibiotics! I will just drink pineapple juice mixed with a bulb of garlic, ginger, cayenne and honey”. Going to the doctor and getting antibiotics would protect her and her father and everyone she would come in contact with. But no, it wouldn’t be NATURAL.

        • Mattie

          well, if it was a cold or flu then there’s not much antibiotics, or any medication could do. Then again if I was sick for 3 weeks I’d go to the doctor, to rule out bacterial infection of some kind…you know, like a sensible person

          • Bombshellrisa

            Exactly, be sensible. Having traveled out of the country, hung around in an airport and flew recently are good reasons to rule out anything more serious than a cold or the flu (especially if you refuse to get a flu shot).

          • Mattie

            definitely, also because that concoction sounds revolting, think it would make me physically sick, rather have some OTC cold and flu tabs any day of the week

        • FormerPhysicist

          Would she take moldy bread? Natural penicillin! (yes, I know, not actually terribly effective)

    • momofone

      That is so damned infuriating. I went to the nurse practitioner I work with before every trip to see my mother/take her for chemo, because I was so paranoid that I would expose her to something I didn’t realize I had. (Fortunately the nurse practitioner was very patient. 🙂 )

    • Amy M

      Sure, you don’t have to hear all the crap about not vaccinating, if you don’t confirm that you have pertussis. It’s just a cough, in that case, and we can’t vaccinate against coughs.

  • JJ

    The part that bothers me the most is the disregard for other children and families. The natural mommy blogs have all their homemade remedies and time to hang out with sick children for weeks at a time. They have their well-fed robust children. Never mind the family who lives one paycheck away from homelessness, has limited transportation, and maybe food insecure. Never mind the family with immunocompromised kids just hoping they can get through chemo without catching a virus. Also, what about being a part of eradicating disease worldwide so people in 3r world countries don’t have to deal with it either. Measles is still killing many worldwide! http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/ Even when anti-vaxers hear that it’s like, “well, but that’s in Africa”.

    I posted the question on facebook: What if everyone decided to stop vaccinating? I wrote about how I am pregnant and I would be very afraid of losing my baby to rubella in the mid 60s. I posted a link to the CDC site that answers the question. (Spoiler alert: All diseases come back in full force!) I had an anti-vaxxer come tell me not to let the CDC’s “propaganda” make me afraid and to instead read vactruth. This is from a wealthy anti-vax dad who gets to live on a nice farm in the hills, with a stay-at-home mom, plentiful organic foods, and private school for the kids. They get to feel good about not vaxxing because most of us do.

    I am just so happy about CA SB277! People are threatening to leave CA. Sorry other states!

    • Liz Leyden

      I hope they don’t come to Vermont; the legislature is trying to eliminate philosophical exemptions to vaccination. Unfortunately, anti-vaxxers will still be able to get medical exemptions from naturopaths.

      • JJ

        That’s a bummer about the naturopath thing. Maybe the next step is to make the law match the reality that they are not real doctors.

        • Cobalt

          Yes!

      • Hans Meyer

        “…from naturopaths.”

        That is unfortunate:

        The things naturopaths do that are good are not special, and the things they do that are special are not good. — Harriet Hall, MD

        Naturopathy is a system of therapy and treatment which relies exclusively on natural remedies, such as sunlight, air, water, supplemented with diet and therapies such as massage. However, some naturopaths have been known to prescribe such unnatural treatments as colon hydrotherapy for such diseases as asthma and arthritis.

        source

        —–

        “Naturopathic Diaries: Confessions of a Former Naturopath”

        Britt Marie Deegan Hermes had a bad experience with a medical doctor, which piqued her interest in naturopathy. Eventually, she graduated from Bastyr University with an N.D. degree and practiced as a naturopath for about 3 years. But her confidence in naturopathy withered as she watched fellow naturopaths practice in Tucson, Arizona. Her disenchantment with naturopathy drove her back to medicine and science. Britt left naturopathic practice behind and is now a student in the Medical Life Sciences program at the University of Kiel, in Germany, a Master’s of Science program focusing on biomedical research. Britt is not turning her back on those who suffer from what she calls the “blatantly false, unethical, and dangerous practices” she saw during her time as a naturopath. Nor is she willing to remain silent while other idealistic young people are drawn into studying what she describes as

        a system of indoctrination based on discredited ideas about health and medicine, full of anti-science rhetoric and ineffective and sometimes dangerous practices.

        —–

        Scientific research has identified measurable, causative factors and specific methods of preventing and/or treating hundreds of health problems. Naturopaths have done little more than create glib generalities. The above theories are simplistic and/or clash with science-based knowledge of body physiology and pathology.

    • Bombshellrisa

      I have a friend who refuses to get the flu shot for herself or her school age children. They instead take “Nature’s Flu Shot”, a completely useless concoction of garlic, pineapple, ginger and lemon. They wanted to come and help me after the birth of my son last January. That would have been awesome to have help, but I refused to let anyone not current on their vaccines in. She kept telling me they do rounds of “Nature’s flu shot” so they are ok. But what about my newborn? I couldn’t give him natures flu shot or even a regular flu shot to protect HIM.

      • JJ

        Well, were you exclusively breastfeeding our baby with liquid gold? If not, then it’s not their problem (Lol). I don’t know what to do with people when I have my baby in early October. I just talked to my dad about getting his pertussis booster yesterday and he was supportive though.

        • Bombshellrisa

          Oh God! The liquid gold!!!
          I put a big sign up on my door and people would mention they found it rude. It said I am not answering if I am not expecting you, you won’t come in without being current on your vaccinations, nobody is allowed to hold the baby but me. That last one was not exactly true, but I found people always want to “come over and hold the baby so you can get stuff done” and they are never people you want to see.
          My mom was especially enthusiastic about getting a pertussis booster. She is very big on vaccines and encouraged everyone to think of vaccinating as paying it forward. This year, my husband, dad, son and I made a party of it and all got our flu shots at the same time and then went to lunch. It sounds good that your dad is willing to get the booster, let’s hope so

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            My kid sister babysits for us on occasion. As she’s a broke college student, DH and I offered to pay for her DPT booster; figured it was the least we could do in exchange for babysitting. (That, and sending her back to school with homemade-from-scratch cheesecakes, but I digress. 😉 ) All she had to do was go get it, and she was totally fine with that–as would be any sane person.

          • Cobalt

            College is a good time for that booster anyway. The age 10-12 shot is wearing off, and there’s a bunch of young adults sharing a lot of air and surfaces and not necessarily doing a lot of handwashing. Colleges are as germy as preschools.

          • VikingRN

            Menningococcal als0

          • Bugsy

            My mom threw a fit when I said that she needed her TDAP booster to be around our son. Then she realized I was serious, and got the booster immediately. Worthwhile for her? Yep – she was able to hold my son one hour after birth.

          • KarenJJ

            My MIL was warned by her doctor about the whooping cough outbreak and he recommended she get a booster before flying to meet our first child after she was born. Which she did and then she warned us and I spoke to my parents and everyone got one done (including my husband). This was 8 weeks before Dana McCaffrey died from whooping cough a few hours from where I was living. I love my MIL, she’s awesome for many reasons but that one was a biggie.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Heh. They had me get mine in the hospital before I left with DD. The nurse came in with the shot and asked, rather apprehensively, if I had any questions or concerns. Me, rolling up sleeve: “Nope! Go for it! Thanks!” Her, visibly sighing with relief, having anticipated a fight: “Oh, okay, Slight pinch.”

          • Roadstergal

            Rude? Rudeness seems to me to be planning anything the sign warns against. Tangentially, I don’t get the mentality of coming around to ‘help’ being ‘taking away the thing you just spent more or less 9 months making, so you can do chores.’ Bleh.

      • Sue

        “Nature’s flu shot” is catching – and recovering from – that year’s flu strain. You only have to survive each strain once.

      • demodocus’ spouse

        I had an anthropology professor give us his recipe for preventing all colds. All’s I remember was that it had 9 zillion ingredients including shiitake mushrooms. A very nice man, and possibly the most gullible adult I ever met.

    • Roadstergal

      Anti-vaxxers are threatening to leave CA? Awesome. “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out…”

      • JJ

        Yeah, not a very effective “threat”. Sorry other states!

  • Liz Leyden

    My state has some of the best public health stats in the US, some of the lowest vaccination rates, and a an alarming number of people that think #1 is a result of #2. The last few winters have included pertussis epidemics, each with an epicenter at a Waldorf school.

    I used to work in a school district with a large refugee population. Most of them were from countries where vaccine-preventable disease still happens. If the parents hadn’t personally experienced a VPD, someone close to them had. If natural immunity to VPDs was a good thing, the refugee parents would be having measles and chicken pox parties. Instead, the refugee parents would move heaven and earth to have their kids vaccinated. Only American parents worried about “toxins” and “overloading my child’s immune system.”

    • Bombshellrisa

      Amen–my mom came from a country where people birthed at home, breastfed. cloth diapered and didn’t vaccinate, cause most people were too poor to be able to do anything else. Only “rich people” could afford medical care. She is proud that she was able to work and have good medical care including vaccines for her children.

  • namaste863

    This natural living thing is a crock. Nature isn’t cute and cuddly and gentle. Put it this way; two years ago I visited South Africa. Of course a Safari was part of it, and while on said Safari I saw a pride of about 13 lions feasting at a kill. I’m pretty sure at one point it had been a baby giraffe. Their faces were smeared with blood. That’s real nature. It isn’t cuddly and kind at all. Nor is it cruel. Its absolutely amoral. The fit survive. The weak end up dinner for lions.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “The fit survive. The weak end up dinner for lions. ”
      Although it’s actually more than this. It’s not just the weak that are vulnerable. It’s also the young, the old, the pregnant and the unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      The lions were hungry. Either the lions starve or something gets eaten. No way around it. Nature is indeed not pretty. Or nice.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      Nature cares a lot about lions. I do not have any will to be their dinner though.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Given the number of lions that end up dead on the savanna kicked to death by zebras I don’t think nature cares about lions either. Not to mention those killed by mutant apes. Dangerous critters, those mutant apes.

        • Montserrat Blanco

          Ok! Now it is official. You made me laugh until I cried after a very busy clinic!!!!

    • KarenJJ

      I remember hearing someone describe spring in their garden as a fight to the death as plants try to gain advantage over one another.

      I haven’t been able to relish the joys of a spring garden in quite the same way since…

  • SporkParade

    Somewhat OT: I was watching through a mini-course on Coursera that’s supposed to be all about basic nutrition and cooking for children. The nutrition bits aren’t bad, but good LORD do the cooking segments reek of privilege. “You can get your children into produce by taking them with you to the farmers’ market!” “When you go to the supermarket, whether it’s every day or even every few days….” “Remember not to cut onions on your wooden cutting board because you can’t get rid of the smell.” “To make this gluten-free, you can use quinoa-based pasta instead!” And of course she has a huge, sparkly, clean kitchen.

    • Liz Leyden

      Maybe this is regional, but in my area Farmer’s Markets are much, much more expensive than the supermarket. I went to my local market once, about 4 years ago, and nearly fainted at the prices. I like tomatoes, but not enough to pay $4.99/pound for organic local heirloom tomatoes or $9/pound for organic, locally raised Neiman Ranch pork. WIC likes to advertise that produce vouchers are worth double at the the Farmer’s Market, but that just lowers the price from horrifically expensive to extremely expensive.

      • Amy M

        Last year (and we will again this year), we planted a small garden–not because I care about organic–I never buy organic–but because I LOVE fresh tomatoes. And other fresh veggies and it doesn’t get fresher than your own backyard. It’s a hobby, that I enjoy and my family benefits because we don’t have to buy veggies for the time period that our garden is growing. So, we don’t go to the (overpriced) farmers’ markets—either Shaw’s, BJs (which I’m sure the natural crowd thinks causes cancer) or our yard. I know that not everyone has the time/space/inclination to garden, but if you do, its the best way to get tomatoes.

        • SporkParade

          She also advocated growing your own vegetables to teach your kids to eat vegetables.

          • Joy

            The farmers’ market in our town is good. It is an indoor three day, every week sort of deal. It is especially good if you go at closing on Saturday. They also take WIC and food stamps. http://www.fairgroundfarmersmkt.com/

          • Amy M

            Ugh, my kids helped with the garden, but still refuse to eat vegetables.

        • Bombshellrisa

          I like having blueberry bushes in my yard. Nothing like eating a sun warmed blueberry! But it’s a privilege for sure, and blueberry bushes take time to mature. Blueberries are also pricey here so having free ones is nice

          • demodocus’ spouse

            There were wild raspberry thickets around our apartment complex when I was a kid (until they were cleared away by the management) Ah, glorious

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          I never have any luck with tomatoes. Either the squirrels get them or they get some kind of disease.

      • JJ

        Yes. I never understood how people say they save money by shopping at farmer’s markets. Maybe compared to Whole Foods?

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          Speaking of whole foods, I don’t understand how people can demonize Monsanto for the money they make when whole foods actually brings in more a year.

        • Elizabeth A

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afY4v0y4fL4

          “What if I told you I knew where you could get tomatoes just like those ones, at three times the price?”

      • Trixie

        That’s regional. Where I live there is so much competition among small produce growers that produce in farmer’s markets is about 1/3 the price of the supermarket and about half the price of Costco. You actually have to be crazy to buy produce at the grocery store.

      • Bugsy

        I’ve found the same problem here in metro Vancouver. We shop at the local farmstands instead, which are generally much cheaper.

        When I lived in Northern California, the farmers’ markets were delightful – bountiful options, great prices and really ripe produce.

      • just me

        True in California too

      • Reading this thread, and having a lemon tree in my front yard, and an open air market downtown with the most sumptious fruit and veg, I really feel sorry for all you guys in the USA.

        Come to Jerusalem, where tomatoes are $1 per kilo and are luscious…

    • Mel

      See, if she was really crunchy, she’d know that you can get the smell of onions off of cutting boards using home-made coffee ground soap.

      I can’t believe I know that….

      (In my defense, the winter of 2014 was really snowy and I was trapped at home, so I took up soap-making because I could keep the materials in my house and just do it when school was canceled and I was going bonkers. Plus, my husband loves coffee, so we had coffee grounds around….)

      • Amy M

        Lemon juice helps too…lemon seems to cancel out onion and garlic pretty well.

        • SporkParade

          Well, she did put lemons on her list of staples you should always have at home. Together with olive oil, even if it’s the cheap, $10 a bottle kind. It’s not entirely clear what she thinks is wrong with good old Canola.

          • Cobalt

            I had someone tell me Canola oil is bad because it’s not made from plants, otherwise they wouldn’t have made up a name for it (corn oil, olive oil, sure, but what, exactly, is a canola?)

            Canola oil is made from rapeseed. They call it canola because rape oil didn’t sound like something you wanted to be in the business of selling.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            This made me laugh out loud–which probably says something about my truly warped sense of humor. Now, to fit that into a conversation…

          • Dr Kitty

            There’s that Canadian town which is thinking of changing its motto from “The land of Rape and honey” precisely because nobody thinks “Rapeseed” when they hear it!

            Rape looks really pretty when it grows- fields full of yellow flowers.
            Personally, I don’t like the flavour, tastes like cabbage to me.

          • Cobalt

            That motto is a terrible meme waiting to happen.

            Canada Oil is what they used to get the word canola.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I have the idea (though I’m not sure if I’m right or not) that canola is a (whisper) modified version of rapeseed which has less of one of the noxious components of rapeseed oil.

          • Cobalt

            True. Rapeseed is toxic under certain conditions, but I do not remember all the details.

          • Trixie

            Most canola is GMO!

          • Joy

            It is still called rape seed in the UK. It gets blamed for lots of allergies, but I am not sure if that holds up.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            Trader Joe’s has cheaper olive oil than that.

      • Cobalt

        Making soap can be fun, just like knitting or baking. When it’s your only option and resources are scarce, not so much.

      • demodocus’ spouse

        My kid thinks its normal for oranges and apples to taste a little of garlic

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Emeril Lagasse put about 45 cloves of garlic (sorry – “gahlic”) in everything and when he did that, everyone cheered. So how bad could garlic on oranges or apples be?

          • demodocus’ spouse

            I have to admit to sort of liking it on my apples. lol

    • Bugsy

      I think I know that course – how is it overall? I never got around to taking it, although it superficially seemed interesting to me.

      • SporkParade

        I’m about halfway through and I’d give it a B-. The instructor does a really good job explaining macronutrients, micronutrients, what they are, what they do, etc. But she loses points for blindness to class privilege, promoting traditional gender roles in the kitchen, promoting organic locally sourced gluten free nonsense, and for not knowing how to correctly pronounce the words “processed” and “intestines.” Really disappointing coming from a medical school.

        Mostly, it makes me want to start my own YouTube cooking show on how to make healthy meals using only shelf-stable items. I’d call it “Processed as F***.”

        • Who?

          I’d watch that.

        • Bugsy

          Sign me up for your class. Thanks for the feedback on the other one. I have zero interest in being force-fed info on organic locally sourced gluten-free issues, so I’ll probably pass on that class…

        • demodocus’ spouse

          That would be AWESOME!

  • Many of the tenants of natural parenting require substantial wealth: organic off-gassing-free crib mattresses, eating only locally-grown organic sustainably developed foods, homeschooling, etc. It’s a lifestyle based on choices that are only accessible to families with financial resources to fund it. Sometimes it feels like these choices are more a public statement of status and income than anything else.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    One thing that has struck me from arguing with the antivaxxers in the thread from a couple of years ago: Vaccination is a very specific, yet also very general, thing to be arguing against. Vaccines are extremely varied. I see little in common between, say, the MMR and the influenza vaccine except that they’re both administered to prevent disease before it occurs. Prevention is what the alties say that they’re all about and what they claim is missing from “allopathic” medicine? So why this struggle against an area that is specifically doing what they say they want done?

  • Grindy Stone

    Whooping cough and measles don’t care about what color you are. Also, the blood these privileged parents will have on their hands is the same color as vaccinated kids.

  • staceyjw

    Yet, some of these are the very same people hollering about how they recognize their privilege, and how you better check yours!

    They lay claim the mantle of anti racism, while continuing to support actions that directly, and obviously, hurt those they *claim* to care for- the poor, global majority, women and children (because people not of Euro decent aren’t actually minorities). They also pretend to be oh so tolerant, often taking it to the extreme for pet beliefs, while being ruthless towards any disagreements.
    Just. Yuck.

  • Bugsy

    There’s an absolutely wonderful quotation in Reich’s study that speaks directly to the all-natural movement and deserves to be highlighted:

    “As experts who manage their homes, work autonomously, or
    choose accommodating health providers, mothers make choices in
    domains in which their claims of expertise go unchallenged. It also allows
    mothers a vantage point from which they can critique other mothers who
    they see as not working to make good decisions for their children’s health,
    without acknowledging the privilege required to do so.”

    Bingo. It’s about validation for the moms’ expertise.

  • jhr

    Whenever I encounter articles on the garrison mentaility behind uber-moms and vaccine rejectionism, I think of Poe’s story, as summarized by wikipedia:

    The Masque of the Red Death”, originally published as “The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy” (1842), is a short story byEdgar Allan Poe. The story follows Prince Prospero’s attempts to avoid a dangerous plague known as the Red Death by hiding in hisabbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, has a masquerade ball within seven rooms of his abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. Prospero dies after confronting this stranger, whose “costume” proves to have nothing tangible inside it; the guests also die in turn.

    The last line of the story: “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”

    Welcome to science, uber-moms…

  • staceyjw

    The TLDR version:
    Wealthy whites*, being wealthy whites.
    Same shit, different day.

    (* I hope I don’t have to explain to the “not all wealthy white” brigade how class analysis works.)

  • Susan

    I think I brought this up once before but I was on a carseat bb when my youngest was a baby and someone was bragging about how she drives something akin to a Hummer because if there is an accident she wants HER baby to survive. Frankly, I think we all want our babies to be the one to survive an accident. I had a friend once who specifically did not send her child to a day care run by another mom because she said “if there is a fire, I don’t want to know for sure my child won’t be the first one saved”. It does seem that there is a societal shift perhaps because I don’t think when I was a child it would have been as socially acceptable to admit that you consciously take steps to save your child’s life at the expense of another’s. It’s not really what car you drive, that’s so multifactorial, but the conscious thought, my car is more likely to hurt you and save me in an accident, and that’s why I picked it, that being socially acceptable isn’t a step toward a more just society.

    • Cobalt

      Going OT, but you said “carseat”. What is going on with the AP carseat obsession? I have a soon to be ex-friend who is going AP on everything and she will not shut up about car seats, with the implication that hers is better (I’ve got the regular infant seat that attaches to the car base or the stroller, she’s got the leave in the car convertible type). I like my kid’s carseat, I like that it’s convenient to get him in and out of the car, I like that it doesn’t take up the whole backseat.

      She doesn’t harass me about anything else, but I’m a little baffled, a lot annoyed, and not invested enough in the friendship to put up with it. The AP thing is new for her, too, our older kids are friends and everything was fine until the new babies arrived.

      • Bugsy

        It’s just the next thing to prove superiority. You can’t be an awesome mommy unless you rear-face until 35 with the most expensive car seats imaginable.

        I amuse myself with the sanctimommy website, and there was a post on car seats the other day. I couldn’t help but post a reply similar to this:

        “I’m 12 weeks pregnant and found out that I have a tilted uterus. I’m such an awesome mommy that even my womb does extended rear-facing.” Hehehe. It got a lot of likes. 🙂

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          True, rear facing is safer, but if I followed the car seat laws in my state my 18 year old daughter should still be in a booster seat in the back. How is she supposed to drive that way?

          • Bugsy

            But it’s safer!! 🙂

          • demodocus’ spouse

            A college friend would be in the same booster. Her 12 yo daughter is bigger than she is.

        • Who?

          That, Bugsy, is just mocking the afflicted. Which is usually bad, but turns out to bad less often than you’d think in some of these environments.

      • Trixie

        Because if you have a convertible, then you have to babywear instead of carrying the baby in the car seat. It forces you to be AP.
        Of course, there are legit reasons for going straight to a convertible. I never really used the infant seat as a carrier anyway.

        • Bugsy

          We’re struggling with what to do w/ #2. With our son, the bucket seat pretty much stayed exclusively in the car. Add to it that I’m cheap and don’t really want to buy a bucket now and a convertible next year. That being said, quite a few of our friends have said that having a bucket infant seat is definitely more practical with #2 (or #3, etc…).

          • Cobalt

            I like the bucket for the stroller/shopping cart/portable seat-ability. Grocery shopping with an infant and older kids is orders of magnitude easier if the infant is safely seated somewhere other than ON me. Once he’s toddler size he can sit directly in the cart seat, but for now the bucket is really getting the job done.

          • Bugsy

            That’s pretty much what our friends have said, too. Hopefully the bucket will be a gift from loving grandparents. 🙂

          • Cobalt

            I super highly recommended this one (this is the stroller/seat set, you can get them separately):

            http://www.gracobaby.com/products/pages/modes-click-connect-travel-system-zola.aspx

            It’s STUPID expensive but has spectacular functionality. You could get the stroller used way cheaper.

          • Bugsy

            I found a Quinny Buzz stroller on curb day a few weeks back – it’s in mint condition. I may try my hand w/ the car seat adapter for it and see how it goes. It was a lucky find – that’s one ridiculously expensive stroller.

          • Cobalt

            Stroller pricing is truly bonkers! It’s not that much more expensive to manufacture one with a little better functionality, but man do they jack up the price. It’s cheaper to get cup holders in your car!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That was my experience with DD#1. I was soooo sad when she outgrew the height restrictions on her bucket carseat, because it meant that I’d have to strap/unstrap her from the carseat every time we went somewhere rather than just click it into the stroller and go. Whenever #2 comes along, I’m planning on a double stroller with the click-in option for a bucket seat. One less kid to wrangle? Awesome!

          • Trixie

            By the way, out-of-car infant bucket seat use actually results in more injury and fatality to babies every year than infants in automobile accidents. Because people put them on top of tables or shopping carts or on those restaurant holder things. Or they partially unbuckle them while the baby is sleeping, and the baby slips down and strangles on the straps.

          • Cobalt

            The upside down highchair as carseat holder at restaurants terrifies me. It’s and unstable, top heavy, narrow based mess with a baby on top. In a high traffic area. I’ll wedge the seat into the booth, but won’t do the highchair stand. I don’t put the carseat on top of the shopping cart, either, and for similar reasons. The strap thing worries me too, but I’ve noticed the seats have warnings on the front of the seat now, and I don’t remember those from when the oldest were babies.

          • Amy M

            I had a double snap-n-go and since my boys are tiny, they fit in it (in their bucket seats) for 11mos. They continued to fit in the bucket seats in the car until about 18mos, but the way the snap-n-go was designed, with one seat right behind the other, the kid in back got his legs all pinched between his seat and the back of his brother’s, so we couldn’t use it at that point. I think they design those like stadium seating now, to avoid that.

        • Cobalt

          Mine came in a combo with the best stroller ever, and I get a ton of functionality from the infant seat. I think you’re on to something with forcing the AP on oneself. She never brings a stroller when we’re out being moms and always puts all her baby luggage in my stroller and wears her kid.

        • Liz Leyden

          I bought 2 convertible seats before the babies came because I figured I could use them for a long time. Between having to leave town on very short notice for delivery and my son’s weight at discharge (4lb. 5oz.), I ended up having to buy a third car seat. I found an acceptable bucket seat at Target when I was 4 days post-partum. This was right after the big Graco recall, and I think I found the last compatible car seat in the Boston area. I was surprised by how convenient it was.

          I ended up using a bucket seat and a convertible seat. When we got home, I used a carrier and a stroller base for a day or two, then ordered a second bucket seat and a double stroller base. It was much more convenient than trying to wear one and push the other. I must say that the $130 Graco bucket seat was much easier to work with than the $50 Evenflo bucket seat.

          My kids outgrew their bucket seats a few weeks ago, and the convertible seats came out of the basement. I miss those seats.

          • Trixie

            Mine never slept in the car early and were much happier sitting more upright. They moved to convertibles early. The infant seats were a waste of money, in retrospect, for me.

      • Inmara

        If you speak about extended read facing (ERF), then it’s the case where APs have grasped something actually backed by solid data – up to about 3 years it’s safer for child to be in RF carseat in case of accident. In Sweden ERF seats are mandatory up to 4 years, but in many countries it’s much less when you can start putting carseat in FF mode, e.g. in my country it depends only on carseat specifics. I’m definitely going to use ERF seat for my child even if it’s more expensive.

        • Cobalt

          Ours are only 8 months old, definitely rear facing and fit very comfortably in the infant size seat. I’m putting off the convertible seat as long as is safe.

        • FormerPhysicist

          Extended rear facing for my younger was awesome. I ff’d as late as possible. That was because the older kid could amuse the younger face to face, and check on if the younger was sleeping, etc. Since I was driving, and couldn’t see well in the mirror anyhow, ERF was just super-duper convenient.

          This motivation only holds for younger siblings, obviously. Or, I guess for parents that drive together and one sits in the back seat with the child.

        • SporkParade

          I’m worried about the whole rear-facing business because both my husband and I are prone to motion sickness, so there’s a good chance Baby Spork will start puking in the car before he’s old enough to forward face. Sure, rear-facing is safer in an accident, but I feel like it can’t really be healthy to be vomiting routinely…

          • Wren

            My younger child had terrible car sickness as a baby. Literally 5 minutes in the car would have her vomiting. We were advised by our GP to turn her the second she weighed enough here in the UK. It extended the time to puke to about 30 minutes. She has slowly gotten better and we can actually drive for about an hour before we have to stop for fresh air now that she is 7. She still takes motion sickness medication on any school trips though.

            (Funnily, my older child never gets car sick, but gets very airsick. The younger never gets airsick. I get both, and sea sick too.)

      • Jessica

        All car seats pass the same minimum federal safety standards. There is absolutely no data to support that one seat or another is superior in terms of safety. The key is proper use – using a non-expired seat in which your child actually fits. Infant seat vs. convertible doesn’t matter in terms of safety as long as the child is within the height and weight limits of the seat.

        I went straight to a convertible seat because I’m cheap and suspected my child would be a big baby, thus outgrowing it early. We used a Moby wrap when he was tiny, and then the stroller. It worked fine, and I’d go that route again. Joke was on me though – the kiddo had barely cleared 20 pounds on his first birthday.

        • Monkey Professor for a head

          When I bought mine, I figured that since all car seats had to pass the same safety standards, the most important thing was to get one that was easy to install and adjust. It just seemed that an expensive but improperly used car seat was never going to be better than a cheaper car seat used properly.

          And I’m cheap too, so I’ve gone with the convertible!

          • Nick Sanders

            Haha, unrelated, but I loved those games.

      • demodocus’ spouse

        Privilege is also not having to scrimp to afford the cheapest car seat.

    • The Great Queen Spider

      If the mom really cared she’d drive a volvo not a hummer lol.

  • fiftyfifty1

    You see this on a bigger scale when vaccine rejectionists argue that we should stop vaccinating against measles because only an estimated 400 children would die yearly in the US. They argue that the nearly 3 MILLION worldwide don’t matter because…. they are brown and poor and nasty and have it coming I suppose. What?! Am I my brother’s keeper?

  • Bugsy

    Absolutely beautiful, beautiful post. I’m going to have to take a look at the original paper; it sounds like something I’d very much enjoy.

    The part that is most fascinating to me is her reference to natural _and instinctual_ parenting. (Bobel found that the women she termed “natural mothers,” who reject mainstream parenting advice in favor of natural and instinctual mothering practices,…) This statement is something I’ve found to be true with the all-natural mamas; they very much tout the power of mama’s instinct. And yet, when someone’s instinct goes against their party lines, you’re shunned.

    I found that it was only when I started ignoring the all-natural movement and following my own gut instincts that my parenting abilities finally blossomed.

    • CharlotteB

      I found it sort of hilarious when I realized that my instincts were “wrong” accorinding to the ideas of natural parenting, etc. My instincts say, for example, that my son needs to be happy sleeping in his own bed at night. Also, my instinctive response when he starts to fuss/cry at night? Is to think “well, maybe he’ll stop”–hardly what Sears, et. al. say is the instinctive response to a baby’s cry.

      Obviously I respond to him when he needs something. I also keep thinking of the mothers in those supposed ideal, primitive societies (if they exist, where everybody co-sleeps, nurses until age 10, wears baby all day, every day, and nobody uses diapers)–I bet some of them would love a diaper or bottle or stroller. My instincts say my kid needs to be able to function in 21st-century America, not some imagined, “primitive” utopia.

      • Bugsy

        100% agree.

      • Mac Sherbert

        “My instincts say my kid needs to be able to function in 21st-century America, not some imagined, “primitive” utopia.” I think this makes the most sense. Prepare your child to live the world that he is going to live in NOT the world you wish he was going to live in. —And I too have heard that cry in the night and thought please, please, please go back to sleep!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Right.

        • CharlotteB

          Well, the world I wish he lived in looks more like the Star Trek universe (Gender equality! Eradication of disease! No poverty!) than the fake primitive societies that are equally imaginative.

      • nomofear

        Yeah, love the 5-minute rule on getting up in the middle of the night (as in wait five minutes, because half the time they’ll fall back asleep). I had even turned the monitor sound off, because every snort was waking me up, but then my husband was having to wake me up when I was sleeping through full-on crying. Oops. Guess I won’t win crunch mama of the year now. Though the epidural hospital birth surely disqualified me already, for life.

        • demodocus’ spouse

          Takes my kid 5 minutes to *wake* his hearing impair mother.

          • KarenJJ

            When I was pregnant a colleague asked me how I’d wake up for a baby in the night (hearing impaired and obviously take my hearing aids off at night). I replied that I wake up really easily to an elbow being jerked into my back from my husband.

          • demodocus’ spouse

            Actually, I convinced my husband to go deal with nocturnal crying once the little one was out of the bassinet in our room and in his own crib.

    • Amy M

      Yeah, you’re supposed to do what comes naturally to HER. And of course we all know that “natural” practices include: breastfeeding, using slings/wraps instead of strollers, bedsharing, and the more extreme cases, anti-vaccination, anti-GMO, anti-toxins and chemicals, anti-sugar and gluten, and often Pro-Organic. Why are these things natural? Because the first three are done by “native/tribal/Non-Western women.” Which native women? In their minds, ALL native/tribal women—’cause you know that all of them, since the dawn of time, have been homogeneous and done everything the same way.

      As for the rest, well back in the day, there were no vaccinations, and no toxins and all the food was hunted, gathered or farmed, so it WAS all natural. Of course, depending on where a given tribe lived, the food varied, and starvation was certainly an option. I can only guess that the insistence on Organic is merely a status symbol dressed up as an attempt to buy the “natural” food that they can’t grow or make themselves. Obviously the non-Western women they are otherwise trying to emulate do not shop at Whole Foods.

    • Cobalt

      I instinctively:

      sought medical treatment when I thought I might be in labor
      wanted my kids vaccinated
      wanted a car seat and stroller
      wanted to sleep through postpartum
      was ready to wean at 6 months
      avoid diaper changes whenever possible
      buy cheap food to conserve resources
      love sugar
      hate kale and avocado
      prefer to sleep alone

      I’m perfectly willing to follow them, but I think they’d get me kicked out of the club!

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        I can’t eat kale because of all the iodine, but avocado is one of my favorite things in the world.

      • Daleth

        Sullivan and I will split all your avocados. Bring them on!

        • Nick Sanders

          Hey, woah, no fair bogarting the avocados!

        • araikwao

          No, you will definitely need my help to eat them all! Just having a happy flashback to when we lived in a tropical country where the avocados grew big enough to need a dinner plate to cut them on, and the locals generally didn’t like them because “they are like eating butter”. Oh, I loved avocado season…

          • Daleth

            Omg. What paradise was that?
            And since when is “they are like eating butter” a reason NOT to eat something?

          • araikwao

            A small Pacific island nation, from whose language my profile name comes (I tried googling “araikwao” once and IT WASN’T ON THE INTERNET! I thought that was both awesome and anonymous!)
            And yeah, I remember thinking, “tastes like butter?you say it like it’s a bad thing!”

          • Who?

            Will be avo season here any second. Love it.

          • araikwao

            We cannot be in the same state. I am currently losing sensation in my toes – it’s really cold!!
            ETA: And I’m really jealous – avocados are so expensive here!

          • Who?

            It’s pretty fresh here today, and pouring rain.

            They will be say 3 for $5 in a month or so, at which time everything goes with avocado.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I have always said, I HATE that “follow your instincts, they are usually right” advice you see in parenting books. Not because I think it’s wrong – in fact, I think it’s dead on the mark. However, the problem with it is that too many people read that and insist that, not only are their instincts right, but that means that everyone else is WRONG.

        And that is complete nonsense. The reason the “your instincts are usually right” advice works is because there isn’t a lot that really “wrong.” There are lots and lots of acceptable approaches, all just as good as the other. That means that, yeah, whatever you choose to do is probably right. But it also means that whatever someone else chooses to do is ALSO just as much right.

        • Cobalt

          Your instincts are usually very good at getting or keeping you comfortable, which is most of the time just fine. They occasionally cause really bad downstream effects (I really love sugar!), but that’s what guidelines are for (hello moderation!).

  • Mel

    *chuckles mirthlessly*

    Good freaking luck with that one, privileged moms. Have you ever read Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”? You really should before you decide that you can protect your children from bacteria and viruses by separating them from humanity.

    Let’s be honest; it’s not even a rich vs. poor divide. It’s a “I’ve got mine; Fuck the rest of you” ideology.

    How kind do you think these moms would be to another rich, white family whose kid got badly sickened with measles? I’m betting they’d be exactly as kind as women are on NCB boards towards moms who lose babies. The blame game would kick into full force and within 20 minutes the mom would be found guilty of not providing enough kale smoothies; homeopathic duck liver; positive thoughts or just general “good mothering”.

    You know, I’ve SEEN what lead poisoning can do to human brains. It’s ugly as hell. I’ve also know a few people who nearly died of carbon monoxide poisoning. So, yeah. I worry about environmental exposures to toxins. That’s why I made every student in my chemistry and biology classes read the EPA documents on lead exposure and CO poisoning, answer a bunch of questions on it, then make an educational material – pamphlet, kid’s book, poster, bulletin board so they could share the information with others in the school or community.

    Oddly enough, I worry less about my former students. They vaccinated their kids and took them to doctors when they were sick. I worry that one of their babies may be exposed – but the community will rally around them.

    These privileged women….well, they’ll learn exactly how far their ‘friends’ care about them as soon as one of their kids get measles.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “These privileged women….well, they’ll learn exactly how far their ‘friends’ care about them as soon as one of their kids get measles.”
      Although they might rally around them if their naturopath gives them the diagnosis of Chronic Lymes.

    • JJ

      “The blame game would kick into full force and within 20 minutes the mom would be found guilty of not providing enough kale smoothies;
      homeopathic duck liver; positive thoughts or just general “good
      mothering”.”

      You are so right on! That is how it works in these circles. You can never try hard enough in the natural community. It is so maddening. Taking any medication is giving up or not being able to solve problems with food, and I pity the person who gets something like serious like cancer. Well, they warned you not to buy poison food, use toxic antiperspirant, drink fluoridated water, swim in chlorine, wear sunscreen, drink diet coke, eat sugar, eat GMOs, drink pasteurized milk, take Big Pharma drugs, or generally live life. No compassion, just blame.

    • Nick Sanders

      Not duck liver, duck shit. I’m not making that up.