Kate Tietje, hypocrite

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Oh, the irony!

Kate Tietje, Modern Alternative Mama, is furious that parents are sharing scary stories about their children injured by and dying from whooping cough, measles and chickenpox. How dare suffering parents spread fear of vaccine preventable diseases while Tietje is trying to spread fear of vaccines?

Her post, Dear Parents, Please Stop Sharing Scary Disease Stories, would be a hilarious example of cluelessness were it not about dead babies.

How dare suffering parents spread fear of vaccine preventable diseases while Tietje is trying to spread fear of vaccines?

Tietje writes:

These stories are popping up almost weekly on social media. (I guess that isn’t that much, since we’re talking hundreds of millions of people in several different countries — something to keep in mind.) Whenever they do, tens of thousands will share them, and warn people. The media will pick them up, and plaster them all over the place, with dire warnings to “anti-vaxxers” to see what lies ahead of them if they don’t smarten up and vaccinate.

Weekly stories of children hospitalized for vaccine preventable diseases “isn’t that much”?

Wrong! When vaccine rate are high, those stories are virtually non-existent. During my entire 4 years of medical school and 4 years of residency, I never heard a single story about a young child with whooping cough. It became so rare that doctors had trouble diagnosing it at first because they had never seen it.

But now, in response to the fear mongering of Kate Tietje and her anti-vax compatriots those diseases have made a deadly comeback.

It feels like a “trump card” when your child has unfortunately been ‘the one’ to experience the illness or the complications. The proof that you were really right all along, and that people really must vaccinate. You hope that your story will reach the people who need to read it, and that you’ll convince more people to see things your way…and vaccinate their babies.

But you won’t.

It’s so predictable, every time. A mother (or father) shares her/his story, earnestly hoping that s/he will change peoples’ minds. Several friends and family members encourage her and tell her how brave she is and how sorry they are that her baby is sick. They tell her how needed her message is, and how people just don’t get how serious this stuff is, and how her story will make a difference. She feels justified in having shared it.

Sort of like the way Tietje shares stories of the “vaccine injured”:

I want to help you, mama. I want to give you and your child a voice. Your story deserves to be recognized. Other people need to know that vaccine injury isn’t silent, it isn’t pretend. It isn’t so rare that you’ll never know anyone who struggles with it. It’s real, and it’s a daily part of life.

If you have your story written up, mama, please share a link to it in the comments. I’ll add them throughout the day, so that we have a long list of stories that people can read. So that they can know the truth.

Tietje must be suffering from hyp-lash, an injury caused by hypocritically bouncing back and forth two utterly incompatible positions. Watching Tietje, who runs a business based on fear mongering, counsel others that fear mongering is ineffective would be very amusing if it weren’t literally a matter of life and death.

So please, please. Stop sharing these big, scary stories and these angry pronouncements. It only divides people, when we are all just trying to keep our kids healthy and safe.

Tietje obviously has no problem sharing big, scary stories about vaccines; she actually solicits them. So what’s the problem with sharing big, scary stories about vaccine preventable diseases? As far as I can determine, the problem is that the stories of vaccine preventable injuries and deaths make Tietje look like an unethical liar and interfere with her business model.

Anti-vaxxers like Tietje are cheats. They rely heavily on the fact that vaccines work in order to claim that they don’t. If children died of vaccine preventable illnesses at the same rate they died before vaccines, anti-vaxxers would be universally derided as fools. They can only operate their fear mongering businesses as long as vaccine preventable illnesses appear to be gone. Those big, scary stories of infants dying from whooping cough are bad for business since they demonstrate beyond a doubt that vaccine preventable illnesses are not gone.

Anti-vaxxers are liars. They claimed that it is merely coincidence that vaccine preventable diseases disappeared after the introduction of vaccines and therefore they insisted that vaccine preventable illnesses would not return if children weren’t vaccinated. Those big, scary stories of children injured or dying from vaccine preventable illness are bad for business since they demonstrate that the illnesses return and children die when we stop vaccinating,

Anti-vaxxers are unethical because rely on herd immunity to keep their own children safe. They ostentatiously refuse the burdens of vaccination while implicitly relying on its effectiveness. If everyone did what they did, people like Tietje would be out of business and some of her children might be dead. How many books and supplements would Tietje be able to sell on the backs of her unvaccinated children if those children die appalling deaths? Very, very few.

Tietje insists:

People who are already suspect of vaccines do not read these stories — especially if shared angrily, with name-calling directed towards “anti-vaxxers” (as is often the case) and say “You know what, I was clearly wrong.” No, it only makes them frustrated.

If no one reads the stories of small children suffering and dying from vaccine preventable diseases, why is Tietje railing against them? How does she even know about them if no one reads them?

Tietje is railing against these stories precisely because people DO read them and they ARE effective in debunking the lies that Tietje purveys, damaging her business and her credibility.

Tietje’s hypocrical post should offer comfort to the parents who have publicly shared their anguish when their babies are injured or die from vaccine preventable diseases. You might have wondered if you were making a difference, but when Tietje begs you to stop, you can be sure that you are.

  • TsuDhoNimh

    It feels like a “trump card” when your child has unfortunately been ‘the
    one’ to experience the illness or the complications. The proof that you
    were really right all along, and that people really must vaccinate.

    Remember when she was so proud about successfully nursing her kids through weeks of whooping cough? How she bravely soldiered on and how tough it was on her to provide her children with “natural immunity”?

    She presented it as proof that she was really right all along, and that people really don’t have to vaccinate.

  • Anti Foodbabe

    Excellent article, Dr. Tuteur! Probably the best take down of this charlatan to date.

  • J.B.

    OT but vaccine related – now that flu mist is not being recommended, I will need to get my kid the shot next year. This is a child who has PTSD level reactions for anything medical. Needed a Xanax for a strep test. Any tips/suggestions for making shots less painful???

    • fiftyfifty1

      Age of child?

      • J.B.

        Child is 7

        • fiftyfifty1

          I agree with the tips in the link that Squillo posted. But if child is too anxious to even do those (e.g. melting down with even entering the building) I don’t think the occasional low dose sedation pill is a sin.

          • CSN0116

            Our ped, who is actually a family practitioner, is the bomb. He uses tricks from that link and also comes out to the house for cases like this and vaccinates the child in his own home with blankies, lovies, stuffed animals, etc. We’ve never needed to do it, but friends who are also patients have. Same guy who gives out his cell number and will open up shop for 15 minutes on a Sunday morning just to see you in a pinch <— we've taken advantage of that one! I know there's an app, in some cities, for home visits — for a fee, of course. Is this available where you are?

    • guest

      In that case, I think skipping it is a valid choice. It’s two sucky options, increased risk of flu (and therefore serious flu complications), or highly traumatic experience. If your son gets PTSD from a shot every time, it seems better to protect him from that definite bad outcome than the possible bad outcome of flu (particularly when the shot isn’t super effective – if we were talking smallpox, the balance would shift).

    • guest

      As far as making shots less painful, you could do a dose of children’s Tylenol before, and then ice the area receiving the shot for a couple of minutes before (if the doctor/whoever will cooperate).

      • swbarnes2

        Though in general, Tylenol before vaccines makes them less effective. FWIW, I bet it’s not so much the pain, but the anticipation of the pain. I’d be emphasizing “Yes, it’s going to hurt, but we’ll count to 10, and that’ll be it”.

    • Charybdis

      EMLA patch or cream prior, maybe? It is a topical patch/cream that contains a local anesthetic (lidocaine and prilocaine) that will numb the area prior to the shot. You apply it at least an hour before the event and it will numb the site.

      That might help, as well as a matter-of-fact attitude. “You are going to get a flu shot. The doctor has prescribed us this cream to apply to your arm an hour or so before the shot. It will numb the place where they will give the shot, so it won’t hurt. The spot will be numb and the shot will be very fast and will be over in 30 seconds. Then we can go get ice cream as a treat afterwards” or some such.

      It is hard when you have a child who fights medical stuff.

    • Squillo

      Here’s a piece on what works, according to existing science: https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/vaccines-are-a-pain-what-to-do-about-it/

    • J.B.

      Thanks for the tips everyone. We’re working on a long slow process of desensitization.

  • Mel

    *blinks*

    How…..how would 3rd trimester vaccine cause microcephaly that can be ID’ed on a 2nd trimester ultrasound?

    I mean….I’m all in favor of suspension of disbelief when reading fiction….but I can’t go that far.

    • Box of Salt

      A couple of months ago, discussion regarding this idea posted on an old thread crashed the site to the point that the Comments had to be closed.

      For those that hate vaccines, as Orac has said, it’s always the fault of the vaccines. Facts be damned (well, no, just ignored).

  • Amy

    Commenting again (ahh, vacation!). I can’t get over this mold contaminated house thing. Focusing on organic food and breastfeeding while you’re living in a mold colony is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. AND insisting that said chair arrangement will is more important to the ship’s safety and well-being than, you know, not colliding with an iceberg. AND then writing a book about how to safely navigate the Atlantic because your “alternative” way is better than the mainstream.

    • Roadstergal

      Ugh, mold is so, so bad. We rented a house that had black mold; my husband’s asthma was as bad as I’ve ever seen it, and I was starting to get contact hypersensitivity (I’ve never had an immunological issue in my life). We moved out of the black mold area, and all of those bad effects went away almost overnight. Despite the prepackaged microwave food.

  • Megan

    OT: Pleasantly surprised to see this headline this morning:
    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_57629378e4b05e4be860efe5/comments

    • Wombat

      Still need to get my next transvaginal ultrasound in the rotunda (with a drape, ofc). Not for abortion in my case, but still. Those and other ridiculous restrictions still stand.

      I hold the tiniest glimmer of hope they will be able to be reanalyzed due to this case, but PP v Casey’s specific restrictions at issue regulates that to most likely wishful thinking :c

  • moto_librarian

    Yeah, Kate, here’s the thing. I’m not going to take advice from a parent who couldn’t be bothered to take her child with a broken arm to a real doctor for several days. I also don’t have much to say to someone who has posted on the web that she loves her VBACed child more than her c-sectioned child. You’re pretty much the absolute worst.

    • OttawaAlison

      But she was “brave” posting how she loved her son more than her daughter… except replace “Brave” with “terrible”.

      • H

        Did she really???!!

        • Box of Salt

          I linked the sanitized version of her Babble post downthread; Dr Amy linked for me her post when it was discussed here, March 2011(yeah, OK, I didn’t feel like finding the link at the time).

          The Wayback machine last year still had an earlier version; I cannot find the original anywhere any more.

        • Krista

          She’s since taken it down because it got so much backlash, but the internet never forgets.

      • MaineJen

        I cannot even %^& imagine making an internet post about how I loved one child more than the other. I can’t even imagine *loving* one child more than the other. …How??

  • Amy

    To take a page out of the militantly crunchy brigade’s book….nobody can make Modern Alternative Mama and all the other “mamas” feel scared without their consent. People are merely posting information, and if the “mamas” CHOOSE to react to that, it’s just their own shame and guilty consciences. If they know they did the right thing, no amount of scary stories about VPDs should affect them, right?

  • guest

    Way OT, although it does relate to uteruses and the things we do with them: Tomorrow I’m scheduled to have my first IUD placed, but I may have a yeast infection now. Fingers crossed that either the insertion goes well, or the doc can identify WTF is going on and give me an effective treatment for that (or in some perfect world, both at the same time). I’ve been working on getting this IUD for a full year now. The time it has taken is partially my own fault, but also due to absurd wait times to get appointments.

    • moto_librarian

      Ugh. I hope you’re able to get it placed!

      • guest

        I was! Whatever is going on with me right now is external only (probably vaginal dermatitis, but who knows from what). My doctor was comfortable placing it and it’s done.

  • SHANA MARIA VERGHIS

    Huh? If they find them scary then they should be the judge of what’s scary. You can’t tell someone who is scared not to reveal their fear and except it to just disappear.

    • corblimeybot

      Kate Tietje isn’t scared of anything but her notoriety fading away. She’s a lying, disingenuous, malevolent dipshit.

      • SHANA MARIA VERGHIS

        Well from the sound of that it seems like she doesn’t have to be scared of her notoriety fading away either. 😛

        • corblimeybot

          Sure. She actively courts it by posting the cruelest, nastiest, most dangerously false, judgemental drivel she can puke up. She would roll over and die before she stopped seeking out any kind of attention. If that’s what you mean, then I agree. She has no reason to fear that people will stop being outraged by horrible behavior. People get outraged by assholes.

          Certainly she’ll maintain her notoriety, now that she’s implicitly threatening to harass the parents of children with vaccine-preventable diseases.

    • Who?

      If they find vaccines scary they should get their grownup pants on and behave like responsible parents not like irresponsible infants.

  • Who?

    Another family who thought they knew how to treat serious illness, with a tragic outcome. I understand why both aren’t in prison, but a couple of months inconvenience isn’t much for the life of a child who was too young, and too sick, to advocate for himself.

    http://calgaryherald.com/news/crime/live-judge-to-sentence-parents-of-boy-who-died-from-meningitis

    • guest

      It’s not enough. Maybe prison isn’t best in this case, but from what I’ve seen they don’t regret their choices. I am at least relieved that their remaining children are now required to have doctor’s visits every three months.

    • Daleth

      FOUR MONTHS?! He caused his little boy to suffer excruciating pain and ultimately die, and for that he gets FOUR GODDAMNED MONTHS in jail?!?!

      That’s so wrong.

      • Roadstergal

        And dad has no regret over it. None. He’d do it again tomorrow.

    • H

      That story just made me very angry!!! It’s one thing if you live in a country or place where you don’t have any medical help, but willfully choosing not to help your child!!??!!

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Why do these people still have custody of their children? They have not shown remorse. They are a danger to the still living children. What was the judge thinking?

  • namaste863

    No. No, goddammit, I will NOT stop “Spreading scary disease stories!” You know why? Because these diseases are fucking scary. The KILL people. And vaccines and herd immunity are the best fucking protection we’ve got against them, and people like you are fucking up that protection and putting us ALL at risk. These so-called “Scary disease stories” are the completely predictable result. We are merely pointing out those reaults. Don’t like it? Tough shit. Quit being part of the fucking problem.

  • Jennifer

    I work as an epidemiologist in the infection control department of a cancer center. I wonder how she would respond if we had a measles outbreak (something I actually have nightmares about).

    • demodocus

      Hopefully she’s not one of the eugenics types…

    • I think she’d claim it was the “natural” way to obtain immunity, and if there were side effects, or fatalities, that it happens to vaccinated children, too.

      • Sonja Henie

        As long as it didn’t happen to HER kids. Measles in vaccinated kids is pretty rare.

  • Irène Delse

    Tiejte makes me think of my maternal grandmother. It was the 1940s, and the only vaccine at that time was smallpox. My grandmother made a fuss about the fact that her little girl (my mother) would be injected in the shoulder because it left a small scar and that would prevent her from wearing low-cut blouses and dresses! (Never mind that it didn’t prevent other women at that time to wear revealing dresses if they wanted!) So she asked the nurse to do the vaccine in the foot instead. Result: my mother got a bad foot infection and a much worse scar. Because who could know that a toddler would be more likely to get dirt on her feet than on her shoulder, right?

    • Mishimoo

      My nan-in-law had hers done on her thigh in her words “because of vanity” but I really can’t blame her for making that choice. The foot of a toddler though? That was a really bad idea!

    • Anna C

      My smallpox jab was under my arm (almost in the pit) so the scar is not visible. I was too young to remember it but apparently it was the usual practice by that particular GP. I’ve never understood why this was not more common

    • Charybdis

      My mother had them put mine on my back, on my shoulder blade. I didn’t scar too badly there, you have to look really, really hard to find the spot.

      She did so because she wanted me to be able to wear sleeveless dresses, tops, etc.

    • Sonja Henie

      I’ve heard that, too. I have a big ole scar on my left arm. No matter. It never kept me from wearing anything I wanted. Everyone else had one too. Some did get theirs on their thighs, but that was before mini-skirts (but not before short shorts)! Some people scar more than others.

      • MI Dawn

        Mine’s on my arm, too. My mom’s and uncle’s are on their thigh, up near a panty line.

      • Andrew Lazarus

        I saw a smallpox scar on a relatively young woman the other day, marked her as an immigrant. USA had stopped vaccination by her age. Hercule Poirot where are you?

        • indigosky

          Or military/veteran. They still vaccinate for smallpox. I have a lovely scar 8 years later on my left shoulder. It always fascinates nurses and doctors who have never seen one.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          It could also be from BCG

          • Mike Stevens

            Usual convention used to be to give BCG on the right arm, and smallpox on the left, so doctors could work out which vax a child did or didn’t have. The scars can look similar.
            Doesn’t apply nowadays, obvs.

      • Box of Salt

        Mine’s on the right shoulder as I was vaccinated outside of the US (where it’s usually on the left – no scientific study here, just my own observations). It’s also now barely visible, but a few years ago, it did inspire a conversation between myself and one of my children about what vaccines are, and why we use them.

    • Mel

      In my area of the US, everyone over a certain age has a smallpox scar on the upper arm and it’s never seemed to affect clothing choices. I remember being confused that none of my vaccines would leave a scar.

      • Box of Salt

        The US stopped routine smallpox vaccine in 1972.

        “The last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1949. The last
        naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977.”
        http://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/vaccination/faq.asp

        I had one; neither my younger sister nor my husband (yeah, younger than me) do.

        Given today’s antivaccine lobby, I consider my scar a badge of honor. See my other comment below.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      My mom and my older SIL got theirs on the inside of their arm near their armpit. My brother, my husband, and I never got the smallpox vaccine

  • Marie

    Just out of curiosity: Does anyone know how old Kate Tietje is? She looks super young in some of her pictures but not in others. I always assumed she was 40ish but in some pictures she looks younger than me (I’m 30).

    • Amy

      I’d guess early 30s. Her kids are all spaced pretty closely together and the oldest is like 8. She’s a evangelical/borderline fundamentalist Christian (boggling the mind how she can consider herself either modern or alternative due to that, but then she’s an ultra-conservative who “likes” John Oliver, so consistency is obviously not her strong point), and they tend to marry young.

  • Marie Gregg

    She won’t let it out of moderation, but I just commented:

    “So, basically, ‘Don’t share things I don’t agree with.’ M’kay.”

    • Marie Gregg

      I’m pleased to report that I’ve know been banned from commenting on her Facebook page.

      • joe

        Yeah my posts on her site usually last about 5 minutes,she claims to have an open mind, i would hate to see her version of a closed mind.

        • kfunk937

          There’s a FB “support group” of sorts: Banned by ___________ (fill in the appropriate woomeister, e.g. MAM, FoodBabe, etc.).

          Join us!

  • Deborah

    The immaturity of this “mama” (urghh) beggars belief. She thinks people who plan to vaccinate their children produce a “trump card” when their child gets a vaccine preventable illness because it then vindicates their position.
    Katie, this isn’t a game. The very last thing on the mind of these parents is whether they won or not. There is no joy or sense of victory for a parent whose child has died or suffered a permanent injury from a disease easily prevented by vaccination.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      They think they think about this issue in terms of “winning” because that’s how they think. Mothers with actual lives don’t know it but the Kate Tietjes of the world in locked in an epic competition with them about who’s children are “better.” For them, “natural living” isn’t just about having happy, healthy children, it’s about having little ubermenschen. They need their kids to be smarter, more attractive, better behaved etc. than the children of the unenlightened plebes to prove their own superiority to themselves. I’m pretty sure Kate Tietje is one of the Mommy Bloggers who advocates using diet as a method of behavior control for her kids. (Though she would call it “healing” them of…something.) And of course, homeschooling makes your children vastly superior to all those riffraff sheeple children on the school bus.

      Every single thing these women do is a way to score points on other parents who don’t share their dogma. Not surprising that they think everyone else thinks the same way and that something as serious as vaccine-preventable disease would be seen by other parents as a way to score on them.

      I’m sorry, but this is what happens when women aren’t permitted to have any identity or accomplishment outside of their children. They turn their children into projects that have to be better than everyone else’s, which is a real shame, considering that children are people, not projects.

      • Old Lady

        In the past women would compete over their housekeeping, clothes making, cooking or anything else in the domestic sphere. Childcare is just considered the most important activity for mothers in this current cultural climate. This kind of competition is a problem because children are people, not extensions of the parent. Being able to compete in the work world won’t make them nicer or more agreeable people. They would just do the same things with adult workers in their responsibility, if that was their job. These people are narcissists. In fact this women views other adult parents as pawns in her game to “win” anti-vax with this admonishment, so you can see it’s not just her children she does this to. You see this sort of thing all the time in men too, just look at sports dads. So don’t pin her nasty behavior on some kind of oppression.

        • Amy

          Dr. Amy has posted on this in the past. An awful lot of these “crunchy mamas” occupy a very specific socioeconomic niche– middle class (trending to upper middle class in some parts of the country) with *possibly* bachelor’s degrees and little to no professional or academic success. So their “crunchy points” become their substitute accomplishments. They may not have any professional skills, but they feed their kids organic food, cloth diaper, and then when their kids get older they homeschool– and they use those “achievements” to feel better about themselves, so they have to pretend that those things make a big, positive, meaningful difference in their kids’ lives.

          (Meanwhile, I actually did use cloth diapers on my kids when they were babies because it was a lot cheaper. My kids are now 8 and 10, and when they found out I’d used cloth diapers, they were totally disgusted!)

          • Old Lady

            I’ve read it.

            Ah yes. “Achievements”. So their time is only well spent if they have advanced education and have “a real job” you consider worthwhile. Everyone uses “achievements” to feel better about themselves. I don’t really care if someone is a doctor or a stay at home mom, you can still be a narcissist who uses their children as some kind of self fulfillment project. Not having education or career and being a stay at home mother doesn’t mean nothing I do with my time isn’t useful and it doesn’t mean my situation drove me to be like her. I respect my children as individuals and I respect other mothers and their choices. Likewise, having a career and education and “accomplishments” and power doesn’t mean being immune to being like her.

          • Amy

            Uhhh….you obviously didn’t understand what you read, then. Dr. Amy herself retired from medicine to stay home with her children. NOBODY, not me, and certainly not Dr. Amy, is saying that all stay-at-home-mothers aren’t spending their time in a worthwhile manner. But someone who has an advanced degree HAS achieved someone that someone without that degree hasn’t. That’s just a fact. I don’t have an MD, but I’m not going to pretend that women who do haven’t achieved something I haven’t. Likewise, I play three instruments reasonably well, and I am proud of that achievement, and I have achieved more musically than people who don’t play any instruments or read music. Women who’ve been published, women who’ve earned positions at the top of their fields…..have achieved something. NOT accomplishing one of these things does indicate a lack of that particular achievement. Doesn’t mean you’re an abject failure in life, and doesn’t mean your life isn’t worthwhile. (I certainly don’t consider myself any less worthwhile for not getting a PhD or pursuing a career in mathematical research, but I’m not going to pretend that my master’s degree is as much of an achievement in my field as that would be.)

            The issue is that if you look at the demographics of these “crunchy mamas,” THEY are taking choices that don’t make a difference in even the short run, never mind the long run, and making them out to be achievements in an of themselves when they’re not. Skipping an epidural isn’t an achievement; it’s the default– it’s the equivalent of getting a root canal and thinking you’re a better dental patient because you skipped the novocain. Using cloth diapers instead of disposable isn’t an achievement and turns out to be a wash environmentally when all factors are considered. Spending extra money on organic food doesn’t make a difference to children’s health. And breastfeeding isn’t an achievement. It works for some women, it doesn’t work for other women. You’re right, it IS totally possible for a woman with advanced degree and a skilled career in her field to view her kids as some kind of extension of herself, something to brag about. But that’s not generally the case with the “crunchy granola mamas.” I honestly can’t even think of any outliers where it IS the case.

            Raising competent, well-adjusted, well-cared-for kids is an achievement. But it’s not an achievement we parents can claim until our kids are older. Tietje’s oldest kid is like eight. Jury’s still out on how happy and healthy he (or any of his siblings) will be. And that’s true of a lot of these mommy-bloggers trying to sell their expertise in parenting online; their kids are really young and they think they have all the answers. Heck, Tietje admits to spanking her kids until 2011 and now claims to be an expert in gentle discipline.

          • Who?

            Among my circle, the crunchies, to a woman, have a part of a couple of degrees, and have never held down a paid job since leaving university. The non crunchies all have at least one degree and many-but not all-either had or have good careers. Some have left the paid workforce to care for kids or other family, some have become ill and can’t work; some have retired or left their jobs for other reasons.

            The crunchies tend to not care for oversight and they don’t cope well with discussions that lead to disagreement (unless they start them). They also tend to be fairly rigid, keep immaculate homes and always look very nice. I have wondered whether these temperamental traits make them unsuited to paid work, but ideally suited to the self-referential environment of kids and soft advisers like naturopaths and chiropracters.

          • Old Lady

            You could have saved yourself the trouble of typing out that long post. I understood the article just fine. What I’m talking about are hidden (to some) biases on this site against woman are not educated or SAHM. I don’t agree with this woman in the least and I consider her anti-vax campaign dangerous and I think she is a terrible person based off of how she treats her children. But even more dangerous than her are people like Andrew Wakefield, but you don’t see people tearing him down personally on this site. What does the worthiness of her hobbies have to do with the validity of her words? People say because she spends her time promoting crunchy things and doesn’t have a “real job” and is uneducated so therefore anything she has to say isn’t worthwhile. But I’m not going to listen to Andrew Wakefield or any of the othe doctors Dr. Tuteur has mentioned just because they are educated and are (were) doctors. Just as I listen and respect Dr Tuteur because she provides good arguments and respects women’s choices even if I don’t always agree with her (but most of the time I do).

          • Amy

            People do tear down Wakefield. And Jay Gordon, the Doctors Sears, and Aviva Romm. You know this, because you yourself refer to the fact that Dr. Amy has mentioned them on her blog. (I *will* save myself the trouble of combing through old comment threads to provide you with examples, because that *would* be annoying and a waste of time for me.)

            People aren’t saying that BECAUSE Tietje promotes “crunchy things” her pronouncements aren’t worthwhile. Many of us enjoy many of those crunchy things ourselves, including Dr. Amy. She IS uneducated in just about all of the areas in which she paints herself as an expert, so obviously in those areas anything she has to say is NOT worthwhile. Nothing to do with whether or not she stays home with her kids or even whether or not she has a degree.

            As I mentioned, I have a masters degree in mathematics– if I were to run a blog on interesting mathematical problems and issues in math education, it wouldn’t be lying to paint myself as an expert in that field. But that credential means zilch when it comes to raising healthy kids. Dr. Amy has railed about situations like these before, too– I forget the name of the woman, but some woman with a graduate degree in psychology or something was painting herself as an expert in birth, and Dr. Amy called her out for it.

  • Heidi

    Not the most on topic, but yesterday I stumbled upon a family member posting this “citizen cattle” garbage on his Facebook. It’s about every conspiracy theory rolled into this uninspiring “political cartoon.” I feel like even calling it a political cartoon is giving it too much credit. Anyway, I had given him all the clothes my baby had outgrown even though I was originally planning on keeping them for possible baby #2 because he and his girlfriend needed them. Now I find myself really sad I gave them to someone who is risking his child’s life and thinks the rest of us are dumb sheeple who need to wake up. Some of those clothes held memories, but when I thought this person was a reasonable human being who didn’t look down on me, I felt okay about it. It’s infuriating he believes himself to know the truth.

  • lilin

    The crappiest part of me wants to Brexit these people. You don’t like vaccines? Okay, vote to make vaccines illegal for the next ten years. You’ll be tarred and feathered for suggesting it in five.

    Sadly, too many people would die for it to be moral.

    • It would only work if all the unvaccinated were moved to an island somewhere and left alone to watch what happened

  • attitude devant

    All of you who don’t want to give her the traffic really should take a look. It’s HILARIOUS. She advises the mom of the child with a vaccine-preventable illness not to post the story “while you’re upset.” Yes, mother of child ill with vaccine-preventable illness, why don’t you wait. Until the baby is out of the ICU. Or at least until after the funeral. Thanks so much!

    I don’t know what it is about Katie that makes me want to smack her. Perhaps I just can’t forgive her for the child with the broken arm left unattended for days, or the (later-altered) post on how she loved her vbac child sooooo much more than her c/s child, and if one of them had to die could it please be the c/s child?

    Or maybe it’s that her writing reminds me of Delores Umbridge.

    Or maybe all three.

    • corblimeybot

      For me, it’s the fact that she appears to be truly a bad person. She’s not just unbalanced, not just a crank, not just a vocal idiot. She’s rotten to the core. And she is intolerably smug about it. We already knew all that, but this latest stunt drives the thousandth nail into the coffin.

      Personally, I also despise people who (badly!) feign kindness and complex moral thinking, to try to get away with malice. And she is a big fan of that tactic, even though she’s not smart enough to fully pull it off.

      Unfortunately for the world, she has the time and the motivation to be both extremely petty, and extremely expansive with her cruelty.

      • Yes. She really seems like a terrible person. That’s what gets me.

      • Wombat

        The best part is she has an article arguing that ‘semi-crunchy’ moms (aka non-total science deniers) need to stop “bragging” – aka talking about the parts of mainstream medicine and science they did choose, or just talking about their choices at all.

        With a 1 paragraph caveat (for those not giving a click that’s like 5% of her typical articles) that ‘oh it applies to us totally natural mammas too’.

        Only the superior may be superior. Then it’s just being. Apparently.

        Agree on /gag. Hard.

      • Jules B

        I am not a psychologist but I have done a lot of reading on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (for reasons), and that is exactly what she seems like to me. She is not just narcissistic in a garden variety way, but I think she has actual NPD (Again, just a layperson’s guess.) Even the fact that she has one “golden child” and one scapegoat child is textbook NPD. Plus her seeming need to squash any dissenting views – folks with NPD cannot stand being challenged, even a little bit.

        • Wombat

          Oh lord, do you have any links (if you’re not giving clicks that’s cool) about the scapegoat child? I’m curious how she frames it, given her (quite faulty) attempts to appear impartial elsewhere.

          I’ve seen the concept expressed in the NCB circles and it both baffles and saddens me. Why wouldn’t you scapegoat any and everything else, before your child? The OBs, the midwives, the universe!!? It truly is process over outcome, and not just in the sense of perinatal loss (sadly some of these women really claim to/can forget wanted dead babies – so long as they happened at the hands of midwives/NCB). It’s a life-long burden on your child because of a few hours and some recovery. If that.

          The headlines I’ve seen (they may have even been hers) are literally things like “Why I Can’t Love My Daughter”. Just ugh. Poor, poor, poor children. I guess if you distrust Phsyciatry and Medicine then giving your child an incredibly damaging mental illness level complex is entirely forgivable /sarcastic gagging.

          The best part is they’re usually AP and other ‘only love’ based method advocates. Granted, some do place the AP as ‘healing’ for their disconnect or even displeasure with their child, but others don’t.

          • Jules B

            I am using the term “scapegoat” in a specific way, as it relates to parents with NPD (although all the other examples you give are totally awful kinds of abuse/scapegoating, too!).

            The child of a narcissistic parent who is NOT the favourite (or not the “golden child”) usually ends up being the target of a lot of the narcissist’s rage and abuse. In other words, one kid is usually singled out as the “whipping boy” (or girl.)

            The way she plays clear favourites, where she lavishes affection and care on her second born and essentially neglects and/or abuses her daughter (I recall some posts awhile ago about how she neglected to properly treat her daughter for a broken arm?? I think this was the same woman), indicates she is acting within that scapegoat/golden child dynamic that NPD parents like to act within.

            A famous example of this type of dynamic would be Joan Crawford aka Mommie Dearest. Apparently, most of her abuse was directed at her daughter (who wrote the book the movie was based on), and pretty much left her other kids alone and/or favoured them.

            Note: I have no idea why narcissists tend to do this with their children, but it seems to be a fairly common pattern with them.

          • Wombat

            Oh yeah, i was more just saying examples of her posts (since she’s writing them you know they’re likely worse than she says). I’ve seen her name tossed around a lot – both here and other realist/science blogs – but I hadn’t seen this particular trope/issue applied to her. BUT I obviously don’t read her site.

            And the “Why I Can’t Love My Daughter” article was basically ‘she’s the one I can’t connect with because she was a c-section, I don’t like to spend time with her and find myself spending time with and loving my perfect (usually 2nd and therefore ‘healing’) naturally birthed child more. And I’m ok with it’. It’s self-glorification/justification of it, but it really seems to be the same scapegoating/golden dynamic. They almost never post it when they don’t have another child to compare it to, because then they might look like shitty abusive parents. Clearly if they parent one child well (over-well) they’re good parents, the other kid is just broken /mas gagging sarcasm.

          • Jules B

            Ah gotcha. They really do think one child is broken, so they discard them like trash (tragically).

          • Irène Delse

            What an awful situation. I’m awfully sorry for those kids.

          • Daleth

            Horrifying. Poor child.

        • guest

          Sometimes I worry that I’m not open enough to dissenting views, but I have two children, one who is difficult, and one who isn’t, and I can’t imagine scapegoating either one. I may favor my son in certain ways, but it’s because he’s the difficult one and it seems like he needs it. And I make the effort to try and match the attention with my daughter, but she is more independent and deals with life in general much better. I don’t even know how to scapegoat them – what is the difficult child supposed to have done, ruin her life?

          • Jules B

            Narcissists are not logical/rational – everyone is just an extra in the play of their own life. They scapegoat just because they need an outlet for their narcissistic rage…a rage they feel whenever the world/other people do not act like perfect extras in the play, which is often. Simply put, they need a punching bag (and what is easier to punch than a dependent child?). They also need a golden child to project their own feeling of specialness onto. Being the golden child of an NPD parent is no cakewalk either, so I feel for her son, too.

        • J.B.

          If she’s a fundamentalist as others have suggested (haven’t looked enough to see myself but it’s come up before) then a strong willed girl may be unfavored anyway.

    • J.B.

      I did read it although I hate to give the click. Did you notice the bit at the end where she threatens the parents sharing their stories? “So terrible that you’ll get nasty messages” (from people like her.) Like “I’d hate to see you swim with the fishes.” Gag.

      • momofone

        Oh no! Not a nasty message! Ugh.

    • jenn p

      She’s evil, dangerous, vile, and rotten. That’s why you want to smack her.

    • Amy

      I thought that the loved-the-VBAC-kid one was TFB. Kind of sickening that they both feel this way.

    • You could probably persuade some people by using a ‘do not follow’ link or something.

  • DelphiniumFalcon

    So the one in a million vaccine injury is to be paraded about and shown to everyone about how eeeevvviiilll vaccines are.

    But the much more likely one in 1,000 measles encephalitis or death from pertussis happens we all need to stfu?

    Seems legit.

  • guest

    “Hyp-lash,” love it.

  • J.B.

    Does anyone know what people mean when they talk about vaccine injuries? Are they mainly referring to fevers, the extremely rare side effects that are ON THE CDC PAGE they give you, and the specter of autism? There are always enough commenters popping up on “vaccinate your kids” articles talking about “vaccine injury” that I wonder what details they consider injury.

    My spectrum adjacent kid got some wild fevers from vaccines but also from colds. Huh, I wonder if that has anything to do with how her brain is wired?

    • swbarnes2

      There are other extremely rare, more serious side effects that are “real” vaccine injuries. Like going into anaphalactic shock. Or if the vaccine causes a bad enough fever to cause a seizure, which happens with kids sometimes. I think most people who say they have vaccine injuries are probably wrong that their vaccines caused whatever they think they caused.

      There is a something called the Vaccine Adverse Effect Recording System, VAERS, and the idea is that everyone should report every adverse effect that happens after a vaccine into it, and then let the biostatisiticans figure out if there’s a good statistical link between a vaccine and a bad effect. But many anti-vaccers presume that every entry in there is already proven to be caused by vaccines, which is ridiculous.

      • sapphiremind

        Fever causing seizure is harmless and is just as likely to be triggered by the parent frantically trying to bring the fever down rapidly than the fever going up. Febrile seizures are caused by rate of rise, not the actual temperature.

        There are unfortunately some children who will react negatively to a vaccine and have a risk of having a non-febrile seizure or having some other serious side effect that is similar. You run that risk any time you take *any* medication. The rate of injury/death from those reactions is far far lower than the rate of infection and subsequent injury and/or death from the diseases being vaccinated against, but they are real risks.

        I am a health care provider and I know that we do absolutely risk “sacrificing” a very small number of the herd to these reactions. We do that because the known risk of the disease far outweighs that risk.

        What goes through many anti-vaxxer’s brains is: “I don’t want *my* child to be the one that is randomly selected via nature that is sacrificed for the herd.” I doubt any of us would really sign our kids up for that. But our human brains aren’t great at calculating risk ratios and that taking them out of the “herd lottery” does not remove them from the “disease lottery” and the “disease lottery” is WAAAAAAAAY easier to “win”. So it isn’t just doing it for the good of the herd – you are doing it to play your own odds, that you would rather play the “herd lottery” (mega millions) vs the “disease lottery” (a scratch off) in a time where you are desperately hoping to be a loser.

        • I’ve never quite understood why people can’t wrap their brains around this simple concept:

          Even if the disease and some prevention is equally risky…you have to actually get to the doctor’s office with the sick kid for natural immunity.

          • sapphiremind

            I don’t know if it is the wording – but my brain isn’t wrapping around it well 🙂 Do you mean you need to expose your child to the illness in order for them to obtain the natural immunity? (and make them ill with it, because really to gain the immunity for it the “old fashioned” way, you have to get sick)

          • Yup.

            What I’m saying is that even if the vaccination and the natural immunity (which is really just a fancy name for getting sick) were equally as dangerous in terms of numerical odds – the vaccine would be slightly less dangerous in reality because with the natural immunity/disease (let’s be honest – they’re the same thing) – you’ve got to get the sick kid all the way to the doctor or clinic or A&E (depending on how severe said natural immunity is) whereas with the vaccine…the person trained in dealing with medical problems is literally right. over. there.

          • sapphiremind

            Ok. Now the words are making sense in my brain 🙂 Thanks for the clarification 🙂

          • They deny the risk. A “childhood disease” is just that, an innocuous, minor problem of childhood which doesn’t have negative sequellae. Being “natural” of course. Nature equals harmless in today’s lexicon.

          • sapphiremind

            Of course it does. *headdesk* I live in N. CA and get a lot of natural-type people, even who seek medical care. And I am very strictly against anything herbal, because I learned the hard way. I had a drug-induced liver injury from an idiosyncratic drug reaction to green tea extract. I almost died from fulminate liver failure.

            From that experience, I have learned and internalized: Herbals are drugs (duh). They are unregulated medications. They are in dosages that are completely unknown and uncontrolled. They could be contaminated with possibly dangerous other substances, the therapeutic dosing range is not known and neither is the toxic range. All western medicine is: taking herbals, distilling out the active ingredients from them (chemically) and reproducing them in a lab in a pure, sterile fashion and then testing the hell out of them. Now, some of that testing does go wrong, and sometimes the drugs aren’t perfect, but they’re still miles better because at least you know what you’re taking. We play around with the chemistry and make new drugs, but many of our current medications are originally inspired by natural substances, that’s how we found the pathway to do it in the first place.

            btw, before people ask – I’m fully recovered. I did *not* overdose on green tea extract, what happened to me is more akin to anaphylaxis in your liver, so it is not dose dependent. It is known to cause this reaction in a certain subset of people (I’m special…yay?) ( http://livertox.nlm.nih.gov/GreenTea.htm ) If you have never gotten sick and you drink green tea/take things that have green tea extract in them (and there are a lot of things that have it in there as I’ve found out later, knowing how important it is to avoid it) it is unlikely to hurt you. But if you have never taken/tried/drank it before, I’m never going to suggest a person try it 🙂 You could be as “special” as me 😀

          • Mel

            I’m an experienced plant scientist who likes helping out teaching people how to ID plants. Because of this, I’ve learned the concept of “plant blindness” which is the term used to describe the average American’s ability to tell plants apart.

            Some people have a natural interest and aptitude for plants. Some people have an interest, but no aptitude.

            This is the rationale I give to people about why I never buy “herbals” or “natural remedies”. Based on the number of times I’ve had people freaking out because they thought oak seedlings or Virginia creeper was poison ivy, I do not trust that that dried bag of leaves is actually wild parsnip and not water hemlock or that those berries you found are elderberries and not poison nightshade, jimsonweed, or moonseed.

          • sapphiremind

            And even moreso when you are trusting some company to have harvested these plants correctly and not have even picked one incorrectly. Or that even if they did, that some of these plants haven’t naturally crossbred to provide a higher concentration of some medicinal quality or another. If it has active ingredients, it’s possible to overdose and/or have negative side effects.

            St. John’s Wort. Yes, may be an effective anti-depressant. But at what dosages are you therapeutic? What dosages do you risk harm? When are you likely to get increased side effects? Can you guarantee the active chemical amount in each dose? That there is never any cross-contamination? etc etc. I’d much rather my prescribed anti-depressant please, where I know how much I’m taking each time, exactly what I’m taking each time, and I know the exact risks, each time.

          • Box of Salt

            Brava! (I can’t upvote)

        • Roadstergal

          “I am a health care provider and I know that we do absolutely risk “sacrificing” a very small number of the herd to these reactions. We do that because the known risk of the disease far outweighs that risk.”

          I think about it in another way. If you have a severe reaction to a vaccine – a non-infectious mimic of a disease – what does that say about your reaction to the actual disease?

          For me, vaccine reactions fall under the heading of ‘being able to save most of them, but not all.’ Which of course doesn’t mean that we don’t try to improve the situation, but as mentioned below – what’s better, a reaction to an infection that will hit who-knows where or when, or a reaction to a mockup of an infection at a doctor’s office?

          • sapphiremind

            Of course, I’m just using the same word that anti-vaxxers themselves use. Though I will, in the interest of complete honesty, point out that not all reactions are immediate anaphylaxis. Some do progress over a couple of days. But again, at least you know to be monitoring for it, not randomly being exposed to a disease and having no idea to be on the lookout for adverse symptoms.

      • Sonja Henie

        Anaphylaxis following vaccination is extremely rare.
        “Researchers examined records from a total of 17,606,500 visits for a
        total 25,173,965 vaccine doses administered. There were no deaths and
        only one patient was hospitalized. They found 33 confirmed cases of
        anaphylaxis after administration, a rate of only 1.31 cases per million
        vaccine doses.

        “We identified no cases of anaphylaxis in children less than four years
        old. The median age of our case-patients was 17 years old with a range
        from 4 to 65 years old,” McNeil explained.”
        http://www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/news-releases/vaccines-anaphylaxis

        After giving immunizations for at least 40 of my 45 year career, I saw ONE case of probable anaphylaxis, from chickenpox vaccine. The child was sneezing uncontrollably. He responded to Benadryl

        • Gene

          A nurse coworker of mine had anaphylaxis to the flu vaccine. Multiple members of her family had the same reaction. They have some very weird allergies (rare, but strong reactions). She and her whole family are very pro vaccine and hate that they can’t get the flu shot. They depend on herd immunity.

          • Sonja Henie

            It happens. Although, I’d take her story with a grain of salt.

          • momofone

            I have a rare allergy to amide anesthetics (all of the drugs in the class with lidocaine/carbocaine/bupivacaine/etc). For a long time I was told I was just reacting (not reacting in an allergic way, but I can’t think of a better way to say it) to the epinephrine normally used with them, then I had a topical reaction, which led me to the allergist, who was sure I was reacting to the preservatives used along with the anesthetics. Tested pure lidocaine. Ended up in the ER as close to dying as I ever hope to be. It’s unusual, but scary and a real pain in the ass (especially when I have to get Rocephin with sterile water instead of lidocaine.) I respond to Benadryl too, which is a good thing, because Epipen is contraindicated due to the possibility of cardiac overstimulation.

          • Sonja Henie

            Wow! Glad you’ve figured all that out.

          • momofone

            There was a purpose in sharing that, and I think I obscured it with too much detail; I think I misunderstood what you said as “if it’s rare I wouldn’t take her word for it,” and after rereading I’m not sure that’s accurate on my part. (After the novel I shared I felt I should explain why–I’m guessing anyone who reads that is wondering why in the world I posted it, understandably so!)

          • Sonja Henie

            No problem. I do take stories such as an entire family with a severe flu allergy with a grain of salt, but the person who shared that says he’s seen it, so I’m inclined to drop my cynicism for a change.

            You’ve been under the care of physicians, so I believe you, too! 🙂

          • Gene

            Normally I’d agree with you. But this woman, I believe. I’ve seen her anaphylax at work. She is just as rabidly pro vaccine as I am and hates not bring able to get the flu shot. She’s been a nurse longer than I’ve been alive (and I’m no spring chicken). No nonsense, no woo.

          • Mishimoo

            My middle kiddo is allergic to chlorhexidine, I really wasn’t expecting that! Thankfully it’s only a topical reaction.

        • shay simmons

          I was the logistics chief for our county health department ‘s H1N1 campaign (2x weekly public clinics from late October through early January, 33k residents vaccinated out of a county population of 169k). We had several post-shot syncopes, mostly teenagers, but only one reaction severe enough to warrant transporting out of thirty three thousand vaccinations.
          Actually… more than thirty three thousand, because kids got two shots.

          • Sonja Henie

            Exactly! The office where I worked for 11 years gave about 100 doses of vaccine a day, 500 per week, 26,000 per year, etc. That’s where this chickenpox vax reacton happened. Before that I worked in immunizations at several health departments and visiting nurse agencies. Same as you, lots of fainting teens. Over the years, some high fevers, especially with the old whole cell DTP, sore arms, legs, a few rashes from MMR.

            NONE of this “dropped dead in the office”, or calls the next day or even next week that a kid turned autistic, no frantic ER visits, etc.

          • Mel

            I don’t know why the idea of getting a phone call that “my kid has become autistic” is as funny as I find it….

          • Sonja Henie

            Well, it never happened. We had autistic kids in the practice; not as many as some here talk about. None ever became autistic right after vaccination.

    • demodocus

      judging by stuff posted on “things anti-vaxxers say” on FB, just about anything could be an injury from their point of view.

      • madcapfeline

        Once, just for shits and giggles, I posted on an anti-vax page about how I’d gotten my annual flu shot and then got into a car accident on my way home, resulting in a broken arm. Is this a vaccine injury? Should I report it? Can I sue? The mental gymnastics of the comments that followed were incredible. Most centered around the vaccine befuddling my brain which was probably the direct cause of the accident, or that the vaccine weakened the bones in my arm, and if I hadn’t been vaccinated, I’d have been fine. There are some truly special snowflakes over in the anti-vax camp.

        • Cartman36

          OMG! That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. You just made my day.

        • J.B.

          You are my hero! (I hope you didn’t actually get a broken arm or that if you did it has healed well! Thanks to modern medicine 🙂

          • madcapfeline

            Lol, no. That was pure fiction. I did however have to suffer an entire winter season without getting the flu, so there’s that.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          Love it!

          My son had his MMR a few weeks ago. Now he’s cranky, chewing on everything, and there are 2 hard white things coming through his lower gums. Clearly a vaccine injury /s

        • Roadstergal

          I got promoted just a few months after my last seasonal flu vaccine.

        • Sue

          Should I report my daughter’s vaccine reactions? When she got her first, she could only babble. Each time she got a new course of vaccines, her verbal and motor skills improved. Since getting her HPV shots, she has been excelling in Latin. Correlation or causation?

          • corblimeybot

            Yeah, my daughter suddenly learned to walk after getting her MMR. Time to get on VAERS, I guess?

        • My favourite was one where someone who we will call “Purple” for the sake of this conversation detailed a fairly normal vaccine reaction – i.e. kid was fussy and had a slight fever.

          Purple then went onto to say that they had detoxed said vaccine injury with collodial silver and then asked if the kids grey-blue colour could be a subsequent vaccine injury.

          • demodocus

            i hope that one was a poe, i really do

          • Given what happened next courtesy of another commenter….probably not. “Orange” tried pointing out that said “vaccine injury” was probably from the colloidal silver and then swiftly got banned from the echo chamber. Poor Orange.

    • Heidi

      One “mama” claimed her child’s 2 and 4 mo. vaccination caused her to have eczema at 18 mos. Unless she quit having her child vaccinated after 4 mos., I don’t even understand that. I’d rather deal with some eczema than a seriously debilitated or dead child, but that’s just me!

      • Kathleen

        Even if my kid wasn’t seriously debilitated or dead, why would I want them to get ill at all? A cold or the flu is miserable (except for the unlimited couch cuddling and tv time), so I can’t imagine what measles or chicken pox or mumps or any of that would be like to deal with and I’m just the mom who takes care of them, not the one that has to you know, get sick! If I can have them avoid it, I would – it’s why we wash our hands to avoid germs and clean houses (to kill germs) and if there were a vaccine for the cold, I would jump at it.

        • Petticoat Philosopher

          And then there are all the parents for whom unlimited couch cuddling and TV time aren’t even an option. A severely ill child, even if the child isn’t in danger of dying or permanent injury, can be extremely disruptive for, say, single mothers whose jobs don’t give them the option of taking multiple days off to care for them–or who stand to lose much-needed income by doing so. If you are waiting tables or working two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet, measles or mumps can be a disaster for your family even if it doesn’t kill or disable your child. But, of course, these kinds of families are pretty far from the minds of privileged anti-vax crusading SAHM bloggers.

          • This is exactly right. I have a cushy white collar job with a generous sick leave policy, and even so I max out my sick days on kids’ colds, strep, ear infections, etc. Any kind of serious illness (or even a mild one that hung around too long) would have very serious financial repercussions for our family, in addition to totally sucking for the sick person. It would be many times worse if I was in the tenuous, low-paid kind of work I used to do before I got lucky with this job.

    • Azuran

      Some even go so far as to claim that they can distinguish between vaxxed and unvaxxed kids by looking at their eyes. Because all the vaccinated children have a dullness in their eyes.
      For many of them, if your vaccinated child doesn’t have a vaccine injury, it’s just because you haven’t noticed it yet, but it’s definitely there.

      • jenn p

        This. The hard core anti-vax crowd will claim anything as a vaccine injury. Any auto-immune disease, allergy, cancer, dementia, mental health issue, etc- all vaccine damage. They will even go so far as to claim that the injuries can happen months or years down the line. It’s absolutely insane.

        • Plus an unvaccinated child can supposedly have a vaccine injury passed down from a vaccinated mum or grandma or g-grandma or five generations was the ‘cap’ last I heard.

          • Roadstergal

            Oh, yes, I think they came up with that one once they saw that their unvaccinated kids had autism at the same rate as vaccinated kids. Can’t be that the two are unconnected – it must be mom’s vaccines!

          • Daleth

            That actually sounds kind of… homeopathic. 🙂

          • *homeopathetic.

            Fixed that for you.

      • indigosky

        When my oldest was five, one of those anti-vax types came up to me and said I was a great mom. She could tell my daughter was unvaccinated because of how bright she looked in the eyes and congratulated me on my “smart” choice.. I said nope, she had gotten every vaccine. In fact, we had just come from a doctor’s appointment where she had gotten two. Anti-vaxxers babbled something and walked away and my daughter asked what was wrong with her.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          I was with my nephews at walgreens and some lady was standing behind me in line. She said, “oh your boys are so lovely I can tell they aren’t tainted”
          I said, “What do you mean?”
          She said, “you know with vaccines and antibiotics”
          I laughed and said they are fully vaccinated and the little one has been on antibiotics a couple of times

    • Kathleen

      My first kid got a swollen leg that freaked us OUT when she got it after a vaccination (although in hindsight, I should have realized because when I get vaccinated I always have a sore, swollen spot for a few hours at least). It went away with some motrin, a warm bath, and sleep. Our second had no problems at all. So yes – I wonder what they mean about vaccine injury as well.

    • Anne Catherine

      Stuff does happen —- its pretty rare, though. I had an adult friend that got gillian barre from a vaccine
      I’m totally pro-vaccine, but sometimes I don’t think that we don’t always get all the info. I look at what the misinformation the CDC, the AAP and the HHS puts out about breastfeeding, (even after repeated emails and phone calls–with no response or research that supports their cause), and it make me a little wary.
      Not that this causes injury, but I just read an article that says the Flu-mist isn’t all that effective, and I know that there have been pertussis outbreaks–and some of the kids had been vaccinated.
      The HPV vaccine was pushed though so fast –the lead researcher was very upset–she said it wasn’t ready. I know that there were some problem with it at first ( I think it is overall OK).
      I don’t know, I’m rambling, but there is a lot of money to be made in vaccines by the pharmaceutical companies…
      Again, I’m pro-vaccine. My kids have them, I have them, but.. Im not so sure we hear about all of those rare problems, and Im not so sure they always works as well as they are supposed to.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Vaccine production is big pharma’s charity work. Consider the difference in cost between a new vaccine (around $100-200) and a new drug (can be hundreds of thousands…at least one sequence of treatments is in the millions.)

        GBS is a known, rare side effect of some vaccines and a more common one of actual infection. More people got GBS from the flu than from the flu vaccine.

        • Anne Catherine

          that’s interesting —- I did not know that. Thanks.

        • Irène Delse

          Re vaccines as big pharma charity work: even then, it’s mostly for diseases that affect people in the developed world: flu, chickenpox, HPV and so on. There’s currently an outbreak of yellow fever in Africa, and it’s already depleted the world’s stockpile of vaccine – twice. The WHO is now trying to recruit new manufacturers, with the help of charitable institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “The HPV vaccine was pushed though so fast –the lead researcher was very upset–she said it wasn’t ready.”

        Can you provide a citation for this?

        • Anne Catherine

          I think that this was this New York Times article that I read when it first (the vaccine) came out

          http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/20/health/policy/20vaccine.html?_r=0

          I worked at a health department then and there was quite a bit of marketing going on. And sorry, I can;’t provide references of this –I’m just going on memory—–
          Some of the advertising would say that 80% (or something like that) of women that will get HPV and that cervical cancer is the biggest cause of cancer deaths.

          What they failed to mention (or maybe in small print) that mostly HPV clears on its own, and that cervical cancer is not a big killer in the US—in the third world –yes.

          After seeing your post –I looked and saw that an article about Dr Harper and her concerns had been retracted.

          But, cynical me thinks —-couldn’t that have been big-pharm and big-pharm supporters shutting her up? –But I don’t know the ins and outs of this AT ALL –so I’m not putting that forth as a strong opinion

          • Anne Catherine

            My daughter has the 3 Shot HPV series.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            About 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and over 4,000 women die of cervical cancer each year. Considering that it is essentially a sexually transmitted disease, and can be prevented with a vaccine, that’s an extraordinary death toll.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, and it ain’t pretty when it does happen. I had a nice patient who came in (accompanied by her 2 sweet daughters) thinking she might have a bladder infection. Turns out her whole cervix and upper vagina were necrotic. She lived ~13 months.

          • sdsures

            I remember this blog post and reread it often. 🙁 https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/cancer-v-the-constitution/

          • Azuran

            Those stories are making me so happy to live in Canada. It’s just horrible that such things are happening in a developed country…

          • sdsures

            I’m from Winnipeg but now live in the UK. Yay for socialized medicine!

          • Roadstergal

            Ugh, that’s horrific. And beyond the Everyone Deserves Basic Health Care idea, there’s the knowledge that reasonably affluent people who _can_ afford it are rejecting it for their Mommy Instinct knowledge. 🙁

          • Daleth

            Dr. Gunter is fantastic. Thanks for pointing me to her site. I read some posts a few years ago but then lost track of her blog.

          • Daleth

            Omg check this out. A “big pharma” executive who claims that big pharma is bad and his company is somehow different. And the dude has spoken at Bernie Sanders rallies. Nice.

            https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/bernie-sanders-surrogate-dr-song-sells-false-hope-to-cancer-patients-for-150-a-test-is-this-medicare-for-all/

          • Roadstergal

            That’s vile.

          • fiftyfifty1

            And then there is vulvar cancer and HPV-related throat and mouth cancer. Both are terrible ways to die. Even surviving these is terrible, frankly. Horrible cancers.

          • RMY

            I got the vaccine back then (barely squeaked under the age limit), because I hate pap smears.

          • Sonja Henie

            But you should still get paps as scheduled. The schedule has changed recently, not so many needed. I’m over 65, my last one with HPV test was negative so no more, yay!
            http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervicalcancer/moreinformation/cervicalcancerpreventionandearlydetection/cervical-cancer-prevention-and-early-detection-cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines

          • Sonja Henie

            Yeah, 4000 deaths a year from cervical cancer is no big deal, especially not compared to the almost unheard of serious problem from the vaccine. Which number is bigger, 4000 or less than 1?

            You are aware that polio similarly rarely leads to paralysis or death, yet even many anti-vaccine people get their kids the polio vaccine? Paralysis seems to scare people in a way that cancer doesn’t.

          • Anne Catherine

            For the record, I did not say that HPV was no big deal.
            I actually had some cell-changes and had to get treated for it quite some time ago. No diseases or deaths are ‘no big deal’.

            Again, I am vaccinated and I vaccinated my children.

            What I said was that the marketing for the drug stretched things.

            Did you read the New York Times article I gave the link to?

          • Sonja Henie

            I read until I go to the section headline “Co-opting doctors and nurses”. It was obvious even earlier that this is no informative piece but a supposed bit of “investigative journalism”, in other words, an editorial by Elizabeth Rosenthal who is a non-practicing MD who from what I can tell has never worked in any area that would give her any special expertise on vaccines. She’s a former ER doctor, part-time I’ll add.

            The article is 8 years old. She says “Merck’s vaccine was studied in clinical trials for five years,
            and Glaxo’s for nearly six and a half, so it is not clear how long the
            protection will last.” and “some experts are concerned about possible side effects that become apparent only after a vaccine has been more widely tested over longer periods.” So these companies started studying this vax in
            2002-03, and yet now, 13-14 years later, there’s been no diminution in
            protection. I would say these are concerns for ANY new vaccine, not just
            Gardasil/Cervarix. Already we’re seeing positive results for the vaccine, particularly in Australia where it apparently is much more encouraged than here.
            http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/hpv-vaccine-showing-successes-in-australia/

            I have no idea what any of those docs who thought there should be a “slower rollout” would be. Why should something that has been thoroughly tested and found safe be withheld from anyone for whom it is indicated?

          • MaineJen

            Cervical cancer is not a big killer in the US?

            Are…are you high?

          • Azuran

            Because nothing is ever worth trying to fix if it’s not the absolute biggest killer out there.
            I’m pretty sure AIDS is not a big killer anymore, why are we still putting money inter research for better treatment?

      • Sonja Henie

        You’re not pro-vaccine. You may not be anti, but you’re certainly not pro if you believe a lot of this nonsense.

        I have no idea what you’re talking about regarding breast-feeding, but what does that have to do with vaccines anyway?

        The flu mist is not being recommended this flu season. It seems to have something to do with the four-strain variety. It hasn’t been working. This is an example of the system working, the recommendation is being withdrawn. Vaccinated people do get pertussis, but at a much lower rate than the unvaccinated, and they usually have milder disease.

        There seems to be a pervasive urban legend that HPV vaccine was somehow “fast tracked” by the FDA. This is the same FDA that is usually criticized for being too slow to approve new drugs. I don’t know where that came from.

        I am curious to know what you did at a health department.

  • MI Dawn

    I was going to read Katie’s post, then decided against it. Not in the mood to give her the clicks.

    Dr Amy: Do you use the “no follow” on links? I don’t remember seeing you say if you do or not.

  • Young CC Prof

    Oh, my goodness. Her article basically tells parents not to share their scary story because it might expose them to harassment by anti-vaxxers. In other words, she’s openly admitting that people on her side are horribly cruel to parents of critically sick or dead children.

    You know, when your allies routinely behave like that, maybe you should reconsider what side you’re on.

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    I’m suspicious of her “likes” on her FB page. She supposedly has over 63,000 likes. However, each individual post gets maybe 1 or 2 likes, and most get no likes and no comments. In contrast, the sOB page has on about 5,500 likes, but each post gets 20-50 likes, many with over 100 likes, and each post has several comments.

    Basically, I’m saying she bought her likes.

    • Young CC Prof

      That, or people “liked” her page because they actually hate it.

      • Roadstergal

        “Follow” rather than “Like,” as it were.

    • corblimeybot

      I’ve seen a few people also propose that she has paid for her followers. It certainly could be possible. She would be narcissistic enough to do that.

    • Heidi

      I wonder if some people don’t even get how insane and crappy she is? I have a friend or two who FB like her, and I think maybe they thought she’d be a good resource for “natural” crap, like homemade cleaning supplies and recipes. I’m pretty sure I had stumbled upon her blog from a google search a time or two and was totally innocent about her.

  • Madtowngirl

    If people aren’t reading these stories, why do we occasionally see the, “I was an anti-vaxxer and my kid almost died, don’t be like me” stories? If those stories sway even one parent towards vaccination, it was worth it.

    Madbaby got her chicken pox shot Wednesday, along with the other 12 month vaccines. It was horrible watching her scream as they gave them, and then as they drew her blood for the CBC/lead test. I know she doesn’t understand, but the whole time, I kept repeating to her that this was better than getting the diseases – I know because I had chicken pox! Even at 7, I knew a shot was preferable to the 2 weeks of hell and permanent scarring. Although I admit to having a blip of anxiety before her first round of shots, I also know that I could look myself in the mirror if she was one of the rare cases where a bad reaction occurred. I would not be able to sleep at night if she had to be hospitalized, or worse, because of something that was preventable.

    • Cartman36

      I joke that if my husband hadn’t gone to the first few vaccine appointments my kid would not be vaccinated. I literally stood in the corner of the room and cried when my husband helped hold him down for the shots.

      • Heidi_storage

        Yeah, I felt like an absolute traitor holding my first baby down for shots. I’m a bit more hardened these days, even though my first child gets a fever with every single shot. (I suspect it’s to do with the needle, rather than the vaccine per se; she didn’t get a fever with the [ineffective, drat] FluMist; but of course I could be wrong.)

    • Tori

      Well done!! My memories of getting a vaccination at four or five are of me saying I didn’t want it, thanks very much. The vaccination included tetanus, so my parents went through all the reasons why I needed it, and what might happen if I didn’t have it. I don’t recall the whole conversation, but I do recall telling them I didn’t mind if my jaw couldn’t work to eat (I hated meal times as a kid so this didn’t seem a bad option I think!). Anyway, I eventually changed my mind when the story ended with me dying. I think my parents did that with all vaccines, but it wouldn’t really matter how much I minded, because a four or five year old cannot reason enough to understand the importance.

  • Box of Salt

    “How many books and supplements would Tietje be able to sell on the backs of her unvaccinated children if those children die appalling deaths? Very, very few.”

    Yet, Ezekial Stephan’s family is still selling (family business is nutritional supplements; see the news story linked below. However, his parents were convicted by a Canadian court of “failing to provide the necessaries of life to their son” and should be sentenced today (hearings began yesterday) http://www.canlii.org/en/ab/abqb/doc/2016/2016abqb319/2016abqb319.html
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/parents-toddler-died-meningitis-sentenced-today-1.3650653

    A summary of the this case and their connections to both the US and UK anti-vax movement can be found here: http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2016/06/vaxxed-supports-medical-neglect.html#more

    • attitude devant

      Those people are murderers. Murderers. They are evil.

      • Box of Salt

        Agreed.

    • Box of Salt

      Sentencing details:
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/lethbridge-meningitis-trial-sentence-parents-toddler-died-1.3650653
      4 months jail for the father, 3 months house arrest for the mother, plus 2 years probabation.
      And a court order to bring their living children to a medical doctor every three months, plus community service hours.

      And for those who need reminding about what we’re talking about, read this:
      http://www.torontosun.com/2016/06/23/ezekiel-stephan-was-his-name

    • sapphiremind

      That story makes me so angry on so many levels. The outcome may even have been different if they hadn’t cancelled the ambulance the first time they called one.

      If your child stops breathing, even if you manage to get it breathing again, wait for the ambulance. Do not go by car. Fucking idiots. Murderers.

  • Box of Salt

    Let’s not forget that Kate Tietje is the mother who thinks she deserves praise for publicly announcing she prefers her second child (an easy going boy) to her first child (a daughter born via “a difficult birth” and if my math is correct is 8 years old by now) and hoped her third would be another girl in order to get a do-over.

    The cleaned up version of the Babble piece from 2011 (discussed on this site at the time): https://www.babble.com/pregnancy/mom-confession-i-think-i-love-my-son-a-little-bit-more/

    Why anyone pays any attention to what this woman prints is beyond me.

    • Fleur

      Ugh, that piece made me so angry. OK, you can’t help how you feel and, for all I know, it might be normal for parents to feel closer to one child than the others (I wouldn’t know – I only have the one). But there’s no excuse for (a) broadcasting your preference on the internet where the unfavourite child can read it in years to come and (b) expecting praise for your courage, as though publicly damning a three-year-old girl who can’t respond isn’t just about the most cowardly thing you can do.

      • LaMont

        I think if “how you feel” is “differently, re: my children, vis a vis their birth and infant temperaments, and possibly hoping to replace one of them with a better model” then you probably might look into therapy aimed at stabilizing things as opposed to indulging that potentially poisonous mentality. How you feel must be acknowledged, but it’s a far cry from “hey, look into that” and “deny your feelings, you over-emotional woman”.

        • BeatriceC

          My “favorite” child depends entirely on which day you ask me. Or which hour.

          • Charybdis

            There are days when Lexi, my year old IG, is the favorite child. Yesterday might have been one of them.

          • BeatriceC

            Yeah, I have days when Leo the Senegal parrot is definitely my favorite. Today he at least outranks the youngest who’s telling me he hates me and I’m not his mother any more because he’s mad because he got grounded.

          • Chant de la Mer

            I tell my boys that daddy is my favorite, jokingly of course! Because he loves me and stays on his side of the bed and doesn’t kick me when we’re sleeping. Oh and he lets me watch whatever I want on tv so I don’t have to fight with him over what to watch. I will also tell them they are my favorite “first name” ever in the whole world.

          • BeatriceC

            Can he teach MrC to stay on his side of the bed? A few night a week I wind up getting out of bed and walking over to his side because he’s squeezed himself onto my side and left me without much room. Apparently it’s genetic, as his daughter’s boyfriend complains of the the same thing.

          • My brother got told he was the favourite grandson from grandparents fairly often.

            Because paternal grandparents:

            Grandaughter (older cousin #1), Grandson (My Brother), Granddaughter (older cousin #2), Granddaughter (me).

            Maternal grandparents:

            Grandson (My Brother), Granddaughter (Me).

          • Charybdis

            Yeah, my Dad would tell me I was his favorite daughter. My brother is my only sibling, so I better had been his favorite daughter!

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            I’ve only got the one, so my answer is pretty consistent, but if you asked me which of my sister’s 3 was my favorite when they were young, the answer was most likely to be “the one not currently having a tantrum or running through the house after stepping in finger paint.” Needless to say, my favorite changed rapidly over the course of a given day. My current favorite is all of them.

        • Fleur

          Agreed. I remember how damaging it was to overhear my father tell one of his friends, when I was about thirteen, that he’d always had a problem with “the girl” and that I’d never been able to do anything right as far as he was concerned. I can understand why he felt that way (in some ways, we’re too much alike to have an easy relationship) but, at the end of the day, he was the grown-up and he could at least have tried to make it work, through therapy if necessary, rather than, by his own admission, deciding when I was a toddler that he just didn’t like me much.

      • Caylynn

        Well, it was pretty clear to me, even from a young age, that my mom “preferred” my sister, in that they are so much alike, she understood her much better. As I’m pretty much the opposite of them, in almost every major way, it was easy, even for an eight year old, to be able to tell the difference,.

        • Roadstergal

          My mom had a drastically different relationship to each of us. She was most ‘like’ my oldest sister, and they definitely had a unique and tight bond, but I never felt like she loved me any less. Just differently.

          • demodocus

            My mother and my sister had the strongest personality similarities, which in their case meant they clashed more.

          • FormerPhysicist

            As I “get” my oldest and youngest more than I do my middle, I’m glad to hear it can turn out okay. I do treat them differently, because they are different people with different reactions to the same stimuli. And at different stages of development (I don’t take the 6-year-old to the same shows I take the 15-year-old. Duh.).

      • Amy

        Seriously. I go back and forth with mine. And IMMEDIATELY feel guilty when I do. They’re both awesome kids. And they’re very different. And I appreciate what’s differently awesome about each of them.

    • guest

      I know it’s pretty common with parents of multiples to have stronger feelings of love for one baby over the other(s). We don’t all going around publishing it where our kids can read it later, but it sometimes comes up online, usually because a mother feels terrible about it. As far as I know, though, it’s something that fades as the children get older. It can be hard to bond with a difficult infant, and that’s normal. So maybe you got one difficult one and one easy one, and that happens. IT’s also not uncommon for parents of different age children to have favorites – but for the love of gog, you’re supposed to try and hide it!

      • Irène Delse

        Or work on those feelings to try and be fair to both kids. Certainly not to announce it to the world as something to be proud of. Kids are quick to feel these things.

        I remember, when me and my sister were little, we went through a period of bad sibling rivalry and we were always wanting to know which one our parents loved best. Their answer was always clear and unequivocal: “both”, or “as much as your sister”! In the end, we grew out of it, but what if a parents had shown preference for one of us? I bet we would be sworn enemies by now. Those were really intense feelings.

    • Heidi_storage

      The worst part of the piece was the bit about hoping for another girl. “I secretly hope that this new baby is a girl. I want to start over with a little girl now that I’m healthy and an experienced parent. I want to love her and cherish her as she should be. And maybe…I can learn to love and parent a girl properly, and I can use this to change and parent my older daughter better, too. Maybe I can save us all before it’s too late.”

      No, lady, you DON’T need another baby to start doing right by your daughter, who never asked to be brought into this world! Take a little responsibility!

      BTW, I totally have a favorite child–whichever one is annoying me less at the moment. Son playing in the toilet? Daughter got promoted to the top spot! Daughter whining relentlessly? Oh, son is definitely my favorite!

      What I DON’T do is imagine which kid I would “prefer” to die. That’s just…something.

      • Linden

        Oh good grief, how can anyone be so unbelievably nasty?
        Her children are going to need therapy. Yea, even the one that is the golden child.

        • Mishimoo

          Especially the golden child, in my experience. My sister and I were the scapegoats (I was the main one), our brother was the golden child and it certainly has not done him any favours. He’s an awesome person now but that is all thanks to the work he has put into himself, including seeking help from medical professionals.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
  • Jules B

    I wonder what the anti-vax folks will do/say if the Zika vaccine being developed is made available?

    • Young CC Prof

      Ignore it, because they’ve already decided that congenital Zika is a fabrication and the birth defects are caused by pesticides, or GMO mosquitoes, or vaccines.

      • Roadstergal

        Seriously, they were on it as soon as it started to show up in the news. It’s like they have action plans already in place to support their bias.

        • Young CC Prof

          Somewhere, there’s a filing cabinet full of antivaxxer contingency plans, including a whole drawer for “in case of alleged disease outbreak,” tagged by the type of illness, severity, location of outbreak and mode of transmission.

          • Azuran

            And every single one of those contingency plans says: blame the vaccine.

            Honestly, they even blame vaccinated children for infecting their unvaxxed children with vaccine preventable disease.

          • Yes.

            They don’t ever get the point of this meme though.

      • Jules B

        Typical conspiracy theorist thinking – they just twist things to incorporate new info into their existing warped narratives, thereby taking themselves further and further from reality.

  • demodocus

    DH’s biggest vaccine “injury” to date has been a sore arm for a while. Besides being congenitally blind from the rubella his mom caught in 1975, he’s healthy as a horse.
    Sure, German measles is pretty mild for the vast majority of people. Your toddler will probably barely notice it. Your sister, however, may soon have a lifetime of guilt over her child’s disabilities or her miscarriage, like my MIL does, just because she hugged your toddler before she was sure was even pregnant.

    • In the interests of full disclosure: I should probably admit at this point that I derive something of a dark gallow-humour-type sense of amusement from the fact that CRS is a known cause of autism.

      #BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor

      • demodocus

        yeah, dh’s brain isn’t quite wired in the usual way, either

    • Mel

      My sister is profoundly deaf with very mild CP from being a preemie. Her grade school best friend was profoundly deaf with moderate CP from congenital rubella. Plus, there is a large portion of the deaf community who was born in 1968 after a year where German Measles swept through the USA.

  • Marie

    I’ll be ok if I never again hear mothers referred to as “mama.”

    • ArmyChick

      I second this. The word MAMA just rubs me the wrong way. Nobody goes around calling fathers “DADA”.

      • demodocus

        For some, it’s a regional thing. I’ve a Brazilian friend who calls her father Daddy (translating from Papa.)

        • Petticoat Philosopher

          Yeah, but people who are not his kids probably don’t do that.

          • demodocus

            Well, sometimes she says “your daddy”. From her, I don’t mind, though, since it is a translation error

          • Amazed

            And I bet it doesn’t sound like she’s talking about HER father. In the context of the OP, she would need to call your father “daddy”.

            Here, many people call their mothers “mama”. The Intruder goes with Mother, as do I sometimes. Mostly, I call her a distorted version of her name, though. The one she chose for her e-mail when it became a thing.

            Personally, I don’t care what people call their mothers. Their mom, their choice. But it sounds ridiculous when people call women “Mama” just because they’re SOMEONE’s mother. And sometimes, it’s downright patronizing.

            I get the “mama” thing for, say, a woman who has just given birth. Like, a doctor saying, “It’s a boy/girl! Congratulations, mama!” That’s affirming her “new” motherhood. But it would be unprofessional if the doctor gives out a medical advise and call a woman “mommy”. Mind you, it’s just fine when a pediatrician calls the mother of a patient, “Jimmy’s mother” or just talks to him about “your mother” if they aren’t sure what the lady’s name is. But even in this case, I’d find it strange if they address the woman directly and call her mama.

        • ArmyChick

          I am part Brazilian and I still call my father daddy. But down there it does not have the same conotation.

      • Heather Perlis

        I know, right?!

      • AnnaPDE

        My stepkids did until about age 8. There was this hugely annoying “dadadadadada” way of saying it that was perfect for butting into any conversation, and was usually followed by “in Minecraft….”

      • shay simmons

        And ‘warrior mamas’ just sends me up a wall.
        You say you’re a warrior mom? Lemme see your DD214!

    • MI Dawn

      My kids call me “mama” or “mamma” both verbally and by text. I also get mom, momma, and mommy. Depends on the kid’s mood and why they are texting/calling. As long as it’s not “who are you?” I don’t care what they call me! (BTW…kids are 29 and 26…)

      • momofone

        I’m fine with whatever my son calls me (where I live, Mama is the norm, though he prefers Mom; any variation but Mommy is ok with me). I’m not a fan of “mama” from anyone else though.

      • Ariana Ramos

        I usually call her “dearest mommy” when I want a favor and I’m 28 heh

        • Gimme Some Loki

          My son calls me “Mommeh” when he wants something, “Mom” when he is worried, and “Mother” when he is annoyed with me. LOL.

      • BeatriceC

        Mine call me “mama” most of the time. It’s more cultural than anything (Heavily Cuban population in my hometown and that’s a pretty normal thing for kids to call their mothers). Recently they’ve changed it to “Merm”. But when they want something it’s usually “mommy”. MK’s girlfriend has added “mother figure” to the list of things I answer to.

        • Charybdis

          DS calls me Mommy still, whilst we are at home, in the car, alone at the pool, you know, places where we are alone or with immediate family. Other times it is Mom.

          For a brief period of time, he was doing the “Mom, Mom, Mom” thing Stewie from Family Guy does. I refused to answer when he did that, so it didn’t take long for that to stop.

        • Margo

          Mine call me mum or gma …short for grandma. One of the grandkids is experimenting with “Hey Margo” and one other went through a stage of giving me a very full title” grandma Margo mum’s mummy”

        • Chant de la Mer

          Ok that’s straight up adorable that the boy’s girlfriend calls you mother figure!

          • BeatriceC

            She’s a good kid. I like her a lot. But seriously, the looks I got the other day as she was running down the sidewalk in front of the grocery store, arms wide open shouting “Mother Figure!!!!!” Were quite hysterical. Though sometimes she makes me look at me kid and tell him he’s dating his mother. She’s so much like me in a lot of ways it’s scary.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Sure, your kids do, but they are your kids. I am not your kid so I am not going to call you “Mama.” But that doesn’t seem to stop the crunchy “mama” warriors.

        I agree with Marie, the trend of mothers all calling each other “Mama” feels off-putting and kind of infantilizing to me.

    • Heather Perlis

      Yes, I agree, please let it stop! It sounds so archaic in the way it imagines humans as non-human animals. I notice it heavily used by those attracted to warped narratives that favor/promote pseudoscientific ideologies. The zoomorphism of mama bear seems off-spun from the Ina May Gaskin comparison to the way non-human animals give birth in the wild. No interventions! Eat your placenta! Give birth in private in one’s own natural habitat! And of course, because mother beavers don’t vaccinate their kits, neither should you, “mama”!

  • mythsayer

    Funny you say that about whooping cough, because chicken pox is now so rare that when I and my daughter caught it in 2010 when I was 32 and she was 10 weeks old, the doctors had trouble diagnosing it, too. None of them except the oldest had ever seen it in practice.

    When I posted about our experiences on MAM’s FB post (to this article), one of her followers told me my story “had holes” because all those doctors had seen chicken pox before! They had it when they were kids.

    I had to stop myself from putting an eye roll emoji up when I responded to her. I wanted to ask if her reading comprehension was really that bad that she didn’t know I was talking about them having seen it as DOCTORS when I said none of them had ever seen it.

    Funny how when you post about something they don’t want to hear, your story always has “holes.” Never mind that it completely true.

    • demodocus

      because you *should* remember what to look for diagnostically when you had chicken pox at age 7
      /s

      • mythsayer

        I know, right? They actually misdiagnosed me as having a heat rash. I specifically went to urgent care on that Saturday morning to find out whether it was chicken pox or not. I thought it probably was, as I knew I had never had it not been vaccinated, and I went to theclinicbecause I was going to a baby shower that same day, so it was kind of important to know.

        I told the doctor WHY I needed to know. He told me it was a heat rash, no way was it chicken pox. I asked him if he was sure, because I was going to a baby shower. He said he was sure. I went. He turned out to be wrong. I had to call that girl and tell her I had it and pray she’d had it as a kid. Luckily, she had. Because otherwise….it could’ve been bad…

        I shudder to think about what that misdiagnosis could have done. I went back to the clinic on Monday since I’d gotten worse and told the oldest doctor I was pretty sure it WAS chicken pox…and he agreed. So I turned out to be right from the beginning.

        And then when I took my daughter in to make sure it was still chicken pox when she showed symptoms, I had doctors crowding around us because it was such a novel thing. None of them had ever seen it in practice and they were so excited. Until it turned into a mini-epidemic, of course. A whole bunch of kids got it…all of them under 5 (the ones who only had one shot whose first shot failed…a surprising number, actually….proved the need for the booster shot, though).

    • Gene

      We had an outbreak locally about ten years ago before the second booster shot was routinely given. I haven’t seen it since. Well, except for the VZV encephalitis that was causing the child to have seizures. No rash…he caught it from his mother’s shingles (she was exclusively breastfeeding as well).

      • Megan

        This is so scary to think about right now…

        • Gene

          Don’t be. It’s rare and getting traditional VZV is more likely. BUT, if your kiddo gets sick or has seizures (esp the kind that look like absence or “drop” seizures), let your doc know right away!

    • Megan

      I had this conversation with my colleague who is also my children’s Doctor. I told her I had some idea what to look for with chickenpox but had never seen it (since I, as I presume most doctors my age, don’t remember what my rash looked like as a kid; I only remember how horrible it felt). I have had shingles for 2.5 weeks now and so far I haven’t seen signs of chickenpox in my toddler or baby. We still have another week to go before I’ll start to feel like maybe we’ve managed to skip passing it on. Fingers crossed…

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Your toddler should be vaccinated, but is your baby? Looking at our records, the only varicella I see is at the 1 year, so I would guess not.

        Good luck. I hope she doesn’t get it.

        • Megan

          Thanks. Toddler has one varivax but not the second, usually given at age 4-6 (before kindergarten). Baby is too young to be vaccinated. I didn’t realize my shingles were shingles for a week because it’s a pretty mild case, on my back where I can’t see them and my husband convinced me they were bug bites. Should’ve had him take a picture for me to look at. Everyone I talk to is all happy that if she gets it because, “at least she won’t have to get a shot” as if chickenpox has no complications. Argh.

          • Dinolindor

            That’s so stupid – however long it takes for a baby to get through chicken pox is going to be so much worse than a 5 second needle prick! Ugh. People are the WORST.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I have said this many times here and elsewhere: anyone who denies their child the chickenpox vaccine is a complete monster.

            There is absolutely no basis for opposing the chicken pox vaccine. Even the Jay Gordon “you aren’t going to catch the measles anyway” argument doesn’t work, because you are still likely enough to get the chicken pox. It hasn’t been made sufficiently rare yet that you can just skip the vaccine and not expect to get it.

          • Mattie

            I keep checking and here (UK) the chickenpox vaccine is still not on the routine immunisation schedule, and Men ACWY has only just been brought in, we’re kinda behind it seems.

          • mythsayer

            It was a bad experience, let me tell you. She was only 10 weeks when she showed symptoms. I only had a light case…maybe 100 pox. She was COVERED, including in her mouth and butt and genitals. She wouldn’t take a bottle for 2 weeks and it was the FULL 2 weeks before the disease fully ran its course. I asked MAM if she would willingly expose her 8-10 week old baby to chicken pox (since mine was exposed at 8 weeks but didn’t show symptoms until 10), and of course she wouldn’t answer that question. Just kept saying “it’ll happen to someone of course and it’s not a terrible disease.” I’m thinking “not the point, lady…the issue is t how bad it is…the question was whether you’d willingly expose your tiny newborn to this supposedly safe disease.” Willing to bet the answer is “no”, she would not willingly expose a newborn to chicken pox. Isn’t it nice that I didn’t get that choice? It was taken away from me by the low vaccination rate in Japan.

          • demodocus

            Even complication-less, which would you rather have, minutes of outraged crying or *days* of illness.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s not even close.

            Bad reaction to vaccine: a day of soreness at the injection site, with mild fever. (normal reaction is that the crying stops by the time you leave the dr office)

            NORMAL reaction to CP: 10 days of very itchy rash, with an initial day or two of fever.

            And as I said below, you are still likely to get the disease if you aren’t vaccinated. Herd immunity not sufficient.

            Death rate: chicken pox 1/20000. Vaccine: none

          • Megan

            Oh totally. I never want my kids to experience chickenpox. I think from the older people it’s like hazing: “well we all got it and lived. It’s not THAT bad.” Eff that. I don’t want my kid (or me) miserable for days even aside from the potential complications. Chickenpox is MISERABLE!

          • QuantumMechanic

            Especially in this day of multiple-antibiotic-resistant staph.

          • Shawna Mathieu

            I had a mild case of chickenpox as a toddler, and really didn’t remember it. When the varicella vaccine came out, I thought it was a waste, thinking, “Oh, it’s not that bad.” Shortly afterwards, I had the distinction of being one of those rare people who caught chickenpox twice. The second time around was 3 weeks of fevers and a head to toe rash that made me want to flense myself. I am glad my kids won’t have to worry about it, because I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

          • Azuran

            As far as I remember, my chickenpox wasn’t that bad. It was itchy but that was about it. Both me, my brother and our 2 best friend got it at the same time and we basically spent the whole week (it was summer) half covered in calamine lotion, playing outside and running after other kids to infect them. That week is actually a good childhood memory.
            But hey, I was like 5. So my memory of it is probably half made up. For all I know, my parents might have been giving me high dose of tylenol or whatever. And we all have scars because of it. And now I’m at risk for shingles.
            So yea, totally getting my future kids vaccinated.

          • Liz Leyden

            I got chicken pox at 7. I don’t remember it being a big deal. I was a latchkey kid, so I spent the week watching lots of TV while covered in calamine lotion. My 2 sisters got it a week later. My mother was happy to have all 3 kids covered in 2 weeks.

            One of my high-school classmates got chicken pox at 16. This was either just before or just after the vaccine became available.

            I still intend to get my kids vaccinated. Adenovirus put my daughter in the hospital for a week, so I don’t want either of them getting sick more often that they need to. I’ve also seen shingles close-up, and I don’t want them to experience it.

          • Mishimoo

            There’s a vaccine for some strains of Adenovirus and I really wish we could access it, because Adenovirus is awful. Even when it’s not severe, it’s still miserable and I have better things to do than be sick.

          • Liz Leyden

            The older people didn’t have a choice in the matter. Everyone got chicken pox; there was no vaccine.

            My husband is the youngest in a big family, and he somehow managed to miss chicken pox. I found out the day after we got engaged, when his twin brother had chicken pox. I convinced him to get vaccinated, and his PCP put him through all kinds of hoops. Never mind that vaccinating a middle-aged man against chicken pox is much cheaper than a chicken pox-related hospital stay, or 2 weeks off work.

          • demodocus

            (this is a rhetorical question, of course.)

          • Mel

            I got chicken pox. My twin sister started developing symptoms when I was about 12 days into the illness. Our younger brother developed chickenpox 12 days into my sister’s course of chickenpox.

            I may be the worst future mother ever, but I will get each of my kids multiple shots to avoid 7 continual weeks of chickenpox in my house. Seriously.

          • BeatriceC

            My oldest got the chicken pox as an infant. The vaccine hadn’t been out for very long so it was still running rampant in schools in the older kids. He was under a year old when my sister (13 years my junior and still in middle school) brought it home from school. I have the vaccine argument with the current school every year. I get a nasty note about “incomplete vaccinations”, and the only one missing is chicken pox. Then I have to point out the place on the form where it says he got the actual disease and they try to argue with me about it. Every. Single. Year.

          • MI Dawn

            I’m curious. Have you ever had him tested for immunity? My sister caught it as an infant (yeah, I gave it to her…) and then caught it again as a teen because she didn’t have sufficient immunity. If you have documentation that he’s naturally immune, would they still argue? (and yeah, I believe they might, if they have no brains…)

          • BeatriceC

            Yeah, they argue with me over it until I point out the place on the form where it says “date of incidence of disease or vaccination”, or something to that effect. And I’ve never had him tested because insurance doesn’t pay for it, but maybe I should. They also won’t pay for him to get the shot “just in case”, which I’ve considered doing, because he had a documented case of the actual disease.

          • mythsayer

            Even thought my daughter had it as a baby (obviously, as that was the point of my original post), I went ahead and vaccinated her anyway because I read that when kids get it at a really young age, sometimes the immunity isn’t lifetime. I figured it was better to just get the vaccination…unlikely to harm her and I wouldn’t have to fight the schools. I knew they’d act that way. So you might want to have his immunity tested.

      • guest

        I’m one of the “lucky” ones – I got chicken pox at age 13. I diagnosed myself, in fact: My brother had had it, so when I woke up one morning feeling off and found 3-4 spots, I knew what it was. I wasn’t ever taken to the doctor for it. In fact, my mother left me home alone for the duration since she had to work. I had a mild case, but it was no fun at all. There was one point where I was laying on the floor of the hallway because it seemed to hard to get up.

        My kids are vaccinated, but I think I’d recognize a typical presentation of the disease if I saw it again. (Doesn’t make me a doctor, but yeah, it helps to see things in person at an age you can remember them.)

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          I could identify it because my two older children got it before the vaccine came out. I don’t even remember having it when I was 3 because it was so mild. I remember my brother having it, but only because he had it on his scalp and big chunks of his hair was falling out and then he got it in his throat and had to go to the ER

      • mythsayer

        I feel for you because having chicken pox as an adult was awful and I had a really mild case. I still thought it sucked. I think people just don’t remember how sucky the disease really is until they get shingles. Then they remember. I know shingles hurts more but chicken pox still hurts pretty bad.

      • Mishimoo

        Good luck! I hope they stay clear of it, it’s miserable.

        I identified mine from a single spot even though I’d never seen it, but only because the vesicle looked exactly how I’d read it as being described – “dew drop on a rose petal” – and I’m an avid gardener. It was the earliest our doctor had ever caught it, but I was stupid and declined antivirals just in case it was my body being weird because it does do that. By the time I knew it definitely was chickenpox, I didn’t want to move. Thank goodness for vaccines, my kids didn’t get a single spot despite my youngest sneaking up and licking my spot-covered belly to wake me up (he was pretending to be a puppy).

        • demodocus

          Oh, blech! lol.

    • Young CC Prof

      By that logic, everyone should be qualified to care for small children, after all, they were children themselves, right?

      Most people who are doctors right now had chicken pox as children, but quite a few of them were too young to remember clearly, and they certainly didn’t have the medical knowledge to put what they were seeing in context.

    • Irène Delse

      “They had it when they were kids”? That’s a new one! I presume the kids (babies even) already had their MD credentials!

    • Mel

      I had chicken pox as a 5-year old. My memory of it is of being sick and trying not to scratch the itchy dots. Since the rash itself creeped me out, I never looked at it closely – and sure as hell don’t remember enough to identify it in someone else….

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        I was 4 or so and don’t remember a thing. I only know I had it because my parents tell me I did.