Anti-vaxxers are bad mothers!

survival of the fittest, 3D rendering, grunge metal stamp

Advocates of natural mothering have forgotten their most basic natural responsibility.

No, it’s not to have a vaginal birth. No it’s not to breastfeed. No it’s not to pretend to be encouraging bonding by baby-wearing. The PRIMARY purpose of mothers in nature is to make sure their children survive to reproduce. Any time a mother in nature — human or animal — willingly puts her offspring in danger, she is a bad mother.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Any time a mother in nature — human or animal — willingly puts her offspring in danger, she is a bad mother.[/pullquote]

Evolution, as everyone knows, favors SURVIVAL of the fittest. The surrounding environment is always changing but the imperative remains the same. Twenty thousand years ago the best mothers might have ensured their children’s survival by protecting them from predators. Ten thousands years ago the best mothers might have ensured their children’s survival by learning to plant crops. Today the best mothers avail themselves of any and all technology to boost their children’s chance of survival above that of other children.

Keep in mind that what counts is NOT whether mothers believe that their course of action ensures a better chance of survival, it only matters whether their course of action ACTUALLY maximizes their offspring’s chance of survival.

The strength and depth of the maternal imperative to ensure offspring survival is often illustrated by a lioness protecting her cubs. She will put everything on the line, including her own life, to make sure the next generation survives. The animal mother who dismisses a threat instead of reacting to it aggressively is the mother who’s likely to end up an evolutionary failure; she’s a bad mother. It doesn’t matter whether the lioness believes she was right to ignore the threat and it certainly doesn’t matter what the other lionesses think about her decision. After all, she’s in competition with them to give her own cubs a survival advantage; the last thing she should be concerned about is whether the other lionesses approve.

That’s why a good mother is a mother who embraces technology.

Imagine the ancient mother who said: “Fire? OMG, fire is dangerous. People could get burned. There is no way that I am cooking my children’s meat before they eat it!”

She deprived her children of a critical chance for boosting their health, brain power and overall chance of surival. She was a bad mother and her children probably got outcompeted because of it.

Imagine the ancient mother who said, “Deliberately planting seeds in the ground? You have got to be kidding me! How do we know that the seeds we plant will grow into crops as safe and nutritious as the ones we gather? They might be poisoned so we better not eat them.”

She deprived her children of a critical chance for boosting their health, brain power and overall chance of surival. She was a bad mother and her children probably got outcompeted because of it.

Or much, much later:

Imagine the mother who said, ““Electricity? It’s too complicated for me to understand. I’d rather my children and I sit in the dark.”

She, too, deprived her children of a critical chance to boost their survival because she made it impossible for them to enjoy the fruits of modern technology.

That’s why women who choose to freebirth are bad mothers. They value their own experience over their child’s survival. Don’t get me wrong; they have every right to make that choice, but they are bad mothers for choosing anything other than maximizing their child’s survival of the dangerous process of birth.

That’s why women who choose to continue breastfeeding when their babies fail to gain weight and supplement with goats’ milk or homemade “formula” are bad mothers. They may have been led to believe, and they may even believe, that formula is dangerous, but nature doesn’t care what you believe. It rewards the survivors and punishes everyone else.

And that’s why women who refuse to vaccinate are the worst mothers of them all. They are ignorant and fail to understand the science, but it is their children who will be penalized. They are self-absorbed and care more for the accolades of their Facebook peer group than for the wisdom of experts, and it is their children who will pay the price.

Let me make it crystal clear for those who have trouble understanding: If your child is injured or dies from measles because you failed to vaccinate, you are a complete and utter failure as a mother. You failed at your primary purpose, keeping your child alive. It doesn’t matter that in your ignorance your feared vaccine “injuries” more than measles. Measles was the greater threat and you FAILED by being unable or unwilling to appreciate that.

Mothers, you have ONE job that is more important than all others: making sure your children survive to reproduce. Sadly, in 2019, all children will not do so. We are unable to vanquish all threats and you are not responsible if your child dies from something beyond your control. But if there is a way to improve your child’s survival and you refuse to use it so you can preen to your friends that you are a free thinker and a lover of nature — you failed.

That’s why anti-vaxxers are deserving of special scorn. It’s not just because they are ignorant, although they are profoundly ignorant. It’s not just because they are gullible, although they are astoundingly gullible. It’s because they pander and perform for their friends by refusing the technology that will make their children fittest for survival. That’s not merely bad mothering, that’s unnatural.

34 Responses to “Anti-vaxxers are bad mothers!”

  1. February 18, 2019 at 2:29 pm #

    Been a lurker for the last three years, since my first was born and I was looking for information on breastfeeding.

    There was an interesting interview on CBC Radio (in Canada) this morning about parenting (or the lack there of):

  2. Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
    February 10, 2019 at 7:21 pm #

    parents, they’re bad parents. their are men who believe this bs and inflict it on their kids too

    • space_upstairs
      February 10, 2019 at 8:35 pm #

      Insofar as this piece is partially a parody of the crunchy child-rearing community, perhaps the emphasis on mothers here is to match and mock the sexist shaming tone of many of the crunchies. There are men in these communities, and of course male doctors/quacks promoting it who likely have their own kids, but many of them encourage women to take nearly all responsibility other than financial (since this form of child rearing may require “someone” quitting their job) for anything to do with the kids.

  3. Allie
    February 9, 2019 at 6:01 am #

    Before everyone loses their minds taking this to the nth degree, she is making a point about motherhood in nature specifically to counteract the “natchral” BS that the anti vax crowd and their ilk are always spewing. She has made it abundantly clear many times that she is no proponent of biological essentialism.

  4. cw
    February 7, 2019 at 9:48 pm #

    “Mothers, you have ONE job that is more important than all others: making sure your children survive to reproduce.”

    transgender children are being sterilized by the combination of puberty blockers followed by cross sex hormones. are their parents also failures because they failed the second half of this challenge?

    • Griffin
      February 7, 2019 at 10:44 pm #

      That’s a straw man.

      “A straw man is a form of argument and an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent”

      It’s also a failure to understand the many points of deliberate irony in Dr. Tuteur’s post.

    • demodocus
      February 8, 2019 at 9:04 am #

      There’s a transman in my ppd group. His first is a toddler and he’s pregnant again, so your strawman is a bit inaccurate anyway.

      • yentavegan
        February 8, 2019 at 12:18 pm #

        A transman with an intact uterus and ovaries is not a transman, he is genderfluid.

        • demodocus
          February 8, 2019 at 12:36 pm #

          I’m going with what -he- calls himself.

        • LaMont
          February 8, 2019 at 12:37 pm #

          You don’t need to surgically transition physically to be a transman (i.e. “man”) or transwoman (i.e. “woman”). And hormone treatments are reversible, unlike surgical ones. Trans children are many times more likely to commit suicide if they cannot transition to the identity that fits them, which is an unquestionable failure of parenting.

          Also, minors are not eligible to surgically transition, the idea that children are getting irreversible surgeries is fearmongering anti-trans nonsense.

          • yentavegan
            February 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm #

            first of all, the suicide rate studies among trans-children are not clear cut,,and Jazz Jennings was a child ( under 18) when her penis was surgically removed. Fear mongering? I think not.

          • rational thinker
            February 8, 2019 at 2:54 pm #

            Actually she went into hormone treatment fully informed about the decision SHE (not her parents) made.

          • rational thinker
            February 8, 2019 at 3:00 pm #

            The penis does not get removed but turned inside out an inserted into groin to make a vagina.

        • rational thinker
          February 8, 2019 at 2:57 pm #

          He is a pre-op man technically but in any case should just be called a MAN.

        • MaineJen
          February 8, 2019 at 4:06 pm #

          Wow. Nope!

    • yentavegan
      February 8, 2019 at 12:16 pm #

      I know this topic is OT, but I wept for Jazz Jennings. Jazz’s ability to choose parenthood has been surgically/medically voided. Yes of course Jazz can one day adopt..but not as a deliberate choice/alternative. Jazz has been made sterile, at an age when that decision exceeds the intellectual maturity to do so.

      • Sarah
        February 10, 2019 at 2:40 pm #

        I did too, actually, when I read about the problems with the surgery. I imagine it must be a very difficult choice for the parents of a gender non conforming teen who wishes to take puberty delaying drugs or even to have surgery, as has been known to happen. On the one hand, to understand the ramifications of a decision like that so very young is incredibly hard, on the other hand there is the risk of severe problems to their mental health.

      • fiftyfifty1
        February 10, 2019 at 5:00 pm #

        But Jazz is straight. So even if she had been forced to go through testosterone puberty so that she could bank sperm before transitioning, then what? Presumably she is going to marry a man someday who will supply sperm. So far, there is still no way to make a baby from 2 sperm rather than a sperm and egg.

        • Sarah
          February 11, 2019 at 7:29 am #

          The ‘presumably’ is the concern here.

          Jazz might want to have a child using her own genetic material for any number of reasons. She might want to have a baby with a transman who could gestate, she might have a partner who isn’t fertile, she might just plain want a kid that has her own biological material even though she could have one another way.

          This of course has to be weighed against the potential risks of doing nothing, but I don’t think one can just dismiss the possibility that she might have wanted to use her sperm to make a baby one day, simply because she’s attracted to men. It’s a very difficult situation to be placed in.

          • demodocus
            February 11, 2019 at 9:08 am #

            God knows I’d have preferred to have my babies without 3rd party intervention, but it just couldn’t happen that way. We’re straight and cis-gendered, and one of us has blockages that cannot be gotten around.

          • Sarah
            February 11, 2019 at 11:52 am #

            I’m sure. And it’s common enough.

          • Azuran
            February 11, 2019 at 9:09 am #

            And it’s not like she is the only one out there.
            Trans-people come in all variety of hetero/straight/bi/else. So it’s very likely that someone else down the line is going to be put in a situation (or already is) where they can’t conceive because of their surgery and could regret it. There are documented cases of people who regret their surgical transition (There’s a reason we don’t let 10 years old get vasectomy or tubal ligation no matter how much they insist they don’t want to have kids)

            I highly doubt there is one good answer to any of this. And research into this field is all so new and those kinds of research are going to take decades and there is a lot we don’t know. Hopefully it all get clearer eventually, but right now you can’t be mad at someone for being cautious and uncertain about the whole thing.

          • Sarah
            February 11, 2019 at 11:58 am #

            Indeed, and there’s not a great deal of research on either detransitioning or the long term impact of taking hormones (in the UK, they are prescribed off-label, and then of course people who can’t get them sometimes end up buying online in desparation).

            I can’t help feeling we’re not doing a particularly good job by our gender non conforming young people at the moment. We need to find a way for them to have better options. I know there have been/are societies where people who didn’t fit gender norms weren’t/aren’t at such high risk of suicide. So it must be possible for us to improve.

          • February 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm #

            I don’t think any of us wants to see gender-nonconforming people harming themselves. The trouble seems to be a) not a whole lot of longterm data on various options combined with b) people harboring verrrry strong feelings, which makes it difficult to consider the questions raised in an objective manner. I mean, consider the furor raised merely in this thread, which is quite a mild example of the ire that can be caused.

          • fiftyfifty1
            February 11, 2019 at 8:56 pm #

            “I know there have been/are societies where people who didn’t fit gender norms were/aren’t at such high risk of suicide.”

            Oh that’s intriguing and seems important. What societies are these? And you indicate perhaps that some of these societies were in the past? That is confusing to me because my understanding is that until very recently societies did not have accurate tracking of suicide? And actually many societies don’t even today?

          • Sarah
            February 12, 2019 at 5:57 am #

            I’m no expert on this, but examples I’m aware of are some Native American societies and present day Samoa with the fa’afafine. With more acceptance of and accommodation for people who might not see themselves as fitting into either the man or woman box comfortably, which I think is incredibly important.

            You make a fair point about suicide recording methodology in the past, but I think it’s worth at least looking at what they might have to teach us. I’m not suggesting these models are perfect, fa’afafine in Samoa still don’t have equal access to legal marriage for example. Nonetheless I’m of the view that we should be at least considering what we might be able to do to give GNC youth better choices than either a)make a decision to have life altering surgery and/or hormones that we still don’t really understand the long term impact of way before you reach adult maturity levels, or b) possibly kill yourselves.

            So that would look like thinking about whether there’s anything societally we are doing that is contributing to people experiencing dysphoria, and more research on the impact of hormone treatment. A two pronged approach.

          • rational thinker
            February 12, 2019 at 7:26 am #

            There are some countries that say there are 4 genders. I am not sure if this is the right show so forgive me if its not, but I think it was on that show Taboo (you can find most of the episodes on you tube) they had an episode about this and some different countries where there is more than 2 genders. It was a very informative documentary, if I got the wrong show sorry its been a few years since I saw it.

        • rational thinker
          February 12, 2019 at 7:19 am #

          I am certain I have heard Jazz say she was pansexual , and she has considered adoption as the most likely option for herself. That was when she was between 12 n 15 so I don’t know if that is still what she plans to do or not but she does not mind adopting. Kids like her have think about these things much earlier than their peers, I just wish all the bigotry would stop those poor kids have enough to worry about.

    • Merrie
      February 8, 2019 at 9:52 pm #

      I think “survive to adulthood and be as healthy as possible” would be a more accurate statement of the general sentiment that Dr Amy is getting at in this post. While some must reproduce for the survival of the species, it’s hardly required. This same logic would say that parents who raise a child who grows up to be childfree also failed. Which is silly.

      Plus, the suicide rate for trans youth whose parents don’t acknowledge them is horrendously high, so not letting your trans kid transition isn’t really a winning parenting strategy either.

      • StephanieJR
        February 9, 2019 at 12:00 am #

        *raises hand* Yo, childfree asexual woman here. I have absolutely no interest in following a biological norm. I also spayed my rabbit to prevent her getting cancer, which means I get to (hopefully) double or even triple her lifespan. I think the quality of life for the individual, whether animal or human, is more important than their ability to reproduce once reaching adulthood (and then, of course, you must consider those whom are infertile, and feel like a failure for it).

  5. KQ Not Signed In
    February 7, 2019 at 1:59 pm #

    *fetches popcorn*
    *puts up feet*

  6. demodocus
    February 7, 2019 at 1:04 pm #

    The difficult part is when you believe that hard, it becomes the equivalent of a fact in your mind. They are blinder than my bard by a long shot.

  7. Cartman36
    February 7, 2019 at 11:29 am #

    Preach Dr. Amy. I just emailed our pediatrician to see if she would be willing to give #3 his measles shot earlier than 12 months because we live too close for comfort to one of the outbreak areas. Fingers Crossed she says yes

    • MainlyMom
      February 8, 2019 at 6:56 am #

      Are they amending the measles schedule that much for the outbreak??!! 10 years ago MMR was 18 months and 4 years. I did the first at 12 mos becuase we were traveling to Austria, and that was considered early.

      Oh my bad!! #3 is the kid, not the shot number!!! Yes, i did the same. Its slightly less effective at 12 mos than 18, thank you antivaxers for have making us choose between no protection or less effective protection. Sorry for my reading fail!

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