Burden of Proof

Lately, there are many things that parents have to research regarding health choices for their children.  In social media, the debate is fierce between the pros and cons of various things including vaccination Vs Non vaccination, circumcision Vs Intact, Home Birth Vs Hospital Birth, Homeschool Vs Public School.  You name it, and chances are that there are strong proponents on both sides.  In the age of readily available information, parents have more accessibility to research than ever before.  That also means that parents can be even more opinionated as before. And so began the debating.

In two different incidences in the past 24 hours alone, my parenting decisions regarding home birth and vaccination were questioned via social media.  I laid out my sources proudly, I have worked hard the past two years researching various topics of import to my family.  But my sources weren’t seen as valid to them.  Now, I too value the importance of validity.  I wish there were more mainstream media and medical journals that had articles regarding my findings.  Many of them are from other countries who are more progressive and have done more research than our own FDA, CDC and AAP.

After contemplating this during my run this morning, I started to think,“Why is the burden of proof for these procedures on me to prove that they AREN’T safe?  Shouldn’t they have to prove to me that they ARE?  Shouldn’t they have to show me that the benefit of the procedure outweighs the risk of the second and third order effects of the procedure?” Just in vaccine research alone, I started to think about how much work it had been to break down the ingredients of each vaccine, cross reference it with toxicology reports, validate that with the adverse events that were reported and compare those numbers to the incidences of the diseases, the symptoms, the complications and the mortality rates.

I wish I had saved more of my work.

And that’s just for vaccines!  What about home birth?  This was posted in response to a young mother who had already expressed in the thread that she felt uncomfortable with hospital birth and wanted a water birth but had a tight budget: “You really want to have your baby at home with the “cheapest” midwife out there. This your baby to protect. A midwife is nothing more than a nurse with an advanced degree. And in TX when I worked for the board if nursing I saw a lot of bad things that nurses and midwives did and sometimes everything was ok an sometimes it wasn’t.”  I was taken aback!  Of COURSE she had seen the worst case scenario when she worked for the review board.  Only bad outcomes are reviewed. Women have been birthing at home for thousands of years with the support of other women!  For healthy women with normal pregnancies, home birth is actually found to be safer than the hospital.

I wish I had saved more of my work.

But I didn’t save every link and every thought that passed through my brain during all of these searches because I am not a medical expert.  I didn’t view my research as something that I had to validate agains others opinions.  I saw my research as a quest to find out whether these things were best for my family and my child.  And in the majority of my research, I found so much evidence against vaccines and for home birth that I started to think, “well of course people will agree with me!  There is so much information that they will of course not question my decision!”

In some ways, I am glad that these women questioned me.  It has given me the urge to go back and search again, to really delve into the deep of the research.  Unfortunately, I know it will take a lot of time.  But if that is what it takes, then so be it. Until then, I still have doubts as the efficacy and safety of Vaccination and hospital birth and that is enough for me to say that they aren’t right for my family.  Because I would never subject them to something unless I was 100% comfortable with that decision and willing to accept the consequences of the risks involved.

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  1. Pingback: Plot your own course | Combat Boot Mama

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