Friday, August 22, 2008

The perfect mother, obviously

I'm sure this story from MSNBC will be blogged all over among those who care, but there's just one part of it I'd like to quote here. It speaks so eloquently to the fallacious reasoning, the true lack of knowledge, and, yea verily, the self satisfaction some people just can't help revealing. It's from a mother who has chosen not to vaccinate her child.
"I think doctors tend to be taken back by how much I know,” she said, adding later: “I’m a public health official’s nightmare, not because I’m not responsible, but because I’m too responsible.”

Margulis said she worked hard to boost her children’s own resistance to disease. She nursed two of her kids past the age of 4 and said she makes sure they eat healthful foods and get regular exercise. She believes her children's systems are strong enough to tolerate disease — and even hopes that they'll get the chance to gain natural immunity.

“I would love for my children to have measles,” Margulis said. “Please get me chicken pox and get me measles.”

She rejects the idea that her decision endangers others.

“People say, ‘You’re putting my kid at risk, but that doesn’t make any sense at all,’” she said. “If the vaccine works, I’m just putting my child at risk.”

Are these decisions about her and her amazing level of responsibility and her knowledge and her wonderful decisions and her being someone's nightmare, or are they about her child? If she knows so much, she'd know that back when the only choice for feeding an infant was breastfeeding and the only kinds of foods available were "healthful," pesticide-free foods, and the only way that people spent their days was in physical activity...people still contracted and died from these diseases. If it were as simple a formula as breastfeeding+relatively clean food+exercise, the human race would never have been susceptible to these killers in the first place.

It's a pity that she's proud of being a "public health official's nightmare." Why is she proud of that? It means that someday, she may be the worst nightmare of many other parents who live in her community. It may mean that her own decisions may someday haunt her in her own worst nightmares. Right now, it's just a head-shaking moment that she thinks it doesn't "make sense" that her decisions might endanger others. Down the road, that head-shaking moment could turn into a tragedy.

As for her last comment about putting her child at risk with vaccination--having a child in the first place means accepting that you put that child at risk. Every bite that child takes could be the one the child chokes to death on. Every leaf of fresh organic spinach could be the one that carries uremia-inducing bacteria. Every time they strap into the car could mean death in the next few minutes. Having a child means taking on risks. Being truly responsible means that you do an honest cost-benefit assessment for the risks you can and make honest decisions based on how that assessment turns out, not based on hyerbolic, fearful, control-freak emotions. This woman is so proud of being "responsible"--with the obvious implication that those parents who do choose vaccination are irresponsible, ignorant sheep--yet I can't find any examples from her of exhibiting any real responsibility. Just obvious, narcissistic self satisfaction shining through.

Somebody needs to go back and do a little reading on the facts. She may think doctors are taken aback by her "knowledge," but my guess is there's something else that sends them into shock.