Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am days away from having my first child. My husband and I are planning to follow the recommended vaccine schedule. My sister-in-law, who lives nearby, truly believes that the devil works through pediatricians and other health specialists (and many, many other people).
She’s already expressed how excited her toddlers are about our new baby and how they can’t wait to kiss and love on her when she arrives. This makes me nervous because she’s the sort to deny that her child is ill even at times when she clearly is. What’s a tactful way of letting her know the lovey dovey-ness won’t be happening any time soon, or really not until my own kid gets to catch up on vaccines?
The Not Nutty Family Member
Dear Not Nutty,
First of all, congratulations on your impending delivery! Just remember to remain calm, take deep breaths and demand more drugs than Keith Richards snorted in the 70′s and you’ll be A-OK.
That is, until your sister-in-law comes a knockin’.
Because not to put too fine a point on it, but someone who thinks pediatricians are handmaidens of The Devil is probably just days away from being cast on her own TLC reality program—Insanity Roadshow or something like that. (Which I’d of course watch every week without fail.)
Now, she can do whatever she wants with her own children’s healthcare. If she doesn’t go to the doctor or vaccinate her kids, that’s well within her right. (However, and I know this isn’t going to win me any friends, when more and more babies are dying of whooping cough and a big, scary medical study is shown to be a fraud, maybe it’s time to rethink that decision.) (Another great, thoughtful article about that topic here.)
All that controversy aside, your main role as a mother is to keep your baby safe from harm, and that’s exactly why you should tell Nutsy you don’t want her germy toddlers around until the little one has built up her immune system. Let her know that if she expects you to respect her anti-vaccination decision, you expect her to accept your pro-vaccination decision. It’s as simple and clear cut as that.
Will she get upset? Yes, I suppose she will. But it sounds like she probably gets upset about a lot of things (like the demonic forces at work in the Walgreen’s pharmacy), so just hug your little newborn to your chest and try not to worry about it.
At least, not until she starts talking about you on her new TLC show.
Good luck (and congratulations)!