I don’t do very well with judgement. I’m not talking about the kind of judgement that you do in your head because really, no one can say they’ve never judged another person. (Other than maybe Jesus, but even then sometimes I think that He too could judge internally because not even Jesus was perfect).

As a mom of 2 amazing children who have food issues, I get judged a lot.

I get judged as to why I chose to breastfeed my daughter until she was 3. Some people think it’s ok that I did because she was sick and needed the nutrients. Some people still look at me sideways. Who knows, even if she hadn’t been sick I might have gone through to age 3 – I can’t know what I would have done because I only know what I did do – and what I did was right for my daughter and for me. But still, people judge.

I get judged as to why I pack snacks for my kids when they go on playdates. Some people think I’m over protective and that I don’t trust them to provide my child with healthy snacks. Perhaps I am an over paranoid mother, but ultimately, I’m the one that has to deal with the reactions (both anaphylactic and other) and has to deal with my children’s questions on a daily basis about food allergies. I’d rather provide them with safe snacks than wonder if they’re going to be ok. There are many houses that I do trust my children to go to because those parents have proven to me that they understand. They call me to check ingredients. They buy foods labelled peanut free to have on hand when my son goes over. They keep gluten free cookies in the cupboard for those “just in case” moments where my daughter gets hungry. They keep the safety of my children at the forefront of their minds.

Today I got judged for my vaccination schedule. I took my son to his speech therapy appointment (Mr Man had a severe stutter when he was younger. It’s almost all gone, but we’ve hit a snag recently and needed a refresher course on how to treat it). While I was there, I decided to make an appointment for Miss A for her MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). I’m not going to get into the whole MMR vaccine debate, but I will say that we decided we were going to give the MMR vaccine to Miss A after the age of 3. It was a personal decision that we were comfortable with.

When Miss A had her first set of vaccinations (in Canada, children get 3 different needles at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, then chicken pox and MMR at 1) at 5 months (again delayed), she reacted horribly. She had a fever for a week, she was grumpy for 2 weeks and I knew that something went amiss. So, we decided we were going to go one step further. We gave her one shot at a time so we could isolate which one she reacted to, and did them a minimum of a month apart (usually closer to 2 months).

It turned out she reacted to the meningicocal vaccine and pretty extremely. She developed a high fever and her personality went from content to awful. We spoke to our pediatrician about it, it was recorded in the reaction lists, and it was advised that she not get any more meningicocal vaccines. When we talked to the health nurses about this, they grilled me as to my motives, and one went so far as to telling me I was endangering my child’s health (I called the head nurse after that encounter and said some not so nice words to describe my horrible experience).

Fast forward to Miss A getting sick. Our doctor requested we put vaccinations on hold. She was at home with me at the time every day, and given her previous reactions, her doc didn’t want anything else to interfere with getting to the bottom of her illness. We happily obliged and haven’t gotten her any vaccinations since.

It’s now time for her to get a bit caught up. While I was at the Health Unit I asked to make an appointment for Miss A for her MMR vaccine that she should have had at age 1. (She’s now 4 1/2). I was asked some questions that made sense “The booster” “No, the initial one” “But she’s due to have her booster of x, y, z” “I understand that but she never got her first vaccination” “Oh! Okay”. Polite conversation right? Right.

Then another nurse interrupts and says “Do you want to do a print out so I can see what she needs?”

What did the receptionist respond “She’s one of those moms that does vaccines in the order she feels like so I’ll just leave it with the nurse on call that day.”


What is one of those moms?

What does doing vaccinations in the order she feels like mean?

I bit my tongue only because there was a line up of new moms, our speech therapist was waiting for us, and I honestly was so mad I was afraid of what I would say.

But here’s what I want to say:
“Madam, you have no idea why I’ve done things the way I’ve done. My daughter does not fit into the typical standard child. I have had to fight every day of this girl’s life to get people to take me seriously and she is finally healthy and thriving. How dare you insinuate that I’m doing things for shits and giggles.”

I told the speech therapist who advised that I report it because it was horrible. But really, what good will it do? The lady at the front desk is still going to have the same judgements. She’s still going to think that people who do things in different orders to the norms are doing it just ‘cuz. She’s been there for over 10 years. Will me saying something really make a difference?

My point is, be careful why you judge. You don’t know what people have gone through, what is in their head, or what goes on in their family. Moms don’t usually make decisions out of anger or to cause harm. They make decisions that they think are doing what’s best for their family in order to keep their children safe. Just because we don’t do things the same, doesn’t mean I’m doing them wrong.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Apr 04, 2012 @ 18:52:08

    I couldn't agree more, Amanda! I learned a long time ago that people do things for reasons that may not seem obvious to us at first, but rarely is it for no good. We have to do what works for our families, even if it doesn't fit into the 'mold'. If, as mothers, we spent time doing things to 'fit in' and please everyone, we would be leading unhappy families. Don't ever feel like you shouldn't speak your mind to people who need enlightenment. Your words may help someone who happens to be overhearing!I would write the letter of complaint, if I were you. If nothing else, you'll feel better for writing it.Take care,Sylvie xx


  2. Anonymous
    Apr 05, 2012 @ 17:33:03

    We were there getting P's first meningiccocal on Monday. No problems with the receptionist this time, thank goodness. The nurse was crotchety, but I prefer that to veiled criticism. I was informed that P is most certainly not immune to varicella, since infection before 1 year doesn't count. I replied that I would be doing a varicella serology, to which she replied, "That's not accurate at all." OBs and midwives seem to think it's valid, as all pregnant woman in AB are screened using it. Anyway, do let them know. Normally I would advise speaking to the clinic manager, but there isn't actually one at the moment, just a nurse who is doing her best but feels that she isn't being listened to or respected by her colleagues. Trouble at the WJP Health Unit. So, use this handy online form instead: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/273.aspDo you know which receptionist it was? I'm wondering if it was the snarky one I had a few weeks ago. ~L


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