Wooo-heee! Did you see this obnoxious letter on Slate today?
Dear Prudence: My son and daughter-in-law are well-educated, responsible people. But once they had their first child (my now-18-month-old darling grandson), they did their own “research” and decided not to vaccinate him for fear of “pumping poison into his body” and “risking autism.” My DIL has particularly strong views about this, and we’ve had many vocal arguments over the issue. Finally she decided she didn’t want to fight me anymore, and the last time I brought this up she refused to bring my grandson to see me for several weeks. I know that due to herd immunity the chances of his catching a serious illness is not high, but I am still appalled he’s exposed to risks unnecessarily. I am about to look after him for five days while his parents go on a trip and I am thinking I will just take him to the doctor myself and get him immunized.
Levi says: You can click over to see the condescending answer provided by Prudence but I have a hunch you might enjoy mine more.
Dear Meddling Mother-in-Law:
Perhaps with the 15 minutes it took you to write a gossipy letter to a national columnist you could have instead sent your daughter-in-law a note asking for her to share the research she has found most compelling in not vaccinating her child.
You don’t have the legal authority to consent to medical treatment for your grandson and if you tricked a doctor or nurse into vaccinating him they are liable for medical battery. It sounds like you are lucky that you get to see your grandchild at all but if you were my mother-in-law, and left your house with my child to have him vaccinated, I’d do everything in my power to have you charged with kidnapping.
If your son and his wife are so well-educated and responsible, might there be the teensiest chance that the decisions they make are for a reason?
How would you live with yourself if you secretly vaccinated your grandson and the baby developed epilepsy, encephalitis, or anaphylactic allergies? Do you think that the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program exists just for kicks to hand out free multimillion dollar awards?
A lot of misinformed grandparents have gotten it into their heads lately that they have “grandparents rights” to see their grandchildren. I hate to break it to you, but your son would usually have to be dead for that to happen, or at minimum divorced from his wife. Is that what you want? As it is, you have no right to see your grandchild and if you eff up this relationship by attempting to enforce your will, you deserve exactly what you get.
So I suggest that you pry open that cobwebbed mind of yours and ask your son and his wife to share with you the information they have based their medical decisions on. Then, rather than spreading their personal business all over the Internet, you spend some time developing some empathy for two people who are doing what they feel is the very best thing for their particular child.
Photo credit: Technorati