The first "test" I felt I was given as a mother, was handed to me during my son's first set of vaccinations. He was 2 months old and I was inconsolable. I knew that the shots were necessary and I didn't have a single doubt in my mind that I was going the right thing; I just also wanted to punch my doctor in the face and take my son home immediately. I'm sure it would have helped to know the things your baby wants you to know about vaccines; things that can assure you those vaccines are more than worth it; things that, essentially, remind you that it's harder on you than it is on your baby.
It's difficult to watch your child confused or in even a small amount of pain for any length of time. It's difficult to know your child is experiencing even mild discomfort, essentially, because of you and a decision you've made for them. I'll never forget looking at my son and comforting him while he was receiving his immunizations; telling him that mom was here while he looked at me like, "Um, what in the hell is going on?" I was being gutted. I was also experiencing what it really means to be a mother: doing something extremely difficult because it will and does keep my child safe. I was making a sacrifice and putting myself through emotional hell because I want my child to stay healthy and safe and happy. If that's not a living example of all motherhood entails, I don't know what is.
In the end, sometimes the best thing you can do for your kid isn't always the easiest thing to do. I hated going to the pediatrician's office knowing that shots were in order. However, I also loved knowing that I was doing what was necessary to keep my son safe from things that I can't fight against, myself. My child was too young to articulate his thoughts at the moment — or even realize what was going on and why vaccinations are so important — but I would like to think that if he could have, he would have told me the following things:
"The Doctor And/Or Nurse Is Just Doing His Or Her Job..."
It's not like the doctor or nurse administering the shots considers this to be the best part of their job. In fact, I bet they're dreading those moments just like everyone else.
In fact, one of my favorite nurses at my son's pediatrician's office would look at me like it was her son about to get a shot. I almost, almost, felt bad for her.
"...So There's No Need For Physical Violence, Mom"
I'll be honest, I had to fight the urge to punch a few nurses in the face after and while they were giving my son his vaccinations. This innate, protective urge just took over me and I wanted to push everyone away from my son, swoop him up in my arms and leave the office immediately.
Of course, I didn't do any of those things because vaccines are so very important and those nurses were protecting my son. Still, the urge is there and I think acknowledging it is important.
"I'm Not Going To Remember This. Like, At All."
While it will be forever etched into your mind, dear reader, your kid isn't going to remember a thing (especially when they're babies). You're not "scarring them for life" and you're not psychologically damaging them. They're going to be fine. In fact, they're going to be better than fine because you've armed them against potentially deadly diseases.
"This Is Going To Hurt You More Than It Hurts Me"
I was crying harder than my son was during his first, second, and third set of vaccinations. I know that while he did feel some discomfort, I was the one in physical and mental pain.
Eventually, and thankfully, I got my sh*t together and I don't react the way I used to. However, as a first time mom it's difficult to watch someone essentially cause your child pain, even if it is for a very awesome, very necessary reason.
"I'm Looking Forward To Our After-Vaccine Snuggle Time"
I mean, this is the best part about vaccinations, right? Yes, yes, after protecting your kid from diseases, it's the cuddles and the snuggles that make vaccines worth it.
For the next few hours after every single vaccination session, my son is nothing but a ball of big hugs and kisses and I'm not mad about it. I'm more than happy to clear my work schedule and do nothing but sit on the couch, watch Toy Story 3 for the seventeen millionth time, and hold my son in my arms. There are worse ways to spend a Wednesday afternoon, I can assure you.
"You're Doing The Right Thing"
Protecting your child's health and safety is, arguably, your main goal as a parent. When you vaccinate your baby, you're giving their body the tools to defend itself from 14 seriously childhood diseases. While many diseases have been eradicated (thanks to vaccines) others are still present, they know no boarders and can spread quickly. When you vaccinate your child you're not only protecting them, you're protecting your family, yourself and your community.
I mean, you're just doing the right thing.
"Vaccines Don't Cause Autism. No, Really. They Don't. That's Nonsense."
Dozens have studies have debunked the prevailing myth that vaccines cause autism. One study, which examined close to 100,000 children, found absolutely no link between autism and the MMR vaccine. The research that fictitiously connected vaccines to autism, was fraudulent. No, really. The guy seriously just made stuff up and manipulated data and his entire "study" was financed by lawyers who were actively trying to fight against vaccines. Talk about a conflict of "interest," right?
So, you know. Science.
"Thank You For Protecting Me"
Your kid can't tell you when they're a baby (or even when they're a toddler), but they're thankful that you're doing what is necessary to protect them from things that are beyond your control. As parents, we want to keep our children safe at all times and from all things. When it's out of our control, we rely on others (like doctors and scientists and nurses and modern medicine).
One day, your kid will thank you for putting yourself in an emotionally distressful situation, for their betterment.
"Hey! That Wasn't All That Bad. At All."
By six months, my kid didn't even cry when he was given his shots. No, really. He let out a few whimpers and looked at me like he had no idea what was going on, but it all passed within a few seconds and he was fine; like nothing had happened at all.
Eventually, it'll just be another doctor's visit that ends with a sucker and probably an ice cream cone. You got this, mom.