When my son David was born in 2001, I was 23 years old and blissfully optimistic about the journey into motherhood. I had read every book about pregnancy and parenting I could find. I researched the safest vehicles and car seats for our precious angel. I bought him stacks of the best books money could buy as I knew instinctively he was to be a genius. I was ready and well prepared for the road ahead.
When David was an infant, I took him to his well-child visits armed with the confidence of the Roman Empire. When asked if I wanted to vaccinate my son, I boldly declared, “Of course I do. It would be irresponsible of me not to. I don’t understand why a parent would subject their child to preventable diseases.”
And just like that, I signed the form releasing the pediatrician from all liability if my son were to be injured or die as the result of an adverse reaction to vaccines. After signing the paper, I felt a deep sense of discord and fear well up inside of me. I paid my instincts no mind and allowed my beautiful son to receive all recommended vaccines. Vaccinating was the right thing to do and I, being of superior intellect, knew that I was doing the right thing, despite having never researched possible side effects.
In infancy, David cried incessantly, sometimes for hours at a time. In an effort to curb the crying and bloated tummy, we tried everything we could think of. We switched formulas several times, gave him Mylicon drops, rocked him, wrapped him up tightly in his blanket and manually bounced his chair (the only thing that soothed him). We did everything we could think of and yet the crying ensued.
My son, who could count to five at thirteen months, was learning the alphabet and said, “ma, da, brover, bye” and “hi,” was, in fact, a genius. The multiple stacks of books I bought him went to good use. Our days were spent looking at numbers, letters, shapes and beautiful pictures of far-away lands. His genius flourished despite his chronic GI issues, which surely caused him incredible discomfort.
At thirteen months, he received multiple vaccines at his well-child exam. Within a few days, his language, eye contact and connection to his family dissipated. He clearly had suffered an adverse reaction to his vaccines, but his pediatrician assured me that he needed to be further vaccinated to protect his health and I agreed.
At his 24 month checkup, he was vaccinated again and it was the beginning of the end of life as we knew it. Within a week or so, David became violent toward me and his dad. He, for the first time, was hitting himself in the head and banging his head on the ground. He slept very little and did not want to be bathed, have his hands washed or his clothes changed.
When I took him into the pediatrician’s office, the (now retired) doctor told me he could not have been injured by vaccines because they had been rigorously tested for safety. He told us to take him home, let him cry and have a beer if we needed to.
Despite this advice, my husband (at the time) and I knew something was very wrong with our son. We could tell he was in pain and was trying to convey this to us by pounding on his head and slamming it into the ground.
After years of specialists’ visits and countless evaluations, I realized my son would soon be too dangerous to keep at home. He was now four and was a threat to himself and others. I knew I would have to find answers myself or my son would need to be placed in a residential facility, which was something I could not live with.
Per the recommendation of a mother who had recovered her son from autism, I tested David for heavy metals commonly found in childhood vaccines. Low and behold, David had heavy metal poisoning, something every pediatric specialist had missed.
Additionally, I put his medical file in order and recognized a pattern: following many of his vaccines, I took David in to be seen for myriad reasons. One visit I reported constant crying, another visit I reported loss of language and a fever and I reported a regression of developmental skills. Putting his medical file in order allowed me to see what doctors didn’t: my son was vaccine-injured.
Here is where it gets sticky. You see, we all sign the little form stating we will not sue the pediatrician if our child is vaccine-injured. Most of us are not told that if our child is injured, the vaccine manufacturer cannot be held liable. But the financial blow is just the tip of the iceberg.
Vaccine injury doesn’t just harm your innocent child; it will make you a social leper. When you prove to your pediatrician he injured your child, he will no longer take your phone calls or see you when you come in. Your loved ones will say things like, “Well, what happened to him is rare and we still need vaccines to keep polio at bay.” (Not knowing polio was eradicated by semantics and redefining polio symptoms). 
When your child is vaccine-injured, you are no longer a part of any social group outside of other parents of vaccine-injured children. At church you will say, “If I had known many vaccines contain aborted fetal cells, I would not have vaccinated him.” And they will respond with something like, “Oh, well, we need vaccines to prevent measles.” (Not realizing that the measles is a benign disease that is easily treated in developed nations).
When you discuss your child’s vaccine injury with the other moms at your child’s school, you will be forced to say, “He has autism,” because if you dare say your child suffered encephalopathy causing neurological damage and severe GI distress from vaccines, you will be shunned (even though the DTaP vaccine package insert lists autism as a possible vaccine reaction). 
When you finally meet other parents of children with disabilities you connect with, you dare not say your child is vaccine-injured or you will be ostracized and your injured child will be left out of (even more) birthday parties and activities. You see, vaccine injury isn’t just emotionally, physically and financially devastating, it is socially devastating as well. Even other parents of children with disabilities will sometimes turn their backs on you if you have the audacity to speak your truth.
Facebook friends will mysteriously vanish, invitations to events will wane, you will get odd stares at social gatherings because suddenly you are “that crazy lady who says her child is vaccine-injured.” Watching your child suffer immeasurably after a vaccine injury is just the beginning. The road ahead is wrought with the pain of being shunned by the disability community, friends and sometimes even family.
Your child will suffer twice: First, the loss of their health as an adverse reaction and second, the loss of any chance at a social life if you dare speak your truth. You will have to make a choice to either be shamed into silence or be made strong by the brutal treatment you will receive for stating the devastating truth about your child’s failing health.
At 23 years old, I was convinced I had it all figured out. My perceived superior intellect proved to be nothing more than youthful arrogance, which reduced me to a brokenhearted, pleading and isolated woman. The Roman Army confidence I once felt was now piecemealed by the degrading tone of the Medicaid workers I had to beg for services. My once self-assured and possibly self-righteous nature was drowned by the number of people who “forgot” to invite us to an event or refused to speak to me at a social gathering.
When you sign the contract releasing your pediatrician from liability if your child is injured by a vaccine, you are signing a social contract as well. Your social contract will include missed vacations, milestone birthday parties, girl’s nights, disability-related events, weddings and family reunions.
If I could go back and give my 23 year-old, know-it-all self advice, it would be this:
Do your research, as many pediatricians do not read vaccine package inserts and cannot recognize an adverse reaction. Understand synergy and the physiological impacts of combining vaccine ingredients. Trust your God-given motherly instincts and lastly, think critically about the long-term health and social ramifications of vaccine injury.