Editor’s note: In 2015, Mayim issued a statement that she is not anti-vaccine; you can read it here. Following the announcement that she is a new host of “Jeopardy!”, she further clarified her stance; a spokesperson said that Mayim is also vaccinated against Covid-19.
I love my editor at Kveller. She helped me hone the voice that you know as “Mayim” here on Kveller, and it’s that voice that I believe got me to be asked to write my first book, and hopefully more books after it.
I almost always listen to my editor. But I rebelled last week.
You see, she asked me to write in response to someone on the internet who was speaking disparagingly about me regarding my personal (and rarely publicly discussed) decisions about vaccines. She wanted me to respond. I said no.
Why this rebellion? Here’s why.
1. “Vaccinations” is not an Attachment Parenting topic per se. AP makes no suggestions about things like vaccines. Sure, many people who don’t vaccinate also happen to practice AP, but not all. And it’s too sticky an issue for a large organization like API to take a stance on so they don’t. It’s not part of AP.
2. I don’t like to address scare tactics/paranoia/fear-based writers. Anytime someone says something when discussing AP like: “My friend rolled over on her baby in bed and it died,” or, “My daughter died of the flu,” or anything involving death, I stay the heck away from it. Any defense I try to make of my position will only sound like I’m dismissing a horrible tragedy that no one would wish on their worst enemy. It’s disrespectful to families who have lost children for me to defend myself, since responding with, “My friend’s brother had an adverse reaction to a vaccination and he is never going to develop mentally past the age of 6 because of it,” seems really tacky and insensitive and wrong (even if it’s true).
3. Since my book came out, and since the TIME magazine debacle/publicity party I have been experiencing (thank you, TIME, for helping me sell my book!), I have noticed naysayers using my name in titles of articles and posts in hopes that people will a) read them, b) post them on my Facebook page and Twitter page (which has a combined 100,000+ readers), and c) get me to respond. I’m not biting.
So to the doctor who thinks Elimination Communication is punitive and medically dangerous: I’m not biting. To the anti-circumcision camp who accuses me of worshiping a false God by mutilating and psychologically scarring my sons beyond repair or hope for forgiveness in this world or the next (that’s a direct quote; I couldn’t make this up if I tried): I’m not biting. And to the vaccine proponents who think I have ever told anyone what to do with their children: I’m not biting.
And to my editor: I’m not biting, except in the way I just did. Please don’t fire me. I love writing for you.
Here’s a nibble, though (sigh): Children today get about four times as many vaccines as the average 35-year-old did when we were kids. Besides visiting the CDC website and finding out who gets diseases the medical establishment vaccinates for (and why and where and when), here are the books we used to research each vaccine and discuss each with several doctors before deciding what was right for our family.
The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations: Practical Medical and Natural Ways to Protect Your Child, by Lauren Feder. Hatherleigh Press, 2007.
The Vaccine Book: Making The Right Decision for Your Child
, by Robert Sears. Little Brown, 2011.