Four Years of Marriage in the age of Polyamory 

Millennials (1981-95, that’s me!) grew up with parents, Baby Boomers (1946-64), who came from families from the Silent Generation (1928-45) where marriage was a lifelong bond and until the no-fault divorce law came to be in 1969, they needed a reason to get divorced. As things changed, the Baby Boomers had the highest divorce rate ever, spiking from 1990-2012 (my parents were part of this statistic). There is no wonder why marriage is less common for Millennials and self-development takes over importance. It may seem “new age,” but more families have kids without getting married or wait until later in life to tie the knot. Some are opening up their relationships to avoid the devastating regrets of being cheated on or, worse, being the cheater.

My father being closer to the Silent Generation than my mother, a Baby Boomer, instilled in me the Christian ethics of marriage and lifelong partnership. When I met my husband at 26, marriage was the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t sure how to be in a committed relationship or end my many friendships with “benefits.” I was conflicted between “if you want me to commit to you, we need to be dating” to “I can still make out with my friends, right?” Influenced by the Burning Man polyamory scene that my peers were partaking in. 

It wasn’t long until I met my husband’s three-year-old daughter, and things changed. I suddenly needed commitment. Not just from him, but I longed to change my single ways and craved stability and family. I suddenly wanted kids so they too could grow up close in age to his daughter. After helping my husband obtain full custody of his child, the ball started rolling even faster. It wasn’t a matter of, I love you so much, let’s get married! Even though I loved him so. I was now questioning how I would play the mother’s role in his daughter’s life and how I wanted to go about it. Being fully committed to my husband and his daughter by raising her, taking her to school, keeping in touch with her grandparents, and helping her expand her social life, there was no doubt in my mind that I would do anything to be her mom. 

We got married in 2018, and eight months later, I adopted her. This was the biggest miracle in my life, but it was a full-time commitment. I saw walls being built between me and my friends. As if overnight, I went from a social butterfly to being a mom while sustaining part-time employment. Reality sunk in, and being unable to go to this or that show or party created resentment within me. The first year of marriage was the hardest. He was working toward his career, and I was obtaining a higher education. We struggled to get on our feet as we worked, spending time away from our child, living in small, unkempt one-bedroom buildings with two dogs and two cats. Things became very stressful. So stressful that I wanted to leave. 

Not my family, just the life we were grinding to achieve. So, we did. In 2020, our second year of marriage, we moved. We left our families and our friends to live in a more affordable place that offered us job security and a home where we got our own rooms. I had always promised our daughter when we had enough space for another child, it would happen, and it did. Our family continued to expand; even though children cost money, we began to make more. We became more stable by the day. Our stress levels decreased, and opportunities became more abundant. 

I enjoy being married to a partner who allows me to be me. The constrictions society had fifty years ago has been broken with gender identity, sexual orientations, and ways of life broadening. People are finding new ways to conduct and maintain relationships. I’m not saying jealousy, rules, and boundaries aren’t in action, but I believe more acceptance and a willingness to try to please the ones we love for who they are and not who we want them to be helps sustain a relationship.

What advice would I give to the younger generations? Don’t push commitment without reason, a dying desire, or a meaningful purpose to marry. Otherwise, you are feeding the government more money off a concept they sell as “love.” Love yourself, love your partner, but most of all, love your life. Love your day-to-day routines. Be thankful for the life you’re living because it is beautiful! Everything else will come together. Not only will it come together, but you will notice things becoming abundant. Love, space, time, we control all of this subconsciously. It’s up to you how you use it. 

Most of all, don’t feel trapped. We are not trapped in the lives we live. We weren’t back then (history), and we’re not now. It takes honesty with yourself, what you want in life, and if what you are doing is making you happy. If you find yourself unhappy, then there is no reason to keep doing the same things every day, which calls for change. I don’t despise my parents’ divorce- it was time for a change. And who knows, my marriage is still young. Yet, if you enjoy your partner, if you don’t want to change them, if you appreciate them for who they are and how they compliment you in achieving your goals in life- then put a ring on it. There’s no documentation necessary for that. 

Malakai Turned One!

Malakai

Last year on August 10, 2021, my husband, Jeremy, delivered Malakai, at our home in the seaside town of Eureka, California. I am very grateful for the beautiful experience and the baby it brought me. Malakai is developing quickly for his age and is rather a large (2-3T/tall) boy. He is kind and plays well with others. Malakai’s birth has also been a transformational experience for me; I have found myself much more organized and future-focused. I have taken up business classes and organizational skills I didn’t have before. I had a summer off from substitute teaching and played in the sun with my children going from one campsite to the next, one town to the next. 

It was a beautiful mothers day in May when my son started repeating his first word, “Dada.” The ramblings of “Da Da Da Da” went on for months until Halyaya (his sister) and I couldn’t help but reply, “I am not dada!” Toward the end of the summer, my son started saying, “Mama.” I might close the door behind me, and he will stand with his arms outstretched, screaming, “Ma ma! Ma ma!” Or he will be in a sour mood and ask to be held with his hands opening and closing and a crying plea “Mama, Mama,” snuggling his head into my chest and rubbing his nose against my blouse. This little victory was exciting for me, just as much as his little first step, which led him to run through the house with other children or play outside in the backyard. 

Malakai started eating food which felt like it took forever as my friend’s babies were being fed bananas, strawberries, and avocados, but Malakai refused it all. He eats meals with us, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He loves snacks. Like Halaya, he prefers warm foods over cold foods. On my birthday, two days after his, Malakai fell into the fireplace and got a cut on his eye that bled profusely. We rushed him to the ER, and by the time we got there, he didn’t seem fazed by it. He is one tough cookie. 

I love the community I have met, the friends and acquaintances my son draws in at festivals or parks. Even at the grocery store, I can have a sour attitude, and a lady will approach me and comment on the kindness in my son’s eyes or how much they love his smile. At his daycare, where I picked up a shift or two over the summer, I watched as his cheerfulness and playfulness spread amongst the teachers and infants. It will be hard for me to return to work and place my one-year-old in daycare in a week when summer comes close. Halaya, Malakai, and I have had two months of intensive bonding.  

Even though we are no longer breastfeeding, Malakai still cosleeps with us. My husband and I want him to sleep in the cradle, but it is hard for me mostly to separate from him. He no longer sleeps next to us but more like against us, on top of us; sometimes, we find him at our feet. He will whimper or cry in the night, and one of us will get him a bottle. I love to soothe his cries. I expect that the cosleeping will be coming to an end shortly. 

Now that Malakai is one, and I look back, I had thought the first year would be more challenging. I was surprised to have gained somewhat of life back, to continue to have a healthy relationship with my husband, and still have time to spend quality time with my daughter. Even though I have to commit more time to raising my child, I have learned to cut out certain times of the day to get things done, like writing my blog. Things that are harder than I assumed would be going out in public or leaving my children with someone else to watch. If I were to do it again, I would have breastfed longer, introduced solids sooner, stuck to using cloth diapers more often, and maybe would have been less eager to go out in the town. But in all, it’s just been great, and I couldn’t be happier with the little family we have created. 

LGBTQ in Children’s Animation

Living in a liberal state, I am surprised to hear the uproar in the mom’s’ community on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) in Disney, Pixar, and children’s animation in general. Children’s’ cartoons have always had heterosexual lead roles. As society becomes more accepting of people in our community, diversity is inching onto the big screen. Yet, some parents insist that homosexuality is being pushed onto their children. For years the princess will one day meet her prince was the “only way” that a child’s movie would play out. I want to ask, “How long are we going to keep homosexuality in the closet?”

In 2013, the hit movie “Frozen” came out, a coming-of-age animation about two princesses, Elsa and Anna, one of whom is overcome with the powers of winter. Frozen was the first Disney movie to portray witchcraft in a positive light, a significant progression compared to Disney’s bias towards Christianity. The hit song “Let it Go” was said to have been an innuendo for coming “out of the closet” and a piece on self-acceptance. Even though I did not find any correlation with to homosexuality in this film, this song started the buzz. When will Disney include everyone in their movies, not just heterosexuals? 

In 2020, the Pixar animation “Onward” was released with a butch lesbian supporting character as the father figure. By no means was this character a leading role. Now with the cat out of the bag, we’re not all made to fit into generic categories. I witnessed mother’s’ taking offense to this character like she was invading their children’s perspective on how they might feel about themselves. If this is the root cause, then these parents also need to reflect on how they view their children, and whether they would love them if they are different. Perhaps that is what Disney has tried to teach people through diversity in their movies: to love everyone and not just those that fit into your category. 

“When The Proud Family premiered on Disney Channel in 2001, it was not only the first original animated show on the channel but one of the few all-ages animation programs on television at the time centered around a Black family.”

(-Radulovic, polygon.com)

Bringing backThe Proud Family” was nostalgic to all 90’s babies. What kind yet strong-headed lead would we want on television for our kids, other than 14-year-old Penny ProudDisney brought it back asLouder and Prouder,” and accompanying the Proud family, in a supporting role is a gay couple with non-binary siblings. They brought in voice actors that also identify as their characters—bringing work and awareness to the community. I am an open space, but it pains me to hear other mothers take offense to this rising trend and the feeling that we can’t be honest with our children about treating people as equals. Let your children follow their hearts instead of making them feel like they have to hide. 

So on that note, is it just a rising trend? This is a rebuttal I heard the other day. “I would be okay with it [homosexuality in animation] if they [animation studios] weren’t doing it to make money from a fad.” 

Well, I hate to break it to you, but as a bisexual female, I have been waiting my whole life for homosexuality to be in children’s animation. I honestly found heterosexuality kind of gross growing up. Seeing the go-to man marry a woman scenario over and over; got me sick. There are so many things we should be protecting our children from,: war, violence, hatred, negativity, but love? If we shield our children from love, what kind of hope are we giving them for the future?

Lastly, Disney released a short film called “Out,” about a man having difficulty telling his parents he’s in a relationship with another man. He switches lives with his dog and they play cat-and-mouse, almost exposing his live-in boyfriend to his folks. My husband didn’t like the movie when he saw it. The situation was all too familiar to him. We’ve all heard of the struggle LGBTQ people may have coming out to their parents. He wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. This was the first step. There it’s “out,” it’s been spoken. For a story to be told, it has to build from the beginning. Otherwise, the audience may not understand the world’s laws, but here it was. I would expect Disney to prep their audience to understand the struggle of queerness through this simple short, so that more complex characters can come into play in the future. Instead of immediately judging the characters, the audience may show compassion. We all live on this earth together. 

Radulovic, P. Feb 17, 2022. Polygon.com, The Proud Family creators: ‘There’s not just one view of Blackness or a Black family.’ https://www.polygon.com/disney-plus/22939385/proud-family-louder-and-prouder-creator-interview

Camping with Young Ones

Last month I went on three camping trips with the kids, to the Summer Music and Arts Festival, Grizzly Creek campsite, and with my partner to Ruth Lake. We had a great time and no one got sunburned! Here are a few quick tips on how I made it camping for a month with my kiddos!

The Sumer Music and Arts Festival was the hardest of the trips. We were vending and had a fairly large pop-up behind our booth but it’s not easy keeping a ten-month old in the shade. He enjoyed walking around and listening to music. I brought ear muffs for the kiddos so they could enjoy the stage and a wagon to pull the baby in. We were placed next to a yoga dome that was never built so there was less traffic our way. My daughter got poison oak in her eye on Sunday and we had to rush to the ER and they dosed her with steroids. I’d say we reacted properly and got her help as soon as it was obvious the swelling wasn’t going to go down with over-the-counter drugs. I came back to pack up without the kids. We brought lots of water to this event and had friends camping with us to help along the way.

Grizzly Creek Campsite we were able to cook on the fire. Check-in took a little while but the kids played with the freshwater spickets. Friends came and went and our dog Zed protected the campsite. Halaya set up her first tent which was a huge accomplishment. I took the kids swimming and Malakai had a blast in the water. He wasn’t a fan of his LifeVest but we had a lot of fun in the shallow area. I didn’t bring enough formula and the surrounding stores didn’t have any but I was able to contact a friend to bring it before it was too late! Camping with the kids isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem. The baby wakes up twice a night and I have extra bottles made. I made the bottles with hot water but I might have made a bottle or two during the day without making a fire and heating it. We brought baby sunscreen and a little sun hat. Halaya read to me at night and wrote a haiku in her journal. On Sunday we went hiking and explored the forest and river. I used my Ergobaby backpack to comfortably hike with the baby. It was a path off the road that doesn’t look like it gets a lot of foot traffic and leads to a beautiful clover field.

My husband got jealous of all our camping and wanted to come with us on an excursion. He loves to fish, so we went to Ruth Lake. Ruth Lake is beautiful. You can see the trees on the hilltop are burned from recent fires and have a white tint. The valley had come back, with lots of greenery and life. We wanted to camp at Boy Scout Camp but so did everyone else because it was full. I would recommend getting a reservation for that one, word says it has great fishing. Instead, we settled for the first campsite Fir Cove Campsite. The sites were more spread out than the other sites, there was easy access to the water and hiking trails. We brought both the dogs on this one and they did great! Halaya and I walked the trail closest to the water and it lead to the next campsite. We swam in the water which was mushy and full of tall grass. I swam pretty far out and the weeds continued to tickle my body. We cooked hot dogs and let the dogs swim after the beach was clear of other guests. We drove around looking for the perfect fishing spot but couldn’t find it. I recommend reserving a boat, fish are released into the lake seasonally.

Overall camping with the kids is magical. In the forest, no work and time spent together. I loved every moment I got with my children, friends, dogs, and husband. I appreciate everyone that was a part of my camping excursion. The biggest tip is not to forget sunscreen, lots of water, and formula. Don’t be scared to sleep in the tent with the kids and spend time under the stars.

Till next time!

My Experience with Full Sail University as a Creative Writing BA Student

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Since I was six and spent my summers with my grandparents in Germany, I found the language barrier difficult to overcome, and I read whatever English books they sold at the bookstore. At the time, the Harry Potter books were being released, and I took an interest in those; sometimes, all they had was adult fiction, and I would read those too. At eleven years old, I remember taking a solid liking to The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon. When my dad took me to the bookstores in my teens, he began monitoring my choices. I remember begging for I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francisca Lia Block because it had mature content, and he let it slip. While reading was a passion, so was writing. I have journals dating back to when I was seven—hundreds of journals in a chest. I have online journals that are locked. I have journals that have been lost by sites that have washed away my accounts. To say the least, if I ever had a passion, it was reading and writing. 

I went to San Francisco State University for creative writing in 2008. I lasted one year, and in my second semester, I got arrested for possession of psilocybin mushrooms. My roommate called me in, and when I went to jail, the guard told me that she didn’t know they were illegal. It discouraged me from returning to the University, and I moved forward with community colleges. I began dropping out of classes and schools. I went to five different community colleges and didn’t finish more than a class or two. When I felt like I was turning my wheels, I fell into a party scene I would associate with the closest thing I had to home. It wasn’t until I met my partner that I found a new home and was able to stabilize my life. 

Then I got into a car accident where I was found guilty. The world came crashing down on me. I was raising my partner’s five-year-old daughter, and the thought of what could result from the accident sent me spiraling. I wanted to be seen as a productive member of society, and at the time, I didn’t feel like that was what I was. I had been looking at Full Sail University for a while. I had lived in Florida and was familiar with the name. I have a passion for animation, and I knew this was an entertainment-driven school. They accept anyone with a high school diploma. I was passionate when I talked to the recruiter. Then I did more research and read all these bad reviews. It’s a private school for profit, and I can’t transfer my units, and it’s a big loan. I was petrified. I’ve never made a substantial amount of money, and this was an overwhelming decision. 

The Benefits

It didn’t take long for me to make the jump. I decided on this school because they had creative writing for entertainment expedited bachelor program, which meant I could skip the four years. I didn’t have to take a zillion general ed classes, and I would learn to write for television (having a passion for animation.) In my introductory course, I made a video expressing the desires that led me to Full Sail. This passion would drive me through my program. I was an A student, receiving two B’s throughout my education. I received a grant for $1500 when my loans would not fully cover the tuition. I received the Salutatorian of my class, and I graduated in two years. Since this was an online course, I also received my Cal Grants for being a California resident and didn’t have to pay out-of-state tuition, which I am thankful for. 

The Negatives

As great as that sounds, as many grants as I applied for, I didn’t qualify for any others besides what the school had given me. After cal grants, I was left with a $40,000 loan, subsidized and unsubsidized. There was no job placement. I met with my career counselor twice a month for four months. He encouraged me to build a website, business, and blog, which I did, but it didn’t make any money. The school calls me to ask what I’m doing with my degree and when I tell them I am not making any money with it, they ask about the blog and the small business. They use that as leverage that my degree is being utilized so that I can’t get forgiveness from FASFA or my loan agency. These are consequences I have to deal with. A year later, I joined an emergency substitute teacher program which was the first thing I used my degree towards. It is on call and makes very little money. I find a lot of fulfillment in working with kids, and I have built relationships with my students even as a sub, and I enjoy working with the schools. Then again, my mom sent me a Tik Tok that stated Substitute Teaching is the worst reason to get a degree. I had to remind her and myself that this isn’t the reason why I got a degree. 

Is the school flawed? No, I got an education. They used a lot (perhaps too many) online sources accessible to anyone. I did enjoy the checklist and easy accessibility of the Launch box. They provided me with a laptop and tablet that I’d never, otherwise, be able to afford. The school was manageable, and I was able to excel where I couldn’t in community college.

Is the system flawed? Yes, there is a significant flaw in loans and accruing interest. I don’t know how anyone can smile and say I’m going to University without the heavyweight on their shoulders that they are putting themselves in debt that can double or triple. I put my family at risk that they may not be financially stable or that I will not be able to provide for them even with a degree. It’s all so incredibly overwhelming, and it makes me sad. Shouldn’t going to school make you proud? 

In the end, you shouldn’t go to Full Sail if you expect to get a great job with some high-end studio. They will tell you how competitive the job market is, and this is so true. They will tell you that they have excellent job placement, but this is not true. Yet I don’t regret going at all. I am so proud of myself for finishing something, following my passion, and creating a future for myself. I am one step closer to writing a novel, writing for animation, and creating comics, all the reasons that I began this journey. I also have embedded in my mind how to structure a story, I learned how to organize my time, I was reminded to have fun, and I had great experiences collaborating with other students. The school is not what’s flawed; it is the loan system and our government for allowing them to double or even triple our loans, making it impossible to want to further our education. The solution to this would be; not to collect interest on loans that are being paid on time. If we’re paying the loans, leave us alone, we’re doing the best we can. 

Be there for a Victim of an Accident

Tallulah’s Car after Accident

A very close friend of mine got into a car accident at  38 weeks pregnant. She was hit sitting on  the passenger side in a small vehicle  by a Dodge Ram. I remember my husband waking up on February 11th ,  telling me, “How does Tallulah always get into accidents,” and myself shouting  back at him, “What? She’s pregnant!”  We  are  so fortunate my friend did not die that day. She went into the hospital  with a punctured lung and kidney, 18 broken ribs (do we even have more ribs than that?) and had to deliver her child by cesarean  after spending months off preparation on the most beautiful home  birth  experience I’ve ever heard. 

Tallulah and Trystin with newborn Oriah.

Talullah had a brief moment where  she was able  to meet her  daughter, Oriah, along with her partner, Trystin. The moment touched  the heart strings  of many and her story was told over social media platforms  as her outcome was not certain. The following weeks were an emotional rollercoaster. My friend was put under and her family  and friends gave her as much positive reinforcement on her facebook page as possible. She  was in a medically induced coma for three months where she had no contact with her newborn child.  When she woke up she wasn’t able to see her daughter for  another two weeks. Not only that she was swollen and breathing from a tube that  was  inserted down her throat which made it impossible to talk or eat. 

Kevin, Natascha, Tallulah, and Jeremy post Accident

This was just devastating. After experiencing the after effects of my friend’s terrifying accident I want to share with you some things that were  done to help support her at this time.

Yes I messaged the partner, the mom, the best friends. I know it may seem like an annoyance or that it was none of my business to reach out but all of these people needed support. Hell,  I needed support. When your heart breaks like this every voice of encouragement helps the vibe stay positive. The worst scenario might have been hanging over my head but it’s important to  stay positive no matter what because  that’s the energy that you want out  there. If there is no response, don’t be offended. I know her mom and partner were busy raising the newborn but every once in a while I would send a supporting message so that they know the community supports them. 

Start a go- fund me.  My friend’s cousin started her go-fund me  and it took off. People from all over were reading Tallulah’s story and helping in any way they could. Don’t feel bad for asking for help. In  these circumstances as much outreach as possible ensures the victim is getting as much help as possible. 

I created a simple 30 second TikTok to raise awareness of her accident and how the general public can help. This didn’t take long and it helped share her story. Don’t be shy to reach out, there are other people that can relate to these events.  

Her partner went to the doors of Newspaper companies asking to get this story covered. This was an exhausting but worthwhile step to get her story heard and to get aid for her situation. 

I found myself having a hard time at work, crying constantly and looking for answers up every tree. I put myself through the ringer when in  reality there was nothing I could have done in those beginning moments. While taking the steps to help, don’t let yourself become consumed with sadness/ depression. Instead count your blessings. In this case the baby survived and Tallulah saved her baby with her body which is now  taking the consequences.  There is something to be thankful for there. 

While she was in the coma her partner orchestrated a prayer circle outside of the hospital. Long Beach residents came to support  Tallulah. Sage was burned, songs were sung, and group prayer commenced. I thought this was a very powerful interaction that vibrates healing energy to our friend. Since I am not local, I held a zoom conference during  this time to  allow  distant friends of Tallulah’s to pray and talk about their relationship with her and how this has affected them. 

Then I started a food train! This was not as easy as I had expected. As you can see in the post, I linked the go-fund me with the information about the accident, added some pictures and content about the purpose of a meal train and posted it on her page, tagging her partner and mother. This was really helpful for them, maybe seven meals came out of it. Her partner would explain to me how he found himself not eating or eating out because he was busy picking up breast milk from donors, talking to lawyers, and answering the flood of messages from friends and family. Healthy meals should be encouraged while creating a meal train and sharing it with as many people as possible. I also encouraged a volunteer to pick up meals so strangers wouldn’t be coming to the house and for friends to do a noncontact drop off between a certain time so that the family isn’t being interrupted during this time. 

When I finally had a week to go visit she was just waking up from the coma. I was scared for her well-being and it was really hard to hide it. I think with in person visits that it is okay to not mask up. Even though all the text messages and posts were positive, here is when I showed my weakness, crying in front of her and telling her how worried I was. Maybe there was even a point when she was tired of all the positivity and also wanted someone to be real about how dangerous this scenario was. While in person I was also able to pamper her, massage oil on her feet, talk to her about meditation and possibly read a story or poem (she didn’t like this one but someone else may.) I was able to make  a poster  for her  and put it up in her hospital room. I included all of our mutual friends and positive affirmations along the side. I also brought her a picture of the baby and her partner that I took while I was there. I am very thankful  I got this time with her. 

Poster for Tallulah

When she got out of the hospital I sent  her  flowers home. Calling up a local florist, I had “congratulations on having a girl” flowers delivered to her home.  I felt like she missed out on the celebration of her birth and now was a good time to do so.

Another gift I recommend to send a patient coming home from a hospital is a robe. Sometimes we forget the little things that can help us move comfortably throughout the day. 

The last and most important influence I think can help you and a patient that has undergone  a traumatic event is Eckhart TolleThe Power Of Now” and “A New Earth ”, consciousness, breathing and gratitude are such important skills to have during a crisis. These books or audiotapes can help soothe a person’s soul, open their mind, and bring them to a place of acceptance. 

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope this helps anyone that is helping someone that is undergoing trauma. You are never in the wrong for reaching out and being helpful, even if it feels like you don’t  know how  to help. Your heart, good  thoughts, and sending positive vibes can help a victim heal. 

Interview with Humboldt County Teacher, Pro-Vaccinations

(Adam Winger, unsplash.com)

Pro Vaccination over the phone interview with Laurel 

My creative writing teacher stepped forward to give her word on child vaccinations. This is what she had to say.

Natascha: Hello! Today I will be speaking to a teacher and Humboldt County resident. Thank you, Laurel, for agreeing to this discussion with Little Lost Forest. We are happy to bring new moms and anyone interested in children’s vaccinations information that comes from the heart.

Natascha: Can you tell me a little about yourself? Your education and if you have any children. 

Laurel: Yes, I can, Natascha. I have a master of art in Literature and a master of art in Teaching and Writing. I have over eight years of experience teaching introductory composition courses at the college level, and I’ve worked with children since I was old enough to be responsible for them. So in early high school, I did volunteer work, and I taught them how to read. I’ve helped them in afterschool programs, I’ve done gear up, which is a college readiness program, so I was like a tutor, a buddy, like the fifth-grade buddy type thing. And I’ve also done volunteer work with literacy programs, games, and programs for kids too. I’ve also been paid to babysit, watch children, and take care of children on professional bases, but I do not have any children of my own. 

Natascha: Awesome. Well, it seems like you have a good background concerning child development. What is your stance on child vaccinations? 

Laurel: I firmly stand by the position of the scientific and medical community that all children should be vaccinated as early as is safe to do so. I had to be vaccinated to work with children. So anytime I have worked at a public school, I had to get my measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, and thankfully as an adult, they can give it to me all in one shot, so I don’t have to get three separate ones. And I also had to get tested for tuberculosis as well. As an adult, I had to vaccinate, and I also vaccinated my pets because a lot of veterinarian clinics will only let your animals in if they are updated on their vaccinations. Some places will still let you bring them in. Obviously, you need to get them vaccinated. They might not be vaccinated when you bring them in. And I find the experts in virology, vaccination, science, and medicine to be credible. I believe them when they say the stuff that they say. I believe them when they put out vaccination reports and so on. 

Natascha: It is common knowledge that some vaccinations may cause dire side effects such as shoulder pain, paralyzation, and allegedly death. Is this worth vaccinating all children?

Laurel: So I am aware of the side effects of having a really big needle shoved in my arm. I’ve experienced vaccination side effects. I’ve experienced very recently, I’ve gotten two COVID vaccinations and a booster, and I got reactions from all three of those shots. The first one, the second one, and third one and almost the exact same reaction to each one but less severe every time, which is what I expected. The number one thing I had was pain at the vaccination site because the needle that they are shoving in my arm is very long and very big and pretty deep into my tissue. So it hurts really bad. And it hurt for about thirty-six hours afterward. The pain was bad enough that I had limited mobility for about thirty-six hours, which sucked. I didn’t enjoy not being able to raise up my arm. But the vaccination clinic also told me all the side effects that I could experience. So part of me wondered if I was hyper-aware of how tired I was and that maybe I was tired because I was really anxious, I’m scared of needles. I don’t like getting shots. So terrified of needles, to the point that I was almost crying and shaking when I got my first one. I hate needles. It’s a phobia. It’s nonscene. I wonder if I was more sensitive to the side effects because I had already been primed to know about them, and it was a placebo effect or something.

I am aware that there are some children and adults who have been vaccinated that experience more serious side effects than mild fatigue or a little bit of a fever or some pain in their arm but I kind of look at vaccinations the same way as I look at any necessary medical procedure, which all of them come with risks. You take a risk every time you walk into a hospital. My friend went to visit his wife during her cancer treatment, and he got a staff infection. As far as he knows, he didn’t touch anything in the hospital beside the chair and his hand. So he was very confused to how he got a staff infection from just walking into a hospital, but that can happen because he was around sick people, so you can get sick. I can get skin cancer if I forget to put on sunscreen, and every time I drive to work, I risk horrible death. So I believe the potential for side effects and death with vaccines are statistically very low, and it is still worth it to vaccinate all children. I had a really long answer to this question. I’m not done yet.

Natascha: Awesome, thank you.

Laurel: We’ve been vaccinating our children for well over one hundred years, yet there has been no evidence of long-term side effects from vaccines being prevalent enough for it to be worth stopping. So there have been lots of other things we have stopped doing because they hurt children like secondhand smoke, putting kinds in the front seat of a car, putting a car seat in the front seat. We stopped doing these things because we knew they weren’t safe, and we stopped doing them a lot quicker than vaccines have been around if that makes sense. Shortly after cars were invented we were like maybe we shouldn’t put babies in the front seat because they can die. But vaccines have been around for a really long time, and we still haven’t found a reason to stop giving vaccines. Even though sometimes people do have allergic reactions.

Then the other thing is that I have never heard that vaccines could cause full-body permanent paralysis, for instance. I can’t find anything from the scientific community that I trust that tells me that vaccines could cause full-body permanent paralysis. But what I did find was that some vaccines, particularly the swine flu vaccine, can cause people to develop Guillain-barre syndrome, which is temporary facial paralysis. I actually had a student from China who experienced this. They came to visit. They had to get vaccinated for something, and they had temporary facial paralysis for about three weeks. So half of their face did not function. However, in the country where he comes from, it’s actually very common knowledge that vaccines can cause this, but nobody knows why. Nobody knows why the flu vaccine, in particular, can cause GBS (Guillain-barre syndrome.) Thankfully it’s one in every million people, he just got super unlucky, and it went away. As far as I know, I haven’t spoken to him in a couple of years, but as far as I know, he was fine after that, and he went home. I saw posts from him on social media, and it didn’t look like his face was partially paralyzed anymore. So I never heard of anybody getting full-body permanent paralysis from a vaccination. I can’t find anything that says that that has happened. I wasn’t sure about that one.

I have seen statistics showing allergic reactions to vaccinations and, of course, arm pain which I think is normal when you get a needle in your arm. I’ve seen statistics that children who get vaccinated for diseases tend not to die from those diseases later. If you get vaccinated for measles, you don’t get measles. If you get vaccinated for mumps and rubella, TB, and polio, all that stuff, you’re probably not going to get those diseases later, so those are the statistics I’ve seen, and I found very promising. 

Natascha: Awesome, that was great information. 

Laurel: Thank you.

Natascha: Is the health of the community more important than the health of these individual children that suffer side effects? 

Laurel: Yes, the reason I think that is because these children are actually a part of that community. They may be individual children, but they are a part of the larger community of children. Why should one kid that is immunocompromised be basically forced into house arrest because some parents do not want to vaccinate their children and also want the opportunity to send those children to a public school? And I’m fully aware that we can not permanently protect immunocompromised children from- anything really. There is no guarantee. And a lot of immunocompromised children-you know get sick even with vaccinated children. I’m perfectly aware that vaccination is not the only way to protect immunocompromised children. But it is a way to protect them, and currently, during COVID 19, if we’re just talking about the current vaccination debate, there are plenty of immunocompromised kids that can not go back to school because their classmates, their parents will not vaccinate them for COVID 19. Now we’re educating another generation of kids that vaccines are something to be afraid of. I feel really, really bad for those immunocompromised kids and adults stuck in an internal limbo. There are hundreds and thousands of these kids, and they’re stuck at home. They’re not going back to school. I feel that parents who don’t vaccinate are not really talking about those kids when talking about the kids that are at risk.

Natascha: I appreciate you touching on current affairs. How can we protect kids that have bad reactions to vaccines?

Laurel: I would fund a science behind vaccines, and I would also put out good information about vaccines rather than misinformation about vaccines like vaccines cause autism. That is misinformation. Illinformed parents are going to use that to make their decision. If we continue to treat vaccines, in certain parts of the community, like the boogie man, like something to be scared of, we’re not going to get the funding in the future to enable people to develop vaccines that are full proof. We’ve already seen vaccinations that are dangerous. Vaccines did use to contain mercury, and that was something that a lot of people talked about. Oh, vaccines have mercury in them. They haven’t had mercury in them since the 70s or 80s. We figured out this is bad, took it out, and replaced it with something that is not harmful. In the past, we have seen if we flood vaccine development with the funding, they are going to produce something that is more viable, and better for people than if they are underfunded and constantly having to combat misinformation. If they have to expand resources to combat misinformation, they are not spending those resources developing better vaccines. 

[pause]

Natascha: Do you feel that forcing vaccines were taking away a person’s freedom of choice? 

Laurel: So this question really interested me because we do not force anyone to vaccinate their children. I think in New York, the laws may be more strict, and I think there are more laws in California than in other states. Unless you want to send your child to public school, they do not actually have to vaccinate their kids. If they want to send their kids to a charter school or a private school, most of those places don’t have a vaccination requirement because they are owned by a private group. So they do not have to follow the same rules as public schools do. It’s not so much that they are being forced to. It’s that certain privileges, like public school, they don’t have access to those if they choose not to vaccinate their children. I think that that is a separate argument that we can get into if you want. I just want to be clear that no one is coming to people’s houses, taking their children, and forcefully vaccinating them. There is no max vaccination program at schools where children are being forced to be vaccinated. You have to take your kids to a doctor to get that child vaccinated. So no one is being forced to be vaccinated.

That being said, not being able to send your child to public schools, some people may see that as forcing them, if they can’t afford to send them to a private school for instance, and I completely understand that perspective, it could feel like your being forced at that point, but it is technically not, it’s also- I’m just seeing my other notes here. What if the kid wants to be vaccinated? This has happened at my husband’s school. There are several kids at his middle school that said, ‘I want to get the COVID vaccine, but my parents won’t let me because they think that vaccines cause autism.’ What is that kid supposed to do? To me, at that point, it is no longer about the safety of the child, and it is now about the parent’s political opinions or ideology. If the kid is crying and desperate and the parent is still saying no, are they really listening to their kid at that point?

To me, it’s kind of like smoking. I can choose to smoke, but I do not get to make that choice for other people. I do not get to smoke in a house. I do not get to smoke in a public building. I do not get to smoke within one hundred feet of a public building because I don’t get to make healthy choices for other people. It’s like why I have to wear a seatbelt, it’s like why I can’t drive while drinking, why I can’t drive while using my cellphone. Because I’m making a healthy choice to risk people’s lives, and the law doesn’t think that I should be able to do that. 

Natascha: I’m glad you touched on the children’s freedom of choice as well. In my case, my son had four vaccinations at a month old, and at the follow-up appointments, more vaccinations were prescribed. Do you feel that it is necessary to vaccinate a newborn child and why? 

Laurel: So my answer to this is twofold, but it is quicker than the other ones, I think. Yes, it is good. Number one, science has proven with their statics, with research that early vaccination is best. It protects your child from measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, and all those types of things. Part of the reason that a kid is getting so many shoots is that the doctors are being responsible and not just doing what they do with adults, which is giving them a huge dose of vaccines all at once. They are trying to space them out a little bit. They don’t want to overwhelm the baby’s immune system. I think that it is important for kids to get vaccinated early, and I think it is important for people’s doctors to communicate to them what is happening. I think sometimes that doesn’t happen. I feel like American doctors are notoriously for having really bad bedside manners. For me, when I go to the doctor, sometimes they will just do stuff without really telling me what they are doing, and it makes me really nervous. Like, don’t touch me without telling me why you’re touching me. So I think better communication is part of this too. Like kids should be vaccinated early, but parents should be 100% informed about why it is happening.

Vaccinations eliminate horrible diseases that will absolutely kill or mane children. They are proven to eradicate diseases over time. Polio is not a thing anymore. It was killing thousands of kids every single year and it is solely because of vaccination, solely because of it. You had to vaccinate them as infants or they would get polio. Like you couldn’t wait, because your kid would die. I think people forget that. I’m talking to you about polio and people are like ‘polio vaccines’? Yeah, that’s how we completely irradicated it. 

Natascha: Do you think we can open up our school to vaccinated and unvaccinated children? 

Laurel: No! Because we already did that, and it caused a big measles outbreak in cities across the United States. I think it was in the early 2000s that there was a giant measles outbreak in New York because a couple of kids at a couple of schools were not vaccinated, and part of the reasons to develop vaccines are highly contagious diseases. We don’t develop vaccines for diseases that are not highly contagious because, for one, we want to focus our vaccines on diseases that cause death, permanent damage, and things like that. Also, on diseases that are highly contagious because were trying to irradicate them. We’re trying to get rid of them or stop them from producing variants. So a highly contagious disease like measles produces variants of itself faster than a less contagious disease. It has more opportunities to mutate and evolve, basically. Which is one of the ways that we can study evolution is by looking at diseases and how quickly they change because they are spreading across the population. So every time we have mixed non-vaccinated and vaccinated children in groups together, someone got sick, someone got sick and spread it around to other people. Usually, it is all the unvaccinated kids getting sick, but something the vaccinated kids get sick too because some diseases are extremely contagious, and even being vaccinated against them is not 100% that you will never ever get it. It just decreases your chances by a huge order of magnitude. 

Natascha: Knowing that some kids have these severe reactions to vaccines, how do you feel prioritizing the lives of children without reactions and accepting the severe consequences of those with reactions for the “greater good?”

Laurel: Very good. I feel really good about it because- it sound’s so cold when I say that- but these children are all part of the community. Kids that have adverse reactions to vaccines are part of the community of children who need to get vaccinated. I am a person that believes in the collective over the individual. Certainly, if I had a child of my own, I would have a very different reaction to someone saying, ‘I don’t care if your kid gets sick. Get them vaccinated.’ I might have a different reaction to that. That being said, all of those parents also have children. They don’t want their kid to get sick either, and it seems strange to me to prioritize one child over another child in this specific instance. It seems very odd to me. I don’t see what that would be a thing. Why would anyone do that? Why anyone would do that. Some kids are allergic to peanuts. You take peanuts out of schools. No problem. I don’t think people really complained about that. You can’t have peanut butter at school because you don’t want the children to have a severe reaction. Some parents let their parents drink or smoke marijuana at a very young age, even though we know it’s harmful. Parents make decisions all the time that are harmful to their kids. Parents make decisions that are healthy for their kids. I don’t know how vaccines are in this special case, why parents’ choice is more important than science, and what’s true about vaccines. I also don’t understand why the other children’s health and safety are being deprioritized over a few parents who don’t want to vaccinate their kids. At that point, it becomes a selfish decision that is more about ideology and political beliefs rather than the safety of that person’s child. It’s hard for me because I don’t understand how someone can look at all this evidence that vaccines are really, really beneficial and easily one of the best inventions of modern society, next to soap and indoor plumbing, so we stop shitting in our drinking water.

How someone can look at all that evidence and say that I still don’t want to vaccinate my kid because it makes me feel icky. I do not understand that. I’ve talked to parents that don’t vaccinate their kids. My husband works with a lot of kids who are not vaccinated for COVID specifically, and they talk about how much they regret giving their kids a vaccination even though their kid is fine. What is happening here? To me, it says I don’t care about my kids, and it’s about ownership over my kid’s body and me telling my kid what to do and being able to spread my ideology about rather than caring about my kid’s health. Part of why I think this is that fewer than one in one hundred thousand children have an adverse reaction to vaccines, and even fewer than one or one half have died as a result of vaccines. 

Natascha: The last question on here, do you think vaccine companies should be sued directly for injuries and lawsuits rather than the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program? Will this leave them more responsible for these injuries and force immediate revision and change? 

Laurel: So before you sent me these interview questions, I had never heard of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program. Part of the reason I’ve never heard of it before. I must have because I’ve looked into vaccines a lot for the last couple of years because I have students that are concerned about it, and I want to be able to swage their worries and be intelligent about it and not just go, ‘just do it!’ I want to give them real reasons. Treat them like the adults that they are, but it is really weird to me that a pharmaceutical company right now is actually profiting on vaccines because historically, that’s not a thing. Vaccines, especially the polio vaccines, were made freely available to everybody. Measles, mumps, rubella, and tuberculosis are freely available to everyone. You don’t have to pay to get those vaccines. It’s super bizarre to me that there is a pharmaceutical company trying to profit from vaccines, number one. Number two, if a company develops a drug or a vaccine, whatever, and then that- not a vaccine, a drug; if a pharmaceutical company develops a drug, medicine and that medicine is found to cause harm to a statistically significant group of people, this can’t just be someone with an adverse side effect, you can’t control for every variable, they sue that pharmaceutical company, of course, they do. They are the ones responsible. We are a very litigious country. I find it bizarre that people didn’t sue pharmaceutical companies for developing medicines. So if they develop a vaccine that is unsafe and they don’t make it freely available, then sue the fuck out of that pharmaceutical company, absolutely. If they want to profit from something that is hurting people, they need to be held accountable for that. On the other hand, it sounds that the title of that company, National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, the title of that- and I have no idea- sounds like it was created in response to a specific incident for some reason to me. It has such a specific title. So I would like to look more into that program, but just on the surface level, you should sue the company that made the vaccine if they are trying to profit off it. If it’s free and freely available, then the need to be a program they can sue, that can compensate because the company is no longer trying to profit off of it. Does that make sense?

Natascha: Yeah.

Laurel: I know I asked you. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not. It’s an interview. I’m just supposed to answer questions. It would be really bizarre if no one was sued in America for having an adverse reaction. That would shock me. 

Natasha: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Laurel: Vaccines do not cause autism. There are zero links between vaccines to autism. There is one study. The person who did the quote-on-quote study has been thoroughly debunked by the scientific community. They are no longer allowed to practice science. Anyone who participated in that study is no longer allowed to practice science anymore. This man openly tortured children to conduct his study—tortured autistic children in order to get the reactions he wanted from them. I kept them awake, wouldn’t allow them to eat, and over-exercise them. I think a couple of these kids got dunked in water too. Just keeping them awake is bad enough because kids need their sleep. Their parents participated in this because they thought it was for the good of science. So science can be used to do really evil things, but it is still important to recognize that there are people out there that are trying to do good and trying to do the right thing. And those are the people that debunked that study, that isn’t even a study, and the people who have to continue to debunk it because people continue to refer to it. Like there are multiples of those. There is not. There is one study that supposedly linked vaccines to autism, and it was a fake study. It wasn’t real. It was so thoroughly debunked now it makes me sad that people are still looking at it. I feel bad for these parents too! It must be very scary to be doing something that everyone is telling them is a good idea and to just be terrified that something bad might happen to their kid. I feel bad. I feel really bad. 

Natascha: Thank you, Laurel, for joining us today. Your voice will be heard. I appreciate you so much. 

Laurel: (laughing) Make sure you disclose that you are my student.

End of Session

Now, that was someone full of knowledge and information. I will be continuing with one last interview with a Reggae musician in San Diego who feels strongly against vaccinations and I will also follow up with essays submitted from those who did not want to speak. Thank you for coming to Little Lost Forest to answer those vaccination questions! 

Interview with Heather Against Forced Children Vaccinations

The interview with Heather was conducted over the phone. Here is an insight from a mother who has first-hand experience with the consequences of vaccinating her child as her pediatrician recommended.

Parents have more power than you believe. You need to be your child’s voice.

-Heather

Natascha: Hi Heather,
Today we will be discussing child vaccinations. I believe you are against forced vaccinations, is that right?

Heather: I believe that where there’s a risk there should be a choice. There is always a risk when vaccinating your children because you never know what the reaction can be.

Natascha: Thank you. Can you tell me a little about who you are, your background, and if you have kids of your own?

Heather: Well, my name is Heather. I’m from southern California. I’ve spent most of my life in Missouri. I have a nine-year-old son, and I am currently pregnant with my second child.

Natascha: Congratulations, woohoo!

Heather: Thank you.

Natascha: So you know all about the fears of getting your child vaccinated and being pressured to get your child vaccinated, especially when you’re pregnant. That’s when this subject came to me, being pregnant and after having a baby and getting these vaccinations but not finding a lot of information about it.

Heather: Ya definitely. When I was vaccinating my son or whenever I was pregnant for the first time, I didn’t think anything about it. I was just doing what I was told, basically. You know, the doctor is always right.

Natascha: Exactly, and I’m starting to realize that it is not always the case.

Getting started, I think that one of the major concerns of vaccinating children is if it is worth the risk of injuries such as long-lasting shoulder pains, paralyzation, and even death. Do you think the risk is worth your child having any of these kinds of injuries?

Heather: When I thought vaccinating my son was the right thing to do, I thought I was doing everything right. When I brought up my concerns about my son’s delayed speech and behavior issue, the pediatrician thought it was normal. I knew it wasn’t normal because, you know, mothers know their children, and I knew something was going on. So when I first moved to California in 2016, I started doing more research on vaccines, and then I found a group on Facebook called “Stop Mandatory Vaccinations.” There were a lot of parents on there that were talking about the MTHFR gene and how if you have this gene, your will be more than likely to have a bad reaction to vaccines. So I had my son tested for that gene, and he has that gene. My son growing up-, I had his voice in a lot of situations. So if I knew the information I know now when I was younger, I would have delayed vaccines or not done vaccines at all. I do have friends that vaccinate their children, and they are healthy, and they live normal lives.

Natascha: I am so sorry you guys had to go through that. If vaccines have curred common diseases, is there a healthy medium to waiting to vaccinate children? I know you said that waiting is something to consider. What would you do now as a pregnant mother?

Heather: I personally am not going to do any vaccines while I’m pregnant at all. I don’t feel that they are necessary while being pregnant. I don’t feel like they’re necessary. Your baby is safe in the womb, and if they plan on vaccinating your child for all the things they vaccinate you while you’re pregnant, then what is the point?

Natascha: Absolutely. What about after you have- is it a boy or a girl?

Heather: I’m not sure yet.

Natascha: Oh, how exciting!

Heather: I need to get an ultrasound. My first appointment is on the first. I’m 16 weeks, but I guess a lot of people are pregnant, so I haven’t been able to see a doctor yet, get an ultrasound, those kinds of things.

Natascha: I think it took me till 22 weeks to find out the sex.

Heather: It’s really packed out here.

Natascha: Congratulations, yay! Do you think you will go through with vaccinations once he or she is born?

Heather: Yeah, definitely no.

Natascha: Good.

Heather: Yeah, my experience with my son changed my outlook on everything. I just don’t feel comfortable. I don’t feel right doing it. Basically, I was told that it was normal, and I knew that it wasn’t normal. My son was healthy. I did everything whenever he was supposed to. There was no reason why that happened.

Heather: Another thing that I believe is that they are scheduling the vaccines too early. I feel like it is too much on a little body that hasn’t been here that long. You can always do a delayed vaccine schedule, and you have to find the right doctor that is willing to do that because a lot of doctors won’t even do it. The MMR vaccine is one that I recommend delaying. This is one vaccine that most kids have an issue with. Vaccines are given way too early and too many at a time, and that can be the cause of many of the reactions that the children are experiencing. I do have friends that have done the delayed vaccines, and their kids are fine too.

Natascha: What would be a solution to opening our school to vaccinated and unvaccinated children so that way we don’t have to force these decisions on parents?

Heather: Yes, I honestly don’t know what the school’s deal is when opening the schools to vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Some parents who are vaccinating their children feel that unvaccinated children are putting their children at risk. But that’s not the case. From personal experience, some parents who vaccinate their children aren’t interested in listening to parents who don’t vaccinate their children. So from the parent’s side, I don’t know. From my experience, they don’t care. “Oh, you don’t vaccinate your children? You should vaccinate.” But why, why should I?

Natascha: This is a response I get a lot, especially conducting this line of interviews. If we force vaccinations on people and children, how does it affect a person’s freedom of choice?

Heather: There’s no respecting a person’s freedom of choice if you’re forcing them to vaccinate their children. Like I’ve said before, where there is a risk, there should be a choice. A lot of people feel like it’s not a big deal because the unvaccinated people are putting the vaccinated people at high risk, so that leads them to feel like they should be forced to do something that they don’t want to do because they are putting other people at risk. That’s really what it is. I always say that if you’re vaccinated then you should be protected, right? What does me being vaccinated have to do with you? It’s a lot.

Natascha: Knowing that some kids have severe reactions to vaccines, how do you feel prioritizing the lives of children without reactions and accepting that some will have severe reactions for the benefit of the greater good?

Heather: If someone wants to vaccinate their child, that should be up to them. It shouldn’t be something that we do out of fear. The parents who don’t vaccinate their kids have reasons. They’ve done the research they experience sleepless nights and hospital visits. It’s not something that they just do one day. It’s something that you had to go through or know someone that has had to go through it too.

Natascha: What are the best ways to keep unvaccinated children away from diseases?

Heather: I am a big fan of herbal medicine. I’ve been giving my son herbs since he was four years old. I believe that children who are unvaccinated and children who are vaccinated have about the same risk of getting the same disease. Because vaccines stop you from getting a disease, and it doesn’t make it less severe. That’s just not something you can predict. You can’t predict how someone’s body is going to react to disease if you’re vaccinated or not. Even a doctor will tell you that it’s not going to stop you from getting the disease. They’re going to tell you that it can make it less severe. But they don’t know that either. Because everybody is different, you can’t say how someone’s body is going to react. You just can’t do that.

Natascha: What kind of natural herbs and medicines do you use to keep your child from getting sick.

Heather: I am a big fan of sea moss. That is a sea vegetable with tons of minerals in it, gives them energy and boosts their immune system. Elderberry has been around for a long time. If you go into stores, you will see elderberry gummies and a lot of elderberry supplements. Especially at Sprouts, Clarks and Wholefoods you’ll see that type of stuff. I make elderberry syrup that has elderberry, mullen leaves, wild cherry bark, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. Those are all powerful herbs that help with mucus, cough, and congestion. I give that to my son all the time. If there is something going around at school, I give it to him. I had COVID. I had COVID twice, actually. But my symptoms weren’t; I was sick for probably two days, but my son never got sick. He tested negative. Everybody in the house tested positive besides him. I was giving him herbs and stuff the whole time, and he never got sick.

Natascha: You need to be taking care of yourself as well as you do your son!

Heather: I know that is how I feel! And then, when I got pregnant, I thought I needed to step my game up. I am better with that. It’s hard whenever you have kids. You feel like you have to take care of them better than you take care of yourself.

Natascha: I know it.

Heather: You have to remember to take care of yourself because if you’re not here, you can’t take care of your kids. So, I have to tell myself that.

Natascha: Thank you so much. It is really nice to have the view of someone in the medical field and with kids. People need to hear this, and I appreciate you taking the time.

End of interview.

Heather proceeded to inform me that if you have your kid tested for any disability and fall into the category of an IUP, they do not have to be vaccinated to go to a public school. You can schedule an IUP meeting through your school.

You can find Heather on Tik Tok @hmonroe2.

Please stay tuned, next week I will be interviewing a teacher that sees the advantages of vaccinating your child and strongly pushes every mother to follow a pediatrician’s guidelines to vaccinate children despite misinformation.

Children Vaccinations Article 1

After getting my child vaccinated for the third time, I couldn’t help but notice it was the same vaccines he got his last three visits consecutively, and it made me wonder what is going on here? Have I educated myself enough on vaccinations to be accepting each one the doctor offers me? I realized I needed to do more research, so I took to the internet to see what I could find. 

After listening to a mother who has dealt with consequences and trauma from health defects caused by vaccinating her child, I wanted to dig even deeper and hear what real-life people I know think of getting vaccinated. Google anti-vax, and what you’ll find is many websites debunking anti-vaxxers. The most pro-anti-vax I could find were mediation grounds where both parties discussed their viewpoints. 

I knew that Facebook has a lot of groups and topics on this subject, and I figured this would be an excellent place to find more information and hear from both sides. 

Facebook probably thought I was ridiculous since I had already vaccinated my child, but I wanted answers, and I would do whatever it took to find them. With the information provided for me, I had a lead. It is eye-opening to hear from these passionate parents and people who work closely with children to listen to what they have to say. Both vaxxers and anti-vaxxers contributed their thoughts, and below is a brief look at the research I have conducted. Instead of giving you a two-hour spiel on all my research and studies, I will be conducting interviews over the next few weeks. I will be interviewing both sides of the coin so that moms from all over can have more information on what it means to vaccinate their children. Please stay tuned. 

Vaccines have eliminated some of the deadliest diseases that have ever affected humans, such as polio, smallpox, and a significant decrease in rubella. Even though millions of people’s lives have been saved because of vaccines, children face the dangers of having critical, long-lasting shoulder pain (SIRVA), paralyzation (polio vaccine), and can even cause death. For any parent, this raises the question, is it worth risking my child’s well-being? 

Even though vaccination has cured deadly diseases, the rise of chronic illness in children corresponds to the usage of vaccines. The government has protected pharmaceutical companies by redirecting all injury lawsuits to a government program called, The National Vaccine Program. These programs use this to protect pharmaceutical companies from going bankrupt and no longer being able to provide vaccines to the masses. It may also take off the pressure to reevaluate their products and respond quickly to dangers and tainted vaccines. 

We protect the community from massive outbreaks by forcing children to get vaccines. Yet, this doesn’t mean that vaccinated children cannot carry or spread these diseases. Yet when we push parents to vaccinate their children, we also take away their freedom of choice, and those who will not vaccinate cannot bring their children to school. 

I feel that alternative options should be researched. How to keep an unvaccinated child safe from disease and that there needs to be a community effort in allowing these kids to have an equal opportunity to grow and learn amongst their peers. There should be easily accessible information on the rise of vaccines and chronic illness in children. Numbers should be crunched, and parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children should be heard, especially those who have experience in their child undergoing terminal illnesses due to vaccinations. I don’t think there should be a greater good mindset and that every child’s life should be considered when getting vaccinated. Meaning, when I go to get my child vaccinated, the doctor doesn’t just say, “I think you should get this, this, and this because it has proven to be effective.” Instead, they would follow through with, “but in severe cases, reactions from this and that virus have caused (specific) pain, death, and injury.” The risks are underplayed, and I hope to expose some of this information in my upcoming interviews. 

My baby is so small, and these side effects are so dire. After my research, I am glad I vaccinated my child, but now I am considering waiting a few years (school age) to continue with the remaining vaccinations. I look forward to gaining more knowledge and information in the next few weeks and sharing it with you. 

8 Year Sibling Age Gap

It’s incredible having children eight years apart. I get to enjoy raising a child from a different perspective. I already know that studying and reading are crucial development skills and that gentle words can be better than any discipline. Better than that, my eight-year-old has an appreciation for being an older sibling and loves being helpful when interacting with the baby.

I adopted my daughter in 2018. Long before then, she asked me for a sibling. I fed into her fantasy that was surrounded by barriers like having a big enough home. In 2021 we settled into a house in Humboldt county where it was possible to expand our family, and so we did! Bringing baby Malakai into the world was a lot of fun for all of us, even if I chickened out on letting Halaya, my daughter, watch the actual delivery. Since then, it has been the biggest blessing to have such a helpful big sister.

I prepared Halaya the same way I prepared myself. Talk to the baby, make birth art, and write letters to the future of you and baby. When the baby came, well, no one can prepare you for that.

I practice EC (Elimination Communication) with my son; it’s an infant potty training method. At first, I was so embarrassed putting him on the toilet at random times that I found fitting; and then he wouldn’t “go.” My daughter is who got me into it. She would do pee dances and make the sound of whooshing water. She would make funny grunts to indicate him to go poop. She fell out of this habit, but I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do EC training if it weren’t for her.

There were doubts and fears at first. I was paranoid. I didn’t want my daughter picking up my son and walking with him, which lasted for about three months. She could hold him sitting down, and that was it. I don’t know if she has gained arms of steal or was always capable of keeping him, but at Malakai’s age of six months, she is more willing to hold and help with the baby than some adults in the house.

When I work nights or need some extra sleep after being up with the baby for most of the night, my daughter will come into our bed and watch my son as I sleep. She enjoys watching TikTok on my phone while holding the baby. She has helped me sleep countless times.

My daughter knows how to play with my son. While I lack a sense of “play,” my daughter can relate to my son and the types of toys there are for infants. She makes his play area entertaining and draws his interests with funny impersonations, dances, loud songs, and movements.

It’s hard to share the attention as an eight-year-old, so we encourage her to play with friends and join sports. We do what is affordable to us, and when funds are tight and can’t be invested into curricular activities, I take it upon myself to visit her friends and go to the park, even with the newborn.

Now that we started feeding the baby, I want to encourage Halaya to make baby food. We are introduced to moms with similarly aged babies (there does seem to be a boom happening), and I think it would help her development by making organic food that she processes and jars for friends and family. I think it will help her have a more significant appreciation for organic fruits and vegetables and eat them as they are.

My best friend, who has an eight-year gap between his sister and self, says, “It’s really great!”

If you are expecting a child or want to conceive and you have an older sibling in the house, here are some great things to consider: you have help from a child that can do their chores, reading books becomes a family sport again, and your older child is developing and learning so much with their sibling. A lifelong friend is a good answer: How will my eight-year-old perceive my newborn?