We are currently battling the flu in our house. Technically, so far my youngest daughter is the only one that is diagnosed, but the rest of us are teetering on the edge with inconsistent symptoms. Four days after her flu diagnosis, I ended having to take her to doctor again to find out it progressed to pneumonia.

So why the Mom guilt? Because I didn’t get my kids the flu shot. I never get my kids the flu shot. I usually don’t get the flu shot myself and when people hear this, they think I am crazy since I am a teacher. But this is the first time anyone in our house has contracted the flu, and usually I would say that we weren’t really prone to getting it. I always had a feeling we would be worst off if we got it.

So why don’t I just vaccinate my family in case? There has always been something that I didn’t like about the idea of shooting a virus along with preservatives and other chemicals into my kids’ bodies on an annual basis. Or into my own body. In our house, we buy as much organic, fresh food as we can. We try to teach our kids that preservatives and chemicals in foods and drinks are bad for you. So, again, injecting formaldehyde, metals and preservatives into our bodies seems contradicting to that thought process.

When they were young, I begrudgingly signed for my kids to get their immunizations. Especially as babies and toddlers- I would wonder- what are they injecting my poor baby with? But, I would go along with it, because “it was what they needed to attend school” because I didn’t want to be that mom who doesn’t immunize her kids. The horror!!

In fact, when my older daughter was in third grade, her school was offering the flu “nasal” vaccine. I did not sign the paper for this, and especially didn’t like that it was the nasal version. I didn’t mention to her that she wasn’t getting it, I didn’t think I needed to. When the day came, they called names of those getting the vaccine to line up and go to the nurse. They called only her first name “Lily” and being a good direction follower in school, she went. They gave her the vaccine. It was meant for the “other” Lily in her class. Yep, you read that right, they did not check last names and mistakenly gave her the vaccine. Let’s say my husband and I were not happy with the school when we received this phone call. However, I felt because I work for the same school district, there wasn’t much I could do. What was I going to do? Threaten to sue the district that gives me a paycheck? We didn’t push the matter.

So back to this year’s flu shot. The ones my kids didn’t get. My youngest had a fever of 103 last Saturday so off we go to urgent care. She tested positive for the flu strain that would have been covered by this year’s flu shot. Ok. Stage 1 of the Mom Guilt. And yep, you guessed it- Stage 2 came when she developed pneumonia, one of the complications they always tell you accompanies the flu.

So now, she is on antibiotics and seems to be doing well. However, on top of Mom Guilt, I am not feeling so hot myself- sore throat, body aches, fatigue… my fate is sealed.

So do I change my “flu shot” strategy? Would she have contracted it anyway, since it is a “bad” flu season (don’t they always say that?) I guess I am not sure. My head isn’t clear enough to make any rational decisions right now.- E


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