### Embracing My Decision: Standing Firm on MMR Vaccine Refusal Despite Child Contracting Measles

After marrying my first spouse in 1993 at the age of 28, we embarked on a gap year honeymoon exploring the South Pacific and South-East Asia. Despite diligently receiving all necessary travel vaccinations prior to our journey, I was plagued by recurrent tonsillitis, necessitating eight rounds of antibiotics during our travels.

The constant battle with tonsillitis led me to speculate that the travel vaccinations might have compromised my immune system, prompting me to seek alternative approaches. This led me to adopt an organic diet and delve into the realm of homeopathy, a practice I had previously viewed with skepticism.

At 31, I welcomed my first child, Iskander, into the world, an event that deepened my interest in alternative medicine. Following my six-week postnatal check-up, the doctor immediately broached the topic of vaccinating my newborn. However, I expressed my desire to research the options further and postpone any vaccinations until at least the recommended eight-week mark by the Government.

Despite having been extensively vaccinated during my childhood due to living abroad, I was resolute in making informed choices regarding my child’s healthcare. My unease extended beyond the vaccines themselves to the various additives they contained, such as formaldehyde.

The interaction with the doctor during the vaccination discussion left me feeling uneasy and compelled me to seek more information on the subject. This led me to discover that the whooping cough vaccine had been prohibited in Sweden at that time, prompting me to question its necessity in the UK. My reservations were not rooted in anti-vaccine sentiments but rather in the pursuit of a comprehensive understanding of the associated risks.

My primary apprehension regarding the MMR vaccine revolved around administering multiple components simultaneously to infants, rather than concerns about the debunked link to autism. While I acknowledged the logistical advantages of bundling vaccines together for efficiency and herd immunity, I questioned the wisdom of overloading a child’s immune system with multiple illnesses simultaneously, especially when the diseases in question posed minimal risks.

Feeling pressured by the initial doctor’s stance, I sought out a more receptive healthcare provider who respected my decision regarding the MMR vaccine while emphasizing the importance of tetanus vaccination, a precaution that resonated with me given the risks associated with everyday hazards.

Reflecting on the intricacies of immunity, I weighed the benefits of natural exposure to childhood illnesses against the bypassing of essential defense mechanisms through vaccinations. Despite encountering a case of mumps in my child, Iskander, his overall well-being remained robust, affirming my belief in the body’s innate ability to combat illnesses.

Following a significant life transition that included a change in marital status and the birth of my second child, Chris, my husband and I consciously opted against vaccination. Nestled in a community that shared our values of embracing a natural, chemical-free lifestyle, we felt supported in our decision-making process.

Amidst a measles outbreak at the Steiner school attended by my children, I stood by my choice despite observing the contrasting outcomes among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. While acknowledging the discomfort of witnessing my child, Chris, battle measles, I remained steadfast in my belief in the body’s resilience and the role of natural immunity.

In navigating the complexities of vaccination decisions, I recognized the diversity of perspectives and experiences that shape parental choices. While acknowledging the potential risks associated with vaccine-preventable diseases, I remained committed to honoring my convictions and advocating for individual autonomy in healthcare decisions.

[As narrated to Susanna Galton]