Our Very First Trip to the Movies
Australia: A Grieving Family and Baseless Accusations

Stirring the Pot

Leadership By Cathy Jameson

I have discovered as Ronan gets older that I don’t quite fit a specific Mom mold. Even though I have typical children too, I’m not a Soccer Mom even though I’d do anything to have time to sit and watch my daughter at a team practice. I can’t be bothered with being a Betty Crocker Mom creating concoctions of tasty goodness. I wouldn’t do well if I was a Room Mom since I don’t have time to put on a happy face and coordinate festive events for other little people. I am too tired to be a true Helicopter Mom even though I hover over many parts and pieces of my family’s every day existence.  I know that I’ve slunk away from most events that include the social chit chat, catching up, diaper derby stories of ‘my kid can do more than your kid.’  What I am though, is a Mom who won’t be shut up.

When my kids were much younger, I spent most of my time indoors due to naptime, feeding time and crashing on the couch time.  With the changes in my lifestyle as a new parent, I gravitated toward message boards to pass some of the downtime I had in between all those diapers, laundry and naps. I had worked full-time up until my daughter’s birth. Before then, I never had the desire to spend my time off trapped at a desk in front of a computer monitor unless I was creating a lesson for my students or writing something for my own pleasure.

Deciding to be a stay-at-home Mom turned me into a homebody which was anti-me for so long. I just wasn’t used to being alone and sitting down for that long! I slowly settled into all-things kids though and started to join internet-based support groups. I felt a need for some kind of communication beyond the playroom floor and sought other like-minded new moms to connect with. I belonged to a very large child development board so I could track my daughter’s every moving moment. Fiona’s milestones were hit with precision and I was so proud. I learned why she was in a certain stage, what body parts were being used, which systems were involved and of course, what to look for next. I was a confident parent soaking in the glory of a perfectly moving, breathing, sleeping, eating and pooping baby.

Along came Ronan. Here is where I have to breathe in and out slowly. I can’t tell you exactly when but at some point in his turning-toddler timeframe, I quit that message board that sent me weekly updates of where my child should be. He wasn’t hitting his milestones on time. He didn’t grow like other babies his age were growing. He couldn’t reach, grasp, swallow or poop like those kids did and I was scared. I didn’t so much run away from the other mothers on the message board because I at least knew something was not right.  Instead, I quit that board so as not to waste time wondering when is he going to walk? When is he going to talk? When is he going to stop kicking his crib every night after he drinks his bottle of milk? I decided to turn my message board free time into full-on purposeful research. I knew something was up; but what was it?

Every day, even now, I feel like my search for understanding and answers to help Ronan, is equivalent to a final exam.  I slave over articles and reports. I take notes and share them with my husband or other Moms like me. I search for certain words and find medical dictionaries to help me understand them. I look for similar stories of children like Ronan to know more about the daily needs and supports a kid like him should have.

I dreaded finals week when I was in college. How was I going to remember a semester’s worth of knowledge and then intelligently relate it back to the professor’s questions on a test? How was I going to pull one word out of hundreds I had learned to make an answer sound logical? As I got used to finals and how to take them, my fear of exams lessened a bit. The anxiousness never fully went away but as an upper classman, I learned how to read my textbooks and notes to remember all the details. I learned what was important by listening to how the professor emphasized main topics. I did better at attending to my classes as if my career depended on them because inevitably, the teaching degree I was earning would mostly be based on my college class experiences.

When Ronan’s development started to lag, I stopped thinking like a typical Mom and went back to my college-studying mode. I spent hours reading and making hypotheses of what could have happened to Ronan. I went from one library to the next hunting all sorts of books—medical, psychological, psychiatric, nutritional, behavioral, educational and anecdotal.

Armed with so much knowledge, I slowly went back to the message board world. I searched the thousands of topics known to be on the web and settled for a few on sensory issues and biomedical support. I also signed onto some faith-based ones because I knew I had the potential to crumble spiritually if Ronan continued to regress.   I lurked for a few days before introducing myself to my new internet friends. I wanted to make sure I was in the right spot on the World Wide Web before sharing my story while hoping to learn from others.

Time spent on the message boards came and went like waves of the ocean. I would ride one board with enthusiasm as I started to connect the dots to Ronan’s medical problems. I could hang tight on another waiting for Ronan to reach the magnitude of other kids’ issues, always keeping in the back of my mind a word or name or place to revisit for future reference. I stuck around with a few message boards, mostly health-related ones, got rid of others that outgrew Ronan’s problems and started fresh when I needed a new direction due to Ronan’s new diagnoses required it. 

Surprisingly, the one topic that was always a part of every board I have belonged to has been vaccines. You’d think it wouldn’t be that way with the variety of the 15 or so I’ve been on, not one of them specific to the vaccine industry or the manufacturing, testing or injecting of them. This topic reminds me of a pop quiz—it creeps up when I least expect it, but I have the confidence to understand almost all there is about it. I recently posted a comment to a thread on the one faith-based group I still belong. An article had made mainstream news a few weeks ago and was posted by a parent; it concerned the use of aborted fetal cells in vaccines and their connection to autism.

Who better than a ‘resident expert’ with a real-live vaccine injured kiddo to respond to this thread?  I didn’t say too much in my response, just put in my two cents as the parent of a child who is experiencing a vax injury. Maybe I added one cent too many when I also stated and oh, by the way, parents can seek exemptions for vaccinations.  I threw that in because just about every vaccine conversation I have had is followed up with the worried, “But, what about when my child is school age? Won’t I have to get their shots to put them in school?!”  I wanted only to share a small fraction of my story, offer a link for further reading and to say I was available if anyone had questions.

A parent responded directly to me asking if I was proposing to the group that they not vaccinate their children at all, further stating that there was evidence against such a proposal. Instead of being able to reply, one of the moderators stepped in. How sad was I that on this, my only faith-based board that keeps me spiritually refreshed, it was requested that we not get into this topic because opinions on both sides of the issue are very strong. I was shocked. For one thing, part of the topic is related to our Church’s position—the prohibition of the use of aborted fetal cells. The other part of the topic is a part of every family’s life—to make a decision to, or not to, vaccinate. I wasn’t hoping for a debate. I wasn’t waiting to blast uninformed parents into next week had they never considered delaying vaccines. I wasn’t being ugly or rude. I was merely offering real facts about my child’s experience with a chance to be a source for other parents. 

I couldn’t sleep that night. I was awake until 3 a.m., tossing, turning, hurt, angry and saddened.  Why is this topic so difficult? Why does it have to be a “My side” vs. “Their side” with certain people? Why couldn’t Ronan’s past and present be evidence enough compared to a report?  Are these parents only reading the pro-vaccine government studies? Are they only looking at the pharmaceutically-funded literature? Is their pediatrician being influenced to ignore each individual child’s medical history and needs while offering the one-size-fits-all recommended vaccine schedule? Why am I offended that no one stepped in on this thread to say, ‘Hey, Cat!  I know you have some good ideas. Share them with me, please.’ 

There’s no big bomb ending to the conversation about the article. There was no name calling, no one got kicked off for crossing any lines. Knowing that I couldn’t let this thread be snipped off without offering one last thought, I wanted to stir the pot just a tiny bit. I was anxious, as if getting ready for that final exam that never happens.  I thought for hours how to respond. I relived years of pain searching for a cause to my son’s problems. How I wished I had known I had the choice and the right to ask those scary questions in the exam room while reading the Vaccine Information Statements (produced by the CDC) from the nurses before they returned to jab Ronan. What if he is that one person who has a reaction? What if he is that one child who spikes a ridiculously high fever? What if he starts having seizures or worse, dies? No one offered me a chance to ask those questions nor said I could delay those vaccines.  I’ve accepted that I can’t turn back my own clock to make a different decision, but I sure as heck should be allowed to share my thoughts with other people.

As I typed in my password to enter the message board, I felt calm. Since their ignorance was now my bliss, ignored the off limits request--how dare that be a final word with all that I’ve gone through! I went back the posts, opened the link, found the reply about proposing the group not vaccinate and wrote, “Just offering real live facts about my son’s vaccine injury that could have been prevented.”  End of story. I was able to walk away from the potentially wonderful chance to share the thousands of hours of information I have with another parent so they didn’t have to do as much wondering, reading and suffering like I have had to. 

I missed out on a lot Ronan’s early years when I let providers guide me with the now-ill choices I feel I have made. I miss out even more when it comes to my other kids and their extracurricular activities now because of those choices. It doesn’t make me as angry as it used to because I’m learning how to better manage my emotions with our family’s constant needs. I do this when I sit in the parking lot watching other parents trudge in and out of weekly practice, some of them begrudgingly watching the clock waiting for the session to end while I eagerly sit in the front seat of my car patiently waiting to ask how was practice, who’d you see, what did you learn and man, I wish I could have been there! Ronan can’t handle large crowds nor can I balance him and the baby at the same time. Add in the cheering on of hordes of kids in one location and you’ve got the making of mayhem. His needs suppress my want to get the tiniest peek at a performance, even if it is only at practice.

I miss out on celebrating a medal earned when Fiona is triumphant at a swim meet but we find ways to bring home those moments.  I ask my husband to video tape our daughter’s musical performances so I can feel a part of her success and joy in singing on stage. I don’t bemoan the fact that I can’t be there with the rest of the family while Ronan and I hang out at home where life is a little bit easier for the both of us. He has his every toy, game, snack and quiet places while I keep myself busy cleaning or reading so as not to stare at the clock and wish everyone home quickly. I can’t wait for everyone to pile into the house though to catch the last few minutes of the exciting moment that I missed again. Pictures and videos capture the thrill of the day so that I can enjoy the glory of watching my children growing up.

I am not a Suzie Cream Cheese Mom. I’m not a Girl Scout Troop Leader Mom. I’m Just a Mom making one day better than the previous.  As I sit here reading, learning, writing and sharing, I am given the energy and strength to find out what can and will work for me. I didn’t learn from one particular text book or research article. It wasn’t from a speech I heard or from an e-newsletter sitting in my inbox. With time, and the chance to be open-minded about Ronan’s needs, I discovered I can’t fit into a mold like some other parents. I’ve turned me into a new me. I found my voice while Ronan lost his which drives me to share real facts, findings and my opinion. I know that over the years what I’ve said and not said has been heard. To those of you that understand, who listen and believe, thank you for allowing me to grow into a stronger Mom. All for the love of Ronan, I’ll keep at it.  Obviously, it’s working for him.


Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.



At the risk of becoming repetitious:

The pediatric and adult vaccination schedules might be serving to make the heavily-vaccinated public act as portals of disease. Here’s a little background information for those of you who might be confused what I mean by a portal of disease.


Does the heavily-vaccinated public (a) sometimes act as a reservoir of live "attenuated" virus through viral shedding, sexual transmission, and transplacental transmission, or (b) act as a focus of new outbreaks due to generally weakened natural immunity, despite serial, cradle-to-grave inoculations under today's vaccine schedules?

We should enlist the help of the world's best independent, unbiased epidemiologists to study this topic. Which argument has greater epidemiologic validity, "herd" immunity or disease "portal"?

We need to know whether the pediatric and adult vaccination schedules serve to make the heavily-vaccinated public act as portals of disease.


Sorry Josh you lost your friend.
As I am sorry I lost mine.

unvaxed momma

If vax work then parents of children who have been vaccinated have no reason to worry about un vaxed children! I don't get it? Why do they think an unvaxed child would pass anything to a child who has had vaccines?


Cat- I do wonder if that pain of not being what I had envisioned as a mother, as a family will ever go away. I don't know. I'm comforted to know that you are not angry any more, I'm still pretty darn angry about it all.
In any case, I have my religious exemption on file for my kids with the schools. God told me to stop vaccinating my kids and I'm not afraid to say that. I didn't ask if it was about the fetal cells. Who am I to question Him?


"Vaccinators have not met their burden of proof as to either vaccine efficacy [or] safety." Why? Perhaps, because "the Terrain is everything, the Germ is nothing".

The vaccine schedules may actually be much worse than a wash, i.e., worse than even a zero-sum loss. If, for example, the vaccine schedules injure just the willingly and forced vaccinees, that would be bad enough.

But what if the vaccine schedules are actually fomenting disease, in both the vaccinated and unvaccinated? Serious question. Why is such a concept implausible? Even Louis Pasteur, himself, is believed by many to have recanted his Germ Theory. On his deathbed, Pasteur recanted, saying that Bernard was right; the Terrain is everything, the
Germ is nothing.






Cat, you left your spoon in my backyard http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/content/images/2007/06/20/spoon2_470_470x353.jpg It's huge! I am amazed that you can lift it much less stir something with it. I think you under estimate your strength Super Mom. Thanks for doing the heavy work!

Jill Harrison



Bendetta, it sounds like your former friend is spreading an urban legend--a really bad one at that. Pathetic that it's come to urban legends and ridiculous scary stories in a vain attempt to shame and intimidate the disobedient members of the "herd" into compliance with the other sheep, but it is what it is.

This is why I stay silent about all things vaccine related on a personal level.

I'm sorry about the situation--but in the end I think you made the right choice. A "friend" who would tell you something like that is no friend at all. I had a somewhat similar experience with a very good friend, almost a brother for all the time we spent together, who was also my best man in my wedding: he got involved with a toxic and controlling woman and stopped talking to me and treated me like an annoying client he had to deal with once every 2-3 months. I cut him off and when he tried to invite me to his wedding (no invitation and just a phone call two weeks before it was happening), I told him I was done with him and why. Never heard a peep since--been 5 years now.


Sorry. I botched the link to the article by Paul Fassa titled, “A War is against Your Immune System, Part I”, on September 1, 2009. It’s a VERY worthwhile read. Highly recommended. So far at least, I've been unable to find Part II.



Schwartz did nail it. Bravo! Brilliantly stated.

Whenever vaccinators raise the “guilt trip” or the so-called Social Responsibility Argument, our response should be swift and to the point. Where’s the proof that vaccines are effective and safe? Where’s the proof that the vaccinated are not infecting the unvaccinated? Vaccines have never been proven effective, much less proven safe. Vaccinators have not met their burden of proof as to either vaccine efficacy and safety. Vaccine induced herd immunity is a flawed theory. This flawed theory has led to another flawed theory, that of so-called “vaccine preventable diseases”. This is the “house of cards” which gives us today’s global vaccine policy.

Diseases in the vaccinated are VERY common. Are the vaccinated infecting the unvaccinated? If so, vaccinating for the benefit of the unvaccinated herd, is actually CAUSING morbidity and mortality, on a very large scale. The “portal” theory of vaccine-associated disease needs epidemiologic validation by independent, unbiased epidemiologists. There is ample data now to raise the question: are the vaccinated infecting the unvaccinated? This is the question that needs to be asked. The vaccinated are the ones who often carry the disease. Are the vaccinated likely to be more vulnerable to the disease due to weakened natural immunity from the cumulative toxic synergy of the vaccine schedules?

“Mumps outbreak spreads among people who got vaccinated against mumps”.


“A War is against Your Immune System, Part I”


“Evidence emerges that seasonal flu vaccine increases risk of H1N1 swine flu”


“Thousands of Americans died from H1N1 even after receiving vaccine shots”



“If vaccination really immunises, then your vaccinated child will be immunised and therefore protected against any disease an unvaccinated child gets. If he isn’t, his shots didn’t work.”

“diseases occur in 95% vaccinated communities and in outbreaks, the majority of those affected are already vaccinated.“

“Killed virus vaccines have also been known to mutate and spread disease. For instance, a 16 year old girl died of meningitis B after kissing her boyfriend who'd just had the meningitis C vaccine. Scientists proved the bug was a mutated version of the vaccine virus - New England Journal of Medicine,Volume 342:219-220, January 20, 2000, number 3.”

“So in actual fact, the vaccinated are the ones who carry the disease and risk infecting the unvaccinated, rather than the other way around.”

“My eldest daughter actually got measles from a baby who'd just come straight from the MMR clinic. She broke out with classic measles rash and other symptoms 14 days later, which is the incubation period for measles.”

“Doctors argue that I am putting my children at risk by not vaccinating - but as stated further up the page, the majority of epidemics are occuring in the vaccinated as reported in many medical journals and newspapers. “



Wanda Malone

Cat. WOW this is an amazing story and thank you for sharing. As many mothers have said we feel your pain and understand...

THank you for sharing...

Carolyn Gammicchia

We only feel it because we've been affected by in personally I think. It's weird, our son is now 19 and we've been at it a while. But just reading your story Cat has brought back some memories I'd like to forget. Fifteen years ago folks thought we were crazed maniacs. Today folks are realizing what enviromental toxins can do. But they still don't seem to want to hear it until there is that direct connection, almost like it they don't acknowledge it, it will not be something that can creep in at night and cause them harm.


Schwartz: you nailed it!

When something so basic to a persons belief system is questioned, they fear that everything else may start crumble as well. So they don't want to even consider the topic.

Unlike most other consumer products, vaccines are marketed on fear, guilt, and legend, rather than their specific benefits. We are sold on them on the basis of how bad the disease is, not on how good the product for the disease is.
The reason vaccines are such a delicate subject, is because most people know deep down inside that it is a fairy tale - that nothing that comes from BigPharma can be so perfect. They KNOW that some kids will not only NOT befenfit, but will be seriously HURT by them. But they just don't want to think about that. They want to cross their fingers and hope for the best, and if something bad happens, then they will blame it on God, or Fate, or Genes, or whatever. They don't want to ponder the thought that they could have demanded safer vaccines. That they could have questioned the many flimsy studies that proclaimed these products "safe". THEY could have done SOMETHING. But they didn't. So they want to pretend that the tens of thousands of new cases of ADHD, OCD, Autism, speech delays, food allergies, auto-immune disorders and GI illnesses that have flooded their town are just a coincidence and that parents who claim that vaccines have hurt their children are just "emotional". That is SO much easier than contemplating their role in the epidemic of vaccine induced injuries sweeping the country.


great story cathy!!


I have the same problem on one of my boards. There is a lady on the board who is very pro vaccine and has a blog about irrational moms who are antivaccine, and she gets to write whatever she wants it seems, and I get emailed messages from the moderator asking me not to respond since it will cause bad energy. I've explained that I'm not antivaccine, but prosafety.... Doesn't matter. To this other person, I'm an irrational mom and she is rational with her talking points and words of propagand and links to Penn Teller. So sickening. I don't wish harm on anyone's child, but until they see vaccine injury for themselves, these arrogant ones will continue promoting hurting others.



The time is coming when the attitude that you stated will change.

Vaccine injury first dignosed by Kranner 40 plus years ago as refrigerator Parents syndrom is going to one of those idiot moments just as the unvaccinated bring disease to the herd.

You said

"It hurts sometimes when we get pegged as a danger to society; we are mothers who care; not mothers bent on bringing back childhood diseases that will kill their children."

Recently a "troll" blogged here and after several responses he said his father came down with polio that he received from his vaccinated children, and although that was unfair, his father never complained because that was just part of the bargain, so to speak with the devil.

Patrons 99 has blogged a lot about this.

I think we need a good short answer when this is brought up.

I recently had to sit and listen to a life long friend as she recounted a "Law and Order" story were a child was not vaccinated with measle, got the measle and pasted it on to another child in the play ground. The second child died, and then parent or something came into the unvaccinated child's bedroom and killed himself in front of the child and his parents.

I sit there and listened to her relate this story!

I am done with her. I never said so, we finished our visit on a nice ending. After all we had been friends for 20 years. But afterwards it grated on me. I am done.


There are carefully developed talking points aimed at anyone who raises concerns about vaccines and vaccination. And most of the time, the people parroting these talking points have no idea that they are repeating propaganda.

We need to be aware of what is going on behind the scenes of the news stories.

Somebody knows that the pertussis vaccine, for one example, doesn't prevent carriage or transmission of pertussis. So why are all the news stories talking about the need for the vaccine for "herd immunity"? This vaccine never has and never will provide herd immunity. http://insidevaccines.com/wordpress/vaccine-efficacy-how-often-do-vaccines-work/dtap/pertussis-vaccine-and-transmission/

Deliberate misinformation.


The topic is so taboo because it involves a rare combination of human factors and emotions:
community, money, dogma, faith in authority, science, health, ethics, and fear.

Many people can't touch even a fraction of those things at the same time without risking shattering their world view.

Many people become belligerent when their faith is questionned, and others seek to silence the discussion to maintain the manufactured peace.

Janice Nicholson

I can soooo relate to this! It hurts sometimes when we get pegged as a danger to society as a whole in those groups and I get emotionally charged and point out the fact that we are mothers who care not mothers bent on bringing back childhood diseases that will kill their children. Although I think most in the faith community agree that chicken pox parties are favourable over the vaccinations.
My husband and I are very active in our church which is like a family. We take turns so it is hard when most of my chapel don't really know our boys like they know the other kids there.
We really do need to mourn the loss of normalcy because every now and then, jealousy over not being able to be normal kicks in and those are difficult times for sure.
There is a verse I really enjoy and used in my article in Uplook. "These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." 1 Peter 1:7
I see it as refining process because the fire burns out impurities and I am being refined.


Thank You so much for sharing this. There were many days I sat out in the car with our youngest child while the older two children were in Karate practice or in a basketball game or a concert with the band...there were many days that I cried while I sat there with KJ...
Our oldest child just graduated high school. KJ has come a long, long way; we were able to watch the entire service without having to take KJ to the car so we would not disturb others.
I count my blessings everyday. God blessed us with our KJ, and we would not trade him for anything. Autism is a part of him. Just a part. Mothers like you have taught me that it is not the end of the world. The "professionals" who tell us "I don't know." are not the ones I listen to anymore. I listen to mothers like you, Cathy, who have been there and lived where I am now. Thank you so much for sharing!

Jessica Witmer

Cathy, thanks for writing, sharing, researching, telling your story and just know that there are many, many whose lives have been changed b/c of the "not-so-soccer-mom" efforts of moms like you. My family included.

Not an MD

While I don't have the pleasure of knowing you personally, Cathy, I have to correct you on one point. From your words above, you clearly qualify for one specific mom mold --"wonderful, deeply caring and concerned mom."

Bob Moffitt

"Why is this topic so difficult? Why does it have to be a “My side” vs. “Their side” with certain people?"

The only reason "this topic is so difficult" is because there is no such thing as a "one size fits all vaccine".

How do we know this?

Because,if science and parents believed they actually worked as advertised .. no one would care if YOU chose not to vaccinate YOUR child.

I suspect the issue of mandating "car seats or bike helmets" for children would be just as difficult .. if parents were required to use a government issued "one size fits all" car seat or helmet.

After all .. how many parents would accept the government's car seat or bike helmet if they thought it did not fit their child properly .. thereby placing their child at greater risk of severe injury in an accident?

Tanners Dad

Cathy there are many that listen believe support, know what we are missing, know how lonely our lives are at times & are with you that we will keep stirring the pot. You did all that you could. You my friend, planted a seed. Everyday everywhere I know those seeds we plant are growing. Most of the time when I start a conversation about Autism, I am not the one to bring up the vaccine issue. Friday it was a Grandmother who detailed the regression of her grandson. After telling the story she said do you think it's connected to the vaccines? And then the door was open... The anger is still there but it has been tempered by years of being ignored. I believe our day is coming. September marks a big step forward with the release of The Age of Autism Mercury, Medicine, and a Manmade Epidemic. We will have the final word. Thank you for sharing Cathy.

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