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Who Am I to Judge?

Perfect momBy  Cathy Jameson

Hush, now. It’s okay. Close your eyes. Sleep. Shhhhh, she whispers. Shhhh….

A young mom is quietly lulling her toddler to sleep. They are sitting in the pew in front of me at Church. She holds him gently in her arms while stroking his hair. At the end of the pew is the woman’s husband. He is handsome, relaxed and proud of his family. He glances over at his wife, reaches for and touches her shoulder. On either side of the young mother are the toddler’s older siblings. Ages 7, 5 and 2, this family’s children appear healthy, happy and typical. Subconsciously, I smile. I think about how perfect they look and how lucky they are.

I see families like this one often. Normal moms. Typical kids. Regular dads. I walk past them at the grocery store, in parking lots and around our community. I take in the ease of their movements and the liveliness of their conversations. As I watch and listen to them, I long to experience what I think they have—freedom.

Do they see what I see?

Do they appreciate what they have?

Do they realize how fortunate they are?

They are free of seizures, of wandering and having to draft IEP goals. They are not ruled by weekly therapy appointments, on-going doctor visits and support groups. Their schedule is theirs to create as they wish. I know I’m just a stranger looking in, and I realize that I see only a fraction of their day, but as an outside looking in, I can tell that their life is very different than the one I live.
Normal moms. Typical kids. Regular dads. I used to be that person, living like those people and participating in their lifestyle. I don’t run in their circles now, and they rarely step into mine.

Years of managing my son’s vaccine-injury and the medical issues that came with it has done a number on me. On days when Ronan’s health takes a turn for the worse, not only does he tank, but I do too. I’m no longer the relaxed mom who thinks she can take everything in stride. I panic. I mentally run away. I become hyper-vigilant, overstressed and sometimes a tad judgmental.
I think back to when this all started. I want to curse my foolishness and the choices I made. I close my eyes remembering the past and can’t help but wonder how different life would be if what happened to Ronan really didn’t happen. Some days I even wish that this wasn’t happening. Pretending that things would magically return to what I considered normal won’t help. That’s when things can go from bad to worse.

On those very tough days, my thoughts become clouded and my hopes are crushed. It’s hard to be hopeful when my child’s life is documented in a case file, in multiple case files actually. Lots of people would agree that it’s better to have a positive attitude. But with all that I have had to overcome, and with how children are still being vaccine injured like Ronan was, my heart isn’t always in the right place. And sometimes it stays somewhat hardened. I feel it harden more in certain situations.

As much as I try to not let it affect me, my heart hardens when I learn that typical moms choose to follow the same steps I took that I wish I’d never taken.



It hardens when I hear that parents let someone else dictate a decision that is not that someone else’s to decide.

It hardens when professionals arrogantly use their credentials against parents instead of respecting and calmly listening parents’ concerns.

As much as I have no say in the lives of others, I judge them. I let it get to me. I feel that unnecessary and unkind judgment oozing out of me. Can they see it? Do they know why my brow is furrowed? Can they tell that I am criticizing them, their choices and their actions?

I judge the parent who knows to question but doesn’t.

I judge the parent who can walk away but won’t.

I judge the hasty decisions they think they have to make.

I judge the doctor who follows standard protocol but knows he doesn’t have to.

I judge the establishment that cares less about the rest of us.

I judge people I shouldn’t.

I judge their situations even though I have no right to.

I judge because I made a decision in my past that will forever haunt my future.

But as quickly as I judge, I hang my head in shame.

Who am I to judge?

Really!

Who am I to judge!

With how jaded and judgmental I’ve become, who’d want to ever be my friend? Who’d want to come to me for advice? Who’d want to offer me any help either?

Who am I? Why do I do this? What have I done? Who will it ever help?

Who have I become?!

I am Cathy. I was a normal mom with a typical kid creating a family with someone who was a regular dad. I am no longer a normal mom with a typical kid married to a regular dad. That all changed. It changed when I become Mom to a boy named Ronan. Ronan, a vaccine-injured child whose typical childhood is now but a memory. Normal flew out the window when he got sick and all manner of medical issues took its place. I see that. I know that. And I would never wish that upon anyone. So when someone willingly walks the path I so desperately wish I could’ve avoided, I become discouraged. And judgmental.

I judge those who believed that they will walk away unscathed but didn’t. I judge because they are now in the same position as I am with their own vaccine-injured child. Why, when they knew it was a possibility?

I judge because I know that if I was ever given the chance to change the course of events that have happened since Ronan’s vaccine injury, I would absolutely do things differently. Why, when some of them know that there are other options?

I judge past decisions that I have made. I judge poor choices and kneejerk reactions. I judge the perpetual domino effect it’s had on my family. I judge myself harshly. I question myself, too. And I frequently, no, constantly, doubt my abilities. I do it to myself when life gets frustrating. I do it on days that I shouldn’t. Why, when I know that it’s not healthy, it’s not necessary? Believe me, I know. I know that this is no way to live.

Back in Church…

I watch the toddler’s eyes become heavy. His body relaxes. His chest rises and falls. His mother softly kisses his forehead, and he falls into a deep sleep. I stare at his face, his skin, his body. He is typical, peaceful, beautiful. And perfect.

I glance at the children I’ve brought to Church with me—two daughters. They sit on either side of me. They sit as close to me as they can, their small hands holding tightly to mine. I look to the left and to the right of my girls toward the strangers sitting in our pew. My husband is not with us. Ronan isn’t either. We’re at a point that Ronan isn’t tolerating Mass again. There are too many sights and sounds for him to handle. The long-lasting effects of vaccine injury pierce my thoughts, my hopes and my heart. There is too much quiet sitting and listening for Ronan to do at Church. He isn’t capable, and to ask him to join us leads to unfortunate disaster.

Before Mass begins, I gather my thoughts. I peek once more at the young family in front of me. I know them. I know the children. I have spoken to their mother. They are a good and happy family. I could be jealous. I could be judgmental. Surprisingly, I find myself feeling grateful.

I am grateful that they do not know the pain I know.

I am grateful that they do not struggle like our family sometimes does.

I am grateful that their children are typical, and happy and perfect in my eyes.

A feeling of hope comes over me, and I bow my head to pray…

God bless our children who’ve been harmed and whose lives have been altered by man’s greed. And bless those who’ve step forward to help them.

God bless parents who feel lost and alone. And bless those who offer them unconditional support.

God bless those whose hearts are hardened. Help them to find a sense of inner peace once more.

And God please forgive me for judging. And give me strength to continue on this journey.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

Comments

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you, Cathy! I have a really hard time extending understanding to those that push the mainstream dogma, particularly in healthcare matters with forceful and manipulative methods, so I hope I avoid the doing same or coming across that way trying to communicate vaccine concerns.

I do wish I had made better judgements of people or systems I gave too much deference. I'm pretty sure now I can credit a lot of suffering, exacerbated by not knowing where the problems were coming from, to my "healthcare," my family's "healthcare," and to the conditions that I see as facilitators of such, so it's also hard to watch how many choose quickly to dismiss the "crazy sounding" messenger as just that, with little investigation or thought, not really seeing perhaps how much harder they are making it for those who've often learned by bad experience and for those who are taking a huge risk in attempting to make things better. I guess that's another type of judgement I hope I do better at avoiding.

In a way I see our children as such messengers and hope the world soon begins to listen.

steve bunn

Dear Cathy Jameson,
I write to be helpful and give you strength.
Judging and condemnation are very common human traits but they also do a lot of harm. I find it easier to forgive myself and others by remembering that every decision we have ever made was the best we were capable of at the time. With time, new knowledge and experiences arrive to show us a better choice was available but at the time we didn't have that knowledge and experience. Now we wish we did but we didn't at the time, so forgiving anyone means forgiving them, not for doing wrong, but for doing the best they were capable of at the time.

The difference between a teacher and a preacher is that teachers teach by example and experience. By teaching guilt we repel people and lose the opportunity to share with them our experience and knowledge. If someone thinks that making money is more important than any collateral damage it is because they don't know any better not because they are villains. They may be protecting their families by keeping their job and be in denial about a number of things but so much good can be done by befriending people within big pharma.
peace

Nicole Halpern

I'd like to thank the parents that speak out who have vaccine injured children. There are those of us who are listening. We have made descions based upon what you have said.

I have a 20 month old daughter. When I first went to the pediatrician after she was born, I asked about vaccines. Nothing this doctor said made sense. I asked two more in this practice. They didn't make sense either. I got excuses like it's a different department that has "those" facts. What???? Something felt very wrong. I started doing more and more research. I've probably done 200-300 hours. More and more something felt very off with vaccines. In my heart I knew. I was 38 years old when my daughter was born. I've already had experience with getting misinformation from nurses and doctors with my own illnesses. I don't trust medical professionals easily. I had a nurse tell me that I didn't have lymes disease when it was so obvious I did.

I have chosen not to vaccinate my daughter. I live in a state where she can go to preschool unvaccinated and she does. I feel shy saying this but she is doing very well - her health is great, her development too. It's actually pretty incredible. Her other little friend who is also unvaccinated is doing equally as well. But everyday I am astonished about what is going on with the health of children today. It's disgusting. It makes me so sad. Media stories that are so biased and inaccurate. Outbreaks that are in heavily vaccinated populations.

Sometimes I imagine starting my own study of vaccinated vs unvaccinated children to show people the truth. I keep wondering when is the turning point going to happen to show people the real impact of vaccines?

Richard Casas

As a father of a son with Autism, Mental Retardation, and Dystonia I only have this to say to all of my Autism Family across the United States, " Some men see things as they are and say why ? I dream things that never were and say why not".

Autism mom

My "typical" weekend with my son went like this.

Saturday, my friend, my niece, my son and I attempted to have breakfast at a nearby restaurant. As soon as we sat down my son became agitated. I rubbed his back trying to calm him but he is obviously tense. I feel peoples eyes turning toward us. My son seems to settle then abruptly starts kicking, screaming and crying descending into a full blown meltdown. I take my son by the hand and lead him out to the car. My son continues his tirade in backseat of the car on the way home and kicks my friend in the head. My friend grabs his feet to restrain him so we can get safely home.

Sunday, my nieces birthday is today. 1 hour before the birthday party begins my son undoes the locks at the house and takes off. I check the yard but he is gone. I call 911. The police find him two streets over and tell me to come. I speed over there and find my son running around in his underwear. Neighbors and their kids are outside watching the whole scene unfold on this otherwise quiet street. The policeman looking at me like I am an alien on crack (I do feel that way sometimes). I blurt out he has autism, has history of bolting and undid the locks. At this point I am reluctant to take my son to my nieces birthday party and want to stay home but my sister insists we go. It's a pool party and I swim in the pool near my son. My son makes it through okay. No major incidents.

365, 24/7---this is my life. Our lives. I envy those with "normal" children who can sit on lawn chairs and chat while their children happily play. I imagine them looking at me with pity and thanking god this is not their life.

Linda1

Cathy,
Your post today was beautiful and hit home with me too. That these drugs changed my son's and my family's life, that it was denied, that it is still done more and more to other children and adults, including pregnant women, is not something that is easy to live with. And until something changes, it will be a relentless recurring theme with me too. I can't forget or forgive and I can't stop telling people so that it doesn't happen to them and I can't stop telling doctors to appeal to their sense of decency and to make them question the well packaged lies that they have based their entire practice of "medicine" on. It is almost impossible too, to ever fully trust anyone with the initials MD after their name, except for the precious few who have had the courage to come forward to say NO to the lie and to practice medicine the way it should be practiced.

For anyone still wondering if our public health and government officials are sincere in their supposed quest to get to the bottom of the autism epidemic or any of the other illnesses plaguing this generation of children, see what Dr. Mayer Eisenstein says about his practice quoted below from his site. If Paul Offit, the self proclaimed autism expert, the CDC, the NIH, the FDA, Tom Insell who leads the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee charged with solving the puzzle of autism, universities doing research on these diseases, and the asthma and allergy organizations, the Juvenile Diabetes Association (walking for a cure - why don't they walk themselves over to Dr. Eisenstein's office to ask him how his patients don't have diabetes?), the American Diabetes Association, the Diabetes Research Institute, etc., etc., etc., why aren't they rushing to examine his records of tens of thousands of unvaccinated children who didn't develop the diseases of vaccination? THE ANSWER IS BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO KNOW.

"Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH, is a graduate of the University of Illinois Medical School, the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Public Health, and the John Marshall Law School. In his 40 years in medicine, he and his practice have cared for over more than 50,000 children who were minimally or not vaccinated at all. There is virtually no autism, asthma, allergies, respiratory illness, or diabetes in his unvaccinated children, a telltale revelation when compared to national rates."

https://dreisenstein.leadpages.net/vaccine-law-downloadpage-name/

Mayer Eisenstein

My dear Cathy,

Job must have felt the same way. Please take some joy in the many lives that you have saved by your writing and sharing Ronan's trials with being vaccine damaged.

The Talmud, in Sanhedrin, says, “he who saves one life, It is as though he has saved the whole world.”

You have saved more than 1 life with your teachings.

One more thing, the Aretha Franklin song "Let It Be", would be more appropriate for us, LET IT NOT BE.

Blessings to you and your family,

Mayer

Taximom5

Thank you for a beautiful and thought-provoking post.

It's so terribly hard to get people to even look at a possibility that they either don't want to believe, or are too frightened to consider.

I was there. Most of us, maybe all of us were there--THAT'S WHY WE VACCINATED. We believed the doctors, the media, and those of us who heard anyone mention the possibility of severe reaction to vaccines, of neurological and/or developmental complications--we didn't want to believe it.

We had to be forced by our own children's reactions to believe that it COULD happen.

Personally, I'm ashamed that that's what it took for me to believe it.

It doesn't stop me from feeling frustrated and angry when others refuse to open their eyes.

I didn't have anyone spell it out for me. All I heard were rumors and rumblings, which were easy--all too easy--to dismiss.

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon, though.

Recently, many of my friends/colleagues who are expecting their first child have mentioned something about vaccination (usually vaccine propaganda); sometimes, they even post it on their Facebook page. If I quietly and calmly point out that it's NOT the good vs evil situation as painted by the media, and if I show just two or three screamingly obvious examples of mainstream criticism of specific vaccines (as well as proof of the damage they HAVE caused to some), the reactions have been really interesting.

Their friends usually chime in with all-out attacks on anti-vaxxers (presumably including me in that attack): "Vaccines save lives!" "Adverse reactions are vanishingly rare!" "Go to a pediatrician who doesn't accept non-vaxxers, or your child will be at risk and die!"

But the expectant couple?

They are quiet.

They don't respond; they sit back and watch.

I'd like to believe that they are absorbing what both sides say. I hope that they can see that one side is taking the bullying position, mocking those who implore for more research, and denying the harm that has undeniably occurred.

And I try to keep my cool, and refrain from calling them names, refrain from judging them. I keep pointing out the facts--but I try not to overload them with details they can't digest at once, and I try to avoid anything that could be misconstrued as fear-mongering.

Sometimes, we only have a small, delicate window through which we can make a difference. If we hurl ourselves at the window with all our force, all we do is knock it shut. But if we reach through with first one hand, and then the other, we might be able to pass information through it.

And that's what's important. Not the fact that we are right, not the fact that we are trying to help--but that we effectively communicate in ways that are effective, in ways to which they are actually receptive.

And yes, it is SO hard...especially when you consider that they have already been "reached" by expert propaganda, manipulation, and outright lies.

williusha

Cathy,

How timely of you to voice my thoughts, too. I have been especially down in my thoughts recently. Mostly because of those reasons you so eloquently expressed. Yes, I can't even look at happy families anymore. I was robbed of that experience when my son was vaccinated. My husband and I were struggling to have a child for a decade. And when the miracle did happen, we were robbed of that long awaited happiness by apathetic and half-hearted doctors. They could have avoided this tragedy if they wanted. But they did not. And we cannot even make them accountable for it. We are not allowed to sue them for their negligence, while they continue doing their dirty job.

When will this country hear us? Why most people just keep on staring at our sick children-soon-to-be-adults after all those years of awareness campaigns? When will the Asberger's Syndrome be taken out of the equation, so the world can truly understand how debilitating the full blown autism is? I do not wish to "celebrate autism" or to be happy that my son is "blessed with autism". I need HELP (SOS!!!).

Why does it take 12 years to report the rate of ASD kids born in 2002? My son was diagnosed at the age of 2.5. Full blown, extremely devastated cases are all diagnosed before age 4. Then why do we allow to manipulate the data and "feed" the world these constant lies? Why can't we do anything about it? Why can't we request from CDC a separate data on full blown autism of 4-year-olds ?

I am getting more and more scared of future. What will happen to my son when I am not capable of taking care of him? I had to give up my research, my career, my "normal" life to care for my child. And I am getting no help from the government. No help from relatives. None from friends (most of whom are former friends now). Not a penny. The nurse would have cost so much. And moms do not cost anything. They are not paid for this grueling, 24/7 heavy duty nursing job they are doing for their children with full blown autism. Why doesn't anyone hear or see this?

God, when will our children be taken care of in the country which is preoccupied with everything and everybody else in the world but its own children???

beth johnson

This week I have been contemplating how much our family is in a no win situation. We can't function if our LFA teenager doesn't have an aide here basically at all times, but then that means we never have privacy as a family. Nothing is spontaneous, as we schedule things out months in advance to ensure continuous coverage (as much as can be done). Cabinets and the house must stay locked at all times. Pads are everywhere, and laundry is continuous.

Going out of the home requires so much advance planning. It's also nearly impossible to find things to do that appeal to everyone in the family. We can't travel light, we have to have food/clothes/helper, and sometimes an extra car. Even church, which we dared to do today is painful for us (seems like the kids are mostly the ones that turn around and stare, even though we try to make ourselves as unobtrusive as possible by being in the farthest row, at the end of the pew for a quick escape. And in a church with high ceilings, the involuntary vocalizations are heard all the way in the front, as the choir director mentioned later (not trying to put us down, just commented that she knew we were there.) We try to limit our imposition on other church goers by dividing ourselves between 2 churches, and going very infrequently.

I guess that the thing that bothers me most is the stares. I HATE that kids just openly stop and stare, slack-jawed for many minutes.

All of this because of some terrible decisions I made years ago. I completely regret agreeing to the shots and blame myself, although my high-pressure pediatrician is also at fault. (She says she never used high pressure tactics. Ha!) I don't really judge other families, because I don't even encounter them. We are in our own universe.

Katy

We are unusual and offbeat. Typical is a path I know nothing about. It is a blessing to know and love you and your family. Judge as you need. I will always be your friend.

Son In Recovery

I use to be such a fun person to be around; the life of the party. Now I feel like I'm a high strung, one note conversation that drives people away because they are tired of hearing about all my kid's issues. I, like so many of you, can be in a room full of people and feel totally alone. This past week I traveled for work and the final evening was our yearly awards ceremony. I try to relax and have fun and even let go for a bit. But then I feel guilty I am having a good time when there are so many outstanding issues for my kiddo. I'll never be able to unwind - I'll always be that nutty lady that has the Autistic, PANDAS, Lyme kid that also has MTHFR. Until I crack my son's code I'm going to be a one note conversation and I just need to get over it. Yes - I'll also have to get over not having friends and be forgiving to those who make "Short Bus" jokes during work dinners. (wow - that one almost made me punch someone and cry at the same time.) I'm different and my son's situation has changed me and it's been for the better. I see the world differently now thanks to my son. Sure I wish I could go back - but then I wouldn't have the knowledge and power that I have gained. So the nutty lady will continue to have conversation with herself in the corner until the day comes that he son has recovered. Then I'll tell everyone that unfriended me where to go.

Donna K

Amen

Benedetta

Cathy;

Trust me on this - Most of these vaccine injuries are invisible and most do not show up until after puberty -- and the perfect teen looking from the out side is not the perfect teen at home -- but moody. I know cause I have been there with that one too. It cannot be hidden from view forever --for it all esculates in their 20s(young adults) as they try to get established in education, employment, marriage -raising the next generation (or not). I could tell you stories of case after case of my friends that ended up shocking me almost into a heart attack.

When you read all the problems that can come from a damaged hypothalamus, along with possibilities of it leading to drug abuse problems --and as some one told me once on this very website -- when I was observing Dr. Paul Offit's son as being normal in a brief U tube which he just sat quietly as his father spoke that --" you can't tell by just looking".

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