(It’s okay to have mixed feelings about this one. I do myself, which is why I’m adding a little clarification here for those who don’t know me well. This is fiction which does not represent my own views. I am not an antivaxxer. I think they are 100% wrong about the facts. But I do think that those of us who are strongly pro-vaccination have misunderstood the psychology behind why people get lured into antivaxx beliefs, and what keeps them there. I may blog about this properly at some point.)
When things don’t work out as planned, the air is sucked out of your expectations. The human spirit abhors a vacuum, so questions rush into your airless life. They fuel the voices of the mind: was it that glass of wine, perhaps, on Angie’s birthday? Should I have rested more during pregnancy, or been more active? Should I have run to him faster when he cried, or left him to cry it out?
Your doctor says it’s likely genetic, and you laugh in his face. Those genes came from us. Am I like this? Is Steve like this? Are we two screaming, thrashing beings who hurt so much but communicate so little?
Mary says it’s just… a thing that happens, sometimes, that isn’t anybody’s-
You won’t hear that, either. That is not the right kind of answer. The cold, impersonal clockwork of the universe will not fit inside your airless life, which becomes smaller every day as you give up on going out. Selfish cars move, labels chafe, colours repel and revolt, cutting his mind into jagged shards. They make him pound the walls and scream. I will live in a dull, quiet world, you think. I will live in any world that does not hurt him.
Vaccine injury enters your life from the internet. That’s what happened, right? It’s possible, you say. Maybe he got worse after the vaccines? I don’t really remember. Yes, I think he did. Definitely worse. Now that I think of it, he might have been perfectly normal up until that day. Afterwards, it all changed. Immediately. I saw the light go out in his eyes. Ten minutes after the needle went in. That needle changed everything.
New friends talk to you at 3am when he won’t sleep. They know your life and that makes it bigger again. The oxygen returns.
Other people tell you you’re stupid and you want your child to die. You know that neither is true, so you brave it out against the onslaught of studies and statistics. You have an answer to everything: words supplied by your online groups are projected, spattered with mercury, aluminium, formaldehyde, monkey brains and foetal tissue. Fuck your science, you say. Will science come to my house and make a dinner that he will eat? Will science babysit him so that I can go out for the evening? Will it FUCK.
You’re no longer looking for answers: that vacancy is filled. Now the “answers” they believe that science gives you are a threat, not a relief. All those parents of vaccine-injured children are your community, and justice for all of them is your mission. You can even apply your answer to questions that haven’t been asked. A friend’s child gets migraines from vaccine injury. Another has allergies from vaccine injury. All childhood illness makes sense in the light of one devil.
This vaccine devil stole the dreams you had for your child. Now his armies, with their citations, studies, meta-analysis, have brought the facts to steal the purpose you have for yourself. They cannot win.