I knew a woman once, we met as extras on a film set years ago in what now feels like another life. We only ever met for one day but we really got on so did the usual and added each other on Facebook. Our lives took totally different paths but we politely stayed in contact commenting on photos and wishing happy birthdays but other than that we were strangers and had no impact on each other.
I drifted around until I had my children and moved back to the UK, I made no secret of my daughter's autism diagnosis and then when my son went through the same diagnostic process I was equally transparent about it. Everybody was so supportive we were so lucky but in some ways I think it shielded us from the ignorance of many.
My (Facebook) friend is now an alternative health blogger who has a propensity for some of the more... erm...controversial conspiracy theories in health. I generally didn't read her work but one piece on the old MMR caught my eye, I made the mistake of commenting saying that I immunised both of my children and would do it all again. I like to have faith in our medical system and although sometimes mistakes can be made with the information that I have been given I will always protect my children from serious diseases.
That's when this happened.
A tirade of vitriol and spite, people I don't know mocked me for protecting my children. The long posts stating that I'm in denial, that it's doubtful they were born with autism and that my child will get "worse and worse"
People are entitled to their own opinions and I am one of those people. I don't get involved in discussions regarding the MMR now, I know what I believe and I know others differ. I don't really care. When I look back now my children, particularly my daughter showed distinct signs from very tiny. She was hard to engage, it was difficult to make her laugh yet she would cry for hours for no real reason. Her sleep was always a source of concern (and is still one at almost 6 years old.) Maybe I am wrong and the the combination of immunisations had an effect, maybe the fact that I worked in a rock bar while I was pregnant (might explain those heavy metals!) played a part, maybe I drank too much milk or got too much sunlight (I lived in Spain!) Does it matter? We all get through our days just fine without thinking "Why her?" "Why him?" Why do other people care?