I usually pick up mums at the local Starbucks here. It’s the best place to meet them. You know you have a mutual love for coffee and spend a ridiculous amount on it, probably daily. And you also immediately have other little humans that can entertain your little humans.
I think this mum actually picked me up this time. We were standing in line and she asked how old my daughter was. Then the universal mum talk came out as we immediately had a million things in common to chat about.
We barely got through our orders as we tried to dish out things about our kids and discuss how mum life both sucks (I’m so tired) and is awesome (look at that adorable smile).
We sat down together as if it was the most natural thing to do. Two perfect strangers. She reaches for her massive diaper bag and pulls out an obligatory snack for her 1 year old. Mine starts giving the puppy dog eyes to have just a tiny bit of whatever that snack is. Doesn’t even matter what it is. She wants it. All of a sudden (despite just having breakfast) “I’m still hungry mummy”.
We veer off the conversation of our offspring and she asks what I do for work:
“I work in research at a Hospital”
“Oh, what kind of research?”
When I tell non-mums that I work in vaccine research, people are interested, but they treat it like any other job. When I tell mum’s I work in vaccine research, their eyes light up like they just won the jackpot. And they take one of two roads, they immediately hate me because they are anti-vaxxers (rare) or they are incredibly curious and want more information on vaccines. Because let’s be honest, we all want to know we are making the right choice for these little pieces of our hearts walking outside our bodies.
She asks “so how do you deal with people who don’t vaccinate? Aren’t they just horrible?
Good, I know she’s pro-vaccine.
“Well, they aren’t horrible. It’s just hard to have an intelligent conversation with them”
Maybe that was a little harsh.
“The problem is anecdotal evidence. It’s killer. The anti-vaxxer somehow always knows somebody who knows somebody whose kid had a bad reaction to a vaccine (even if that somebody is just someone from the internet). And they don’t understand that it isn’t research. A personal experience isn’t evidence of anything good or bad. It’s not even evidence that anything was actually related to a vaccine.”
“Ya, I totally get that”
The conversation was somehow dropped as we both got distracted with one or both of our kids. You know how conversations somehow get picked up with the wind when you are a mum.
Needless to say, we exchanged numbers and will have a play date soon.
The anti-vax ‘movement’ is huge and incredibly multifaceted. But, they aren’t horrible. They are dangerous. Dangerous for our kids, dangerous for their own kids, dangerous for scared parents. But I sympathize with them because they are just like me: trying to do the best for their kids.