Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

There are a lot of challenges when it comes to parenting. There are days when my ability to function is in the toilet and my child eats a lot of goldfish and string cheese. There are other moments when I feel like a complete failure because a milestone hasn’t been met. I have nights when I yell at bedtime because I am so freaking tired of the whining, and then I cry once my child is sleeping because I feel guilty.

Some of this I was prepared for, and most of it I wasn’t.

However, nothing prepared me for the worst part of parenting.

It’s flu season and signs everywhere are prompting everyone to get this year’s flu shot. I’ve never been dedicated to the flu shot, and the only reason I have gotten one in the last few years is pregnancy. If it weren’t for growing babies, I probably would never get the flu shot. I don’t like shots and, well, I’ve been on the fence as to the effectiveness of it.

We will take this moment to pause and state that vaccinations are important, and I firmly believe in vaccinating myself and my child. The flu shot is the ONLY shot that I waver on, and even then, I don’t have a solid reason.

But it’s easy to be lackadaisical with my own health. I can be “meh” about the flu shot and be the only one that faces repercussions of that decision.

Now I have kids. And doctors are asking me to get these kids a flu shot.

Holy crap.

I have to make medical decisions for someone else.

This is seriously the WORST part of parenting. And it’s only a flu shot. This isn’t the end-all, be-all of medical choices. There are parents having to make much more devastating choices for their children, and I’m over here frantically trying to decide whether to get my child a yearly flu shot.

First, I feel privileged that this is the only medical decision I must make right now. Second, I feel ridiculous that I’m in such distress over it, due to that privilege.

I have never felt so much overwhelming guilt over decisions that have not yet been made. There are a million what-ifs, and I know that this medical decision won’t be the last that I will have to make for my children. I hate it. I hate every second of it. But it’s my responsibility, and I owe my children my best efforts.

So, I try to be educated. I took the time to research more about the flu shot. I weighed the pros and cons. And I decided that if I was comfortable getting the flu shot for the sake of babies in my womb, I should be comfortable getting the flu shot for the sake of babies outside my womb, too.

I’m not saying that everyone should run out and get the flu shot. I’m saying that when you’re making decisions that have consequences on someone else’s life, you owe that decision the attention it deserves. Be educated and don’t be an internet doctor. The worst part of parenting is much more terrifying than I ever anticipated, but I love my children. I realized that by taking the stance of “I don’t know” about the flu shot, that I was still actively saying “no.” Passivity is a choice, and as a parent, you don’t have that luxury. Whatever choice you make, know your reasoning behind it.