When your parents disagree with you on a major health decision

Since I got pregnant and told my parents, both of them have made sure to voice the fact that they do not think I should get the COVID-19 vaccine (any version of it) while pregnant. My parents kept saying that I had plenty of time to get the vaccine… after the baby was delivered. While I did initially have hesitations about getting the vaccine during my first trimester, after seeing the data that over 80,000 pregnant American women had gotten the vaccine and the outcomes were much better than average for birth defects, still births, and miscarriages, I felt more comfortable getting it. So I got both doses towards the second half of my first trimester. This allowed us to get on a plane for two trips. It made me feel more comfortable going out and being in restaurants and seeing comedy. In fact, the Comedy Cellar required proof of vaccination to be admitted. Plus, with the delta variant, I couldn’t be safe anywhere. I’m well aware that COVID can even cause miscarriages itself, and with pregnancy causing a weakened immune system, I was at higher risk: pregnant women are more likely to get hospitalized from COVID and be on a ventilator. Pregnant women with COVID are also more likely to die.

None of this seemed to be a concern for my parents, though. Given they both had very severe side effects (weakness, fever, chills) from the vaccines, they kept saying that the vaccine would harm the baby and even cause birth defects. What data they had to back this up I will never know, but they insisted they were right.

So when I told my mom I was coming home next week, she was surprised and said that I shouldn’t come since I haven’t had the vaccine yet. When I told her I actually was fully vaccinated, I could tell she was really mad.

“I cannot believe you got the shot!” my mom said, her voice sounding elevated. “You shouldn’t have gotten it. You have no idea what it will do to the baby. If I were you, I never would have gotten the vaccine while pregnant. What if something bad happens to the baby?”

It’s always frustrating hearing stuff like this. My health apparently doesn’t matter. The risk of getting COVID for me doesn’t matter, and apparently that doesn’t affect the fetus. My parents actually think it would be totally fine for me to just stay at home for nine months and only go to the doctor’s office this whole time. Everything else is unnecessary. My mental health doesn’t matter.

When I tried to tell her that my doctors (ALL OF THEM), plus my pregnant doctor friend all recommended and got the vaccine, she raised her voice and said, “I’m not arguing with you! Just do whatever you want! It’s your life! I’m just telling you that I wouldn’t do what you did!”

Why is it that when I try to have a reasonable conversation with reasonable dialogue with my mom, she always perceives it to be my instigating an argument and causing problems? It’s like it’s impossible for us to just have a conversation about a serious topic without her feeling like I am attacking her… when in fact, she is the one attacking me?

She then proceeded to do her usual questioning of what relatives I’d been in contact with and bash her supposed best friend and daughter and gossip again about the daughter’s recent divorce. My mother really does take pride in other people’s pain, and it’s sad.

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