28/01/2014 13:57 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Ask Joanne - To Give The MMR Jab Or Not?

What's your question about parenting for our life coach Joanne Mallon? Send it in to this address and say if you'd like your name changed.

Susanna asks:

I'm seven months pregnant and agonising over whether to give my child the MMR. My parents were advised not to vaccinate my sibling because of lactose intolerance and so I wasn't vaccinated either. I know that the link with autism has been largely discredited but I also know someone who had it and developed Aspergers.

So I've been trying to find out all I can, but am finding that everyone is biased. Every study has been done to prove a particular point, not just to find out if the vaccine is OK. Every medical professional I ask presents a super-strong opinion one way or the other rather than serving up some objective facts. I can't find anyone who will help me make a reasoned, objective decision. I'm getting very frustrated. Can you help?

Here's life coach Joanne's reply:

Dear Susanna

Congratulations on your pregnancy and welcome to the wonderful world of parenting. This is a world where everyone's an expert, and from a distance, it looks like they're all doing it better than you. But in reality, they're just making it up as they go along too.

I think you're in danger of over-thinking this one. Too many voices will start to drown out your own instinct. And as parents we do often have to look to our gut instinct to guide us. The only trouble is, it takes time to develop that instinct and grow in your own confidence as a parent. So I can understand why you're looking outwards, though ultimately the solution lies within you.

What do you feel is the right thing to do? What does your partner say? Those are the most important voices to listen to. Often, in parenting as in life, there is no such thing as the right choice, only the one that feels right for you. You will find this again and again with every choice you have to make for your child, from food to school to vaccinations.

The issue with MMR is that the choice we make does also have a wider impact. If you choose not to get the jab, you will be lowering the vaccination rates in your community. As more parents choose to do this, cases of measles are on the increase. The official NHS information on MMR is here.

No one can tell you what to do, but I would invite you to let go of the worry a little. The more frustrated you get, the more this stress may affect your pregnancy. Focus on the child you have now, rather than the one you will have in the future. Trust yourself that when the time comes, you'll know what to do.

Good luck with your pregnancy

best wishes


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