Watching my daughters raising their families in this totally overwhelming age of advanced technology is awe inspiring. Looking back to the “dark ages” of the 1950’s, family life was so simple. Knowledge is power. My mothers generation just did not have the resources available to make safe and what appears to our present selves to be second nature decisions. There was no Oprah or Dr. Phil to inform our mothers and our mothers mothers. No internet to check if someone out there in the void has a child that is experiencing the exact same list of maladies that your child is experiencing in real time. How scary, while at the exact same moment comforting, this information that is available at the click of the “mouse”.
My mother, along with a large percentage of women of her time, carried and raised all three of her children with a Dr. Spock book on the dining room table along with any articles that Erma Bombeck were available at any given moment. For the younger folks out there, I am not speaking of the character on Star Trek- Dr. Spock literally “wrote the book” on child rearing, and don’t even get me started on Erma Bombeck. I could die a happy woman if I could even begin to coin a story in the same vein as her. She is timeless and, in my opinion, the queen of irony. This top notch arsenal of knowledge had little to say about the lifestyles of many women of the era. My mother had a high ball every evening and smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes through pregnancies and life in general. Hold on to yourself when I tell you young ones out there, she carried all three of her babies home from the hospital in her lap in the front seat of the family car – that didn’t even have seat belts!
Yet, here we are. My youngest has a baby turning one next month. This child of mine is a vegetarian that is completely in tune, like all counterparts, with the best things for there children. This generation questions vaccines as untested and unnecessary. It blows her mind that my generation stood in line at elementary school gladly waiting for that wonderful sugar cube with the polio vaccine in it. There’s an example of public healthcare – 1960’s style. Say what you will, that was what we did. Often times we were taught by people who had survived Polio and had the leg braces to prove it. This was enough info for many who were wanting to save their children from this frightening disease.
I fell into the same line when it was time for me to have a family. I remember having German measles, regular old measles and the mumps. So, when the pediatrician laid out the countries vaccination schedule I signed the dotted line. Anything to save my babies from illnesses that could be prevented.
“Googling” has given the this next generation of parents the amazing gift of knowledge and power, while I, like many, marched our children through a gamut of shots, like a lamb to the slaughter. It’s heavily engrained in our collective psyche. So, on your next trip to the grocery store you may see me by the pharmacy receiving what ever flu shot thought to be exactly right to battle whatever strain of the flu we will be having this year.