"Typhoid Inoculation" by John Vachon / Public Domain

Confessions of a Former Anti-Vaxxer

Jul 18, 2019

By Gwenna Laithland

I knew going into my first marriage that the man I was about to call my husband had absolutely zero interest in having children. I wasn’t outright opposed to kids, but it was still a faraway idea. I was just 22 years old; I had a lot of living left to do.

The universe had different ideas.

I got knocked up in January 2007, not quite three months after our little white wedding in suburban Oklahoma. Our daughter was born two days after my 23rd birthday. She was healthy and vibrant and I, for the first time, understood what love is. For all the failings I’ll gleefully point out about my now-ex husband in private conversation, he was, at least, enthralled with this new creature he’d helped create.

My former husband was also a rabid conspiracy theorist and an anti-vaxxer. This was less than a decade after a British physician, Andrew Wakefield, released a damning paper linking vaccines to autism, and a few years before his findings were ultimately debunked and he was discredited.

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