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Blogger Leila Stead defends claim that mums should have "the right to choose" to vaccinate.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 4 days ago

Gold Coast-based blogger Leila Stead, creator of The Single Mum Diaries, hosted a Facebook Live today entitled ‘To Vax or Not to Vax’.

It was a discussion about the “right parents should have to choose” to vaccinate their children.

“We should not take away a woman’s right to choose what is best for her children,” Stead, whose 10-month-old daughter is vaccinated, told the camera. “We must try to remember that one thing unites us and that is the love for our children”.

The forum was met with a whirlwind of criticism, and Stead has since addressed the strong reaction in subsequent Facebook and blog posts.

“I am so glad that I posted about this taboo subject because all the different opinions and values are incredible,” Stead said.

“Things like this should be discussed and topics like this should be debated.”

[ Mama ] whether single mama + coparent + wife + girlfriend + soul mate or whatever you define yourself as.. we are all mothers here... none of us are less than any others, none of us are more than the rest... we are all equal.. from dog parent to sperm donor, from a multiple mama to adoptive parent no two of us are the same, no two journeys, no two paths. Sometimes we forget that each of us are beautiful in our own uniqueness, if we all mothered the same then our lives would be boring... if our cultures didn't play a part in the way we mama how bland would future generations be... not everyone will agree with the way I mama, not everyone is going to like the way I coparent, and out of the masses there are two opinions that matter to me and those are that of the father of my child and my beautiful daughter. A few of you said today "you are an influencer, so you should be open to people making comments on your life and passing judgment on it" I am NOT an influencer, I am NOT a "public figure" nor am I a "socialite" of any kind... I am a mama first and foremost, a single mama... I began this journey sharing my experiences to the world and as terrifying as it was I did it for one reason and that was to help the women in my situation. My reasons are still the same... just because people choose to follow my journey and just because The Single Mum Diaries continues to grow doesn't mean that people should automatically pass judgement on my life.. because this lady in front of the lens right here is just a mama, doing her thing to help other mama's and sure there are a few perks along the way but these are perks that I earn and perks I work hard at... they aren't perks that come from shaking my booty or uploading selfies, they aren't perks that come from diet plans or squats... they are perks that come from baring my soul, from tearing down the walls and sharing my innermost thoughts with the world... so pass judgment all you like but remember that there is a woman behind these photos, there is a mother, and this all started with a dream to help others, to help you out there reading this. Be kind because everyone you see is fighting a battle that you know nothing about✨

A post shared by L E I L A &. E V E R (@singlemumdiaries) on

In the accompanying video, she reiterated her belief that mothers should have the right to choose.

“I’m a very open-minded person. I very much believe in the choice and the right to choose,” she told the camera.

“I found that both side of the fence has some really strong arguments. Both sides only want one thing for children: the very best.

“We need to remember that, no matter the choice we make for our children, it doesn’t make us any less of a mother. I for one stand behind a woman’s right to choose.”

In a blog post, she added, “If that makes me irresponsible or stupid, if that makes you view me as someone who is a danger to society then I feel that the issue lies with you, not me.”

This comes just a month after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wrote to State Premiers around the country urging them to ban un-vaccinated children from enrolling in child care.

“This has got to be a concerted national effort by all governments to ensure all our children can be vaccinated. No jab, no pay, no play,” Turnbull told the ABC in March.

Since the start of the year, NSW has seen 22 recorded cases of measles, a disease that can be prevented completely with immunisation. In 21017, NSW has also seen the first case of tetanus in 10 years. It was a little girl in northern NSW who hadn’t been immunised.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard was on ABC radio yesterday discussing the current outbreak of measles in Western Sydney.

“I’m trying to strongly encourage parents in NSW to get serious about immunising their children,” Hazzard told Wendy Harmer on breakfast radio.

“If you love your children, then that’s the basics. Go and get them immunised because they may die or end up with serious life-long disabilities if you don’t do something about it.”

Minister Hazzard  said he was hoping education and awareness will put a stop to the anti-vaccination movement. But he also confirmed stricter measures, such as banning un-vaccinated children from attending childcare and schools will also be implemented if the softer, more educational approach fails.

Following backlash from fans and media, Stead has called upon her right to freedom of speech.

“The freedom of speech is a beautiful thing and I feel that so many things can be misconstrued unless you know someone by heart,” she posted on social media last night.

“The only point I wanted to make was that we should feel that we can discuss it, that we can fearlessly say ‘I want to know more’ we are always teaching children ‘ask questions and find answers’ and we spend years in school being told ‘research, compare, analyse’ I for one will continue that on though my life.”

In this case, no further research is needed.

Vaccinations have successfully prevented the spread of diseases such as small pox, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, whooping cough, the list goes on.

By “choosing” to deny vaccination, parents are putting their children at risk. Surely that is all the ‘analysis’ required.

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