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AdvocacyMarch 30, 2012

A Lifelong Disease-Proof Vest

There are many moments when, as a mother, I feel like my primary job is to protect. My 18-month-old cannot form sentences, say or write “help,” and only recently learned to walk. When he attempts to run, it is an exercise in restraint for me – lurching forward every few seconds absolutely certain he is going to trip over his feet and fall. As mothers, we are so protective of our babies because we see it as our job to protect them as they learn to crawl, walk and run. We protect them from scary monsters under the bed. We hold their hand as they learn to ride a bike. From the day they are born we have that maternal instinct to provide protection all the way from infancy to childhood to adulthood.

When Noah received his 18-month immunization shots on Monday, I was reminded that this is just one more way I’m protecting him. I was lucky enough to be able to give Noah his very own lifelong disease-proof vest. With this, his body can now ward off diseases like polio, measles, pneumonia and diarrhea.

The childhood diseases that are fresh in the memories of mothers in many parts of the world are distant memories for most where I live. I continue to protect my child from a lifetime of illness because I know these diseases are a plane ride away. I also know that there are mothers like me who did not have access to a pediatrician’s waiting room or readily available vaccines or the Bugs Bunny Band-Aid. They did not get to watch their baby’s transition from crawling to walking to running. My heart goes out to those mothers who wanted to protect their children, but couldn’t because they did not have access to vaccines. These moms were not only robbed of the chance to raise their children; they were robbed of their jobs, too.

Devi R. Thomas