Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help. Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. 

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A Change Midstream

When I was a first time mother, I fretted about thimerosal preservative in vaccinations. I worked myself into a spin trying to find mercury-free vaccines. In 2003, and the following year when there was an outbreak of influenza and a flu shot shortage, I scrambled to find a shot, any shot, for my then 9 month old. I was newly wary of vaccines: saturated in the news stories of vaccine injury and autism that were everywhere in the early 2000’s. Very aligned with the “natural parenting” perspective, I thought about opting for a delayed vaccine schedule for my firstborn, then decided against it.

My second daughter was born with a rare pediatric liver disease, and had a transplant when she was a baby. Her immune system is now weakened due to medicine she takes to ward off any possibility of organ rejection. After months in the hospital with her, I went from being a mother who shunned even the mildest kid's medicines to one who was grateful doctors had powerful ones to help my child stay healthy. Herd immunity, generated by the vaccination practices of other parents, is what I depend on now to protect my daughter from the measles. Post transplant, she is medically restricted from receiving live vaccines like the MMR. With the added vulnerability of an already weakened immune response, she could face devastating health consequences if she caught measles.

I’ll tell anyone who asks that I think we owe it to our kids to get them vaccinated -- my perception of risks versus benefits shifted because of what happened to my family. But I no longer define myself as an “all natural” or “mainstream” mom: I’m proof you can change your perspective midstream.

In your journal today, write about a time when parenting (or other) beliefs you staunchly held on to were challenged or changed by an unexpected encounter or life experience?  How do the choices we make as a parents cause us to define ourselves? How do you feel about parents who made different choices than you did?

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Do you have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogeditor (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd love to read your ideas! 


Mira Saxena is a writer based in Washington, DC. A graduate of the English program at George Mason University, she has continued her writing education workshopping poetry with Alicia Ostriker at Sarah Lawrence College and Billy Collins, at the Key West Literary Seminar.
To date, her most enlightening ongoing education comes from being the mother of two daughters, who each tell great stories as well as inspire them.
Primarily a writer of creative nonfiction, she recently found fiction can sometimes “speak more truthfully” and is working on her first novel.
More from Mira can be found at www.maternalmandala.blogspot.com

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