Mom and Dad Won’t Let Grandparents Meet New Baby Until They’re Vaccinated

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

Here’s what happened on Reddit two days ago: User Guy_at_the_counter revealed that he and his wife, who’s due in less than four weeks with their first child, have asked their parents to get vaccinated before coming over to meet their new granddaughter. They thought it was a simple, reasonable request. But when the grandparents-to-be said ‘no’ to the whopping cough vaccination, they were told they wouldn’t be allowed to see or hold their granddaughter. So, naturally, dad took to Reddit to crowd-source his feelings — and see what other parents had to say.

This is the full-text of what he posted on Reddit (it’s his initial posting followed by an edit he made after receiving such an overwhelming response):

“My parents came up for the weekend so that my mom could attend a baby shower for my wife on Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning our topic of conversation made a perfect opportunity to bring up that our Dr. has advised us to get whooping cough vaccines, which we have done. She flatly refused to get it because she believes that the risk of side effects of the vaccine aren’t worth it. I really have no idea what she thinks the side effects could be or what could possible be so bad for an adult compared to whooping cough in a newborn.

I’ve read many of the discussions about vaccines here and thought I was ready. I tried to explain our reasoning behind needing to get vaccinated but she wouldn’t have any of it. I finally had to tell her that they wouldn’t be allowed to see or hold their new grandchild.

They left our house shortly after that to return home, its a 3.5 hr drive, and didn’t go to the shower with my wife. Before leaving she said that she needed space and time because she felt hurt by our decision. I’m just speechless, I couldn’t respond. How could she even think this is about her? Needless to say the wife and I haven’t had the best weekend. I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to do now. Do I leave it to my mom for the next step or do I call and try to explain our side again?

Edit:
Wow, this took off way more than I anticipated. Thanks for all the comments and support. Thanks to those dissenting opinion comments also, your opinions matter just as much and gives me pause to think about things from many different angles. I will say though, that my mother is planning on an extended stay with us after the baby is born to help us get situated, which we greatly appreciate and does put her in the caregiver category.

For those that say we have overreacted, the reported cases of pertussis over the last couple of years is substantially increased and 2012 was serious outbreak year in our area. All of this is well documented on the CDC’s website and additional info can always be found on your local governments health site. While reported cases dropped off significantly in 2013, it still above what it was in previous years. Like all things in life there is a risk and you do what you can to mitigate those risks, you buy the appropriate car seats and cribs to try and keep kids safe. You wear your seat belts or cross the street at designated crosswalks where vehicles expect pedestrians. Here we’ve asked those people that will be around the baby providing that special care and love that only a grandparent can, to do what they can to protect her until she can be vaccinated herself.

We have decided to let things be for now and I’ll give her a call this weekend and see if she would like to talk about it. While we will be standing firm on our decision we are open to discussion to better understand where she is coming from.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts, it is very much appreciated!”

Comments ranged in support of the parents decision (with many users sharing they’d taken the same steps to ensure their family members were vaccinated), to disbelief that the grandparents would refuse, to many questioning why vaccinating was such a big deal.

Now, we want to hear from you: What do you think? Have these parents gone too far?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Vaccinations: What Baby Needs When

Are Vaccines Really Safe for Baby?

Is It Okay to Get Vaccinated When You’re Pregnant?