What’s in a name? A lot, actually. People say your name defines you. It is your visiting card. It sets impressions even before people have met or interacted with you. I love my name. It is unique, uncommon and poetic. Nayantara is the apple of her mother’s eye and I think I am that. Nayantara has beautiful eyes and I have been told I have them. Nayantara is the name of a flower and I would like to believe that like the blue periwinkle, ‘Nayantara’ in Bangla, I too am low maintenance but spread a lot of cheer and brightness.
Speaking to a friend who recently delivered her baby, she narrated how the worst part of her motherhood journey thus far was vaccination. She related how her baby wailed endlessly and she struggled both at the doctor’s office and then later at home to comfort her baby. She explained how she felt totally helpless in the situation and that she wished that vaccinations could wait till babies were older to understand the reason for this infliction. Once we become parents, we would want to do anything to keep our little babies’ eyes from filling up with tears, right?
But the good news is that vaccination appointments don’t have to be a nightmare. You can now actually opt for something called less painful vaccines. When you now visit your paediatrician for vaccinations, you have a choice of the type of vaccine you would like to be administered to your baby. You can choose between the conventional vaccine or the less painful vaccine.
If there has ever been a time that people across the world have wished for a relief in the form of a vaccine, it is now! Grappled by this invisible virus that is Corona, the world has been relegated to the confines of their homes. Everyone is at risk, everyone is scared. All of us are waiting for the time to tick and finally receive news that a vaccine has been found.
Vaccines have been saving lives for centuries. In the face of the Covid crisis, it is only becoming more obvious, how vaccines can preserve human civilization and all that we have achieved so far. All the progress that humankind has made – in terms of science, technology, art, business, ideology, culture, means nothing if we don’t have the opportunity to go out there into the world and flourish. Vaccines therefore preserve life itself.
It is said that motherhood transforms women. That isn’t merely a statement; there is a modicum of truth there as the moment we hold the little bundle of joy in our arms, its like the entire wiring in our brains changes. For example, when I was a new mother I was very interested in everything that was related to child care. After all I was in charge of lots of decisions. One such decision was vaccination and the kinds of vaccines deemed the safest and most effective. The kind of research I did, would put an earnest PhD student to shame. Which brings me to the topic I want to talk about today: vaccines that don’t have preservatives.
I love winter. I love the drop in the temperature. I love winter fashion. I love the warmth the year end brings to our hearts with festivities. But I don’t love the dry skin, layers of clothes and most definitely falling sick in winter. More so, after becoming a parent, watching the little ones fall prey to flu is quite painful.
If you look back, you’ll certainly remember dadima (grandmother) advising her brood of grandkids – “winters are here so wear a sweater, cover your ears & head, don’t go out with wet hair.” Was this this just some old wives’ tale? Not so much when you think about how cold & flu are more prevalent in the winter days.
I’ve learned to read the signs by now. I can see how my toddler slowly falls prey to the #Influenza virus almost every alternate month. It starts with his day care lunch & snack boxes returning home unfinished. He loses his appetite. His zest. One morning he wakes up fine, and by the same evening he has a full-blown high-grade fever and we know it’s the dreaded F word – FLU.
What kills me is, when I sit down to think about it, I realize the signs were all there. Mom guilt has enveloped my brain by now. When I start to see reason, I know that by the time I could see the symptoms creeping in, it was already too late to prevent the flu. I needed to do something about it earlier. But what and how?