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HAPPILY EVA ANSWERS: Kids & Germs

Eva Amurri discusses kids & germs in her Happily Eva Answers column

*This blog post was originally published on December 18th, 2015.

Dear Eva,

How in the world are you so laid back as a first-time mom when it comes to Marlowe? You take her on planes, to petting farms, pony rides, she plays with the toys at the mall, etc.– and you let her play with so many kids! As a first-time mom, I am a wreck when people even look at my daughter! Have you always naturally been a relaxed person who is not afraid of germs? For us, fully vaccinating (The V-word) and on time (CDC schedule) was extremely important and was wondering if you all have strong beliefs about Vaccines, or about asking parents of the kids Lowie spends time with if they have been vaccinated?  Especially before Lowie was able to get her MMR and Varicella vaccines at her recent 1 year check up! This is all assuming you vaccinate, and on time. I have some friends who choose not to vaccinate or opt to vaccinate on a delayed schedule.

Thanks,

Ms. Germ-Jammed

Eva Amurri answers a question about kids & germs in her Happily Eva Answers series

Dear Ms. Germ-Jammed,

I think you’re going to be surprised by my answer to your question.  I am also really flattered that you see me as such a laid-back first-time Mom.  Even though that is only sometimes true, it makes me feel very cool when you say it– so thank you for that! I also find your question really interesting.

Here is something about me:  I suffer from anxiety.  It’s the roaming kind that finds various things to cozy up to (not fun or cute).  I have had it in one form or another since when I was pretty young, and while it has gotten better over time (I control it with therapy taught tools–I am not on medication) the way that it has manifested itself has been different over the years. Towards the tail end of high school and during college, the way my anxiety manifested itself often was in my stress and fear about germs and disease! Sound familiar? I was so aware of getting sick, of not getting sick, of ways to contract illness, and various types of illness–-it was like a part-time job.  Thankfully, it ended up being a phase (in my anxiety), but my point is that I understand what it feels like to be very nervous about germs! I can’t imagine how stressful that must be when it comes to something as precious as your baby!

When I got pregnant, I thought for sure that my stress about germs and illness would come back tenfold.  Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time in a woman’s life (even though the action of bringing a child in to the world can be so empowering!) and I thought that being in charge of such a delicate life would ignite my anxiety like a match.  The craziest thing was that pregnancy and Motherhood have done the opposite of what I ever expected they would.  They have really mellowed me out and made me re-evaluate the feelings I’m prioritizing.  Of course I have my moments of anxiety and stress about Marlowe’s health and well-being, but overall parenting has taught me one thing–-our children are INCREDIBLY resilient.

Eva Amurri answers a question about kids & germs in her Happily Eva Answers series

Think of your daughter.  Think of the million, literally million, tiny little microscopic things that had to go right throughout your journey to childbirth.  Every little cell that had to act the right way, every heartbeat, every organ, every bone growing the perfectly right way.  After having a miscarriage, you realize this even more– when your child is born to you healthy, it is absolutely amazing.  They are already a warrior! As my time as a Mom has passed by, I keep noticing little indications of how strong my child is and how fiercely she wants to be alive.  Of course, my daughter is not special in this–-all children seem to have this in them, in my opinion.  It really made me trust in protecting my child, but allowing her to experience the world fully, to accumulate bumps, bruises, and a few runny noses.  I figure that she will get sick sometimes no matter what my opinion on it is, so why feel stressed? I think of every little bug she gets as slowly building her immunity to make her even stronger, as a child and as a person! I wash her hands well at the sink after every playground visit, by the way.  😉

To answer your vaccine question, Yes–-we vaccinate Marlowe.  It felt right to me personally that she have all of her immunizations complete.  That said, we are vaccinating her on a delayed schedule–-meaning that while some children go and get several shots in one appointment, Lowie will get half in one appointment, and then go back a few weeks or month later to get the other half.  It doesn’t affect the efficiency of the vaccine.  It makes for a slightly more annoying time keeping track of appointments, and additional co-pay, but it makes me feel more comfortable not to overwhelm her little body at each visit.  I know people feel realllllly differently about all this stuff, and all I can say is that I don’t politicalize my vaccination decision.  I do what I do with my kid because my instinct told me to do it, not because I’m waving a flag either way.  And no, we don’t know who vaccinates or who doesn’t in our group of friends! I’m sure they would tell me if I asked them, but I haven’t really thought to.

Here is my advice, though:  Marlowe is almost never sick (even though she goes everywhere, as you say! Ha!) and I think it has everything to do with what she is exposed to.  I try to use all natural remedies always, for everything from diaper rash, to teething, bumps and bruises, chapped skin, etc.  I use chemical-free shampoos and lotions (coconut oil is a cheap totally natural moisturizer) I also feed her mostly organic food and a lot of fruits and vegetables.  I have found this combo to really strengthen her immune system and make it so that I have to worry less about her rolling around in the great germy field of life! I also keep a rollerball of fractionated coconut oil + 8 drops of DoTerra’s “On Guard” in my purse at all times.  It’s great for immunity building.  I rub it on the bottoms of Marlowe’s feet and on the back of her neck a few times a day after she’s been exposed to particularly gross things, and it works wonders! The whole family can use it, too.  I would suggest trying that rollerball to make you feel a little more secure!

Thanks for writing in, I wish you all the best!

xoxo

EAM

Eva Amurri answers a question about kids & germs in her Happily Eva Answers series

Photographs by Julia Dags | Copyright © 2020 Happily Eva After, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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14 Comments

  1. nannick says:

    EAM you smart wonderful lady, thank you for sharing that you suffer from anxiety. I always find it very encouraging when people talk about their anxiety and i feel that there isn’t enough talk about it nor the various sizes and forms it surfaces in. I have been suffering myself since early teens and also have gathered much appreciated tools and skills via therapy. I have found being able to be honest about it and vocal! really helps so much and i am sure someone like you mentioning it makes a big difference to people who are struggling with this. Thank you! Just made my day.

    12.18.15 Reply
    • Hi Nannick,
      Thanks for the kind feedback! I have also found that being honest (especially with myself) about anxiety helps the anxiety itself immensely. It’s so important for everyone to understand that each and every person you may come across, online or otherwise, has their own set of struggles and issues that they contend with daily. The best message I can send is that I’m not perfect, but I am still generally very happy and am trying every day to be the best version of myself. I hope others feel this way about themselves as well!

      xoxo
      EAM

      12.18.15 Reply
  2. Sarah says:

    Do you put the coconut oil and oil drops together in the rollerball or do them seperate?

    Thanks!

    12.18.15 Reply
    • Hi Sarah!
      Yes, it is mixed together. Put the essential oil drops in first, then fill the rest of the way with coconut oil, shake to blend.

      xoxo
      EAM

      12.18.15 Reply
      • Michelle says:

        Hi! Where did you find out about this remedy? Do you still use this given that she’s older? I’ve been reading about elderberry drops too. Essential oils scares me ever since I read on someone’s blog that their kid got burned from it!

        06.28.16 Reply
        • I actually studied essential oils (I’m obsessed) and Marlowe’s pediatrician in LA uses them sometimes as well. The thing with babies and essential oils is that they have to be diluted properly (I use coconut oil for this) and also you have to patch test to make sure there isn’t an allergy before you actively use them.
          But yes, I still use this remedy on Lowie! Have tried elderberry gummies from Whole Foods also

          06.30.16 Reply
  3. Melissa says:

    Hi Eva,

    Thank you so much for this post! Being a first-time mom who also deals with anxiety when it comes to germs, I found this to be very helpful.
    It’s nice to hear that I’m not alone and that even though we may be ‘nervous or afraid’ of the ‘germs’ we constantly come in contact with, we are doing right by our children by allowing them to play and get dirty.
    We must try (and I do stress, TRY to remember that a little dirt won’t hurt)
    Oh and thank you for the suggestion about oil rollerball…I’m all over that!

    Thanks again!

    12.19.15 Reply
  4. ac says:

    Many thanks for this post!
    My ‘aha moment’ (like to reference Oprah whenever possible and appropriate ??) is when you said ‘ I keep noticing little indications of how strong my child is and how fiercely she wants to be alive.’ This really hit home home for me. When I take my daughter to our weekly music class, story time at Barnes & Noble and play dates, she becomes an even bigger spitfire than what she already is. Her smile tells me how thrilled she is to be playing in a new environment-outside our home- and with new toys and friends. Seeing her engage with her peers should excite me rather than thinking she is contracting ever germ/disease known to mankind every time she touches the maracas that were just being chewed on by the boy in our music class or chooses to play with the train at Barnes & Noble rather than listening to the story. Once we resume our activities at the start of the new year, I am going to TRY to focus on her excitement of loving and living life to the fullest and also to your point of her already going through so much just to come into this world and how she is already a warrior. Should she get sick, which she has and will again, will only make her stronger and she will be ok. Her smile is infectious and really do want to reciprocate an authentic smile back to her rather than smiling with anxiety.

    I also used to go to therapy about my anxiety because I am a catastrophizer when it comes to my health. A headache is a tumor. A knock on our door when I’m home alone has to be a serial killer. There is just no other explanation for why anyone would knock on my door (friendly neighbor, postal courier requiring a signature, etc.) Yes, a lot of my thoughts can turn catastrophic very quickly, but I prefer to think of myself as being (over) prepared for all situations- big or small! Although I know these catastrophies are so rare and very unlikely to happen, I still feel the need to run through the scenarios just in case. I am so thankful for my husband who talks me off the ledge when I am worrying about something. It also doesn’t hurt that he is naturally a very laid back and calming influence.

    Maybe I don’t need to take my role as a stay at home mom so literally.

    Thanks for the info on the rollerballs. I am going to order the ingredients you linked to.

    warm regards.

    12.19.15 Reply
  5. Eva Thanks for sharing your honest and real approach to such hot-button issue. The perspective is so appreciated. Warmly, MM

    12.20.15 Reply
  6. Cha says:

    Hi Eva!!
    I’m pleasantly surprised to read you use doTerra essential oils. Are there any other oils or blends you use on a day-to-day basis?
    I’m not a mom, yet (TTC), but I’ve been dipping my toes in the all natural remedies waters and I’m loving it, but sometimes find myself at odds on what to do with my oils!
    Thanks!
    Lover reading you!

    12.21.15 Reply
    • Hi!
      I love DoTerra, I’ve tried all the major oil brands and it’s hands down my fave.
      Other blends I love are Citrus Bliss (for diffusing), and Serenity (used topically). I plan on shooting some videos using essential oils for my Youtube channel in the New Year!

      xoxo
      EAM

      12.23.15 Reply
  7. Andrea says:

    Hi ladies!
    I’ve noticed that taking you child out and having play dates is really great for their immune system. The first few years after my son was born he and I rarely left the house or saw people other than close family.
    (I too have had clinical anxiety along with clinical depression since childhood. Those combined with postpartum depression makes for a disaster.)
    My son started preschool a few months ago and is now around lots and lots of kids. He’s had many colds this fall. I believe that had he been around more people and gone places as a baby he wouldn’t have gotten sick so many times these last few months. We’re hoping this first school year his immune system will catch up and he won’t get as many colds next year. We vaccinate and he’s a healthy child but classrooms are Petri dishes!
    Have a great day everyone!

    12.22.15 Reply
  8. Yahaira says:

    Love this post!!! I too have clinical/chronic anxiety disorder. Diagnosed in high school, my first experience with anxiety was a bit more dramatic. Sad to say that mine tends to manifest physically (i.e. hair falling out, hives, skin shedding <- the worst one!, etc.) but like you I've learned to tone it down through therapy, home remedies and such. My first pregnancy was very stressful, think I passed some of it to my son, but I managed. And it helped that my delivery was ten times easier than expected! I too worried about my little one. Postpartum was literally the WORSE. Crying out of no where while breastfeeding, yikes! But I sought help and endured and got through it. Even though it totally scared me to have my son crawling around the play area in the mall I tried to be the cool collected mom while I KNEW my son was playing in a pool of germs and microbes that could potentially cause unimaginable diseases/infections/disorders. Well, actually I did imagine the types thereof. And yet I took him every where and allowed him to play with anyone and anything as long as it wasn't dangerous (i.e. sharp objects). After my second pregnancy. I was vindicated. My second child is a preemie. And our Neurologist kept reassuring us not to be afraid to pick her up, touch her, introduce objects from home (except plush toys/animals). Dr. White clearly told us and gave us a copy of a research that shows that if you expose children to every day germs, bacteria and microbes from the day of birth they actually develop better immune systems, get sick less often, live longer lives and even get along better with others! After reading the research paper I was like "yes, I knew being cool and collected wasn't just a thing my mama instincts are working". As my husband puts it "your spiddey sense are working just fine babe" and he winks at me.
    I agree with every one else's comments. You're right! And now we have medical proof that we ARE doing the right thing. FINALLY!!! Also, I'm glad to hear I'm not alone with the anxiety thing.

    12.23.15 Reply
  9. Kimberly says:

    I did the delayed schedule too with both of my children. Thank you for being so open and candid. xo

    06.07.21 Reply