After thinking that she "scoured everything" there was to know about vaccines, Kristen O'Meara decided not to vaccinate her daughters.
The anti-vaccination research that she read convinced her that the shots could be harmful, and she felt confident that she was doing what was best for her family. However, all three of her children — as well as herself and her husband — became sick with the rotavirus, and Kristen quickly realized that the illness's acute stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting could have been completely avoided.
"It was awful, and it didn't have to happen, because I could have had them vaccinated. I felt guilty. I felt really guilty," Kristen told ABC News. "I put my kids at risk," she said. "I wish that I had taken more time to research from both sides before my children were born."
This Chicago teacher is the mother of three girls, all under the age of 7, and is working to ensure that her children are now completely up to date with their recommended shots. Kristen now knows that she should've learned more before making such a major decision and is hoping that other parents don't have to wait until it's too late to come to the same realization that she did.
"I'm here because I wanted to share my personal story . . . and if it does help someone change their mind, then that's great," Kristen said.