Soon-to-be mom Kat Von D is sparking some serious debate after revealing that she doesn't plan on vaccinating her unborn son in an Instagram post on June 7. The 36-year-old tattoo artist explained that as soon as she announced her pregnancy, she knew people would be on her case about some of her birthing and parenting decisions.
"I knew the minute we announced our pregnancy that we would be bombarded with unsolicited advice. Some good and some questionable — unsolicited none the less," she wrote. "I also was prepared for the backlash and criticism we would get if we decided to be open about our personal approach to our pregnancy. My own father flipped out on me when I told him we decided to ditch our doctor and go with a midwife instead."
After diving into how much criticism she's gotten for her lifestyle choices — like being a vegan — she announced that she didn't have plans to vaccinate her son.
"And if you don't know what it's like to have the entire world openly criticize, judge, throw uninformed opinions, and curse you — try being an openly pregnant vegan on Instagram, having a natural, drug-free home birth in water with a midwife and doula, who has the intention of raising a vegan child, without vaccinations."
She goes on to defend her decision by saying that she's done research on the matter herself.
"I already know what it's like to make life choices that are not the same as the majority," she said. "So your negative comments are not going influence my choices — actual research and educating myself will — which I am diligently doing. This is my body. This is our child. And this is our pregnancy journey."
And as you can imagine, people from both sides of the argument had something to say about her decision. Some users were commended her for speaking out about her choice, writing, "And this is why you are amazing! Congratulations on everything coming your way and props to you for making your choices and sticking with them!"
But others were quick to warn her about the dangers associated with not vaccinating your child.
"Refusing vaccination can result in your child dying from deadly infections that haven't killed the children of sensible parents [for] decades, not only that but your child can become a carrier and infect other children who cannot be vaccinated because they have weak immune systems," wrote one woman. "I hope you plan to keep him out of public school as well."
Another person urged her to consider children who aren't able to receive vaccines for health reasons by sharing a personal story: "I am immunocompromised. I almost died as a child because a mother of a child in my school thought it was acceptable to lie about having vaccinated her child. Her unvaccinated child almost killed me. It's a selfish decision and unless you plan on keeping your child away from all immunocompromised people, it's an unacceptable one."
And while it is within parents' rights to not vaccinate their children, experts at the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommend vaccination. "Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children, and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases that can be very serious, may require hospitalization, or even be deadly."
Kat signed off by asking her followers to keep their criticism to themselves: "So before anyone of you feel inspired to tell me how to do this, I would appreciate you keeping your unsolicited criticism to yourself. More importantly, for those who have amazing positive energy to send my way, I will gladly and graciously receive it with love!"