Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research English Graduate News

I’m A Mom And A Vaccine Researcher. Here’s Why You Should Vaccinate Your Children

Huffington Post

Originally Posted April 25, 2018

SMU Department of English​ alumna Kari Nixon pens a personal story for Huffington Post​.

I never thought I’d become a mother. The idea of handling someone else’s bodily fluids as, like, a day job, was abhorrent to me. And yet, at 29, I found myself walking across a graduation stage to shake George W. Bush’s hand after receiving my Ph.D. ― all while very, very, cumbersomely pregnant. In fact, security had to make an exception and allow me to have a bottle of water (not much was allowed in with a former president around, and all) because I ― or, well, my uterus, rather ― kept threatening to go into labor.

I often describe May and June of 2015 as the months I gave birth twice, first to a dissertation on the social impact of infectious disease and then six weeks later to my first daughter.

My two June 2015 births (especially the second one) left me with a surprising psychological artifact ― a very cheesy but very real feeling of connection with other mothers. Most women I ask about this feel similarly. You see another mom struggling to get a planking 2-year-old into a car seat, and you get it. You can almost feel the bottled frustration rising vicariously in your own pulse.

I spent the first few months after my daughter’s birth entranced by the way my role as a mother lent me an insight into other women’s experiences that crossed geographic and political boundaries. Are you in ISIS and a mom? Then I suddenly, out of the blue, understand a vital part of your existence and priorities. Do you drive a Volvo and carry Louis Vuitton while I struggle to pull together a decent ponytail with one hand while steering my grandma’s old minivan with the other on my way to teach my college classes? If you’re a mom, I can still relate to you in a multitude of ways that didn’t exist before June of 2015. READ MORE