When “Kelly” married her husband, she thought they were on the same page about how to raise their children. But everything changed when she got pregnant.frankieleon/Flickr
As the Daily Telegraph reports, the mom-of-two (whose name has been changed to maintain her privacy) from Queensland, Australia, had gone to premarital counseling with her husband 12 years earlier. Unfortunately, the issue that would break up their marriage — vaccinations and medical care — never came up.
Kelly had unwittingly married into a family that strongly believed in alternative medicine and was deeply opposed to vaccinations. She told the Telegraph:
“We married believing we were basically on the same page. I got pregnant on the honeymoon and soon after I was forced to confront the reality of the family I had married into.”
The first battle came when Kelly wanted to vaccinate their children. Both her husband and her mother-in-law argued against it. Eventually, the new mother gave in, but she said it left her feeling “like a fraud” who had given up on advocating for her children.
However, when Kelly’s son got older, the medical battle would return in a way she couldn’t ignore. The first few years of school were difficult, as her son had a series of learning and behavior problems. Kelly told the Telegraph:
“When he started childcare, kindergarten and then school the truth became undeniable. Grade One was a disaster. My son was suspended back-to-back seven times for violence towards his classmates, teacher and destroying the classroom.”
Eventually, her son was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD. A pediatrician prescribed medication for him, and Kelly saw the difference almost immediately.
Suddenly, her son was doing well in class, and able to learn and focus. And the behavioral problems had stopped as well. But Kelly’s husband didn’t approve of medicating their son, no matter how much it helped. In fact, Kelly told the Telegraph that her husband blamed her for their child’s issues:
“I was so relieved. And yet, my husband refused to allow me to continue with the medication. He told me if I was a better parent our son wouldn’t have these problems. He accused me of causing [Tom’s] ADHD because I played high energy games with him when he was a toddler.”
The battle over her son’s medication became the breaking point for the marriage. Determined not to watch her son slip back into his earlier problems, Kelly began giving him the medication in secret. Then her husband found out:
“I simply could not bear to watch my son struggle and suffer at school so I continued to give the medication secretly. When my husband found out he made my life a living hell. He put me under constant surveillance. I was crucified and my marriage broke up.”
Now out from under her husband’s influence, Kelly decided she would do what she thought was best for her children and act as their advocate. She got her son and daughter vaccinated while they were in her custody, informing her husband after the fact.
But while she was determined to exercise her rights as a mother, Kelly was unable to counter the influence of her husband and mother-in-law. When their daughter began suffering from frequent infections, Kelly learned that she couldn’t count on her husband to continue antibiotics while the children were in his care. She told the Telegraph:
“He believes I should be able to prevent her infections with natural remedies at home rather than treating her with prescription medication. In his eyes I am a failure because she continues to experience infections.”
She also soon discovered that her mother-in-law, an alternative medicine practitioner, had been treating the children with her own home remedies.
Kelly had first-hand experience of her mother-in-law’s unconventional views. She knew that her mother-in-law believed that AIDS was a man-made virus, spread via vaccinations.
And she knew that her mother liked to dispense a “magic potion” made of colloidal silver, a substance sold as a “cure-all” that can have toxic effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive doses of colloidal silver can lead to kidney damage, neurological issues, and turn the skin, gums, and internal organs a blue-gray color.
Kelly learned that her mother-in-law had been secretly giving her children colloidal silver. She told the Telegraph:
“When my ten-year-old son told me she was giving it to him behind my back I knew I had to do something. My children needed me and I had to speak up.”
Kelly took her son to get tested for colloidal silver and learned that he had 320 times the normal level of silver in his blood. Kelly went to authorities for help, but between her mother-in-law’s denials and the lack of direct evidence, the investigation didn’t go anywhere.
In the meantime, Kelly’s mother-in-law tried to get revenge. She claimed that Kelly was an unfit mother and tried to get a restraining order against Kelly. Kelly told the Telegraph:
“Twice she has tried to obtain domestic violence protection orders against me — claiming I was harassing her, and that I was a malicious and unfit mother. […] My MIL has abused and misused the legal process in an attempt to bully and silence me. Speaking out to protect your children is not domestic violence!”
Fortunately, the complaints never went anywhere and the magistrate dismissed the mother-in-law’s application. But Kelly is still struggling to protect her children from her mother-in-law’s idea of “medicine.”
Now a single mom of two young children, Kelly wants others to know the dangers of unqualified alternative practitioners (like her mother-in-law). She told the Telegraph that it is frustrating to find that she has so little support in protecting her children from dangerous medical quackery:
“I am one voice trying to protect my children from a family member who has been duped by pseudoscience. […] It shouldn’t be my responsibility to discipline my mother-in-law as an altmed practitioner and compel her to practice ethically. I am waiting for the day someone other than me will tell her what she is doing is wrong and illegal.”
While Kelly is still trying to fight the issue in court, she still has to send her children to their father’s family every other week. And that means letting them be cared for by someone whose views on health and medicine are far different from her own. As Kelly told the Telegraph:
“She believes I am poisoning my children because I chose to treat them with legal, prescription medications. She lives in a topsy-turvy, upside down, opposite world. Sunscreen is toxic, vaccines are deadly, and fluoride is being used to dumb us down.”