Saturday, 5 January 2008

The Definition of "Risk"

I'm trying to be patient. I really am. But when people can't even understand a concept so basic as "risk"...well, it becomes rather difficult.

Risk is the possibility of an event occuring. When I say there is a risk of such-and-such, I don't mean that it will happen. I mean there is a possibility that it will happen.

So the fact that it didn't happen to your sister/mother/friend/etc is, I'm sorry to say, really quite irrelevant.

There are risks associated with epidurals. There are risks associated with being induced. There are risks associated with medical tests. With formula. With babies watching television. With vaccines. With leaving a baby to cry alone. There simply are.

I just want people to think. To have all the knowledge they need to make an informed decision. Not to necessarily make the same decision I would - just to make an informed one. Maybe for you the benefit is worth the risk, while for me it isn't. That's fine - just be willing to recognize that the risk exists in the first place! I can respect that sort of decision. What I can't respect is the poor logic of "such-and-such didn't happen to so-and-so, therefore there is no risk", or, perhaps even worse, "it won't happen to me."

Those two statements are so hurtful in the way they completely disqualify and invalidate the experiences of all those to whom it did happen. So it didn't happen to your sister - that doesn't mean it won't happen to you. That doesn't mean it hasn't already happened to countless numbers of other women. Show some respect for those women - recognize that the risk exists. Just recognize that it exists.


  1. good points. everything has a risk -and it's like you say - you have to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks.

  2. Oh, I could have written this post! it just makes my mind and heart ache when I think about this issue. Great post!

  3. just about everything carries "risks" whether it's riding in a car, walking on the sidewalk or whatever. To say there is no risk simply because it is not known to have occurred to you or someone you know personally seems to me, unwise. We have a responsibility to make informed decisions - and knowing risks that may occur is part of the information needed.

  4. noting previous comment - i mean you make sense, i guess i'm new to this

  5. I very much agree with you about risks, and this is from a woman that had 2 c-sections, 2 epidurals, and has vaxed babies. Now, you might wonder why I would agree with you. It's because we didn't take these risks lightly. We looked at all of our options. With my c-sections I had a real medical need for them. This was well thought out, prayed about and researched. A natural delivery would be a bigger risk for me and baby. So, we took the smaller risk (and thanks to God, we were all OK.). Then our options were sleeping me or being awake with an epidural. After doing more research, the smaller risk was the epidural (and, again, thanks to God, we were all OK).

    This brings me to vaxing. We researched (and still are are new doctor's events arise in our lives) and knew our first son's health concerns. Due to those concerns, the greater risk was no vaxing.

    No, this is not argumentative. I believe we all need to not stick our heads in the sand. Sometimes the risk is needed. Sometimes it's necessary. But sometimes it's just not. We need to research, look at the facts, look at the real information and then assess which is the bigger risk for our lives and safety. I just want to shake people that say, "well my Mom did it this way and I was fine". Yeah, well your neighbor's child wasn't. We can't deny that. So do your homework. Don't go into any decision like this lightly. But don't live in fear. If you know your facts and know what is best for you and your family in any given situation, live with confidence.

  6. It is worth stating that there is a obvious risk to not being vaccinated, being of course an increased risk of disease, and complications from this disease. The real question in my mind is this... is getting risk of getting the illness, or the risk of the illness itself, greater or less than the risks posed by the vaccination?

    So yes, vaccination comes with risks, but so does choosing not to vaccinate.