Jenny McCarthy on her son’s autism: ‘he couldn’t say Mama, but he knew how I felt’

Jenny McCarthy covers the June issue of Shape. I believe this is her second time covering the fitness magazine, and this is a much less realistic image than her last cover, in January 2013. That image was heavily Photoshopped too, as is the norm for just about every magazine, but on this cover she looks like someone stuck her head on a plastic doll. Her torso is impossibly long.

Inside, Jenny talks about how her fiance, Donnie Wahlberg, proposed (she’s told that story before), how she felt when her son Evan, 12, was showing signs of what she calls autism, and how she keeps fit.

On how she keeps fit
The last time I weighed myself was 12 years ago, when I left the hospital with my newborn son, Evan, and I was 185 pounds. Now I measure by how my jeans fit. But I want to be real here and tell you that my weight goes up and down a lot. I was definitely up after the holidays last year, so I tried what everyone always says to do: running. I was on that treadmill every day for 45 minutes. I don’t do anything fancy with intervals to spike my pulse rate, because I have palpitations and my heart can’t handle the intensity. I did a moderate pace and kept it there the whole time. After a few weeks, the extra weight dropped off.

On her son not responding to her
When Evan was struggling with developmental issues, I was with him day and night, holding him, loving him, trying to get him to smile or say Mama, but he couldn’t and it was breaking my heart. One day, I called my mom crying and said, ‘He doesn’t even know I exist. I’m dying as a mother.’ And she said to me, ‘Jenny, everyone responds to love.’ And she was right. Maybe he couldn’t smile or say Mama, but he knew how I felt and he responded to my love. It was a beautiful epiphany.

On her fiance, Donnie Wahlberg
The very first time I saw him, I was in eighth grade and New Kids on the Block was on MTV. I was like, ‘Who are they? I thought Donnie was the hottest one but too tough for me, because I was this goody two-shoes. But now when I look at him, I think, ‘I’m totally marrying a New Kid on the Block.

One afternoon, my son walked into the living room with a piece of paper that read, ‘Will.’ He ran out, then he came back with another piece that said, ‘You.’ Then he came back with another piece that read, ‘Marry.’ Then Donnie walked in wearing a t-shirt that said, ‘Me?’

He was carrying the ring, he got down on his knee in front of Evan, and… I said yes.

[From Shape Magazine, print edition, June 2014]

Jenny can often be full of crap. She recently claimed that she’s not anti-vaccine, although she’s certainly said enough about it for anyone to draw that conclusion. However I was touched by the story of how her son wasn’t responding to her and how it was so frustrating to her as a mom. That got me a little.

There’s some controversy over whether Jenny’s son had autism which she claims to have cured him of, or if he had another, milder disorder called Landau-Kleffner syndrome. Jenny has dismissed those claims as “blatantly inaccurate and completely ridiculous” and clarified that her son was diagnosed with autism at UCLA. Whatever the case, I’m glad Evan is ok now. Evan’s diagnosis is so much of an issue because Jenny has made it one. He has a very outspoken and protective mom in his corner.

As for Jenny’s engagement to Donnie Wahlberg, I can see them lasting for another year or two but I don’t see her getting married. I shouldn’t be so negative. I hope for her son’s sake that this works out for Jenny and Donnie. Evan seems like he’s really attached to Donnie and vice versa.

Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Presents "Legends"

Jenny McCarthy launches Vemma Renew at The Loft at Bryant Park Hotel

A Celebration Of Barbara Walters Cocktail Reception Red Carpet

Jenny is shown with her son on February 20. She’s shown alone on April 11 and with Donnie on May 15. Credit:

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91 Responses to “Jenny McCarthy on her son’s autism: ‘he couldn’t say Mama, but he knew how I felt’”

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  1. blue marie says:

    I gave up trying to like her but this interview makes me less stabby than normal where she’s concerned.

    They airbrushed her enough that she looks like Megan Fox on the cover.

  2. Zooyork says:

    I wonder how she feels about the fact that polio, a devastating disease that had essentially been eradicated in the US thanks to vaccines, is back in the US, thanks to fools like her not vaccinating their babies?
    And worse, she contributed exponentially to the problem by preaching that others not vaccinate their children!
    A freaking actress had the nerve to comment about medical issues like she knew more than doctors? And some people listened to her! Listened to her, an actress, over the medical community.

    • Jezi says:

      +10000 Polio and the measles. It makes me sad reading about mothers who think they’ve done research and decide to skip immunizations. They read what they want.

      • Renee28 says:

        My cousin’s son’s daycare had a really bad measles outbreak that left so many children sick. I wish people would realize how quickly these infections can spread and how dangerous it can be to other people.

      • Anthea says:

        I do think she was irresponsible, however, I hate that the vaccine issue is so polarised. It’s either anti-vaccine or not. I completely agree with vaccinating children and gave my son the MMR first time round along with all his vaccinations, he reacted quite badly to it although he was fine with the rest. When the booster jab was due, I asked if he could have the single jabs rather than the triple one, we said we’d do it privately, whatever they wanted. The clinic told me just to skip the MMR as his school had 99% of children vaccinated. I’m not claiming his autism was caused by the vaccine at all by the way – it just came up, we discussed it and that’s what happened. He’d reacted badly to the initial MMR which I think was their concern.

        So it bothers me that missing the MMR is always seen as so irresponsible; this was a tough decision for me because I really want to keep him healthy and innoculated, but the Dr thought we should leave it, so I went with their advice.

      • MrsB says:

        @Anthea I don’t think you skipping the MMR is irresponsible at all. I doubt you will find many people that would criticize you for that. Especially, since you followed the Dr’s advice. Some children do have bad reactions to immunizations, and I don’t fault you for not wanting to give the 2nd round to your baby. You had a valid reason. I have no problem with parents who want to spread the shots out, but the parents who don’t do any REAL research, get caught up in the whole hoopla of “immunizations are horrible” just because that’s the fad right now is what pisses me off to no end. It is so dangerous, and not only are they endangering their own children, they endanger mine for no good reason.

      • Wren33 says:

        The fact that some kids do react badly to vaccines or have weak immune systems is why we need everyone else who doesn’t react to get vaccinated. Some kids can’t get it for good reasons, and it won’t be 100% effective for everyone. But if you have a school system where only 80% of kids are vaccinated, all of a sudden the kid who might have a severe reaction is really put in a bad position.

    • Esmom says:

      Yes, no matter what she says now, tons of people listened to her and we are paying the price.

      And I don’t even know where to start with her son’s autism. Once diagnosed, one is always autistic, it never “goes away.” Certainly many kids who are on the high functioning end of the spectrum can overcome the many challenges enough to “pass for normal” much of the time. That’s how it is with my son. But the challenges and difficulties never go away and can resurface when you least expect them. It’s a lifelong journey and nowhere as neat and tidy as she seems to want to portray it.

      • blue marie says:

        One of them was my sister. It was after a few people (some teachers believe it or not) told her my nephew had autism. She was scared that she had indirectly caused it with the vaccines so she became anti-vaccine and was for a while. Luckily I was able to gather enough information to point out the inaccuracies and she started coming back around.

        My nephew is not autistic by the way, he has sensory perception disorder but you’d be amazed the amount of people that automatically assume it’s autism when a child is different.

      • Esmom says:

        blue marie, I can relate to what your sister went through, feeling panicked that somehow something you did was to blame. I never blamed the vaccines because I could see his issues almost from Day 1.

        Glad you could help your sister come around, it helps so much to have supportive family members. SPD is no picnic but the therapies and interventions available today can make such a big difference. My son couldn’t even jump with two feet off the ground until well into grade school and now at 14 he is holding his own on the basketball court!

      • blue marie says:

        that is awesome Esmom!

      • kris926 says:

        Blue marie, my friend was told by her son’s daycare that they thought her should be assessed for autism. Luckily I am close with the family and told her that didn’t seem right to me as I was doing research with kids with autism at the time. Fortunately her daughter’s speech teacher was at the house and spent some time with him and cautiously advised looking at apraxia. What do you know… he has apraxia. Working with a speech therapist and occupational therapist has done wonders for him!

    • lozface says:

      Couldn’t agree more! Such dangerous uneducated statements. Here’s a great article about new research from the university of sydney refuting these crazy theories. Hopefully the skeptics read this and stop the preaching…

    • maggie says:

      There are many doctors speaking against vaccines. She is just more visible. The vaccines are problematic because of the amount of harmful heavy metals – the whole anti movement is not against immunization itself.

      • Sam says:

        Do you realize that one single serving (about 3-4 oz.) of fish contains more mercury than the total amount found in the ENTIRE CDC vaccine schedules? That one single apple contains more formaldehyde than the entire vaccine schedule combined? You can easily Google this and figure it out. Metals are a natural part of the soil and environment we live in, and have been for millenia. You must not ever ingest any vitamins, since if you examined the bottle, you’d note that all of them contain two very particular heavy metals – Zinc and Selenium – both of which are actually essential to human health (and Zinc has some excellent properties for assisting with illness). I guess you must be opposed to all meat consumption (since heavy metals are present in just about all meat products these days), avoid any conventionally grown food and eschew all vitamins, since, you know, heavy metals are the Devil.

      • maggie says:

        Yes, heavy metals are devil, especially to babies which wright like 1/10th of your weight. And their immune system is in development until they are aprox 2. So yeah, you responded to yourself….

      • Ag says:

        maggie – you are totally wrong. there are NOT many docs speaking out against vaccines. there are NOT “harmful heavy metals” in vaccines. and, the anti-vaxx movement IS against vaccination, period. if it wasn’t, they would be ok with vaccines once it was proven that a)the ONE study they relied on was completely falsified and was recanted, and b)when heavy metals were REMOVED from vaccines. that they continue their ill-informed, uneducated, harmful campaign to bring back diseases that kill children proves that they are indeed against vaccines, no matter what bullsh*t they spew.

      • Sam says:

        Um, Maggie – you realize that if you were eating a heathly diet and breastfeeding a newborn (and I presume you did, since formula also has the Devil Metals in them), you were consuming heavy metals, which then passed through your milk into your baby? You seem to think that heavy metals can’t get into your baby except through vaccines, which is, on some level, cute in its ignorance. For example, spinach – you know, that “superfood” – has a high zinc content. Cashews and related nuts have SUPER high zinc levels. So do mushrooms. Whole wheat bread contains high levels of Selenium. If you ate any of those are nursed a newborn, you introduced MORE heavy metals into their system than any vaccine could ever do. I suppose you’re not as vigilant with your child’s health as you claim to be? Or will you come up with some other excuse?

      • maggie says:

        And which of your delicious food has mercury? Dont forget that zinc, selenium etc are metals which – in a very small amount – our organs need to function. Mercury, not so much. So, thats my ‘ excuse’.

      • Sam says:

        Maggie – again – mercury is naturally present in plenty of foods. Again, did you ever allow a piece of fish to pass your lips while pregnant or nursing? If you did, guess what? Your baby ingested MORE mercury than the entire vaccine schedule contains. You haven’t answered any of the questions I’ve actually posed, which makes me think you did.

        (And psst, FYI – fish isn’t the only High mercury food out there. Mercury is also present in high levels in Rice (especially imported varieties) and any foods containing High Fructose Corn Syrup). So I think it’s fairly safe to declare you as neglient as the rest of us at this point. See how easy that it?

      • maggie says:

        Just to finish the mercury related loop, it is present in food because of the environment, which is heavily polluted now.
        I am fully aware I cannot create a world without toxins and metals but i can regulate how much i allow down my throat ( or skin, speaking about vaccines ) as well as my kids, by selectiong those ‘ less dangerous yet still rich’ foods. So be assured that my diet during pregnancy consisted of the best choices possible. The fact that you resign and take it as a fact that mercury is in fish and just go with it does not mean it became harmless.
        I may be the grey area between pro anti antivaxers – i would go for them, at least some, if vaccines contained less s##t. If you have done such a good research what is contained in food, i am sure you can make equally profound one related to vaccines. Then we speak.

      • Sam says:

        Maggie – what makes you think I resigned to it? When I pregnant, I refused to ingest any fish at all. I made the switch totally from imported rices to domestic kinds that are far less contaminated. I did my part. I can get that people worry about stuff like mercury. But I could also do the research and I knew that mercury contamination in food posed a far larger danger to my child than the miniscule trace amounts in vaccines – particularly because food is consumed so often, whereas vaccines are so finite in number. A lot of science has been done that shows that the trace amounts in vaccines (with the exception of the flu vaccine, which contains a larger sum – and before you ask, no, I don’t take the flu shot)) are largely harmless, whereas the amounts in food are far higher (and, unlike the vaccine amounts, can accumulate over time). Then there is also the cost/benefit analysis to consider.

        If you have concerns about mecury, then I agree with you. But if you have those concerns, wouldn’t the bulk of your energy go into ensuring that the food supply -the biggest culprit here – is safe? But no, all the energy goes into vaccines, and I consider that irrensponsible.

      • maggie says:

        Dont worry. My energy goes to where its needed, including food.

      • Lucinda says:

        Maggie-Mercury is naturally occurring in fish because it is in the environment naturally. Not just due to environmental pollution. It is not in all fish. Only large fish that live longer and eat other fish. It naturally builds up in their system. Yes, mercury pollution is an issue. Of course it is. But the point is that you probably had mercury in your system before you got pregnant. Even if you managed to avoid any kind of mercury ingestion during your entire pregnancy (and perhaps nursing), it was probably already in your body and passed on to baby.

        When I talked to my doctor about this 12 years ago, at that time, mercury had already been removed from all vaccines except the flu vaccine. So the point is moot anyway.

    • JudyK says:

      @Zooyork: +1 million.

      She needs to shut up about the Autism thing…I don’t think her son ever had Autism…okay, I said it.

      • MissMary says:

        There’s actually a few disorders that mimic autism, including a creatine deficiency, that are treatable. Whenever a parent claims their child’s autism was “cured”, it’s typically one of these disorders and not Autism. Autism itself doesn’t have a cure (speaking from years of experience in the ASD community as well as scientific research).

      • JenniferJustice says:

        I don’t doubt that her son has some type of condition or disease, however, she definitely used it to her advantage and I don’t beleive for one moment that any of her speaches or books on the topic were to help anything other than her failing career. What is she famous for at this point? MTV back in old days and now for being anti-vaccine…or mildly anti-vaccine. She has no discernable talent to speak of – just a big mouth. And I can’t ignore her statement that she wasn’t into Danny back in the NKOTB days because she was sucha goody-two-shoes – yah, right. What the heck happened because she was doing playboy pretty young and everything after focused on her being a sex symbol. Another rather obvious humble brag I don’t even believe.

      • Nicolette says:

        She needs to shut up about the whole “Autism thing”? And you are qualified to make a diagnosis? You have spent time with her son? Observed and evaluated him as well? So what are you saying, she made it all up to write some books? Please.

        My son has a high functioning form of Autism, which is Asperger’s. He was beginning to try to speak and then had a combination vaccine, which led to him being inconsolable that night, and he was not the same after that. He stopped talking and would only scream and cry. It was a literal over night change, and I am far from being the only parent to experience this. So what would you think? Your child has a vaccine and is forever changed. I can’t even begin to explain to you the guilt felt on my part afterward. My son is up to date with all of his vaccines, but I am highly skeptical that there is no link between the two. Especially not when I read constantly that there are serious concerns between all the chemicals children are exposed to, taking Tylenol drops after these vaccines, pregnant women taking Tylenol etc. The possible sources seem endless, and when you are talking about our children who are being affected by SOMETHING, your “Autism thing” label is quite insulting and insensitive to me.

        What I do believe is that the vaccine schedules should be more spread out. Too many in too short a time are bombarding their tiny bodies. They start receiving them before leaving the hospital as newborns.

        Autism is not a ‘thing’, it is a neurological disorder. And yes it is possible to work with your child, and help them develop. As I said above, my son would just cry and scream. We worked with him, long and hard and now his vocabulary is on par with that of an adult. His IQ falls in the ‘very superior range’, and though in 5th grade is performing at 11th grade levels in some subjects, and some at 9th. He is ABOVE grade average in all subjects. To those who don’t know him, many don’t have a clue about his Aspergers. They just think he is an extremely intelligent child. For you to declare that her son was never affected is just mind blowing to me.

    • Miffy says:

      I get less outraged at this whole scenario by dismissing it as Darwinian.

      If you allow a z-list actress to have any clout in your child’s health care, while I feel sorry for the kids, it’s got to be evolution at work. You can’t protect stupid from itself.

      • Jess says:

        Exactly!! I couldn’t care less where she stands on vaccines because I don’t make decisions regarding my child’s health based on a what a celebrity says. She obviously cares for her son and thought she found the problem, I don’t think she’s evil or responsible for any deaths due to lack of immunizations, that’s on the parents who chose not to.

      • Ag says:

        the problem is, a lot of uninformed people SO make decisions for their children on the basis of what jenny mccarthy or idiots like her say. and they endanger their children (who, i am sure, would choose to be vaccinated against deadly and crippling diseases if they could) and are a public health threat by endangering our herd immunity. she has a very public platform from which is spews this crap. i can’t even begin to imagine why people listen to her, but she IS the catalyst for the popularity of this movement. so, yeah, it’s partially her fault.

      • kris926 says:

        This. Granted, research articles can be incredibly confusing to the average person (correlation coefficients anyone? I still have to pull out my old textbooks on occasion), but its really not that hard to grasp the meat of the articles. I think people can be distrustful of what they don’t understand, or who funds the study (many articles published about vaccines are by doctoral students with no pharmaceutical alliance), but to make such boisterous claims one should have the education to back it up. There are too many sheep on crazy mommy blogs that won’t trust piles of research conducted by actual experts simply because their sister told them their kid’s teacher’s granddaughter was in a hospital room with someone who lived next door to as person who for sure got autism from a vaccination.

      • Jess says:

        @AG, I can see that as well and agree with you. It’s mind boggling to me but others do take advice from famous people for whatever reason.

      • Sabrine says:

        This ill-informed mouthpiece has done a lot of harm with her anti-vaccine comments. The death toll has surpassed 1,300 from children who have died from not being vaccinated. I’m not saying the blood is entirely on her hands but she certainly is a contributing factor.

        The elderly with their weakened immune systems will also pay a price if they contract these returning diseases.

    • cro-girl says:

      Vaccines have killed, injured and permanently handicapped a lot of people, children and infants. This is fact. If someone wants to make the choice to not vaccinate I think that is a legitimate concern. I know almost nothing about Jenny McCarthy but I do know she wanted to “green” vaccines, make them safer so these deaths and injuries no longer occur. When people tag their personal beliefs regarding vaccines onto Jenny it just becomes apparent that she is a vehicle by which people feel like pushing their ideas. Congratulations on being an arse.

      • kris926 says:

        What is “a lot”?

        Because a lot of children have severe allergies, a lot of children die of SIDS, a lot of children are born with heart defects, a lot of children will develop psychiatric disorders, a lot of children will be born with some sort of cognitive impairment. There is risk in having a child, there is risk in vaccinating. However, at what point do we look at the benefits versus the risk? Even the stats on mortality and injury are spotty as there are often underlying conditions that contribute to an adverse or fatal reaction. Some people prefer delayed immunizations. Cool, good for you. But to make blanket statements such as you have done, you’re basically looking at a very small percentage of children who may or may not have had underlying conditions and then making a sweeping generalization about something that has saved millions upon millions of lives. That is the definition irresponsible.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        No, Jenny pushed her ideas. You have it backward. And since she’s now back-pedaling what she said (which is on record and yes, she did denounce vaccines) obviously even she knows she should have kept her trap shut and left that conversation to the medical community who are actually educated and knowledgable on the subject. Reading various articles and random conversations with people does not equal education and knowledge. In fact, those are the people who do the most damage when it comes to influencing others because they know just enough to seem knowledgable but they are in no way experts and in fact, under the surface, don’t really know what they’re talking about.

    • L says:

      There’s been a pretty big mumps outbreak as well in several states in the US.

      Not vaccinating your kids is not only dangerous to them, but dangerous to the people around them. And I will judge the heck out of anyone who doesn’t vaccinate (unless its for a viable medical reason-e.g. allergic to them etc)

      • Jedi says:

        Spot on, L. Whooping cough has made a comeback too. Hearing a small child struggle to breathe for hours because someone chose to not be vaccinated is so heartbreaking. People who elect to avoid vaccines are public health threats.

    • Belle Epoch says:

      ZOOYORK – applause! A delusional Playboy model knows more than thousands of researchers and doctors? And uses her celebrity status to throw babies and everyone else in harm’s way, due to all the unvaccinated little time bombs running around? She has done INCALCULABLE damage to public health. I bet she has never even seen an infant hospitalized with measles, or talked to a pregnant woman whose baby could be deformed by a disease we thought we’d eradicated. I wish Karma would catch up to her and she could see what she has really done.

      By the way, she had a lot of help from Dr Bob Sears and his Vaccine Book – a cynical money grab by a physician who should know better.

    • homegrrrl says:

      Why should the pharmaceutical companies come off like heroes, and a concerned mom is nationally vilified? I didn’t vaccinate my child until he was six years old. He’s fine, and so is everyone else. It’s an individual choice, and the pharm companies who make billions aren’t’ going to dictate my child’s health. If it weren’t for her and moms like her, “thymerisol” would have been in full force; this is mercury folks, and it was in vaccines until 2006- now it’s removed only since 2006, and this is a fact, look it up. My doctor said, “oh don’t worry, there was so -little- mercury in vaccines that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. It mattered to me! I didn’t want my child to have- a little bit of mercury- That was my choice. NOw we get refrigerated vaccines without preservatives. I’m not anti-vaccine either, I just so happen to not want my child to have mercury, now go dial 1 800 BAD MMOM and complain about me to nobody who truly cares about my child!!!

      • Jedi says:

        Thimerosal was (and still is in some vaccines) quite important to prevent risk of contamination and ensure the vaccines are stable. Seriously, the risk of contracting a deadly (or near deadly) illness is far greater than ‘risks’ from Thimerosal. Its not only your kid you put at risk for not vaccinating – its other people that rely on herd immunity. People undergoing cancer treatment, people who are immuno-compromised, people who have had transplants. infants who cant get all their vaccines until they reach a few months. how do those real and substantial risks not haunt people?

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I totally agree! The anti-vaccine nutcases are responsible for the deaths of many babies who are exposed to things like whooping cough or measles because fools believed their crap. Maybe not legally responsible, but certainly morally responsible for those innocent deaths.

    • An Anonymous says:

      Not really a Jenny McCarthy fan, but re: polio…You might want to look up simian virus 40. Here’s what Wikipedia had to say:
      **SV40 became a highly controversial subject after it was revealed that millions were exposed to the virus after receiving a contaminated polio vaccine produced between 1955 and 1961.** (SV40 can cause tumors.)

      So, what else could be contaminating our vaccines that we don’t know about or will discover when it’s too late?

  3. PunkyMomma says:

    I just can’t with her. At all.

  4. Birdix says:

    It was a sweet comment from her mom at what must have been a tough moment as a parent.

  5. Sam says:

    I find it interesting that she relies so heavily on a UCLA doctor’s autism diagnosis when she’s poo-poo’ed so many other doctors. If she’s “done the research,” she would know that a pretty hefty percentage of kids diagnosed with autism will go on to be re-diagnosed later in life – some with other genetic or neurological disorders and some with mental illness (in fact, there’s a lot of ineresting research about how a lot of people previously diagnosed with autism are being found to be schizophrenic, since many of the early signs of schizophrenia overlap with symptoms of autism). I’ve never seen a person cling so hard to a diagnosis. The sad thing is that if Evan needs to be re-assessed or re-diagnosed later in life, he likely will not be able to rely on his mother’s support, since she has so much invested in the autism theory.

    • Ag says:

      YES a million time to what you’ve said. medical research is fine when it suits her point of view, but not when it isn’t.

  6. Jen says:

    I truly can’t relate to anyone not in favor of CHOICE. People can be absurdly self righteous. That she excersised her choice doesn’t make what others choose her responsibility.

    • elo says:

      Jen, the dangerous part about the CHOICE to no vaccinate puts others at risk for dangerous and deadly diseases. When people choose not to vaccinate, they put many others at risk including those who cannot be vaccinated, those whom the vaccinations were not 100% effective and small infants. Also this choice endangers their own children, who have no say in the choices made to keep them safe. It may be a choice, but it is an incredibly stupid, dangerous, and socially irresponsible one.

    • PoliteTeaSipper says:

      The babies of these anti vaccine morons who die of measles and whooping cough and all these other diseases that vaccines cover don’t get a “choice”.

    • kris926 says:

      That’s not parenting, that’s gambling. Do you have any idea what our world would be like without vaccines? Suppose all parents at your child’s school opted not to vaccinate and there is a measles outbreak (like has happened on several occasions). Would it still be OK? Would it still be OK to have a choice if children died as a result, or had permanent damage? Its fine for people like you to claim CHOICE!!!!!! Because your child is probably protected by herd immunity. Because other parents made a decision to protect their child as well as yours. Quite frankly, if you want to make that oh so brave CHOICE!!! homeschool your kids, keep them out of girl scouts/boy scouts, little league….basically anything where they’ll be around other kids. I made my decision to vaccinate, you made yours not to. The kids who have allergies/immunodeficiency do not deserve to be put at risk because of your CHOICE.

      • maggie says:

        And why do we have so many allergies and other problems with immunity? Because before a baby fully develops a system of immunity, it gets repeatedly invaded by vaccines, or whichever sort. Connect the dots people.

      • kris926 says:

        Then by all means opt for a delayed schedule. They do that you know. And I know lots of people, myself included who did. Are you really so anxious to relive the good old days where children were dying left and right from illness vaccines now prevent?!

        I also find it interesting you’re not responding to anything other than why we have allergies. No comment on people like me protecting your kids? No comment on how you would feel if there was an outbreak at your kids school? And babies can be born with deficiencies and allergies, before a vaccine even touches them…which is why they rely on herd immunity. So tell me again about how you would be absolutely fine with a resurgence of diseases we’ve successfully eradicated.

      • elo says:

        Maggie, vaccines and allergies have little if nothing to do with one another. What kind of junk science are you using? I did a little research into the anti vaccs movement and discovered that one of the main groups is led by a woman who swears by her research. I can’t recall her name but her degree is in English, not Science, not Medicine…but man she sure can write a convincing essay well.

      • Nighty says:

        Sorry, but allergies are actually hereditary…. and are due to pollution, not vaccines,….
        Oh, speaking of vaccines.. thank God for those, because I used to have severe problems of bronchitis, but thanks to vaccines, nowadays I only have some sneezes and skin allergies… not being able to breath wasn’t very pleasant… but the DEVILISH vaccines against allergies, I’ll be damned…. helped me out a lot…

    • allheavens says:

      You can have all the choice you want, as long as you do not endanger the health and well-being of the populace.

      Choice does not mean you can have your unvaccinated or under-vaccinated child running around spreading disease. Every unvaccinated child weakens the herd immunity and puts people at risk of outbreaks.

      Now if you are okay with measles, whooping cough, polio, diphtheria, pertussis disease as well as other communicable diseases cutting a swathe cross the world by all means consider “choice” important in this matter.

    • homegrrrl says:

      Amen. See my comment above. We lived relatively isolated anyway until my child started school. My little one needed me, my family and nature until he was socializing and older. Now he’s an international skier, healthy, spunky, and vaccinated at an older age, with preservative free vaccines. I’m not your average soccer mom, and no one says I have to be a cookie cutter slave to anyone else’s choice.

  7. kris926 says:

    I think the worst thing about anti-vax propaganda is the underlying message that one would essentially rather risk their child’s life (or another child’s life) than accept the very remote possibility they would develop autism. Which they won’t, because it has been proven time and again if people would simply take the time to look at the research and acknowledge this entire “debate” was caused by one individual who falsified results and was stripped of their license. But the fact autism is viewed with such disdain a parent would even take that chance is incredibly sad to me (and this is coming from someone who has done extensive research with children with autism from mild to profound, so yes, I know what the worst case scenarios are). Furthermore, I wish there was more involvement from the medical community in explaining why we see more autism cases: its largely due to the expansion of criteria for diagnosis. When I was younger (and I’m only 30) NO ONE had ADHD, bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc. I was only diagnosed with ADHD at age 23, but as a child I was difficult, flighty, very forgetful, couldn’t follow directions, etc. People with more mild forms of autism or Asperger’s were looked at as just being different, very smart, socially awkward, etc. There are so many variables to take into account, and I find it so sad and incredibly dangerous there are still people out there – especially celebs with high profiles – that think the shakiest of evidence is worth propelling the nation back into the dark ages. I wish someone would ask them outright, “OK, so we stop with vaccinations. Say your ‘research’ is right. Now MMR is running rampant and killing our children all because you found the idea of a child with special needs so awful. Would you do it again?”

  8. Neelyo says:

    I don’t have kids but i’m mad as hell that some idiot told people not to get their kids vaccinated and now diseases that were thought erradicated have now made a comeback.

    Like McCarthy, i’m not a doctor but aren’t diseases like measles more dangerous when contracted as an adult?

    • MissMary says:

      Yep. And there’s been *so many* peer reviewed, double blind, repeatable studies done proving *no* link between Autism and vaccines, but the paranoid persists.

  9. Cel says:

    Maybe I’m taking this too literally but “he knew how I felt”? People on the autism spectrum generally don’t have a strong sense of empathy. Also, given that this child was quite young before diagnosis, that age group isn’t terribly well known for being able to empathize with others either.

    • MissMary says:

      False false false false false. So very false. Autistic persons do feel empathy. Read anything by Carly Fleischman or anything put out by the Autism Self Advocacy Network– Autism Speaks SUCKS and is horrible so anything they put out is just b.s.

      Ask any person with Autism about their feelings, if they empathize, and don’t assume based on biased, false info. This is coming from the mother of an Autistic person, partner to an Autistic person, and a former SpEd teacher. Autism isn’t the movie paradigm bs espoused by so many organizations seeking to make money off of fear.

      • Esmom says:

        Yes, The supposed lack of empathy among people with autism is indeed false. In fact the latest thinking is that people with autism actually experience MORE empathy, more deeply, than most typical people and their behaviors that may indicate otherwise are actually mechanisms to deal with the overload.

      • MissMary says:

        There is an awesome book called “The Reason I Jump” by a young man in Japan who has Autism. It is an amazing insight into the daily life of a person with Autism and goes into detail about things like empathy, sensory processing issues, etc. He talks about over-empathizing and shutting down to handle the process.

      • Cel says:

        I have worked with people on the spectrum and this has been my experience. It’s possible that they are outliers or it isn’t a common feature but I have witnessed it with people on the spectrum more than a few times.

      • Nicolette says:

        +1000! Speaking as a mom of an Asperger’s child, I can say that some of the most sympathetic, empathetic, heartfelt words of comfort come from my son. He can tap into feelings of those around him in an extraordinary way, and can be quite the ‘soul reader’.

      • Nighty says:

        It’s false, a friend’s son had autism and he was so sweet and tender… A very, very loving kid… 🙁 Unfortunately cancer got to him… I do miss his hugs though….

    • kris926 says:

      The idea of empathy is interesting with kids in general. Many tend to be very egocentric in certain developmental stages, but we understand they’ll grow out of it and such. Kids with autism -from my experience- sometimes require more help during developmental transitions. They also tend to have more difficulty showing their empathy in ways that other kids might. But they do show in their own ways. I think the difficulty grasping social cues and having “appropriate affect” is where a lot of people think there is a lack of empathy. Instead, its usually how the child demonstrates the empathy that is unique.

      • Cel says:

        This could very well me it. A difficulty showing empathy may be what I have experienced.

      • kris926 says:

        Cel, this reminded me of a 5 year old boy I worked with who would walk out of the room or just stare at his mother when she would get upset. It *looked* like he had no feelings about seeing his mother so upset, but we worked with him to understand what she was feeling, and with her to articulate what she felt. Long process, but it was as if he just didn’t know what to do. He was very tactile defensive, so hugging was out, but if she got upset she would tell him she was sad ( there were some severe behavior challenges), and he would respond he loved her. But I think of all the tiny experiences we take in and intuitively understand, and how overwhelming and confusing that can be for a child, especially with autism 🙂

  10. Cel says:

    And I agree. Autism Speaks is absolutely awful.

  11. roxy750 says:

    Look, I get it. It’s hard to be a mom. You don’t just “know everything” the day your kid is born. It’s a total learning process and mistakes are made. No mom is perfect, you learn along the way. Everyone is an expert it seems.

    I do however find it disturbing she keeps making mistakes with her botox or whatever it is she is doing to keep jacking her face up. That is very sad.

  12. Irishserra says:

    I feel like there are a few very distinct issues at play here. With regard to the vaccinations, I don’t fault Jenny for being afraid of them and passionate about the potential dangers. I’m the oldest of four children and the only one of them who was vaccinated back in the 70s. When my sister nearly died from her MMR in 1980, my mom did research (keep in mind, the Internet wasn’t a thing back then and she had to go by books and the support of local pediatricians) and chose not to vaccinate her subsequent children based on information available at the time. And her stance was quite supported by many in the medical community at the time, although not so much by the schools. She had to fight to get my siblings into school, but was able to. If I put myself in her shoes and had nearly lost a child, I may have reacted similarly. As it happened, I had a little more information at my fingertips when I had my first child almost 20 years ago and even then, I was hesitant about vaccinating. However, even then a doctor told me that these diseases cycle around and would be making a come back and that although vaccination concerns were very legitimate, the lesser of two evils would be to vaccinate and advised me of the different ways to do it. So for my daughter and later my son, I was diligent with regard to their health and immunity the first two years of their lives, and after they turned 2 started their vaccinations in steps. Both pediatricians were very supportive of this and we never had issues. But that was my option based on my feelings which were based on my experiences with my family members and I never advocated that other mothers needed to do the same. Despite very real problems with vaccinations (And the CDC has at times admitted MANY – google SV40 for instance – oh wait, they took down that information almost as soon as they published it), I believed it was of greatest benefit to find a way to ultimately vaccinate my children. I harbor no ill will toward parents who do decide to forgo vaccinations, just hope that they consider all sides of the issue deeply and not just the fear associated with one side or the other.

    A completely different issue seems to be the autism label. I get that it’s a category for a varied set of behaviors, but it still doesn’t sit well with me. I believe the way our culture (in general) seems to package and label things paves the way for people like McCarthy to jump in and self-diagnose her child like it’s some sort of bandwagon. Since autism is not necessarily a specific disorder, I think making vaccinations a blanket cause of a variety of behaviors that a general population considers abnormal is just ridiculous. Additionally, from what I’ve researched, other cultures don’t necessarily label and treat the different behaviors the way Western culture does. Why is that?

    • frankly says:

      When you have gone through the dozen or so screenings and evaluations that it takes to get an autism diagnosis, you know that it is in fact a legitimate and identifiable disorder that happens to affect people differently with variations but with enough consistency to have a classification. Abnormality is how we define illnesses and disorders, whether it’s psychology, physiological, or on a cellular level.

      And not siding with McCarthy, but she didn’t self-diagnose, she got a diagnosis from UCLA.

      Some cultures have better ways of handling autism, some cultures put autistic children into institutions or shackle them to a pole so they don’t wander away. I’m inspired by the progress our country and the global community has made in identifying, accepting, helping and respecting those who have autism.

  13. Amulla says:

    I am sick of hearing about this woman and her child. I wish she would shut up and go away.

  14. frankly says:

    A number of therapists and my child’s pediatrician gave her the prognosis of being moderately to profoundly autistic when she was 18 mos. old based on their observations and some preliminary screenings. She had the communication skills of a 6 month old (after losing a vocabulary of over 100 words I counted on her first birthday) and spent all day squawking and stacking blocks. After 18 months in therapy (speech, DT, OT several times a week) she tested out of our early services provider program and was placed on the all-clear for autism although we were told we could bring her back for Asperger’s testing after she was 5, which we didn’t. She’s 9 now and although she has her quirks she’s in a regular third grade class with lots of friends and good grades. Here’s the thing – she ran a horribly high fever and had seizures a few days after her 15 mo. vaccinations and was on a downward slide from there. However, lots of kids start showing symptoms of autism around that time. (Although with recent research they talk about screening kids as early as 3 – 6 months, and she definitely fits into the patterns that they identified there.) I have sympathy for moms who watch the light go out of their babies eyes at that age and are desperate to find a cause or a reason that their baby is slipping away in front of them. I understand that impulse. And the timing of shots and onset often coincide in such a way that it’s an easy correlation to make. But that’s a witch hunt. It’s a correlation, not a cause. Immunizations are critical and necessary. I think we got lucky with the right people at the right time to get my kiddo on the road to recovery. I started researching and giving her the best interaction I could suss out at 16 mos. before she started with the pros. Early intervention can be a miracle. It breaks my heart to hear about kids who are going undiagnosed until they reach kindergarten. Anyway, that’s my rambling rant.

    TL;DR – I really, really get it; you want answers, this looks like an answer; it’s not, immunize your kids.

  15. Jayna says:

    The way he asked her to marry him was so darn sweet and moving. He included her son in it. He went up a thousand notches for me.

  16. Jayna says:

    Regarding autism, which is on the rise and scares me, I believe in vaccines, but I understand wanting to space out the vaccines . I do believe the one study that came out in March about environmental factors playing a much bigger role than thought, which shocked the researchers who were focusing mainly on how autism runs in families and the genetic componet. There is also genetics. Kids with a sibling with autism are at higher risk for developing it. My friend has two boys with autism who have many challenges. Her marriage didn’t survive the stress. I don’t know how she does it as a single working parent. She’s a sweetheart and I really admire her.
    The study on environmental factors and genetics.

    A new study on autism and no link to vaccines was all over the news this past week. Here’s a link about it.

    • Amulla says:

      I totally understand wanting to space out the vaccines, even though I am pro-vaccine.

  17. Kimble says:

    I wish I had just smiled at and loved my child too – maybe he wouldn’t still have ASD …

    Hate when people do this – it implies that those of us who’s children are still very much on the spectrum are somehow lesser parents – that if we had just done the same, our children would be “recovered” too.

    She’s a dumbass

  18. I'm With The Band says:

    The autism vaccine link has been debunked:

    My God, celebrities are so irresponsible when they preach to the masses about serious health issues.

  19. Lucrezia says:

    Hmmm … lots of people saying they’re pro-vac, but understand wanting to space out the vaccinations. I feel the need to point out that while there’s nothing wrong with spacing them out, there’s also no medical reason to do so.

    Your immune system has between 1 billion (1,000,000,000) and 100 billion (100,000,000,000) cells. One vaccine uses up only a miniscule proportion of that system. A conservative estimate would be that an infant has the theoretical capacity to respond to 10,000 vaccines at once.

    If you think about it, any newborn has already had it’s immune system exposed to a FAR greater shock: the colonisation of the gut/bowel by normal intestinal flora. Thousands of different types of bacteria establish themselves within hours of birth … if the infant’s immune system managed to cope with that, why would a single vaccine (or even a triple like the MMR) be a problem?

    Or, for an example that isn’t a one-off event, the common cold exposes you to 4-10 antigens (and Strep throat is 25-50 antigens). The MMR shot only contains 3.

    There’s honestly no reason to fear the combo vaccines or the standard vaccination schedule. It’s not overwhelming, it’s a drop in the ocean of the body’s innate capacity.

    • Frankly says:

      At the same time, the pediatricians office will give you a hand out describing how your child my have soreness, fever, irritability, rash, sleeplessness, seizures, etc. after vaccinations. After her 15 mos. shots my 9-hours-a-night baby was up for 36 hours screaming and having seizures. So, you know, it must be a pretty powerful 3. You can find more information about vaccination side effects on the CDC website: Of course kids need to be vaccinated, but it’s pointless to downplay the impact vaccinations can have in the short term and belittle people who don’t want to take their toddler to the ER with seizures.

      Mothers also don’t willingly expose babies to colds or strep, which can turn life threatening for newborns, for the record.

  20. John says:

    “I want to be real here…”
    Right, so they Photoshopped her hips out of the photo.

    She’s a moron, a Playboy alum with no real education beyond what she gleaned in Hollywood. Why anyone listens to a word out of her vapid mouth is beyond me.

  21. Michelle says:

    She grabs her fat stomach on The View all the time so the cover is not her!! So sad she is has such low self esteem she can’t show her true body!! And where are all the huge stretch marks she claims to have??? Photoshop. She doesn’t even take care of Evan… Left him in Chicago with nanny’s… Too much work to raise a kid!!! And interrupt her sex life!!!