Tara Hills, a Canadian mom of seven children in Ottawa, Ontario, was a strong opponent of childhood vaccinations until her 10-month-old son came down with whooping cough.
Hills told CBC News that all seven children have shown signs of whooping cough and were told to take antibiotics and stay home.
Hills claims her first three children had been partially vaccinated, but then she chose to stop based on negative press about vaccines.
After her infant got whooping cough, Hills reversed course, but claimed that she previously decided to do so.
"It's very sobering and it's very raw because we had just recently made a more fully informed decisions about vaccinations. We had just defected from the anti-vaccination camp.
"But it was, for whooping cough, it was too late. I mean, it's so ironic and I'm not beating myself up for it. I just hope that we can use this very painful experience to encourage other people like us to maybe re-examine the issue."
Hills is worried extended family members may have also been exposed to whooping cough from being around her children.
Hills wrote about her anti-vaxxer experience in a blog posting on TheScientificParent.org:
"We stopped because we were scared and didn’t know who to trust. Was the medical community just paid off puppets of a Big Pharma-Government-Media conspiracy? Were these vaccines even necessary in this day and age? Were we unwittingly doing greater harm than help to our beloved children? So much smoke must mean a fire so we defaulted to the 'do nothing and hope nothing bad happens' position.
"For years relatives tried to persuade us to reconsider through emails and links, but this only irritated us and made us defensive. Secretly, I hoped I would find the proof I needed to hold the course, but deep down I was resigned to only find endless conflicting arguments that never resolved anything. No matter if we vaccinated or not, I thought, it would be nothing more than a coin toss with horrible risks either way.
"I just didn’t trust civic government, the medical community, the pharmaceutical industry and people in general. By default, I had excluded all research available from any major, reputable organization. Could all the in-house, independent, peer-reviewed clinical trials, research papers and studies across the globe ALL be flawed, corrupt and untrustworthy?"
Hills never specifies on the blog or to CBC News where exactly she got her anti-vaccination beliefs.