Friday, August 1, 2008

It is time.

To share this.

Before we had Nathan, I didn't research circumcision at all. DH is circ'd and we just agreed to do it. At the time, I thought it was "just what you did". After the birth, I was having second thoughts. I just had this feeling at the pit of my belly telling me "don't do it." My mama instincts were trying to tell me something and I didn't listen. So they did it and I felt awful. Crying hyserically about it day after day. DH thought it was just having some baby blues. Then I found Mothering. Started reading about it and what happened to him. I found the circ video and threw up. DH and I talked about it and I told him I was never doing that to another child. He said "ok" and we left it at that. DH started doing his own research and we found the site about how circing hurts women (mostly related to sexual issues). And DH came to me crying. Saying how could we have done this...etc. After much research, DH decided to restore his foreskin. He has been doing that for around 6 months now. It is a long road but he is gaining a lot. We plan to tell DS how sorry we are. How we shouldn't have made that choice for him. How daddy is different because he has been restored. We will teach him about restoration and he can make the choice for himself.

Why do I feel so strongly about it? Because I put my son through that torture FOR NO REASON. And why did I share this with all of you? Because if I can save one baby boy from feeling that pain and save one mother from feeling the intense sadness that I feel, then it will be worth it. I can't sleep at night, I am depressed during the day. Because of THIS.

Deep in your mama heart, you know that something isn't right about strapping a newborn baby to a table and cutting off part of his genitals. Would you send your daughter to be circ'd? Would you remove her clitoral hood (also known as female genital mutilation) FOR NO REASON?

Now, we have pro-circ people on this world. I, obviously can't change any minds and can't change the state of their son's penis anymore than I can change Nathan's. Do I think that they are bad mothers? No. I think that they choose circing, thinking that is the best thing for their son because SOCIETY has told us that it is the right thing to do. I blame society, not mothers.

Now why is circing so wrong?

Genital integrity is a basic human right.

Over 80% of the world is intact.

This is an excellent movie (done by doctors opposing circumcision) about foreskin’s purpose and harm of circumcision.http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...o/prepuce.html

Even a perfectly performed circumcision does life-long harm.

1. It removes the most sensitive parts of the penis (Ridged band and often it also removes Frenulum).

2. The glans (penile head) is normally an internal organ protected by the moist mucosal tissue of the prepuce (foreskin). Without the foreskin, the glans is exposed to the outer environment (air, soap, clothing, sun, etc.). The glans dries out and develops several extra layers of skin (keratinization). Besides removing the densely nerve-laden foreskin, circumcision removes 50% of the penile shaft skin and associated nerve endings. The exposed glans then keratinizes, causing further loss of sensation. Imagine how different female sexual response would be if the clitoral hood (female foreskin) was removed. Exposure of the clitoris to the constant effects of the outer environment would approximate the effects of male circumcision.

3. The pain during circumcision is truly agonizing. Do you know how they circumcise newborns? First, because the foreskin is attached to the glans exactly like the fingernail is attached to the finger, they have to rip open those adhesions. They force a blunt probe under the foreskin and run it all around. Think about how that would feel under your fingernails and add on it that foreskin is the most sensitive part of the body. Then they slice open the foreskin and peel it away from the glans. Then they put a clamp on and crush the foreskin to halt the worst of the bleeding. Then they take a scalpel and slice the foreskin off. Oh, and by the way, did you know that over 85% of neonatal circumcisions in the US are still being preformed without any/adequate anesthesia? If one wants to put their baby through this nightmare, they at least must have guts to see how the procedure is being done. As you can see on this video, the doctor claims that he uses anesthesia…

4. The baby will feel that pain for weeks after the circumcision. Every time they pee it will burn. Every time you put them on their tummy or lay them against your chest to nurse, it will sting.

5. Because it's not your body, or your husband's body. It's your son's penis.You wouldn't drink or do drugs during your pregnancy because of the risks of causing birth defects.Did you know that being born without a foreskin is considered a birth defect?Why would you spend nine months eating healthy, avoiding drugs known to be harmful, etc. only to voluntarily offer up your child to elective cosmetic surgery so that his penis will now be like that of a baby born with a birth defect?

6. Because death can and HAS occured. The latest case was in Canada in May.

7. Circumcision puts the patient at risk of surgical mishap, adhesions, meatitis, meatal ulceration, infections, bleeding, and even death. The recent fast spread of MRSA in the US. is an example. Circumcision exposes the infant to risk of exposure to MRSA and other antibiotic resistent bacteria. While MRSA and other Antibiotic resistent bacteria can be spread by skin contact, they become ever more dangerous if they enter through a cut or open wound. Some recently circumcised boys have died from MRSA when their bodies did not respond to anti-biotic treatment. Others required treatment with the most recent experimental antibiotics. One boy who recently recovered now has an enlarged heart; that will cause lifetime consequences for him. The most recent statistics indicate that in 2007, more persons have died from MRSA in the US than from AIDS.

8. Circumcision started in the Puritan 1870s as a cure for masturbation (yes, you read it right! masturbation was considered to be evil and sinful and was blamed for all sort of illnesses including blindness, paralysis and mental retardation) , ,

You will find pro-circ mamas everywhere. As I said, SOCIETY has taught us that this is what you do. They neglect to mention the risks of circ. Which is why I subjected my son to this heartache. Because I THOUGHT I was doing the best for him. I am no better than any pro-circing mom and I know that. The difference is, now I have learned what I have done. I can end the cycle in my family.

You all know that I love each and every one of you. Sometimes in life, we disagree, and that is ok. I know this was long. And you are probably highly offended. In fact, all the circing moms are probably highly offended. Please know that I don't want to hurt anyone. I am sharing because I want you all to know how I feel. I want you to know that this keeps me up at night. I am crying right now as I type this, thinking of what I have done. My hands are shaking.

---A special thanks to Yulia R. and all the ladies at Mothering for providing a lot of this information for me. I hope that you don't mind that I used some of your info.


Anonymous said...

So many people circumcise one son, and close their minds to any information after that. I applaud and respect you for opening your mind and your heart to the possibilty that you might have made a mistake in circumcising your son.

My 14-yr-old twin sons are intact, and from the time they learned about circumcision (at age 8) they have been grateful that they still have their foreskins.


Karma said... son is intact. I am grateful that I was educated enough on the subject to know that circumcision is unnecessary and harmful before he was born. He has always been very laid back and calm and the first few days of his life was wonderfully blissful as he adjusted to life in his perfect, whole, body outside the womb.

clara said...

You sound like a wonderful mama. I think you're very brave to share your story. My own mother had my first brother circed and also regretted it immensely. My Dad, like your husband, had a lot of common sense and came around to her side easily. They agreed not to do it again and left my younger brother intact. He has never had any issues and is in his 20's.

As mothers we all do the best we can, sometimes we have instincts and we ignore them, it happens to all of us. I hope you find peace and I can tell by the way that you write how much love you have for your son.

Anonymous said...

I am truly sorry for all that you and your son went through.

The very sad thing about circumcision is that NOBODY would do it if they REALLY knew what it was all about. But most people just don't want to know...

I am very thankful that my son is intact. If my Dh was circed and wanted him done, he would have been. After all, it's no big deal right......I am so happy I know better now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I cannot imagine how painful it must be to learn about the evils of circumcision after it was done to your baby. You are so brave. I am so lucky I learned about circumcision before my baby was born. The more people like you who speak out, the more happy stories like mine there will be.

Amanda said...

Oh mama... I am near tears after reading this post. I could have written it myself. My son (also Nathan) is also circumcised, and the regret has kept me up at night. I can't believe I let it happen.

I have a blog too and I've sat down to make a similar post many times, but I can't quite bring myself to do it yet. It's still so painful to even think about what a horrible thing I did.

Thank you for posting this. You are not the only one <3 Thank you for speaking the truth, even though it hurts.

All the best to you & yours.
Amanda (another Nathan's mama)

Gids said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Nobody, nobody should have to go through a circumcision they don't need and never (or couldn't) ask for.

That this goes on the United States shows there is something very wrong with the medical system, as though children were property. Doctors need to shape up and uphold the ideals of their profession. But they won't (not all of them, anyway) until they are forced to.

One consolation you can give your son, down the road, is that he has the option to hold the doctor (and hospital) legally accountable. Sadly, it's this growing liability that is the only thing likely to get them to stop.

Keep spreading the word. We will gain genital integrity rights everyone in this country.

Nanda said...

Thanks for posting. It will take a long time to change societal norms, but I think we can do it. It's so unethical to do this to unconsenting children. At least now you know, and can do better and help spread the word this way.

Hilde said...

I'm sorry you and your son had to go through this! As a European I'm lucky not to have had to consider circumcision and I have two intact sons. I was shocked to learn what many newborns go through in America, and I'm horrified to think what it must be like for mothers like you to find out the truth after it's too late! You are very brave, it is mothers like you that will one day put an end to all this unnecessary pain.

amanda said...

you are very brave for putting all this info out there.

we researched as well & were kinda on the fence about it even right after our son's birth in the hospital (i wasn't but SO was, i really-really didn't want to do it) our midwife came in a few times asking if & when. finally she asked if the reason why we were thinking about doing it is for social reasons, him being made fun of, etc. we said yes. she said don't do it for that reason & went on to explain that is is becoming less popular, that people are becoming hip to the fact that it is an unnatural & useless procedure.

we are living & i am from a small town where circing is normal & quite frankly parents don't even THINK about it, like they have NO idea what is being done to their sons, etc, they are sheep. people need to be informed, my mom is ill because no one ever told her otherwise.

i am so glad you are planting seeds. you & your husband are wonderful parents, don't be so hard on yourselves. your son will understand & be thankful that he has compassionate parents, & he will stop the cycle by not circing his son, you will educate him.

i also, like the pp, have been wanting to write a blog post about circing because some of our family has been so repulsed by our decision to not do so that it's disheartening.

sorry this got long-winded, just know that you are not alone. hugs mama, lots.

Anonymous said...

What a brave and heartwrenching story. I am so sorry you didn't have the information to save your son, husband and yourself from this cruel prractice.

I was lucky to find Mothering before I had my sons. If not for the great information found there and elsewhere, my story very well could have mirrored yours.

I am glad you can see though all of the myths and misconceptions about circumcision now. Boys are born how they are for a good reason and now you have the power to save your future sons, as well as many others I'm sure by telling your story.

Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you.


Betsy said...

Thank you for this post! My mother circumcised my brothers out of ignorance and one of my best friends circumcised her sons out of ignorance (and now-ex-husband-pressure) as well.

It is for mothers like them and like you that I talk to pregnant women about circumcision. Mothers who wish they'd made a more informed decision because it would have been a different decision.

My husband is intact and my FIL is circumcised. "Looking alike" was never an issue. I'm certain that your beautiful son will understand that you're human and make mistakes. I'm certain that he will appreciate the information about restoration and the fact that you love him enough to admit when you messed up instead of allowing him to continue the cycle if/when he has sons.

We can't know everything, we all make mistakes. Admitting that you've made a mistake takes so much courage and humility. Kudos to you!

What a lucky son you have to have a wonderful, loving mother like you!


Anonymous said...

I feel such incredulous shock at the practice of infant circumcision in this country that I find it difficult to speak calmly about it. I get worked up and angry so quickly. I just want to shake people and tell them to snap out of it. The illogic of it is astounding to me. So I don't speak about it with my friends and family. I commend you for being able to do it even though it perhaps easier to do in this blog than in real life.

One th

Anonymous said...

One thing I have tried to do in my interactions with friends is accept that they believe there are benefits to circumcision. You did not spend time refuting those benefits. And I have decided that I will not take that approach either. Because even if all the debatable benefits of circumcision are true, it still does not warrant such a serious procedure. Physicians normally reserve amputations as a last resort-when a body part is gangrenous or frost-bitten. Yet this procedure is done in infants who have perfectly healthy foreskins!

The incidents of UTIs in boys and penile cancer are just as low as the complication rate of circumcision so, prophylactilly, it gains nothing. From a public health perspective, the CDC would not recommend a vaccine with that type of risk/benefit profile.

And as for HIV prevention, we have a better tool for intervention which is not invasive and irreversible-condoms and safe sex.

tremello22 said...

I nearly cried reading this. If only more mothers were like you then I think this practice would die out. I admire your courage.

Anonymous said...

Good for you for sharing your story!! Thank you. I so sorry to hear you learned the truth about circumcision when it was too late for your son. You are a good mother and you can only do the best you can. (((HUGS)))

TLC Tugger said...

Thanks for sharing. Of course males should get to decide for themselves. Foreskin feels REALLY good.


Jennifer said...

Thanks for posting this on your blog. Great information!

macshill said...

It's totally bizarre that Americans and to a lesser extent, some Canadians, ever started genital mutilation in the first place.

In 1980, the Australian academy of pediatrics learned the errors of their way and stopped recommending circumcision in 1980, and the circ rate almost immediately plunged. It started dropping slowly in Canada and even slower in the U.S., but the tide TRULY is turning! ONLY 10% of Canadian boys are circumcised and 53% of American boys are, and the rate is ever dropping!

While I don't unfortunately expect circumcision to be stopped in Middle Eastern countries (Israel, Iraq, Iran, Turkey) despite the stellar education from groups like JewsAgainstCircumcision and MuslimsAgainstCircumcision, hopefully it can lowered there and *totally* eliminated in the U.S. and Canada so there's the maximum amount of males enjoying the maximum amount of sexual sensitivity w/ their partners. :-)

Rose said...

I am so glad you wrote this in-depth post! I hope people will read it and perhaps think twice about the decision to circumcise. My mother has told me multiple time how much she regretted having my younger brother circumcised and because of her experience, I knew I would never chose to circumcise my own son. My beautiful boy was born in Jan of 2007 and yes, he is intact. :)

Mandie said...

Thank you all for the thoughtful comments. The love and support is amazing! Thanks again to each and every one of you and bless you all for keeping up the fight against circumcision.

Erin said...

My midwife sent me some information about circumcision, and it said that the foreskins are actually being sold!

That is so sick that they are profiting off of this!

Anonymous said...

Your story and mine are so much the same. Ignoring the mama gut instinct, regretting it immediately and then finding out later (once I had internet access). My first boy is circ'd but my second is intact. When we know better, we do better and that's what I repeat to myself daily.

Natural as can be said...

Amazing post! I couldn't agree with you more! I come from a family where my brothers were intact and I always new my sons would be as well but worried about the fight I would have with my husband. Little did I know his best friend lives every day with a botched circumcision and he was all for leaving out dear son intact. Our son is only 3 1/3yo so I don't know how he feels about our decision but am hopeful he will be thankful. I have helped 1 friend so far make the decision after circing her first 2 boys to leave the 3rd intact and she if very grateful, she didn't realize it was even a choice. I hope your post opens peoples eyes to the fact that it is a choice and just because you have done one son you don't have to be all or nothing.