Question: How do I live with the deep regret of having our son circumcised? He is almost 10-months-old now, and I am still struggling with this. Sadly, I did not find out the facts until it was too late.
Answer: Of all the questions I'm asked, this one is the most difficult for me to answer because I have three circumcised sons. I believed the doctor who told me circumcision didn't hurt, only took a minute, and would protect my babies from terrible things that would befall them if they weren't circumcised. Many years later, as a nursing student, I witnessed a circumcision, which literally changed the course of my life. Since that day in May 1979, I've done everything I can to end this outdated, harmful practice that has such a profound effect on us all.
Some say I do this work because I feel guilty, but guilt is what you feel after you knowingly do something wrong. That's not it. Mothers consent to circumcision out of the best intentions and the worst kind of ignorance. Circumcision is a cultural practice; most doctors do not provide adequate information to give an informed consent, and no one talks about it, so we don't even know enough to ask the right questions. When we find out what happened to our precious baby behind closed doors, most mothers feel deep regret and profound sorrow.
We can't take back our grievous mistake, but we can do everything in our power to protect our sons in the future. We can apologize to our sons and end the wounding in our families. When parents become informed, they will spare future sons from the pain and trauma of circumcision. Tell your story to anyone and everyone who will listen. I will be happy to send you a packet of information that you can copy and give to expectant parents to help save other babies from unnecessary surgery and their mothers from the grief we feel. This will help to transform your pain! I'll also be happy to send you guidelines for becoming a National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers center, if you'd like to become a part of the Genital Integrity movement.
Like all mothers, you did the best you could with the information you had at the time. So, be kind to yourself. You didn't know. Now you do. My sons have all forgiven me, and yours will, too.