Monday, November 30, 2009

My Beautiful Boy, I Am Sorry




Please print my apologies.

My beautiful boy, Evan, I am so sorry I did not learn more about circumcision before you were born. I am sorry we made the quick and thoughtless decision to get you circumcised so you would not look different from your dad. It is ok to look different. I am so sorry I never changed your diaper at the hospital and I never saw what you looked like intact. I was ignorant. I am so sorry.

My beautiful boy, Colby, I am so sorry I was weak and caved when it came to the decision about your circumcision. I am sorry we made the decision to get you circumcised so you would not look different from your dad and your brother. It is ok to look different. You were born in a birth center and I changed your diapers for a week before you were circumcised. Every time I saw you intact, I felt sad for Evan. I cried and talked to your Dad and others around me. But hardly anyone wanted to talk about it, or if they did, they said it was better to do it as a baby when you would not remember having it done, it would be too painful to have it done as an adult, and your self-esteem would be damaged for looking different. When I saw that device attached to you at the pediatrician¹s office as he circumcised you, I couldn¹t believe the cruelty. I felt so small there, like I was a kid again with no say in the matter. But I'm an adult now and I should not have been so passive. I should have fought tooth and nail to keep you intact. I am so sorry.

My beautiful husband, I am so sorry that I was weak and passive and agreed to circumcise our boys. I am sorry someone circumcised you. None of you were allowed to decide for yourselves whether to remain intact or not. I could have given your sons that choice, but I did not. I am so sorry.

Jennifer V., OR
also published in The Compleat Mother



We cannot withhold facts for fear of offending
because the importance of the information
outweighs people's right to not be challenged in their beliefs.

~ Maddy Reid



Please.
Speak up on the issue of keeping babies whole.

You never know whose life you will change forever,
or what mother will thank you later.





To read more from others who will be keeping future sons and grandsons intact, visit sites, pages, and letter links at: I Circumcised My Son: Healing From Regret.

If your first son was circumcised, and you would like to keep future sons intact, or make a difference in the lives of your grandsons or boys born around you, please join with others at Keeping Future Sons Intact







"I did then what I knew how to do. 
Now that I know better, I do better." 
~Maya Angelou



For parents-to-be who have not yet witnessed the difference between an intact vs. circumcised newborn baby boy, below is one example. [View additional examples, and see the difference between an intact and non-intact adult here.]






41 comments:

  1. Oh! Fabulous post! My guilty admission is blogged here, although not nearly as beautiful. http://livinglifewiththelanes.blogspot.com/2008/12/another-top-ten-mommy-moments-with-lane.html

    We have one daughter and four boys. Our oldest was circumcised and our last three are intact. However, my second son did not live more than ten days. On his autopsy the pathologist noted, "uncircumcised penis." I have to admit that this really broke my heart. He was intact and on purpose.

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  2. Beautiful. :( I could have written those exact same words. We have three boys and a girl, our first two sons are circumsized, and our third is not. I wish I had been more informed 12 years ago.

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  3. Wow this is intense. It's too late to apologize to those poor babies.

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  4. wow...that's really sad

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  5. Very moving story :*(

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  6. I really appreciate your sharing as well, Penny. I am saddened at the pathologist's note on your beautiful, intact son's autopsy. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to lose a baby at that point.

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  7. This blog made me sob. I have so much regret that my first born son is circumcised. I was 25 when he was born and I just thought it was what we were supposed to do. It is overwhelming for me to think about what I should have done but I didn't have the resources...everyone circumcised their baby boys, everyone had their babies in a hospital, etc. In the past 5 years I have learned so much thanks to amazing women like you. THANK YOU. My wish is that all pregnant couples can be educated about circumcision and how it is unnecessary and awful. I wish I could go back to Oct. 20, 2004 and make a different choice for my boy Gavin.

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  8. Here's one of the responses I got from a pro-circ mom...."My son will be proud to be unique and look 'groomed'."

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  9. Karen, that is so sad. I feel so very sorry for the boys and the mother.

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  10. I feel so sad, and angry. Whatever possesses anyone to ever even think about it… I just don’t understand.

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  11. This poor mother is a innocent victim along with her boys. Yes, people should research elective medical procedures before putting their children thru them, but the real evil here is the system that allows this to be 'normal' and the doctors who are complicit in it for financial reward. It's said the more you know about circumcision the worse it becomes; that's why we're fighting against it, that's why the mother (and others like Megan) are now so resentful and that's why the doctors who continue perform this harmful procedure on innocent boys should have their medical license torn up. IMHO...

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  12. What bothers me the most is that Jennifer had her 2nd son for a WEEK in the birth center - and obviously did not want to cut him... and NO ONE spoke up and gave her any accurate information. NO ONE. That is why it matters that EACH person says at least something to everyone whose lives they touch. You never know who will be impacted by the truth.

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  13. This procedure would be eradicated overnight if not one single doctor or nurse ever solicited circumcision. Instead of that dreaded question, you know the one - the one that makes people wish they had girls, every single care provider instructed the proper care of the intact penis, "Wipe like a finger and don't retract the foreskin." yeah yeah, you know this already because I keep saying it. I'll keep saying it until SOMEONE in this country enforces a Sleeping Dog's Policy into the medical establishment --> regarding every single unwarranted medical procedure on ALL infants & children.

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  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyqg2YcLxYs

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  15. I never even got asked "that dreaded question" with my 1st 2 boys, so I was amazed when I got asked about my 3rd. Have things gone backward?

    But there was no dread - just a very quick, sharp NO!

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  16. good for you Andi! And when I was more informed I had that quick sharp NO when asked by my second son's pediatrician. I did feel dread when I was asked before my labor kicked in at the hospital. I told them I didn't think it was a good idea. They all fell silent. and didn't say anything more about circumcision after that. Deep down I was hoping they'd never ask me that question again. I don't remember them ever asking again. It was just done.

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  17. Ron, I dig your song! Love how brave you are and how you just get it all out on the table. I also really liked your version of "Forgive Me Love" - that was one of my favorite Alanis Morissette songs and your lyrics are perfect. Thanks for always speaking up.

    Michelle, your story forever breaks my heart too because (again) NO ONE spoke up on your behalf or that of your son's. No one encouraged you to follow what your heart knew was right. They just took him and did what they wanted with him.

    I know I've told some of you this before, but we were asked SEVEN times while I was in 'hard' labor if we wanted our son circumcised at birth. 7 Times. If that isn't 'suggestive selling' for genital mutilation I don't know what is. And then one nurse had the audacity to ask me during a contraction, "Why Not?!"

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  18. Let me clarify, it was my 1st son whom I delivered in the hospital and I was asked the circ question before labor kicked in. A few yrs later, my 2nd son was born at home and was brought to a pediatrician 3 days after his birth. I was fully informed about circumcision by this point. After he solicited circ, I answered him with a sharp NO. I should have said, "Why is there an anomaly with his penis? Does he need surgery?" Then after he stutters I reply with, "You stupid doctor, you know nothing about the normal penis." and walk out. Followed by sending him educational materials for him so he isn't a danger to his other clients. Which I did already. He still circs. At least he was honest when I hired him after my first son was a week old. He said circumcision wasn't medically necessary. I fired him about a year ago because I can't be with someone who continues to circ after knowing its wrong.

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  19. Danelle, 7 times is un-freakn'-believable! wow! I heard that before but it still stuns me. what did you say when she asked, "why not?" do you have your birth story written out? I'm so interested in what happened. I know its hard and I'm so sorry it worked out contrary to that anticipated moment of his arrival. I would really love to hear of that journey. Do they have to stop a mother's labor when she is that far along?

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  20. Penny Lane - Hilarious! I love children's honesty

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  21. I had my first two sons circumcised..didn't know it was an option to not. When pregnant with my 3rd...talked to Dr. Jay Gordon. I asked how I would explain to my last son why he wasn't circumcised...he replied "I'd be more concerned about explaining to the first two why you did..." Needless to say number 3 son is intact :)

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  22. They had a forum like this on Mothering.com "Case Against Circumcision" at one time. It's a very powerful way to educate others. I think it must be healing for regretful parents to know they have saved other boys. That's how Marilyn Milos got started, after all. I think more of those forums are a very valuable addition to the web.

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  23. I just found out I'm having a boy and he will be intact, my first son is circumcised. I can't thank you enough for your encouragement, and my unborn son can't thank you enough for getting through to his mama that intact is 100% the best way to be! I'm so thankful I came across your blog and read all the real facts.

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  24. Penny - I enjoyed that post! Your son has such an honest viewpoint (as children usually do!) and a good grasp on the whole thing. I hope my oldest can say the same thing someday knowing that we really did think it was the best thing for him at the time.

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  25. This is beautifully written...I am so touched by your honesty!

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  26. You mothers who have the guts to stand up and say no...

    ..you are the heroes.

    <3

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  27. I would say to all these parents who feel regretful about the circumcision decision:

    The blame for the circumcision rests on the doctor and the medical community, not on you, because as patients, we rely on our doctors to give us the proper information. We listen to and follow doctor advice and we have a reasonable expectation that the doctors won't lead us down such a wrong path. I am always amazed that such misinformation still legally passes as "informed consent."
    Also, in the first days after birth, parents are trusting and relying on the doctors and hospitals to let them know the proper procedure for everything. A birth is such a busy and hectic time for parents that they understandably rely on the hospital/doctor to lead the way. Also, we rely on them to know what they are doing. When you go in to surgery, you don't lie there reading medical journals saying, "Wait a second, Mr. Anesthesiologist, let me first make sure you are using the right anaesthesia in the right concentration...And which scalpel will you be using, Mr. Surgeon?" Of course, we trust them to be informed and lead us in the right direction. And then it is a shock when we find out that this doesn't apply to circumcision.
    In conclusion, dear parents, don't take all this blame on yourself. You did the best you could, and were misled.

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  28. Both our sons are uncircumcised. I just couldn't justify the surgery and my wonderful husband, although his first reaction was to have it done, fully agreed to leave them alone. No questions from the hospital where first DS was born, other than one on the admissions form. We were asked at least 10 times about it when DS was born this spring (different hospital). Apparently, no one ever wrote "No!" on his chart. Finally, when we saw the pediatrician who would have had to perform the surgery, she gave us a thumbs up and said "thank you for not circumcising him!" She said she used to try to talk parents out of it, but had given up.

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  29. I came here looking for Ron's song, which I stumbled on awhile ago... and I want to put a link on my new intactist web site.

    When I asked my Atlanta Georgia Kaiser Permanente former ped why he circumcises (in the year 2010) he said, "Because the parents ask." Then he said he knew about intact care. Yeah right. I fired back,"if you knew anything about foreskin you wouldn't cut them off"

    PP - thanks for all you do to end routine infant mutilation.

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  30. Your letter has me in tears. I thank you for sharing this and I want you to know that is is from reading letters like yours that I made the decision not to cut my son. Although you cannot change what happened to your boys, you can help others to remain intact. My son Jack thanks you and other brave Mothers for sharing their grief. You have spared him unecessary pain and suffering and for that I thank you. I hope you can find peace.

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  31. I was speaking out against circumcision at work a while back and my coworker, whose son is circumcised, said "I didn't even think about it until after he was born and the doctor said, 'do you want to circumcise him, it's better' so I did" How sad her son was taken and circumcised just like that.

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  32. i live in toronto canada. my first son was born the hospital and i was never asked anything about a circumcision. if i wanted one, i would have to ask and pay out of pocket for the procedure (not covered by health insurance). i didn't, would never, could never.
    when we went back to the states to visit my in-laws, my husbands father saw my beautifully intact boy and asked "they don't circumcise in canada". i proudly answered "no, they don't" and left it at that. i could have gone on forever discussing all the reasons why i didn't circumsize my boy, but i thought that was the easiest answer. and im proud to live in a country that supports the baby boys right to stay intact!

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  33. So heart-wrenching, so beautiful. I love your loving honesty and how you laid your heart out so healing and reconnection can happen. My heart goes out to your boys and to you and your husband.

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  34. Wonderful, Lydia! Good for you!!! :)

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  35. I am struggling with the regret of circumcising my 2 boys, my youngest is only 8 months old and her letters made me sob. I feel the same way and I'm very angry with myself for not doing the research, their father wanted it done and I just went along with him. If I ever have another boy I will keep him whole for sure. Thank you for sharing, it makes me feel not so alone.

    And to Anonymous on Dec. 1 who commented saying that "It's too late to apologize to those poor babies" - How dare you? Obviously there are moms who are dealing with regret and I don't think it's up to you or anyone esle to decided if or when an apology is too late.

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  36. The reason why the US has such a terribly high rate of circumcision compared to other developed countries is because the US health care system is a market-based system in which doctors get huge amount of money by performing surgeries, compared to other developed countries where doctors don't get that huge profit for doing that. It's purely corruption. My friend remembers when she had an ingrown toe nail in the US, the doctor didn't look at it carefully and said that she needs to have her toe nail permanently removed and she hat to fight to keep her toe nail. The price the doctor wanted to charge her is about $600. When she had the same problem in Italy years later, a technician (not a doctor yet) fixed that for her quickly with little charge. And now her toe nails are fine. The best way to protect you from the exploitation from the doctors is to arm yourself with knoledge.

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  37. We Circumcized our son (who is now 11) so that he would not look different, we moved to another country and now I'm on my way to pick him up from school and take him to a coffee (hot chocolate) to explain why he IS differen.

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  38. roger desmoulinsMarch 11, 2012 1:31 AM

    I strongly endorse what Amy Rosenberg wrote above. I blame American medical schools for failing to research the foreskin and the consequences of its removal, and American doctors for not learning the truth and acting on it.

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  39. This brought tears to my eyes!! I am so glad I had my mind made up and knew better at my very first Drs appointment to verify pregnancy! My son at 14months is the only infant, toddler, child I know that is intact. My cousins first son is 7yrs old she had him circumcised and "it grew back" they went back and did another circumcision and something else went wrong and SHE LET THEM DO IT AGAIN!!! It is horrible! His poor penis looks like has been through a cheese grater, I cant help but look to his mother in disbelief how could she let doctors literally mutilate her baby boy?! After all that she has son#2 who is 2yrs old circumcised (I cant understand how she didn't learn from her first mistake!!)

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