Sunday, September 26, 2010

Knowing Better

By Megan Robinson © 2010
Read more from Robinson at Meg-isms

photo of my oldest son and I by Sandi Heinrich Photography


I have something to say, and it's that I am 100%, gut-wrenchingly, without a doubt, against genital mutilation - otherwise known as circumcision.

This wasn't always the case.

My husband is circumcised, and I never really gave it any thought until my second son was born in late 2008. Our first son was a victim of our ignorance. Sadly and regretfully, he is circumcised. We didn't know any better at the time. We thought it was what we were supposed to do. So that he could "look like his daddy," because it was supposedly cleaner and easier to care for, because if you didn't you were weird, or as one person told me, "It's gross if you don't."

When my first son was born in 2004 we didn't have great internet access to do research. I was also only 25 and none of my friends had kids at the time. I didn't have anyone to teach me or to guide me.

So, if you are wondering why I care so much, and why I am writing about issues like this - it's because I wish I had had someone in my life 6 years ago who would have told me what a mistake I was about to make. Someone to tell me that all of my beliefs and feelings about circumcision were false. Someone to lead me to studies and to the knowledge I would need to make a different choice.

My husband and I made a mistake and we are regretful, but with all of our pain we want to make a difference for other parents and baby boys.

Here are some facts about circumcision that we find worth noting:

1) No health organization in the WORLD recommends the procedure.

2) It is the amputation of a completely normal body part, much like the amputation of a toe or the outer ear.

3) There are many myths surrounding circumcision - examples being that it somehow helps to prevent some diseases and cancers, or that it makes the penis more hygienic.

4) Circumcision is a huge money maker for the medical industry. Money that is hard to give up even though the AAP and WHO have made statements saying that there is no reason to do the procedure.

5) This procedure is highly painful for infants. Babies feel pain at a much greater level than adults. Even though anesthesia is sometimes used, it is never substantial enough to keep the infant from feeling the excruciating pain. Many medical workers or parents will claim that their baby boy slept through the procedure or was calm. This is because they enter a semi-comatose state in order to survive the excessive pain (similar to how you or I might lapse into a coma if someone started cutting our genitals apart). After the procedure baby boys are withdrawn and unsettled. This often interferes with sleep, breastfeeding and bonding. Circumcised baby boys often won't look in their mothers eyes after the procedure. There are studies showing that this kind of trauma in an infant can have LIFE LONG implications!

6) The foreskin has a purpose! It protects the glans (head) from abrasion (which if it is exposed causes a decrease in sensation over the years because of the formation of a callus). It also excretes essential fluids as it is a mucous membrane. It protects the urinary tract from infection and guards against sexually transmitted diseases.

7) The foreskin plays a role in an adult males partner's life too. Many defensive men (and women) will say they are just fine without their foreskin. But one can also be just fine without a finger, arm, toe, etc.

8) There are many risks that go along with the procedure such as hemorrhage, infection, damage to the glans, tightness of the skin on the shaft (painful erection), scarring, and death. Circumcision has a complication rate of 1 in 500 and a death rate of 1 in 500,000. I believe the numbers are along the lines of 200-300 baby boys dying per year from the procedure. These numbers are higher in Africa.

9) Circumcision is a violation of human rights. Thus why it is called genital mutilation. It is the amputation of a human being's body part without their consent.

10) Just because daddy is circumcised doesn't mean baby needs to be too. One of my dear friends was counseling a couple who were expecting their first baby boy any day. The couple didn't really want to cut their son but were distressed that baby should look like his daddy. My friend brought up a good point. She said, "So, dad, if you were missing an arm, would you cut off baby's arm so he would look like you?" This was the ultimate deciding factor for this couple. Of course they wouldn't do this! Every child is unique and needs to be treated as such. If daddy really wishes to 'match' his son, he can consider restoration.

11) "The US has the highest rate of medically unnecessary, non-therapeutic infant circumcision in the world - and yet the HIV infection rate in North America is twice the rate in Europe, where circumcision rates are low." (The Truth about Circumcision and HIV by Gussie Fauntleroy; Doctors Reject Circumcision as HIV Prevention). The only way to protect oneself against as HIV is abstinence, monogamy, barriers, no IV drug/shared needle use and sterile surgical instruments.

I also should say that I understand that there are religious belief issues surrounding circumcision and it is never my intention to insult anyone's religion. I am touching on two religions, Judaism, because I was attacked by someone whose partner is Jewish and they were offended by our stance on the procedure, and the LDS church, because my husband was raised Mormon.

Many Jewish families are choosing not to do the procedure to their baby boys. Dr. Mark Reiss, a retired Jewish physician states, "Growing numbers of American Jews are now leaving their sons intact as they view circumcision as a part of Jewish law that they can no longer accept." There are many Jewish couples that are very active in their religions that now speak out against the procedure and refuse to let it happen to their children. Instead, some are choosing to do a "Brit Shalom" ceremony which translates as "Covenant of Peace" instead of a "Brit Milah" which translates as "Covenant of Blood."

The LDS church has asked that circumcision be done away with. I take this excerpt from "The Book of Mormon on Circumcision" and I encourage you to read the full article.
In Moroni 8:8 of The Book of Mormon, Christ, following his death and resurrection, speaks to the people of the western hemisphere, the Nephites and Lamanites. He says, "Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them, and the law of circumcision is done away in me.
To quote my husband, "In the Mormon faith, it is taught that the body is a temple and is not to be marked, so much so that many women in the faith refuse to pierce their ears. Why, then, would it be okay to permanently alter the body of an infant male, who was created in God's own image? Especially when there is scripture that states clearly that it is no longer a ritual of significance?"

Someday we will apologize to our first born son and explain to him what was done to him and why. My deepest hope is that he forgives us for making a decision about his body that was not ours to make.

I will not stop fighting for the end of circumcision. I cannot stand by and let other misguided or misinformed parents make the same mistake we made. The pain I feel is tremendous and I am going to need therapy (yes, seriously) to overcome my feelings of remorse. If I can prevent this from happening to other sweet mamas and baby boys, I will. This is not an attack on those that have chosen to do the procedure; after all, I fall into this category. All one needs to do is to watch a circumcision being done, read what it really is, and how it's done, and what it does to a baby's brain. Once one does this, I highly doubt they would let it be done to their sweet child.

I am happy and proud to say that our second son is intact. When he was born we still didn't know exactly what circumcision was, but we knew it didn't feel right. I am so glad we made the decision not to cut him by following our primal instincts. And now that we know the truth about circumcision, we are even more thankful that we left his body whole.

If you would like a circumcision information pack sent to you, I will gladly pay to have one sent. It contains tons of great information to read and also comes with videos to watch. All you have to do is send me a message (InHonorofGavin@gmail.com) and I will take care of it.

I mentioned being informed earlier in this post. I encourage you to visit this page as there are many excellent articles on circumcision, among other peaceful parenting ideas.

And finally, I must thank those of you who are making a difference and standing up against this horrid procedure. I wish I could do more, I wish I could reach farther. I am honored to know that so many of you feel the same and are making a difference for our baby boys, their parents and their future partners.

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


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35 comments:

  1. I love that Maya Angelou quote, and it definitely applies here. We ignored all of the naysayers and kept our oldest son intact, and now we have 2 more intact sons. I do try to educate others, but the myths are so deeply ingrained in our culture. Good for you for telling your story. I am sure both of your sons will grow up happy and healthy!

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  2. Thank you for becoming informed and speaking out to help other mothers learn the truth about circumcision.
    I have a question. What information, had you had access to it prior to the birth of your first son, would have changed your mind? I have just failed at an attempt educate a father to leave his son intact. In his case, the social conditioning was too deep.
    I know for each person, the "lightbulb moment" is different. It is so hard for those of us who do this advocacy work to fail to break through.
    Thank you for speaking out the truth you now know!

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  3. People who witness sexual violence and its consequences can be damaged for life. The circumcision of a child is sexual violence, simply because it cuts into the most sexually sensitive parts of the male body. The author of this heart-rending post is a victim of this violence by virtue of having witnessed it. Furthermore, she is eaten away by guilt for having knowingly permitted this violence, which she now understands as sexual.

    Parents in your situation should not be too hard on yourselves. Before Edward Wallerstein's 1980 book, there was not one iota of support in print for leaving an American boy intact. All USA medical schools taught about the moving bits on the end of the penis was how to cut them off. Sex education typically said nothing about the foreskin and diagrams depicted a circumcised penis. The typical mainstream white American saw only bald penises while growing up. You do not write like someone who was a sexual free spirit in college. But had you been, chances are you would have never seen intact.

    To grow up in such a culture, and yet come to see routine circumcision as deplorable, and to come to accept the natural penis as normal and desirable, is a high wall to climb. I am moved to tears that so many mothers of your generation have managed to climb it anyway. Decades ago, it never crossed my mind that the American foreskin would make a major comeback because a future generation of American mothers would come to its defense.

    It is quite possible that the only man of whom you have biblical knowledge is the father of your children. If so, you cannot speak to the advantages of intact men as sexual partners, a matter that American popular culture and sex research have ducked for decades. rest assured that quite a few American women have used internet anonymity in recent years to reveal that their free-spirited past included vaginal intercourse with both kinds of men, sans condoms, and that they prefer intact because it makes for a smoother and gentler ride.

    It is possible that American routine circumcision sometimes detracts from sexual pleasure and functionality in major ways. It has contributed to PE and ED. There is good reason to suspect that a fair number of men over 40 or 50 suffer from insensitive penises because they were circumcised. Some circumcised men seek to compensate for their insensitive penises by performing during intercourse in a brutal and insensitive manner that leaves their partners feeling date raped. Laumann et al (1997) found that circumcised men were more likely to report engaging in sexual acts other vaginal intercourse. This may be due to circumcision being correlated with education, which is in turn correlated with a more relaxed attitude towards sexual practices. But it could also reflect an inability of many circumcised men to obtain a full measure of normal pleasure.

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  4. finally, someone else who did it the first time around, and regrets it. im not trying to make light of your situation, but i always hear from the "anti" views, and they arent always speaking in a way that sounds sympathetic to those of us who did circ our sons, and now regret it! if i could just turn back time you know? i feel SO BAD, and theres pretty much not a thing i can do about it.

    the anti circ group need to come to the understand that we have ; sympathy, you know? they need to understand we didnt mutilate our children, we just didnt know. and to tell us all kinds of things about how wrong it is, and how we mutilated our kids - its very wrong! im sick of hearing it! its not encouraging, and if anything, its going to drive parents AWAY from the non-circ choice.

    we need to be sympathetic to other parents. educate, not put down.
    thank you!

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  5. Dear Ericka, I would never blame a parent for choosing to circumcise before they researched it, just going by Dr.'s orders like a "good patient". I know they love their children and think that is what is best for them based on doctor recommendation or religious beliefs. I don't blame people who started smoking in the 50's either because they thought it was good for them. When we know better we do better. No judjment, just love for those dear parents who were duped into circumcising. I, a radical intactivist mom, do not blame them, I wish them healing because I don't know how I could handle it if one day I woke up and realized the same thing that Megan just realized and the mom who created NOCIRC realized about what happened to their beloved babies that they cannot undo. Just love, acceptance into the no-circ community, and hopefully healing. This kind of thing could happen to any parent and does every day whether it is with unessesary medical interventions during birth, vaccine injury,circumcision decision etc. God bless every parent, it is the toughest job in the world and the most guilt ridden. We all do the best we can!!! Love to you Megan and to all moms and dad's who know better now and are doing it!

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  6. I wish I could even more emphatically state how GLAD I am to know that such informed, caring, thoughtful people are speaking out about the issue of infant genital cutting.

    The practice painfully and permanently removes healthy, sensitive, functional, erogenous VALUABLE genital tissue from someone's body without their consent.

    Our children deserve better - they deserve to have their rights to body integrity and genital autonomy protected

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  7. Megan, I'm confused just a bit about your religious references. You mentioned specifically the Jewish faith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It seemed that you implied that both of these faiths promote circumcision, then describe scripture from the LDS church opposing circumcision. It is unclear to me what you believe the doctrine to be - is the Mormon church for or against infant circumcision? Just curious what you meant by bringing them into the discussion, because it is very unclear they way you addressed it.

    I am so sorry for your pain and the pain of all mothers and fathers who've come to a better understanding of the realities of this horrendous procedure. It was only by ignorant luck that my firstborn male was left intact - his father was too, but neither of us knew anything at all about circumcision, for better or for worse. There are plenty of other areas where I was duped by "modern American know-it-all-ism" that I regret now as a truly informed person. I managed to get the no-circ thing right by luck... we weren't so lucky in other areas. However, it has been a time to *learn*, to grow, to make my own choices and decisions instead of being told what to do, say, and think!

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  8. I see that the author tries to appeal by using some religious quotes. However, since the Holy Bible does promote circumcision, and Christians that circumcise their children do it according to religious belief, does that make them ignorant and bad parents?

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  9. To the last Anon - the Bible does not promote genital cutting in any regard. This is a myth and certainly misreading, or misunderstanding of scripture. Please see the resources, articles, verses, and information linked from these pages:

    Christianity and Circumcision Resources:

    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/information-on-circumcision-for.html

    Specifically, "Biblical Circumcision Information" may be of interest to you:

    http://www.drmomma.org/2010/07/biblical-circumcision-information.html

    Most Christian churches for all of Christian history have banned genital cutting from their practices -- to the point that members were ostracized if they subjected their children to such things.

    Judaism and Circumcision Resources:

    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/circumcision-jewish-fathers-making.html

    Verses specifically for Christians to consider:

    "Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you." – Gal 5:2

    "And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples." – Gal 6:13

    "For there are many who rebel against right teaching; they engage in useless talk and deceive people. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth. Such teachers only want your money" – Titus 1:10-11

    "Watch out for those wicked men – dangerous dogs, I call them – who say you must be circumcised. Beware of the evil doers. Beware of the mutilation. For it isn’t the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits." – Phil 3:2-3

    "And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision, that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from Christ...you have fallen from grace." - Gal 5:3

    "As God has called each man, in this manner let him walk. And thus I command in all the churches. Was any man called in the circumcision [Old Covenant]? Let him not try to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in the uncircumcision [New Covenant in Christ]? Let him not be circumcised! Circumcision is nothing. And uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called." - 1 Cor. 7:17

    "And some men came and were teaching the brethren, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.' But Paul and Barnabas together had great dissension and disputing with these men. . . Then Peter stood up and said to them '...Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" - Acts 15:1-2, 7, 10

    "But if I still proclaim circumcision. . . then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished." - Gal 5:11

    "I wish that those who are pushing you to do so would mutilate themselves!" - Gal 5:12

    What this Rabbi said seemed appropriate to quote here as well (though not a Bible verse): "There is no reason for tying [genital cutting] to a humanistic Jewish birth celebration. Despite its historic importance, it is simply inappropriate in the same way that female segregation is inappropriate." – Rabbi Sherwin Wine

    ReplyDelete
  10. To the last Anon - the Bible does not promote genital cutting in any regard. This is a myth and certainly misreading, or misunderstanding of scripture. Please see the resources, articles, verses, and information linked from these pages:

    Christianity and Circumcision Resources:

    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/information-on-circumcision-for.html

    Specifically, "Biblical Circumcision Information" may be of interest to you:

    http://www.drmomma.org/2010/07/biblical-circumcision-information.html

    Most Christian churches for all of Christian history have banned genital cutting from their practices -- to the point that members were ostracized if they subjected their children to such things.

    Judaism and Circumcision Resources:

    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/circumcision-jewish-fathers-making.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. Verses specifically for Christians to consider:

    "Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you." – Gal 5:2

    "And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples." – Gal 6:13

    "For there are many who rebel against right teaching; they engage in useless talk and deceive people. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth. Such teachers only want your money" – Titus 1:10-11

    "Watch out for those wicked men – dangerous dogs, I call them – who say you must be circumcised. Beware of the evil doers. Beware of the mutilation. For it isn’t the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits." – Phil 3:2-3

    "And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision, that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from Christ...you have fallen from grace." - Gal 5:3

    "As God has called each man, in this manner let him walk. And thus I command in all the churches. Was any man called in the circumcision [Old Covenant]? Let him not try to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in the uncircumcision [New Covenant in Christ]? Let him not be circumcised! Circumcision is nothing. And uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called." - 1 Cor. 7:17

    "And some men came and were teaching the brethren, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.' But Paul and Barnabas together had great dissension and disputing with these men. . . Then Peter stood up and said to them '...Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" - Acts 15:1-2, 7, 10

    "But if I still proclaim circumcision. . . then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished." - Gal 5:11

    "I wish that those who are pushing you to do so would mutilate themselves!" - Gal 5:12

    What this Rabbi said seemed appropriate to quote here as well (though not a Bible verse): "There is no reason for tying [genital cutting] to a humanistic Jewish birth celebration. Despite its historic importance, it is simply inappropriate in the same way that female segregation is inappropriate." – Rabbi Sherwin Wine

    ReplyDelete
  12. Crystal - it seems Megan is pointing out that the Mormon Church is against circumcision, and very much in favor of keeping out children intact, but that many of the members within the Mormon church (and maybe the Christian church in general, and Judaism as well) believe they must follow a tradition of genital cutting that their family or friends did as those in the faith - without ever really looking into just what the faith believes or what the foundations are in the church.

    I've personally heard MANY people (even the last anonymous poster) who haven't taken the time to research this subject and look into the documentation according to the church they belong to or their faith overall, or the Bible (for those who are Christian believers). They just cut because once upon a time they heard that circumcision was mentioned in the Bible (actually, it isn't - this is an English word that does not accurately reflect the custom of blood letting in antiquity).

    Megan - loved your post! Keep up the great work and intuitive mothering. A lot of people are being touched by your words.

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  13. Verses specifically for Christians to consider:

    "Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you." – Gal 5:2

    "And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples." – Gal 6:13

    "For there are many who rebel against right teaching; they engage in useless talk and deceive people. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth. Such teachers only want your money" – Titus 1:10-11

    "Watch out for those wicked men – dangerous dogs, I call them – who say you must be circumcised. Beware of the evil doers. Beware of the mutilation. For it isn’t the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits." – Phil 3:2-3

    ReplyDelete
  14. "And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision, that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from Christ...you have fallen from grace." - Gal 5:3

    "As God has called each man, in this manner let him walk. And thus I command in all the churches. Was any man called in the circumcision [Old Covenant]? Let him not try to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in the uncircumcision [New Covenant in Christ]? Let him not be circumcised! Circumcision is nothing. And uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called." - 1 Cor. 7:17

    "And some men came and were teaching the brethren, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.' But Paul and Barnabas together had great dissension and disputing with these men. . . Then Peter stood up and said to them '...Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" - Acts 15:1-2, 7, 10

    "But if I still proclaim circumcision. . . then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished." - Gal 5:11

    "I wish that those who are pushing you to do so would mutilate themselves!" - Gal 5:12

    What this Rabbi said seemed appropriate to quote here as well (though not a Bible verse): "There is no reason for tying [genital cutting] to a humanistic Jewish birth celebration. Despite its historic importance, it is simply inappropriate in the same way that female segregation is inappropriate." – Rabbi Sherwin Wine

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have the same story about when my son was born. I didn't know that it was really an option to NOT circumcise. Now it weighs so heavy on my heart everyday. Literally-everyday. If I am blessed with another son, I know that I do know better and am equipped with such great knowledge. I only wish I could go back and undo my 1st son's circ. :( I want to shout from the rooftops "PLEASE DON'T CUT YOUR SON!!!" so every parent can avoid the guilt and so no baby boy will ever feel the horror of this sad decision.

    Thanks for putting it all out there in such easy to read words. I will show my Mother in Law (who 'just doesn't get it') this and mabey it will spell it all out.

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  16. You are my hero!!! You and I believe exactly the same way and I try to spread the word that circumcision is WRONG and we should leave our boys intact, many times a day!! Thank you so much for your strong will and desire to educate people on this issue! You are awesome!!

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  17. Feel like i just wrote this article. We had our oldest circumcised and it was probably the worst mistake i've made so far as a parent. He had reattachment complications and bleed pretty bad. Even 5 years later his penis gets red/irritated sometimes. He will complain that it hurts and we have a special cream for him. That does usually make him feel better. We've been told by a few doctors there is nothing they can do now(as his penis will grow so much over time, and i defiantly would not put him under the knife again anyway). I wish i knew then, what i know now. My youngest son is intact and has never had one issue, nor do i expect him to.

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  18. I love this!!! I just wrote a blog about this topic myself!!! Im so glad people are talking about this now, the word needs to get out!!!!

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  19. I am so glad I am not alone. I circ'd my boys because the info I was given was one-sided and I did not have internet access so I believed what I was given. I was young and tried to do what I thought was best. I now know better, but I wish I had had someone tell me to not circ!

    My sons were born in 2002 and 2003. My first son was circ'd and had problems from the very beginning. I had issue circ'ing my second son but was bullied into it by the hospital.

    Very, very, VERY long story short....my eldest has had 2 surgeries for meatal stenosis. A direct result of being circumcized.

    I beg anyone who is considering allowing their son to be cut to hear my words.

    I had to sit and watch my son trying to pee, crying in pain because he had to go but it wouldn't come out. I knelt with him and we cried together...His a physical pain; mine an emotional anguish.

    I washed his blood stained unnderwear. I held his hand at the urologist. I cried as they wheeled him away from me on TWO separate occasions to fix what I had allowed to happen to him.

    He will never be the same. He is not just physically scarred, he is emotional and mentally scarred.
    His brother (who has thankfully had only minor problems) has also been scarred as he watches his big brother endure this hell.
    Circumcision affects everybody! Allow our boys to stay WHOLE!!! It is NATURAL!!!!

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  20. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I also try to gently inform others. Our 3 sons are intact as I think it makes no sense to have part of a child's healthy body amputated. My husband initially thought our eldest should look like him and his son from a prior marriage. Now, he wishes he was still intact.

    My favorite site for info is http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html

    I am a Christian, and we are clearly told in the New Testament that we are free from the Law through Christ.

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  21. i was one of the anonymouses above, sorry for not signing in. Anyway..i wanted to add, that i have met SOOOOOOOOOOOOO many women like us. So many of us do regret what we allowed to happen. It was very hard for me to admit what i allowed to happen. But by living in ignorance i was helping no one (including my son). I linked your blog on my blog. Hope that is ok

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  22. Totally with you, Meg! Thanks for speaking out against the shame of American genital mutilation. As the cut (but restoring) father of an intact teenage son, I can verify from 16+ years of research that the myths are exactly that: myths. But they don't die easily. Fortunately (if we are to believe the CDC), two thirds of American boys are staying intact. Education works. :)

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  23. Good for you for learning and growing! My first son was born in 2004 and I also assumed everyone had to be circumcised. Only by a happy accident of clicking on a link on a baby discussion board did I find out that some people did not do it, and so our son was spared. I feel for you, mama, and hope that you can forgive yourself and work through it.

    P.S. Your blog theme on Meg-isms is adorable!!!!

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  24. Woo Hoo, right on!!!

    I am the mother of an intact 4 year old!

    Thanks for posting, and getting the word out more!

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  25. thank you for your article- I too made the same horrifying mistake and allowed my eldest son to be circumcised. He's 19 now and I recently finally got up the courage to speak to him about it and apologize to him. My two younger sons- ages 3 and 7 months- are both intact. I speak out against MGM on my Blog (along with many other topics)- I'd like to repost your article in part on my blog with a link back to your site here. Let me know!
    Dani Arnold

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  26. Sorry- duh! I guess I should tell you the addy of my blog, eh?

    www.iinformedparenting.blogspot.com

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  27. mom of 4 intact sons...bravo for writing this!

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  28. Well written, Megan! I hope that your readers all pass this to many and many more expecting parents to help them to be more informed in making this decision.

    I know that you and Aaron are quite tortured by this, but I just know that Gavin will understand and forgive you, knowing your deep regret.

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  29. Thank you. I'm 5 months pregnant with my first, a little baby boy, and we will be leaving him as God intended. Thank you for your part in our decision.

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  30. So beautiful that you protected your second son from this procedure, I know that Gavin will understand you did what you did out of love because you were told it was what was best for him and I'm sure he will have a happy healthy relationship with his penis despite being circumcised. He is so blessed to have you for his mom and that you understand and are sorry for his circumcision, this is not the understanding or love that my husband was met with when he confronted his parents about his own circumcision. They couldn't have been more ambivolent and uncaring. His father said he thought foreskin was gross and believed he was doing the best thing for his child by cutting it off. His father is a lawyer and his only reasoning for foreskin amputation was that it was gross.

    My husband would have so appreciated having a loving mother like you who understood the ramifications of circumcision and apologized for choosing it for him. Your son is very blessed to have you be there for him about it though he probably won't care about it as much as you do because he will have had a healthy relationship with his penis whether or not it was circumcised his whole life already by the time you have a conversation about it.

    I had a homebirth and my power and instincts as a mother weren't constantly usurped like they are in the hospital by protocol and procedures. I believe that when a mother checks into the hospital she is forced to check her will at the door.

    Mothers lose touch with their instincts when the medical teams are making all the decisions about her baby and her body for her during labor. Then during postpartum she is still in that frame of mind when they tell her circumcision is good and best and she trusts them, it's not her fault in my opinion.

    It is like a parent giving their child cigarettes and saying it is good for them go ahead and do it and the child trusts them because they are the authority. The medical authorities in this country are saying it is good for babies despite the American Academy of Pediatrics saying there is no medical reason for routine male circumcision, so they are lying to us and it is not our fault as mothers and fathers, we have been lied to that this is what's best for our babies.

    Hopefully soon this will all stop as insurance carriers are refusing to cover this unnecessary procedure. It is not your fault! You were lied to. In the 40's people believed cigarettes were good for them and now we know better and the cigarette companies can't lie to us anymore. You were a victim of medical fraud and malpractice, they lied to you.

    If you were a jewish mother then you would have been lied to as well by your religious elders. Take comfort in that you are saving babies, and moms and dads from repeating this mistake.

    My husband had a nervous breakdown bc his parents reacted the way they did with defensiveness not because of the circumcision or the perfectly fine state of his penis, he would have been so grateful to have a mother like you who cared and understood what he was going through because she herself went through the mourning process. But he is better now and has a good relationship with his penis, he has his whole life. He is stretching out his foreskin for restoration and that has been healing for him to have covering. I was able to do for him what his mother didn't, by saying sorry and understanding.

    God bless and thank you for your intactivism. Also take comfort in knowing that because you are enlightened, your son's sons and all the future generations of your family will be intact, if this weren't the case it could have gone on for generations.

    Your son will forgive you because your husband forgave his parents and mine forgave his parents and now that we know better we are doing better!

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  31. I came across this post while searching the site, and I want to clarify something.

    The article said that Latter-day Saint women do not pierce their ears, and this is not true. Church leaders have said that one pair of earrings for women is an acceptable option, but more than one set is inappropriate, as are any other body piercings and tattoos. I think that because ear piercing for women is very common in our culture, one pair of earrings on a woman is not going to draw inappropriate attention to her body in a disrespectful way like other body modifications would.

    Circumcision is a completely different story, and I don't think it is okay to do it just because it is the norm in your culture. Great info on the LDS church and circumcision here: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/07/book-of-mormon-on-circumcision.html

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  32. Thank you. I completely understand why you would feel traumatized. I find it one of the most horrific things on the planet, made worse by people casually going about it as though it is not an utter horror.
    Protect the innocent babies. Thank you for your work.

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  33. I sure do wish I could have read this about 4.5 years ago, while pregnant with my son. I will forever remember that awful day in the hospital, how my poor son's penis looked after they were done... and how I cried & held him, and apologized. I was completely ignorant on the topic, and allowed it to be done. Now I wish I'd read more about it. I too hope more mothers read this while pregnant, or even before they become pregnant with their sons!

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  34. Just to clarify......The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a Christian faith (hence the name church of Jesus Christ.....), and also follows the Bible. The scripture reference in the Book of Mormon Moroni 8:8, regarding circumcision, does in fact, say it was done away in Christ, and is no longer a requirement. Still many LDS families choose to cut the genitals of their baby boys which is confusing. To me, "done" means finished, and "away" means gone, so I don't know where the disconnect is on that. The Bible (New Testament) and The Book of Mormon both have scriptures saying circumcision is over and done with and no longer necessary.

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  35. I am another mommy with circumcision guilt. I circ'd my older son. I was young and ignorant and went with the status quo. I SO wish I hadn't done that. I am glad you are sharing your story, it really does make a difference. ((((HUGS)))

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