My Beloved Son,
Before you were born I was already planning all the best things I knew I could do for you. I would try and ensure that you had a gentle birth. I would give you the milk from my breasts although I had no support from my family, because I knew this was best. I would love you with all my heart and protect you from harm.
I read every book I could find on pregnancy and natural child care. I soaked it all in like a sponge. The one thing that I could not find was accurate information on circumcision. My public library hadn’t a single book that mentioned anything negative about it. So I asked men that I knew what they thought was best. I asked both circumcised and intact men. Some said it was good that I was asking questions, some thought I was silly, but answered nonetheless. Surprisingly they all said that it was probably the best way to go. Even my own intact father. My brother had been circumcised. I talked with my doctor who explained that is was a quick, simple, painless procedure and there was nothing to worry about. It was just ‘routine.’ I believed at that point that I was informed. I was not.
When you were taken from me at the hospital and carried down the hallway to a 'sound proof' room something inside me started to panic. A million thoughts were swirling through my head all at once... and then I heard you scream. It was a sound unlike anything I had ever heard in my life.
The hair stood up on the back of my neck and my knees buckled. It felt like my heart was no longer beating and I could feel my face flush and tears start to fall down my cheeks. There was a knot in my gut and I wanted to vomit. I was shaking and I muttered, “Oh God what have I done?” A nurse, almost laughing, said to me, “Oh he’s okay honey, he’ll be just fine and he won’t remember a thing.” I grasped at that delusion for a moment, but I knew that I would never forget it. I would never be the same person again.
When they handed you back to me I could hardly breath. The look on your face was that of shock, pain and betrayal. I held you close to me and whispered through my tears, “Oh my God, I am so sorry. I am so sorry, I am so sorry...”
All the sparkle was gone from your eyes and I knew that I had been lied to. I felt so betrayed and confused. I felt such guilt for having hurt you this way. How could I have not instinctively known that this was wrong? How could everyone in my country, in the world, not instinctively know that this was wrong? Why didn’t even a single person ever say to me that you were perfect as you were and this pain was unnecessary. Or even mention pain at all? I was so full of hatred towards the doctors. They knew what they were doing, and they lied to me. They hurt you and thought nothing of it. I was so full of hatred toward myself for letting those bastards hurt you that way.
I made a choice that wasn't mine to make, one that I wasn't equipped to make, one that I should never have been allowed to make.
Every time I bathed you, changed your diaper, or let you run free, I was reminded of my own guilt, of my own culpability for your suffering. I felt so ashamed. So stupid. So gullible for having believed it was nothing serious.
I close my eyes and I still see the dazed look of confusion in your face. The sound of your screams are seared into my brain. Not a single day has gone by that my heart doesn’t hurt. I am scarred too. But the scars I bear are in my soul.
The more I learned, the angrier and more deeply hurt I became. Especially when I realized the extent of what was taken from you and that it would affect you for the rest of your life. That it would impact your sexuality and your relationships.
I started to tell other moms what it was like, what I had learned, and not to let this happen to their babies. I didn’t want any other babies to be hurt or any other mother to ever feel the way I feel. My pain is what drives me to do something to stop this insanity.
28 years later I am still talking to moms and dads, to grandparents, to anyone who will listen. I don’t ever want another mother to say they didn’t know, or ask why no one told them the truth before it was too late. I think one of the hardest realities a parent can ever face is knowing that their own ignorance caused their child harm.
I saved your brother from the suffering I put you through. He is whole and safe and happy. I protected him because I learned the ugly truth the hard way. At your expense. He is very grateful that I learned to do better.
There is nothing I wouldn’t give to go back and change things. But that isn’t possible, so I work hard to try and save other baby boys from suffering needlessly as you did. I talk and talk and talk so that no other boy will be robbed of his right to a whole body.
So my darling son, I say this to you: I love you now as I have loved you always. I hope you can forgive me for what I didn’t know.
To read more from other parents, or join with moms and dads keeping future sons intact, see I Circumcised My Son: Healing From Regret
Resources on the prepuce organ (foreskin), intact care and circumcision are cataloged in Are You Fully Informed?
Write to Lauren at email@example.com. Lauren is happy to provide an info pack of materials to expecting parents who wish to look into this subject before the birth of their baby. If you are a birth or pediatrics practitioner or educator, you can also request an info pack here to share with clients.
Jan 2012 Note from the Editor:
Lauren and her children have fallen on really hard times. They are currently without a home and staying at a hotel. Because she has done so very much, for so many people, we would love to be able to help out just a little during this rough patch. If you would like to give something to Lauren and her kids, it will go a long way in the lives of these beautiful people.
I am very grateful that God gave me two beautiful healthy girls. If our first had been a boy, she likely would have been circumised. I instinctually knew it was wrong, but wasn't educated enough at that point to fight against it too much. When I was pregnant with our second, I did A LOT of research. You see, we didn't find out what we were having either time. That decision was very stressful for me because I was so worried about what would happen if I gave birth to a boy. My husband and I did not agree on the circumcision issue. When I was pg with #2, I tried to share with him what I had learned - sending him links via email, leaving literature in the bathroom, etc. All he kept saying was that his penis would look like an anteater. That and the typical, "Well I was circumcised and I'm fine." Uh-huh. I also interviewed some men, both circumcised and intact, as well as a woman who was married to a circumcised man and later an intact man. There wasn't even an ounce of doubt in my mind about the issue. It was not our decision to make. It would be our son's eventual decision (if we were to have a son). I explained, pleaded, and finally warned. IF my husband insisted that we got "him" circumcised, I would never forgive him. Although that might not have been the way to go, it was my last attempt at saving my possible son. It worked. The deal was I had to promise to change most of the diapers and *I* was the one who had to explain to him "why his penis looked like an anteater." Fine. Deal. Whatever. Although we had come to an agreement of sorts, I knew that it would still be a stressor in our lives; but it was a chance I was willing to take. I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I was when #2 was born and we found out that she was a girl! Whew! Saved by the vagina! (Can I get an amen, sistahs?)ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for posting this. It made me emotional because it is so much like my story. I didn't know enough until it was too late and my son paid for my ignorance. If I could take back any ONE choice I've made, that would be it. And I've made some bad choices in life!ReplyDelete
We just welcomed a second son 3 months ago. Even though my husband knew I could never ever circumcise another child, he still questioned (1 hour after birth!) whether we should do it so my older son wouldn't feel different. All I could say was "NO. I couldn't do that to him. He's perfect." Luckily the question didn't upset me in my post-delivery glow. He might as well have asked me if we should give the baby a tattoo for as absurd as it seemed!
I hope my older son will forgive me when he's older...
Danelle, THANK YOU for posting the letter. I hope that it will let grieving Moms know that they are not alone in their feelings. And mostly that some Mom who is considering circucision may read this and think again. Knowing that you made a mistake that hurt your child, a child that you deeply love, is a weight on a Mother's heart forever.ReplyDelete
It's sad @Anonymous in the above post that men are in such denial and/or know so little about normal male anatomy that they would want to circumcise their own sons.
My young son doesn't look like an ant eater. He looks like a normal healthy boy. Just the way he should look. He's very happy that I learned to do better and didn't let anyone "do that terrible thing" to him.
Thanks Lauren for sharing. I know that for many men, a sincere apology and involvement in this cause would have been significant.ReplyDelete
Why not sue the hospital and doctors for not providing informed consent?ReplyDelete
This made me very emotional. I was lucky and I did not circ either of my sons. But it wasn't for the right reasons. I didn't do it, because I thought it was wrong. At that point I really still thought it was my choice to make. I was never given truthful info. on it. I was made to feel like crap about it from the dr's, some family, many outspoken friends. My best friend said that he would look like an animal. I stood my ground though, I kept them whole. Now years later, with my sons safe, I am now finding out how awful this is. I can't stand it. I hate that mom's are told right out lies at such an emotional time, by caregivers she trusts. I really feel for you. I am certain your son will understand and forgive you.ReplyDelete
I wish my Husband would come around to my side if we have a boy next. I am VERY anti-circ but he is very pro because he thinks it's normal and he is. I think I will have to fight HARD to not circ if we have a Son but after reading this I can't see myself not fighting. You sound a lot like the kind of parent I am and I know I would regret it.ReplyDelete
WOW, thank you so much for posting this...I felt bad that i didnt get my son circumsized until i read this. Thank youReplyDelete
thank you so much for sharing your story. Tears stream down my face because I can feel that knot in my stomach and that heartache you feel, not because i went through it with my son.. but because i know every second this is being done to a innocent little boy and a mother is hurting as well thinking they are doing the right thing. when will the insanity end!ReplyDelete
you know how much a mm of foreskin is worth??? i doubt it will end anytime soon, these sick bastards mutilating these boys and making a dime on it. Stand your ground ladies, for all those who do not have a voice.
This is a really powerful letter. Thank you for sharing it. I don't have a son, but if my next child is a boy, I know the decision I will make. (Or not make, really.)ReplyDelete
As an uneducated 17 year old, I agreed to have my older son circumcised. I knew much more when my younger son was born, and he is whole. My stomach turns EVERY TIME I think about them mutilating my newborn's penis. Why is this not a part of sex ed in schools? What did they do with my son's foreskin? Ugh =(ReplyDelete
As Mothers our primary responsibility is to protect our children. We must be strong enough to that against all odds. Against husbands, boyfriends, family members or friends who unwittingly urge or even pressure us into harming our precious babies. A child is a gift, a joy, whether a boy or girl. How hard would you fight to keep someone from cutting your Daughter's body? We have to fight just that hard to protect our sons too. ALL children have the basic human right to a WHOLE BODY.ReplyDelete
My husband is circumcised, and he told me that his mom heard his screams (she wasn't in the room) and instantly regretted agreeing to it. He wouldn't be surprised if his younger brothers aren't circumcised (so much for the matchey-matchey argument). I get angry thinking about it, but I have to remember that it was the norm then and my MIL just didn't know any better.ReplyDelete
He was kind of pro-circ when we were first married, and I didn't have an opinion on the matter. But then I started reading things, and decided that I never wanted to do that to any sons born to us. My husband was skeptical at first, but then I told him what the procedure entailed, and he was outraged (specifically the strapping baby down part). "No son of ours will go through that!" he declared. Yes, I have the best husband ever.
I just don't understand why a parent would let their child go through so much pain if it could totally be prevented and the child would be perfectly fine for not going through it. I just can't wrap my mind around it.
Such a powerful letter. I feel so connected to the writer. Our first son was circumcised and I deeply regret it. I wish I had known more... We are pregnant with our second son. After weeks and weeks of intense discussion I finally convinced my husband to allow our next son to remain intact. It's worth fighting for. Amen!ReplyDelete
I feel like i could have written this letter. I totally understand. My oldest son was circumcised due to my and my husbands ignorance and he had complications too. It is something i live with daily, but more importantly so does my son. My youngest son is thankfully intact. Interestingly enough i had to convince my husband to keep our youngest intact even though our oldest had complications. HE along with so many, are brainwashed - so immensely brainwashed that a complication doesn't push a person in the other direction right away...how sad.ReplyDelete
When pregnant with our first child, my husband (who is circumcised) supported circumcision, at the time I hadn't done too much research but knew it felt wrong in my gut, luckily we had a girl. With the second pregnancy, we found out we were having a boy. At this point I had done a lot of research and KNEW I would fight to keep him intact if I had to. My husband still thought circumcision was completely normal. As the due date approached, I calmly sat down with him and explained my reasons: that it was permanently altering our sons body without his permission, that it was excruciating, that the foreskin was a completely healthy and functioning piece of tissue, that the American Academy of Pediatrics did not support routine circumcision, I went on and on. He didn't say anything, merely listened. He's the kind of guy who likes to do his own research. I wasn't sure if I had gotten through. When I went into labor, it was a really quick birth, the nurse asked us in haste if we had planned on circumcising our son, and my husband replied with a resounding "NO". I was relieved beyond belief. Later he told me that the only concrete reasons that he could find for circumcising were religious and social. "F' that" were his exact words!! PHEW!! Now my son is almost 2, and I am an ACTIVE INTACTIVIST, educating my friends and anyone who will listen. I read your story and weep, realizing how close I was to living what you described. I wish I could hug you and reassure you that your son feels your love. :)ReplyDelete
i just cried.ReplyDelete
im circumcised and it made me an alcoholic
i wish my mom wrote this
Thank you for writing this letter. Even though you're not my mother it somehow makes me feel better as a circumcised man. As someone said in a previous comment, "A sincere apology goes a long way." I think you make an important point that this was a choice you shouldn't have been allowed to make. Many parents make this mistake because of being misinformed or completely uninformed at all. Doctors, on the other hand, are taught to "first do no harm." Circumcision is abundantly harmful and thus violates their own ethical code. It is unneccessary surgery performed without the consent of the victim. No ethical doctor should be willing to perform a circumcision regardless of what the parents believe.ReplyDelete
oh boy, I read your letter, I cried . . . I read the comments, I cried more. You have already saved some baby boys. God Bless YOU!ReplyDelete
I just read your letter with tears in my eyes. I too, circumcised my first son, and I regret it so much today. If we have any future sons, they will not be circumcised. I am just terribly sad that we had to learn too late to protect our firstborn. :(ReplyDelete
I am confused! what is wrong with having a boy circumcised?ReplyDelete
A boy needs his penis intact, and he doesn't need most of the natural strongly attached protective skin scissored off.Delete
That should not be confusing.
Everything is wrong with circumcision. Its a violation to our sons rights to their own body. His body, his choice. There is not 1 proven medical benefit worth the mass circumcision of all males. It decreases sexual pleasure. Not to mention most doctors dont use enough pain management.ReplyDelete
How can you be confused? It is very simple--HIS body, HIS choice.ReplyDelete
To the author, thank you for writing your story. You are very much not alone as you can see.
There is nothing "normal" about circumcision.
I have been blessed w three lovely girls. Each pregnancy my husband and I discuss if it should be a boy will we circ. Each time....because of great women w loud voices...we decide firmly NO WAY would we circ. But we always made the decisiin based on evidence in paper form. Yesterday we sat w my phone and watched the vids u have linked on ur blog. I had to force myself to watch. I cried. I skirmed in my chair. I felt as if I had watched some sort of perverted sick film of someone being tortured. But I watched because someone accused me of thinking I was superior because of my anti circ stance. I needed affirmation. Woah. They can call me names anyday. I am going to continue being a loud voice. And just because I dont have boys doesnt matter. I have girls that will one day be moms...possibly to boys.ReplyDelete
If being against circumcision is 'wrong', then I don't want to be 'right'. I'm so glad I looked into circumcision so I never would have to write a letter like that to my son. It's one thing to be lied to by doctors and think that it's 'best' for your child, but it's another to have the information right in front of you and do it anyway. If you can't be strong and hold up against any people who are fighting you saying you should circumcise your kid, then you are going to have a tough time all around defending your kid against anything. Circumcision is child sexual abuse, just because it's done by a doctor or a religious 'person' doesn't make it 'right'! Does anyone think that pedophilia should be in religion so then it would be made 'okay', because the religion said it was 'okay'? No. Sexual abuse of children is already outlawed, but not enforced.ReplyDelete
Lauren asked men their opinions about an elective procedure that injures babies and they all agreed cutting the child was the right thing to do. How disturbing is that? This penis reducing surgery should never be brought up to a mother during the birth of her son at all. A newborns penis is none of anybodys business but his. His little penis has nothing to do with diseases, infections, cleanliness, appearance or some fools opinion. A baby clearly objects and to this assault on his healthy foreskin (they have no right to touch him, it is as criminal as forcing any other harm on a person no matter who consents to it. Lauren is right, no one in this world should have been willing to do such to her brand new baby. Obviously the fact so many of the males Lauren talked to wanted the violence perpetuated,she was around a bad emotionally damaged breed of people who don't care about younger peoples lives or experiences, no matter how brutal, which routinely cutting a protesting infant certainly is, or in other words, there must be a lot of males lacking compassion or hoping the violence inflicted upon them continues on younger males a type of weird anti-social vindictiveness. She is lucky she escaped them if she did. From the fact donations are being taken because Lauren has fallen on hard times (with all those males around she refered to in her letter, tells me she did not have a male worth being around in her life, or did they die? I hope so if they don't care about the future of babies in the US. Most women with men around in a normal working society are not fending for themselves. So this tells me that if a man says to reduce the size of your babys manhood, hes ignorant, uninformed or a skunk and women better look out because those men are not worthwhile but harbor animosity and breed stupidy. On the other hand If a man says hell no, don't touch that childs genitals with anything but a wet wipe, he's a decent man, as are most guys. Lauren was surrounded by skunks but she still managed to save one son from this enigmatic iatrogenic fate. Such a great human lessoon learned here about whether you can trust a person. I say put an end to all cutting NEVER CUT ANY BABYS GENITALS FOR ANY REASON NO NO NO, not necessary and save the babies from THE MASSES OF knife and wallet weilding assholes who don't care if your kid lives or dies as long as they get their $$$$.ReplyDelete
I am English, circumcisions are not done here unless necessary or for religious reasons so both of my sons are intact.ReplyDelete
So glad to be English I've just had a beautiful baby boy who was in special care from birth to day 6 so to put him through unnecessary trauma too is unthinkable. I can't believe it is practically forced on mums in other countries.ReplyDelete
This moved me to tears mama. I am filled with deep emotion and compassion. For my husband and I, it was never a question of not circumcising. The more I read about it, the more I want to share the facts with expecting parents. It's horrific to me that this continues to go on, especially in countries that consider female circumcision to be horrific and outlawed. It's beyond me why we continue to mutilate little boys without question. My heart goes out to you, and all the baby boys out there who undergo this procedure.ReplyDelete
I was circumcised when I was one HOUR old. I was taken away from my Mother for the first three days of my life when they performed a serious operation on my penis in an attempt to repair the damage. I very nearly died from blood loss and other complications, but my medical notes were very brief. The notes were written 41 years ago. I realised at a about the age of eight years, that I was different from everyone else. My penis had been de-nuded of all of it's skin and for the next 11 years I became more and more worried about it. Most of my penis was buried inside my scrotum. What was not inside me, was very badly scarred. I had been butchered. My first visit to the Doctor at nineteen years was not successful. He told me that it was a very aggressive circumcision and nothing really could be done. The anxiety and depression has been with me for all of my life. To date I have had nine operations on my genital area. I have had massive skin grafts, arteries transplanted and I still have the remains of my original penis which tripled in size after it was released from my scrotum. I am not alone with my circumcision mutilation and if the Doctor Beaston was still alive I would kill him. There are many blogs regarding circumcision, but few of them actually let on as to what circumcision is or what is defined by 'a circumcision' .To me, circumcision is the amputation of any part or all of the penis. Most circumcisions remove some or all of the foreskin. My circumcision took away all of my entire penile skin along with gouges cut from the shaft and a badly scarred glans. Why, why, why is this practice not banned. There was nothing wrong with my penis when I was born. If you have a baby son DO NOT ever get him cut up. I am European and things over here are completely different from the USA. About 2% of the adult males here are cut up. The other 98% just do not understand why anyone would want to get part of their penis cut off. Please leave your sons intact and let them decide if they want the chop when they are of age. Thank you for reading this. TCReplyDelete
I felt that way when my son was born.. hearing the screams of a child also in the nursery only seperated by one of those curtains in the hospital made my heart break yes they don't remeber the pain but like with your situation look these things can happen and it is a COSMETIC PROCEDURE NOTHING ELSE PLEASE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE PEOPLE it was not my choice to make when he gets older he can decide for himself he is almost 12 now and I do not regret it it made it through diapers and potty training just fine :)Delete
Thank you for writing this letter. You will help parents to do the right decision and to keep their son intact.ReplyDelete
Circumcision reduces the sensitivity of the male organ by almost 50%.
"Neurologically, the most specialized pressure-sensitive cells in the human body are Meissner’s corpuscles for localized light touch and fast touch, Merkel’s disc cells for light pressure and tactile form and texture, Ruffini’s corpuscles for slow sustained pressure, deep skin tension, stretch, flutter and slip, and Pacinian corpuscles for deep touch and detection of rapid external vibrations. They are found only in the tongue, lips, palms, fingertips, nipples, and the clitoris and the crests of the ridged band at the tip of the male foreskin. These remarkable cells process tens of thousands of information impulses per second and can sense texture, stretch, and vibration/movement at the micrometre level. These are the cells that allow blind people to “see” Braille with their fingertips. Cut them off and, male or female, it’s like trying to read Braille with your elbow." Gary Harryman
mind boggling that this barbaric practice continues. to me, but not to my son. not to my son! he will grow up without the physical or psychological scars. We welcomed him like a prince, not a slave.ReplyDelete
Culture is not your friend.
get free of it and hear your own divine voice. apart from influence(authority) you would never hurt your son.
I have not spoken to my mother in twenty six years because of this happening to me. i figured out what happened to me when I was about 7 or 8 yrs old. i'm 43 now, i've not spoken to her since I was 17 and left home. i tried many times to forgive her. I can'tReplyDelete
Circumcision is a horrible thing. It is done due to ignorance and social illusion of routine and pressure to conform. I have discussed with cut men and most don't reveal their respective upset as a.) it's too late to fix the damage that can not be undone and B.) they are uncomfortable declaring their grief to their parents years after the fact (after all it take years for the "delayed discovery" of the truth to surface from this past infant event... As a side, I am a gay man and after "comparing" sexual functionality between cut and intact, the intact penis is clearly a superior functioning organ than a mutilated one, that has it's protective qualities removed. Guys cut at birth also lack any experience to "compare too". Just read how many adult males cut in adult hood regret it after sexual sensation decline... Common sense also shows that mother nature provides "protection" to bodily sensors like ears, eyes, tongue, clitoris and male glans. If you remove it you destroy: a mechanical lubricating layer, 20,000 pleasure nerve endings and protection of the glans to name just a few. How about we chop off you clitoral hood at birth and see how that affects your functionality ladies ?ReplyDelete