British Medical Association Urged to Ban Infant Circumcision

Report via Health Matters UK

The British Medical Association was urged at its annual meeting this past week to deliberate over the banning of unnecessary male circumcision (1) after another baby bled to death in Queens Park, London.

The tragic case of 28 day old Angelo Ofori-Mintah (2) is the latest in string of deaths and injuries that have prompted some doctors to call for the laws that protect girls from unnecessary genital cutting to be extended to protect boys.

The news of Angelo’s death came in the same week that The British Association for Community Child Health reported in its quarterly newsletter that a baby boy’s skull was fractured during a ritual circumcision performed on a kitchen table in Bristol. (3) Now Dr. Antony Lempert, GP and Director of the Secular Medical Forum, will be calling on the BMA to debate the banning of non-therapeutic circumcision in the UK at the start of its annual meeting. (4)

Other cases that have helped push the issue up the agenda include the case of a Salford midwife who will be tried for manslaughter later this year after a boy she circumcised bled to death (5), and a report in The Journal of Public Health that found that nearly 1 in 2 Muslim boys circumcised in an Islamic school in Oxford ended up with medical complications. (6)

There is currently a growing demand across Northern Europe to outlaw the practice with the junior party in Norway’s coalition government calling for a ban (7) earlier this month and medical associations in Sweden and The Netherlands also opposing the practice.

Britain’s leading anti-circumcision charity, NORM UK, is heading for Rotterdam next week for an international conference on The Doctor And The Foreskin (subtitled Circumcision: forbid, deter or encourage?) (8)

The Campaign To End Unnecessary Male Circumcision estimates that more than half a million boys living in the UK will be subjected to medically unnecessary circumcision before their 16th birthday. (9)

And the anti-circumcision movement is growing in the UK with campaigners from the group Men Do Complain who protested outside the British Medical Association’s Annual Representatives Meeting in Bournemouth this year. (10)

The campaign founder, Richard Dunkcer, says they protested because “cutting the genitals of healthy boys who cannot consent is profoundly unethical.” Another group, Genital Autonomy, is planning a mini-conference in at Keele University in July to bring together leading experts and practioners to debate “How Can We Prevent Unnecessary Male Circumcision.” (11)

Related Reading and Resources at: 

Death From Circumcision 

Are You Fully Informed? 














Rosie the Riveter: Breastfeeding, Babywearing Momma!

When Andrea, of Strawberry Mohawk, snapped a few babywearing and breastfeeding photos of herself as Rosie the Riveter with her adorable little 5 month old bundle, we knew they'd be a hit among peaceful parenting moms and advocates everywhere. Andrea is fun and fresh and we adore her gorgeous photography and her empowering, positive take on raising strong girls and supporting women in all their magnificent endeavors. Primal mothering - informed and consciously chosen, equipped and supported - is another key issue in women's rights and women's lives today.

You can read Andrea's homebirth story here, and visit her original We Can Do It! post inspired by Rosie. Andrea said she snapped the nursing Rosie shot "for all my fellow breastfeeding moms out there struggling with our nursing rights and image." YOU can do it!

 Breastfeeding Rosie the Riveter 

Babywearing Rosie the Riveter


If This Stained Circumstraint Could Talk...

This antiseptic stained circumstraint is currently in use in a large U.S. hospital and looks very typical of those used daily. The photograph was taken by a nurse and advocate with Saving Our Sons. This morning, as you gaze upon its image, there will be 5-6 baby boys strapped to it as their penis is cut apart for no medical reason. Every day it is the same - sealing the tragic fate of another handful of perfect, newborn babies who were born the previous day.

Between uses, it is stored in the nursery closet - far out of the sight of new parents. 'Nurse SOS' writes:

Parents don't see this sickening thing and I wish they could - it is like something out of a horror movie. Parents are told that the babies barely notice and sometimes don't cry at all - this is an absolute blatant lie. They are also told that pain relief will be provided, but are never informed that all the 'pain relief' babies receive is an infant's Tylenol and a pacifier dipped in sugar water. 

An hour before circumcision, babies are denied any breastfeeding (or formula) so they do not vomit and choke when they scream. So sometimes they are already crying and upset before they are taken to be cut because they are so hungry. Babies are returned to their parents when they have passed out and they will not wake up to eat for many hours after circumcision. When they do wake, they are immensely hungry and in terrible pain. 

I could go on and on... It is the worst part of my job as a pediatric nurse by far. And it happens every single morning.

Timeline banner you are welcome to use. Find additional intact advocacy banners here


My Dad's Hands

My Dad's Hands 

Bedtime came, we were settling down, 
I was holding one of my lads. 
As I grasped him so tight, I saw a strange sight: 
My hands... they looked like my dad's! 

I remember them well, those old gnarled hooks,
there was always a cracked nail or two.
And thanks to a hammer that strayed from its mark,
his thumb was a beautiful blue! 

They were rough, I remember, incredibly tough,
as strong as a carpenter's vice.
But holding a scared little boy at night, 
they seemed to me awfully nice! 

The sight of those hands - how impressive it was
in the eyes of his little boy. 
Other dads' hands were cleaner, it seemed
(the effects of their office employ). 

I gave little thought in my formative years
of the reason for Dad's raspy mitts:
The love in the toil, the dirt and the oil,
rusty plumbing that gave those hands fits! 

Thinking back, misty-eyed, and thinking ahead,
when one day my time is done.
The torch of love in my own wrinkled hands
will pass on to the hands of my son. 

I don't mind the bruises, the scars here and there
or the hammer that just seemed to slip.
I want most of all when my son takes my hand,
to feel that love lies in my grip. 

~ David Kettler


My Dad

My Dad

When I was just a tiny kid, 
Do you remember when...
The times you kissed my bruises,
Or cleaned my soiled chin?

You scrambled for the balls I hit,
(Short-winded more than not).
Yet, every time we'd play a game,
You praised the 'outs' I caught.

It seems like only yesterday,
You wiped away my tears.
And late at night I called your name,
To chase away my fears.

Though time has changed your handsome grip,
Your hair is snowy white,
Your gait's a little slower now,
And thick glasses help your sight.

Oh, do I thirst for years gone by,
To be that growing lad...
Re-living all the memories
Of time spent with my dad. 

Author Unknown


Arriving to Your Circumcision in a Remote Control Car

By John Grantly

"...who said that getting your privates cut could be so much fun?" writes Ryan Lexer at Car Buzz in an article that lit up my email this Father's Day morning. I was glancing over incoming mail briefly as my own (intact) son climbed over on top of me and eagerly announced, "Daddy, it's time to go play!" I had to shake off my a bit of the horror before I took his hand to go. That someone would make such a party over something I feel was sexual assault upon my own body 34 years ago this month is almost too much for me to stomach. Fireworks. Bongos. Music. Dancing. Thumbs-up. Laughter. And baby arriving in a remote control car to have his penis cut apart.

I am fully aware that there are some who believe all forms of forced genital cutting on boys and girls are wrong except for those done for parents' 'religious reasons.' I take a difference stance. I feel that my right to practice my religion ends where another's body begins. My right to practice my faith only extends to the edges of another human beings' basic human rights. And this includes the rights of the innocent - those who are not otherwise able to defend themselves - my own baby included.

I took a deep breath, hit 'Forward' to a few Jewish friends to get their take on the whole thing, and hugged my son a little tighter as we ran outside to play.


The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Circumcision

Genital cutting ('circumcision') can have a dramatic impact on successful breastfeeding, as can other forms of trauma in the first days, weeks and months of human life. An especially crucial time for mother/baby bonding and secure attachment development (instinctual and important for normal health, and contributing to mother's milk production and baby's suckling/feeding habits) is the first month of life. During this time it is paramount to protect baby from any and all unnecessary pain, stress and traumatic events. There are, of course, times when medical necessity wins out over baby's need for security, protection and avoidance of pain; circumcision, however, is not one of those times.

We receive a significantly large volume of mail from mothers who notice that their baby feeds differently (or no longer wants to nurse at all) post-circumcision. Those who note the most significant change are often mothers who dearly wish to breastfeed, but find they are returned with a baby who is "completely different - not himself" after genital cutting. Too often mothers ponder with tear-filled eyes, "Why didn't anyone tell me this could happen?"

And this is a justifiable question to ask. After all, we have mountains of literature and research on the science of human lactation and on intact care and circumcision. We know what factors lead to the most probable successful outcome of breastfeeding (and secure attachment), and we know which factors present a risk to successful breastfeeding, or increase failure to thrive potential. Genital cutting (on female or male babies) is one significant risk factor.

So powerful is the detrimental effect of circumcision on breastfeeding that many state hospitals (especially in the Western and some Southern U.S. states) have made the move to not allow circumcision to take place in the first week(s) post-birth. Instead, if a parent elects to surgically amputate the prepuce organ from their baby's body, they must schedule the surgery for a later date. Lactation consultants working within these hospitals have stated that failure to thrive rates decrease when genital cutting decreases. We've seen in other hospital records that the number of babies who suffer from failure to thrive and feeding complications (as well as parent-reported cases of 'colic' and overall agitation/fussiness) are positively correlated with two things: (1) male sex and (2) being circumcised.

If parental and professional observation exposes the realities of the circumcision / breastfeeding troubles connection; if research supports such notations; if hospital records and lactation consultants' cases reinforce the realities of it all; and if we have the resources to provide expecting mothers with all available information on the topic, why are we not doing so?

This was not always the case. Genital cutting began in the United States in an effort to curtail masturbation among boys and reduce sexual 'promiscuity' among men who were serving overseas. It was a failed attempt (promoted and pushed by Drs. Kellogg and Graham) but one that was so flooded within media at the time, that it seeped into our every day lives in birthing units around the nation by the 1950s/60s. Many baby boys born at the time were cut before their mothers even held them as perfect, whole babies, or had a chance to say, "No" to circumcision. However, thanks in part to the feminist movement of the 1960s/70s, women started to wake up to the realities of birth and what was happening to them - to their bodies - and to the bodies of their babies. Nurses and other medical professionals began speaking up to expose the old lie that "babies don't feel pain" and as the natural birth movement took hold, women who were awake and conscious for their births and first breastfeeding days began to question circumcision and see first hand how it changed their babies.

Newspaper and magazine articles, as well as books began to be published on the subject of circumcision, and in 1985 The National Organization of Circumcision Resource Centers (NOCIRC) was founded by Marilyn Milos, R.N., in California.

La Leche League International (LLLI) started its efforts in the latter half of the 1950s, and quickly became a trusted resource and refuge for nursing mothers and their babies. Several early authors seem to have been in-the-know on the harmful effect that genital cutting can have on breastfeeding, because cautions were in place in the early editions of La Leche League International's first book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Prior to any national organizations gathering information on circumcision, LLLI had 'Circumcision' indexed in the text of its early editions:

When reading the books, expecting mothers learned that (1) circumcision is painful and unnecessary, (2) circumcision is an optional surgery that need never happen, (3) circumcision, even if chosen, can be done at a later date so as not to impair breastfeeding, (4) circumcision can harm bonding between mother and baby, and (5) additional academic resources are available to learn more about the realities of circumcision.

Although factually flawed in some information presented at the time (eg. there is zero medical evidence that supports the myth that a baby is less likely to hemorrhage at 8 days old versus any other time in the newborn's life as coagulation and clotting factors develop slowly over the first 6-12 months of a baby's life and prothrombin levels are at <80% throughout childhood), the following is an excerpt from the 1981 edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. (1) 

If you are going to be in the hospital anyway for the birth of your baby, you or you doctor may suggest that you have some other medical matter attended to. Examples of elective surgery for the mother include stripping the legs of varicose veins or tying the fallopian tubes (tubal ligation). As for the baby, it may be considered almost routine to circumcise boy babies when they are only a few hours or days old. But circumcision is an elective surgery and you have a choice of whether or not to have your baby circumcised. You can also choose to wait a while before having this done. We bring these subjects up because, physically and emotionally, these procedures all take their toll on mother and child. Since they represent elective surgery, their appropriateness at this critical time must be questioned.  
Circumcision is as painful a procedure to a newborn as it is to an adult. As a religious rite, circumcision is not performed until the baby is eight days old, when he is less apt to hemorrhage. The reasons given in the past for non-religious, almost routine circumcision of the newborn were generally hygienic and are no longer accepted by many physicians and parents. If you're interested in learning more about this subject, see the Book List at the end of this book.* 
The most important reason for siding against elective surgery following childbirth is that it interferes with a mother and her new baby being together and getting to know each other. While a mother may feel very good following the birth of her baby, her body nevertheless has some recovering to do. Adding the strain of recovering from a surgical procedure might lessen her enjoyment of these early days with her baby. 
In regard to tubal ligation, there can often be an unexpected emotional reaction in the mother. When it dawns on her that the baby in her arms is her last, there may be feelings of deep sadness. It might become difficult for her to keep a normal perspective on her mothering of this baby. She may become exceedingly anxious about doing everything just right.
Whatever the inconvenience you may experience by postponing such operations for you or your baby, it is slight compared to the upheaval such surgery can cause in your life at this time.
*At the end of the 1981 edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Edward Wallerstein's scholarly text, Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy (1980) was listed in the Book List as a recommended resource. Today, there are many more well referenced books available on the study of circumcision and its detriments, and the intact body and healthy purposes of the prepuce organ ('foreskin' or 'clitoral hood'). Research on the subject is far from lacking, which would indicate the availability to provide The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding readers with more, rather than less, resources for further research.

Unfortunately, with the subsequent edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (1987), any mention of circumcision was omitted from the text. It was dropped from the index, and this section on elective surgery was removed. However, sections before and after this portion of the text remain somewhat similar, even into the 5th Edition (1991) suggesting the removal was deliberate.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is now in its 8th edition (2010). Despite the fact that we now know more than ever about infant pain experience, neurological wellbeing, development and feeding as they pertain to the newborn period, over 30 years later information on circumcision's powerful potential detriment to successful breastfeeding has yet to be re-included in the LLLI text.

In response to this absence of information that breastfeeding women deserve to have before their babies are born, a petition was started by one Canadian mother and breastfeeding advocate (not affiliated with in any manner) urging La Leche League International to once again include said information. You can view and sign the petition here. 

Replying to this petition, Diana West, IBCLC, La Leche League Leader and co-author of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding 8th Edition, writes via, "I want to address the breastfeeding community directly about this petition." She continues: 
First, those supporting the petition are absolutely right that there are medical and psychological consequences to circumcision that clearly have the potential to negatively affect breastfeeding simply because most circumcisions are performed in the first week when breastfeeding is particularly vulnerable and research has clearly shown that pain negatively affects breastfeeding.  
I haven't yet dug into the research -- is there any particular to this issue? If so send to me at -- But pain from circumcision is documented as an impediment to effective breastfeeding in Nancy Mohrbacher's excellent textbook, Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple (2010, Hale Publishing, page 114t, 116). So for this reason, I and my co-authors Diane Wiessinger and Teresa Pitman, absolutely agree that it should have been included in the 8th edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  
So why wasn't it? 
No conspiracy here. We simply (to our shame) did not think of it. As you can see from the size of the book, we tried to include every single thing we possibly could think of, but that one honestly just slipped by us. We are really very, very human authors (just ask our families!). Also, Nancy's book was published at the exact same time as ours, so we didn't have it as a reference when we were in the writing stage.  
We, of course, completely understand that mentioning circumcision in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding could be construed as mixing causes, but in light of the new documented information we now have about the negative effects of circumcision on breastfeeding, we absolutely will include it in the next edition if we are the authors, framing the discussion in terms of the documented medical and psychology contraindications in the context of breastfeeding FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO CIRCUMCISE FOR NON-RELIGIOUS REASONS so as to avoid mixing causes.  
It would not be our intention to comment on religious circumcision, but only on the objective effect of the procedure relative to breastfeeding when it is done for reasons OTHER than religious. So please forgive us for not mentioning this important issue in the 8th edition. It was really just a human error and we are very sorry for it.  
Thankfully, there will always be future editions of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, because it is a uniquely "living" and ever-evolving book, so we'll absolutely have an opportunity to fix this oversight. In the meantime, if there are other changes that you'd like to see, feel free to send them to me at We can't promise all issues will be so easy to fix, or that we'll agree with every suggestion, but we absolutely want to hear your thoughts and ideas.  
Finally, we want you to know that we appreciate the support of the breastfeeding community more than we can express. Your warm reception of our complete re-write of this revered breastfeeding icon has been so touching to each of the three of us. We thank you all for your passion and dedication to helping breastfeeding mothers and babies. Together, we'll build even better resources for future mothers. 
Diana West, IBCLC 
La Leche League Leader
We appreciate West's response to the present absence of information in LLLI's primary text, and hope to see it re-included in future editions. However, we do also wish to note that all babies, female and male, regardless of their parent's chosen faith, are born into this world equally deserving of genital autonomy and fully informed mothers. The implications of circumcision upon a newborn and his breastfeeding success do not only apply to those cutting for one reason versus another. My right to practice my religion ends where another human being's body/rights/wellbeing start -- and this applies to the stranger down the street as well as to the baby in my home. My success in breastfeeding, and the detriments that circumcision may have upon this success, are not nullified as a result of my faith.

Because religion has surfaced (and has been suggested by some to be the reason that circumcision 'disappeared' from LLLI's texts in the first place), and because it seems to be the pivotal point upon which people become uncomfortable in their ability to educate openly and honestly about circumcision and breastfeeding, it is important to highlight the fact that Jewish mothers are just as deserving of information as are mothers of any other faith. What we do with this information is up to each of us. And in fact, there is an ever growing population of Jewish parents and professionals speaking up in favor of genital autonomy for their own sons, and making powerful, compelling points along the way. See:

Judaism and Circumcision Resources
Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective
Circumcision: Identity, Gender and Power
Jewish Circumcision Resource Center
Jews Against Circumcision
Beyond The Bris
The Intactivist Movement Within Judaism
Faith Considerations on Circumcision (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)

Why shouldn't a new, young, Jewish mother know that circumcision may be detrimental to her breastfeeding relationship, and that she has the option of a Brit Shalom instead of a Brit Milah? Is there any danger that comes in offering up a whole host of options (and research based, medical truths) as they pertain to breastfeeding?

If this is going to be the one area that causes an overall silencing of circumcision / breastfeeding discourse, then let's at least allow for the discussion and voices from within Judaism. There are many to be heard and listened to today. We would, of course, encourage the inclusion of medical and research-based information on genital cutting's impact on breastfeeding in future editions of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. But we'd also suggest that authors dive into some of the cultural happenings in related areas as well -- don't assume that all Jewish mothers do not also want (and deserve) this information. There are some of us who are thankful to have had it in our decision making and early mothering days.

Nancy Mohrbacher's comprehensive texts Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple and Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple (Pocket Guide), as mentioned by West in her response, contain information on circumcision's detrimental impact on the breastfeeding relationship. Mohrbacher is also co-author of the excellent book, Breastfeeding Made Simple -- a book that we highly recommend new nursing moms read before their baby's birth day. It is a superb text to use in understanding breastfeeding and baby basics, as well as to proactively ward off problems and to work through issues and concerns that sometimes surface.

Another book that discusses the implications of circumcision on breastfeeding, specific to multiples, is Having Twins and More by Elizabeth Noble, OB/GYN.


1) Lake, C. & Booker, P. (2004). Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins: Baltimore, MD. pp. 304-316. [Discussion about the myth of clotting happening on/by the 8th day of life and the reality that clotting factors emerge over the course of many months and years in a baby/child's development. If genital cutting is to take place, the best time to do so is when a child has reached adulthood and is healthy and strong enough to undergo the surgery by his/her own choosing.]

Related Reading: 

The Effect of Circumcision on Breastfeeding 

Breastfeeding and Circumcision [DrMomma] 

Circumcision Increases Breastfeeding Complications

Circumcision and Breastfeeding [Circumstitions] 

Circumcision, Breastfeeding and Bonding [CIRP]

Circumcision and Breastfeeding [The Milk Mama]

LLLI Breastfeeding / Circumcision Information Petition

Anna Lahr, CLC, Director of PPN Oahu and Co-Director of Intact Hawaii, shares a moment with her little one while wearing a 'Circumcision Harms Breastfeeding' shirt from Made By Momma. Lahr recently presented information on circumcision at Hawaii's large New Baby Expo event, which garnered the encouragement of Dr. William Sears, M.D. 

Info cards available at Etsy:

Have Your Cake... And Eat it Too! Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Fruit Sweetened Pound Cake Recipe

By Denise Nassar © 2012

A couple of years ago, I joined the millions of Americans diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. At first it was hard to change my diet, but soon I had become a pro at buying gluten-free, processed products . I didn't really care what they were made of, I just wanted to eat something to replace my old treats.

Fast forward a few months later, and my 2 year old daughter started showing symptoms of a gluten sensitivity. My view on gluten free products changed dramatically. I started reading labels and realizing that most of these products were filled with chemicals, preservatives and ingredients with names I couldn't even pronounce, so I began making my own baked goods made with real-food ingredients.

When more and more of my friends began to ask for these recipes, an idea was born. I realized that many people struggle with creating healthy, fast and easy to make meals, so I decided to create a blog - Edible Harmony ( to share some of my family’s favorite recipes.

This year my daughter finally had a birthday cake! It was a delicious "normal" looking one, with frosting and all. The smile on her face was priceless. Here is to undeprived birthday celebration! Hope it is one you might enjoy as well.

Pound Cake (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Fruit Sweetened)


6 eggs
1/2 cup of coconut flour
12 dates
1 tbsp of vanilla
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/4 tsp of sea salt


Pre-heat oven to 350.
Using an immersion blender, food processor or regular blender mix all ingredients together, except the coconut flour, until dates are dissolved.
Mix in the coconut flour.
Pour batter into a well-greased bread loaf baking pan or a 7.5 inch round baking pan.
Flatten the top using a spoon or moist hands.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until you can stick a knife in the cake and comes out dry.
Let cool, remove from mold, eat as is or decorate with vanilla cream frosting or your favorite frosting.

Vanilla Cream Frosting


1 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of full fat coconut milk, canned or homemade (
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
5 tsp of arrowroot powder
4 tbsp of raw honey


In a small saucepan, whisk together the vanilla, arrowroot, and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Melt in the coconut oil and remove from heat.
Once the mixture is at room temperature, mix in the honey using an electric mixer or immersion blender.
Refrigerate overnight or for several hours until it hardens.
Whisk again using an electric mixer until it has a consistency similar to whipped cream.
Frost cake or cupcakes and top with coconut flakes or fresh fruit.



Cleveland Clinic's Pediatric Surgeon Says NO To Circumcision

By Natalie Rivera © 2012

Carlo's onesie reads, "I was made perfect. My parents kept me that way!" 

When I had my first son 10 years ago I had no idea what circumcision involved. It was just the 'thing to do' so I did it and never questioned anything about it. My son was not crying when they brought him back post-circumcision, so I thought it was 'no big deal...' That's the lie we are told as uninformed parents. What I did not know is some babies scream and fight while others slip into shock from the severe pain of genital cutting. It's not 'just a simple snip'... the foreskin is fused together with the glans (head) of the penis and must be cut apart with a surgical knife. It must be dug open and cut off. There is no such thing as a non-cutting method of circumcision. I feel horrible for allowing someone to do this to my first precious baby. I did not do my job to protect him, and I am so sorry.

This time we had a homebirth. A few weeks before my second son, Carlo, was born (January 2012) I was calling around to find someone to do the procedure (I still had not looked into circumcision and actually thought people who called it 'mutilation' were insane... After all, I was not cutting his arms or legs off!).

I called the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital (Ohio) and when I asked the nurse about circumcision the pediatric surgeon said he wished to speak to me. He got on the phone and explained the entire circumcision procedure to me. This was the first time anyone had done so. He said that in his medical and personal opinion he would NOT circumcise. He said that if it was his son he wouldn't have it done. More and more people are leaving their sons intact today and by the time my son is sexually active the norm will be INTACT. This physician also mentioned that God doesn't make mistakes and there is no medical reason to circumcise. He reminded me that it is purely 'cosmetic' and almost exclusive to the United States.

I decided that if a surgeon (who would be making money off of this procedure) advised not to do it, I'd better look into things further, so I did some research. I read up on the 'pros' and the cons of circumcision and I watched a video of it being done. When I showed my husband he immediately said, "No way are we going to put our son through that!" I talked with a few people who have intact sons and husbands and they all assured me they are GREAT the way God made them and wouldn't want to be any other way!

I'm so thankful that someone took the time to inform and educate me on this subject. It saved Carlo from this mutilation... Yes, I said it: mutilation. When it comes to circumcision, we need to step up and speak out on behalf of our sons, because if they could speak at birth, they would say NO!


Natalie Rivera mothers her four children and homeschools in the Cleveland, OH area. She hopes that by sharing her experience and volunteering with Intact Ohio, other expecting parents are encouraged to look into circumcision before their own baby boy arrives. Natalie says she will always be thankful to this surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic for taking the time to speak with her about the realities of circumcision, and sparing her second son. She and her husband are two of the multiple thousands today in North America who are becoming informed and keeping future sons intact.

Read more from parents raising both circumcised and intact sons at I Circumcised My Son: Healing From Regret.

Research, resources and references at Are You Fully Informed?


Balloons Blow: Don't Let Them Go!

By Chelsea of

Balloons found upon our beach. 

When we first started cleaning the beaches over 15 years ago, my sister and I, along with our parents, rarely found balloons. As the years went on we would find a few more here and there. Now, both in our early 20s, we continue our weekly beach cleanups and every year we find more and more balloons. Of course there is much more plastic as well, but the disturbing thing about balloon pollution is that it is 'celebrating by littering.'

We collected over a thousand balloons in 2011 alone and this year's count is already over 200. The amount of debris that gets washed ashore on North American beaches is very alarming, but it is particularly troubling that people are purposely littering with balloons to celebrate special occasions, to honor loved ones who have passed away, or to just mindlessly watch balloons float away.

This is the reason we have created, a website dedicated to educating people about the danger and destruction that releasing balloons can cause. There are countless websites and Facebook pages promoting balloon releases. The balloon sellers try to convince people that latex balloons are 'environmentally-friendly' and that they are biodegradable and harmless, but there is ample evidence that is not true. There are laws concerning balloon releases in several states in the U.S. and many countries around the world, yet many unknowing celebrators, grieving groups, and others, are arranging balloon releases worldwide.

Loggerhead hatchling entangled in 'biodegradable' latex balloons. 

Too often parents who have lost children or miscarried precious babies turn to releasing balloons to 'let go' or remember the special life lost. There are actually many companies that profit on the grieving of these families (, for instance). It is difficult for many to realize the impact this is having on life around us as more balloons are released each year. Today, more awareness and memorial groups are turning to the now popular balloon release to bring attention to a particular person or a cause. Unfortunately, the reality is that a balloon released to remember one life lost poses the risk of killing more lives in the process.

We hope that when people realize this they can let go of this destructive outlet and choose an environmentally-friendly alternative. Planting a tree and flowers is our favorite alternative because this creates life that lives on and gives back to the earth, while remembering a loved one. The trees and flowers we plant bring us strength and allow us to remember our loved ones through a growing, living source that benefits the world around us.

Honoring a loved one or celebrating by littering (litter that can entangle and kill) deserves to be banned altogether, but until that time, let's take on our own roles as conscious, responsible individuals living gently on this earth with creative, live-giving celebrations instead of those that harm. We are striving to get the word out: Balloons Blow - Don't Let Them Go! Please help us in this endeavor.

Find us at and on Facebook at Balloons Blow. Images of balloons impact on wildlife found here. States that currently have balloon release laws.

Razerbill killed by a balloon. Photo by Christina McGuinness.

A Father's Love: One of the Most Influential Factors in Childhood Development and Personality

A father's love contributes as much, and sometimes more,  to a child's development as does a mother's love. That is one of many findings in a new large-scale analysis of research about the power of parental rejection and acceptance in shaping our personalities as children and into adulthood.

"In our half-century of international research, we've not found any other class of experience that has as strong and consistent effect on personality and personality development as does the experience of rejection, especially by parents in childhood," says Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut, co-author of the new study in Personality and Social Psychology Review. "Children and adults everywhere -- regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender -- tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers and other attachment figures."

Looking at 36 studies from around the world that together involved more than 10,000 participants, Rohner and co-author, Abdul Khaleque, found that in response to rejection by their parents, children tend to feel more anxious and insecure, as well as more hostile and aggressive toward others. The pain of rejection -- especially when it occurs over a period of time in childhood -- tends to linger into adulthood, making it more difficult for adults who were rejected as children to form secure and trusting relationships with their intimate partners.

The studies are based on surveys of children and adults about their parents' degree of acceptance or rejection during their childhood, coupled with questions about their personality dispositions. Moreover, Rohner says, emerging evidence from the past decade of research in psychology and neuroscience is revealing that the same parts of the brain are activated when people feel rejected as are activated when they experience physical pain. "Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years," Rohner says. When it comes to the impact of a father's love versus that of a mother, results from more than 500 studies suggest that while children and adults often experience more or less the same level of acceptance or rejection from each parent, the influence of one parent's rejection -- oftentimes the father's -- can be much greater than the other's.

A 13-nation team of psychologists working on the International Father Acceptance Rejection Project has developed at least one explanation for this difference: that children and young adults are likely to pay more attention to whichever parent they perceive to have higher interpersonal power or prestige. So if a child perceives her father as having higher prestige, he may be more influential in her life than the child's mother. Work is ongoing to better understand this potential relationship.

One important take-home message from all this research, Rohner says, is that fatherly love is critical to a person's development. The importance of a father's love should help motivate many men to become more involved in nurturing child care. Additionally, he says, widespread recognition of the influence of fathers on their children's personality development should help reduce the incidence of "mother blaming" common in schools and clinical setting. "The great emphasis on mothers and mothering in America has led to an inappropriate tendency to blame mothers for children's behavior problems and maladjustment when, in fact, fathers are often more implicated than mothers in the development of problems such as these."

The paper "Transnational Relations Between Perceived Parental Acceptance and Personality Dispositions of Children and Adults: A Meta-Analytic Review” was published in the May 2012 Personality and Social Psychology Review, a journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP).

Source: SPSP Press Release



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