Circumcision: A Son's Forgiveness

By Laura May

In June of 2000 I became a mother for the first time. At the small age of 18. However I knew then like I know now, that this was going to be the most important job I will ever do. I have dedicated the last 12 years since then to my children. When my daughter turned one I remember a lot of people asking me, “Are you going to get her ears pierced?” I thought about it for a moment, then came to the conclusion, what if she doesn't want them pierced? She cannot tell me yes or no. This isn't my body, it is hers. So I stood my ground and just said no, that will be up to her when she is older.

In November of 2004 I became a proud mother once again - this time to a baby boy. He was perfect and beautiful. It was a rough start for him with breathing issues and he spent some time in the NICU. I hated to be away from him and leave the hospital before he did, but I remained as close to him as possible. I remember the fateful day before he was released when hospital staff asked me, “Do you want to have him circumcised?” I said yes, of course. I figured this is what you do - this is what all good mothers do for their babies. Even a part of me thought, this is what I have to do.

Why didn't I stop and think? Why didn’t I protect him? Why didn’t I simply say no? I was smart enough to know that my daughter's ears were her own... why didn’t this apply for my son? If just one person had told me the truth, things would have been a lot different. I remember when they brought my baby boy back to me, something was different. I could never put my finger on it, but he was different. Even the bond between him and I was different.

I felt as if I failed him, and to this day I still feel that way. To make matters worse, it was a botched circumcision. However, I know that I cannot go back. I cannot fix it. I cannot make it up to him. But what I can do is educate myself. So I began to read and read and read.

In July of 2008 I once again gave birth to a baby boy. He was healthy and perfect. The day before I left the hospital a woman saw me in the hallway with him and said to me, “How did he do after his little surgery?” I looked at her completely confused. I said, “I’m sorry?” She said, “ You know... his circumcision.” Then it dawned on me. And I began to grin and replied, "Oh, he won't be getting that done.” She looked at me with complete surprise. I smiled and walked away. While I was there the nurse asked three or four more times if he was going to be circumcised. Each time I happily replied, “No thank you.” We took our whole boy home the next day.

There did come a day when my youngest noticed the difference between the two of them and pointed it out. He was two and his brother was six. My oldest looked at me and said, “Yeah mommy, why do we look different?” I knew the time had come when I would have to tell my oldest just how sorry I was. I said to him, "When mommy had you, I had you circumcised.” Naturally he asked, “What is that?” So I told him, honestly. He then said to me, “Didn't that hurt me?” I got on my knees with tears in my eyes and said to him, “Yes, and I am so sorry I let anyone hurt you.” He then put his arms around me and said, “It’s ok mommy, I’m glad you didn't let anyone do that to my brother. I don’t want him to hurt.” Of course I fell to pieces at that moment. I said to my oldest, “I wish that I had known better when I had you, or I would have never let it happen to you either.” He looked me in the eyes and said, “ I know Mommy, thank you for not letting anyone do it to him. I’m glad!”

In the 12 years that I have been a mother I know that they have taught me more then I could ever teach them. About love, about life, about forgiveness. I still struggle with the guilt that I have from my first boy. I still try to cope with it. Every time I hear of a friend or family member having a baby boy, I tell them about my experience. I am unsure if it has ever touched someone or made them think, but I will keep sharing. Maybe one day this story will save one more perfect baby boy.


Circumcision and intact care information at Are You Fully Informed?

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  1. children are amazing indeed when we share with them . we are humans and sometimes we take choices we later regret. saying i'M sorry to them is such a remarkable exercice of humility. I am sure your son has understood all that has happened and totally forgives you.
    It's incredible how cultural parenting is... where i come from, Belgium, NO BODY is circumcised except the jews and muslims who choose it because of their religion telling them to do so... but all the other belgian little boys are "intact". Same here, in my new country: Quebec (canada) where i was never even ASKED this question (neither at the hospital or later and my son is now 3 years old)! it seems to be a realy american thing... funny, as montreal is only 2 hours drive from the states...

    same is for "capping" i don't know how you say that in english, it's "décallotage" in french. an old practice that says we need to wash under the "prepuce" of the penis. this is scientifically WRONG. If you can read french, you can see what i wrote about this on my blog:

    thanks for your realy interesting articles, the one on the Cry it out is realy great too!
    Warm regards
    joanna from montreal

    1. Joanna I'm from Montreal, Quebec, if that's where you're from - if you'd like to contact me at I'd look fwd very much to chatting!


  2. She will always have made the mistake of allowing them to circumcise her boy. She can not undo it. The regret and guilt will always be there. What she did was wrong and it will always be wrong.

    But she is an awesome and brave person because she acknowledged her mistake and sought genuinely forgiveness. That is all she can do and she did it. She followed through by not making the same mistake again.

    Is it so much to ask of Mother?

  3. I love this story. Made me teary. We all do things to hurt our children, no matter how much we love them. To have such a clear conversation and forgiveness is priceless!

  4. The biggest question is who had the nerve to take you baby son's choice from him and illegally and unethically give it to anyone else? He did not tell you one shred of truth about circumcision. It is not a 'procedure', it is not 'medical' because there is no medical benefit - here is Dr. James Snyder's video to say more.
    ► 14:06► 14:06

    Very importantly you are not to blame, so it is not you your son may forgive. It is not your mistake because your were badly mislead. The doctor deliberately mislead you too, because if he had told you the truth you would never "have chosen" - read never have allowed yourself to have been manipulated into condoning such a malicious practice.
    As a nurse with over 50 year experience, I kept private personal stats on my circumcision teaching. Over 95% of parents when they are taught the reality of circ refuse it, some very indignantly. With great glee I remember a Dad of Greek origin chasing the Jewish MD trying to con him into paying him to mutilate his newborn son. He shouted insults at him, had the circum$iser backpedal very quickly out of the room and run down the hospital corridor! I clapped and cheered and hugged the Dad. He and his family to say nothing of their nurse were very proud of him!!

    Misplaced forgiveness lets circumcisers get away with serial mutilation and sometimes literally with murder - they kill up to 150 male infants in North America every year. It is one of the important roles of intactivists to point this out. So it is noble to regret wrongful circumcision, and to speak up ever after in support of protecting male infants intact, but please don't feel guilty and above all don't take blame.

    I deal more with this in a smartphone app i4SkinHealth, and on the host site for it A new mother who realized immediately after her son's circ wrot and asked why on earth she was given this wrongful choice - wisest smartest question I've heard on the issue in 50 years!!

  5. I'm so glad I stood firm on keeping my twin boys intact. I had to stand up to my mother, father, and boyfriend, while hearing all kinds of inaccurate information, and being disregarded when trying to inform because I'm so "young" that I wouldn't know any better (I'm 23). Thankfully, they haven't said anything more in about a month.
    I have this website and a message board to thank for the information that got me started on my fact-finding journey. You helped me to save my babies from this... For that I say "THANK YOU!"

  6. Mrs May, you may take legitimate satisfaction in knowing that no grandchild of yours will be circumcised. Circumcision has ended in your family line. I do not have that satisfaction. My daughters will not circumcise, but only because they will live their adult lives in a noncircumcising culture. My nephews and nieces do not confide in me when they have children, and hence I do not know what they prefer.

  7. I just wanted to let you know my story is almost exactly the same. Right down to the, if only one person had told me the truth, I would not have considered this even an option. Where I live cicumsision is what everybody does, and thats what you literally have to do, right? Why not, right? Well, after having 4 sons and having them all circumsised, and learning thr truth just shortly after my 4th was done, I can't begin to tell you how regretful I am and how this haunts me everday! I wish I could change it, but I know I cant. I just felt a little better reading your story and knowing that someday, I can hopefully have a similar conversation with all of my sons, and I pray that they will come to forgive me too.



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