Here is my story... if you want me to edit it, let me know.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
My son's circumcision is the biggest regret of my life. I missed that Dr. Phil episode (aired a few months ago, where the mother went on TV all broken up with regret over circumcising her baby - he was dismissive of her feelings), but I totally relate. I felt a LOT of guilt and intense anger over my son’s circ, especially after I read this article which I stumbled upon at the Public Library (my son was then 6 months old).http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/fleiss.html
I literally couldn’t finish reading through it for weeks without crying my eyes out. I had to force myself to finish it. I finally learned what my son had lost in the circumcision: a normal, 100% feeling, healthy functioning penis.
I learned that the foreskin has a purpose: to protect the glans from urine & feces (and amonia in diapers). So the argument that it’s more sanitary is false. http://www.cirp.org/library/normal/aap/
· When the glans is exposed to these elements (not to mention chafing from underwear) it looses even more sensitivity. This is a problem for many circumcised men in the late 40s and beyond.The foreskin has numerous protective, sensory, and sexual functions.
: Just as the eyelids protect the eyes, the foreskin protects the glans and keeps its surface soft, moist, and sensitive. It also maintains optimal warmth, pH balance, and cleanliness. The glans itself contains no sebaceous glands-glands that produce the sebum, or oil, that moisturizes our skin.11 The foreskin produces the sebum that maintains proper health of the surface of the glans.
· Immunological Defense
: The mucous membranes that line all body orifices are the body's first line of immunological defense. Glands in the foreskin produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme.12 Lysozyme is also found in tears and mother's milk. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, an immune system component, abound in the foreskin's outer surface.13 Plasma cells in the foreskin's mucosal lining secrete immunoglobulins, antibodies that defend against infection.14
· Erogenous Sensitivity
: The foreskin is as sensitive as the fingertips or the lips of the mouth. It contains a richer variety and greater concentration of specialized nerve receptors than any other part of the penis.15 These specialized nerve endings can discern motion, subtle changes in temperature, and fine gradations of texture.16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
· Coverage During Erection
: As it becomes erect, the penile shaft becomes thicker and longer. The double-layered foreskin provides the skin necessary to accommodate the expanded organ and to allow the penile skin to glide freely, smoothly, and pleasurably over the shaft and glans.
· Self-Stimulating Sexual Functions
: The foreskin's double-layered sheath enables the penile shaft skin to glide back and forth over the penile shaft. The foreskin can normally be slipped all the way, or almost all the way, back to the base of the penis, and also slipped forward beyond the glans. This wide range of motion is the mechanism by which the penis and the orgasmic triggers in the foreskin, frenulum, and glans are stimulated.
· Sexual Functions in Intercourse
: One of the foreskin's functions is to facilitate smooth, gentle movement between the mucosal surfaces of the two partners during intercourse. The foreskin enables the penis to slip in and out of the vagina nonabrasively inside its own slick sheath of self-lubricating, movable skin. The female is thus stimulated by moving pressure rather than by friction only, as when the male's foreskin is missing.
· The foreskin fosters intimacy between the two partners by enveloping the glans and maintaining it as an internal organ. The sexual experience is enhanced when the foreskin slips back to allow the male's internal organ, the glans, to meet the female's internal organ, the cervix-a moment of supreme intimacy and beauty.Here is my son’s circ story:
My husband wanted our son circumcised; I did not. He grew up on all the myths that it is cleaner and healthier. He is Jewish, but was not raised religiously at all
. So for him, this wasn't a religious Bris issue (had to be done because of God's will). For him, he was (wrongly) convinced (without doing ANY research to the contrary) that it was necessary and beneficial.
BTW, his sister and BIL (both Jewish) decided 14 years ago NOT to have their first born son circumcized. The whole family (remember, who are NOT observant) went nuts. Some members were very critical and said mean things. The kid today is learning Hebrew with his dad and just had his Bar Mitzbah. He had NEVER had a problem with his penis and does not (as far as his parents know) have "issues" with being uncircumcised. In addition, he has a 6 year old brother with developmental delays (from birth) and is not circumcised either. This time, the family didn't say boo and again - no health problems.
Anyway, back to my story.... in order to relieve my rising blood pressure anytime we argued about it, I let the issue drop and chose not to research. I convinced myself that I should be supportive of my husband’s wishes, even though I really did not want my son cut.
Both my husband and I were present during the hospital circumcision and our son was 2 days old. We wanted to be present to “protect” him from anything bad happening. How naiive I was. Our presence did not protect him at all. I did not know what exactly happened during a circumcision (if I did, there was no way in hell I would have consented) and what I saw will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Shortly after our son was born, I had a horrible pit in my stomach and my wish NOT to have this done was incredibly strong. I have never felt something this strong (intuitively) in my life. I tried to talk to my husband, but not having any facts to support my feelings, it was of little use. He was determined to go ahead. At that moment, I regretted not researching it and having any arguments to counter him with. The people I asked about it (my pre-natal yoga instructor, a doula, a pediatrician who performs circumcisions) gave me vague, useless answers.
What I witnessed was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.
We wanted a topical anesthetic (any and all anesthesia) it was applied a few moments by the OB before the procedure. I later learned that the best way for the anesthesia to truly take effect would be to apply it at least 30 minutes beforehand. The topical stuff is only superficial.
The OB stuck a sharp instrument inside my son’s foreskin to loosen it from the glans. (This was extremely invasive.) At that point it was clear to me that the foreskin is something that was never meant to be separated from the glans. It was adhered tightly. Then there was no turning back. I realized then that our presence was useless. Our son was already being hurt and being there did not stop the harm. But that was not the worse thing I saw…at the end of the circumcision, the OB ripped off the foreskin from his penis. This is a typical circumcision provided by American physicians.
Imagine someone tearing a piece of skin off your arm. How would one react? I would imagine that I would pass out from the extreme pain and shock.
My son was sucking on a sugary pacifier and held down by a nurse. My son never cried during the circumcision. Like many newborns, my son fell into a deep sleep on the spot. I am convinced that the shock and pain caused him to go into a deep, stressful sleep. Why do I say this? In the nursery, he cried and cried for me. He was unable to be soothed. The mechanical rocker did not work. The pacifier did not work. Nothing worked. The only thing that soothed him was being picked up and held. In fact, that is the only way he could be put to sleep. So why, all the sudden, does he “fall asleep” so effortlessly after a medical procedure? The only explanation is trauma.
We were never told to offer our son Tylenol for a few days at home. In hindsight, this is commonsense, but it never occurred to us. No doubt, the medication wore off and my son felt his throbbing injury in the first few weeks at home. He did cry (high-pitched screams) often and I did not know why. Now I do.
I learned later that most medical doctors perform an “American” circumcision, which removes the entire foreskin. The problem here is that it could lead to erection problems (skin stretches too tight) over the penis in the future. Sadly, parents are not told any facts about what the foreskin is: why it is there, how it is removed, and potential sexual problems in adulthood.
The essential problem is that most people, including medical professionals, are not aware of the function and purpose of the foreskin. That is why they are so quick to suggest removing it. Not to mention the financial gain (for pediatrician, obstetricians and hospitals) from this unnecesary
cosmetic procedure.MY FEELINGS OF GUILT AND ANGER
For a very long, long time, I kicked myself with guilt and regret for not researching this issue. I was really, really torn up about this. I signed the damn consent form, against my VERY STRONG instincts, screaming at me that this was the wrong thing to do. DH was full-speed ahead. At that moment, I regretted not having any facts (research) to counter him with. If I did, my son would have remained intact (uncircumcised).
Never having seen an intact penis, I used to think that the circumcised penis was beautiful. Now, I saw it differently and for what it truly was: a scarred penis. I saw how it got that way. My son has a scar and I USED TO CRY every time I changed his diaper and saw his little scar. Now I knew without a doubt that he lost something integral – an important part of his anatomy. I was also very angry with my husband and it did strain our marriage for a while. We had to go to counseling. I can understand how “extreme” this sounds to some. But you need to remember I witnessed my newborn baby being harmed before my eyes… all for nothing.
I was also angry with my SIL for not calling me to give me the heads up about this issue when I was pregnant. I was angry with FIT PREGNANCY magazine for not discussing this issue AT ALL. Stupid, I know.
Sadly, later I learned that DH feels that women (because one told him so) think an Intact penis is "ugly." Apparently, many American women feel this way.
I never did! So, subconsciously, he did not want HIS son to feel rejected by some (moronic) woman. If some twit were to reject him because of THAT, he's better off IMO. Again, there is misinformation... because American women (i heard an interview with the Go-Gos once - who slept with everyone!) who have slept with both Americans and European, PREFER the feeling of a foreskin during sex. It feels better to both during lovemaking. Hmmm, no wonder so many woman "aren't in the mood" and there are so many ads aimed at American men about "enhancing" this or that.
Perhaps if circumcision were not routine in American society, men would not suffer from “erection problems,” the “need” for Viagra in later life, and couples would not experience sexual incompatibility and disappointments.What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision: Untold Facts on America's Most Widely Performed-and Most Unnecessary Surgery
by Paul M. Fleiss, MDhttp://www.twbookmark.com/books/70/0446678805/
How upset am (was I) over this ? Like I said, I used to cry daily. I force myself not to torture myself by dwelling on it anymore… if I had a daughter, and she had part of her clitoris removed (which enhances/senses sexual pleasure) I would be as sad and devasted. This to me is the same thing.
If I am blessed with another boy, he will not be circumcized. DH accepts this now. Ironically, he has a 13 year old from a previous marriage, who lives in a country where circumcision is not routine, and thus, is not circumcised.
Again, no health problems.