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So so sad and full of guilt and remorse...

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Hello ladies,

I am the mom of a beautiful, strong 5 month old boy.
I am also a medical student.
Prior to giving birth, mine and my husband's (who was circ'd as a baby) views on circumcision were purely based on medical "facts" and social norms and we didn't really think twice about having the procedure done to our soon. I knew the physician who would be performing it very well, and I had seen many done and the babies seemed to do fine afterwards. There was so much I did not know.
I am normally a very inquisitive, research-minded person, and like so many moms before me I researched anything and everything baby-related except this most important issue. I remember one day going to a medical site just to be certain that I was still in line with my spposed "pros" to circumcision and still on board and I was satisfied. No anti-circ materials every appeared to me and I didn't even know the movement existed. I honestly thought that when parents refused it in the hospital, it was an irresponsible choice they would later pay for. That was further solidified by my experience with a 7 y/o boy with phimosis who later required surgery, which I assisted in. I thought "poor fools" who didn't circ their son. That will luckily not happen to us.
When my DS was born, I didn't change many diapers at first. I think subconsciously I was staying away from his penis before it looked the way it was "supposed to." I was tired and mostly let others take the diaper changing duties but I remember glancing and thinking that it wasn't yet complete because it wasn't circ'd. I am so ashamed.
Everything was fine for three months, and as I began to research the topic of adhesions because I thought my son was getting some, I was bombarded with the no-circ literature and my heart was changed.
I have been awakened to the fact that what we did to him was unnecessary, but my heart aches and I cry and cry and cry. I am in therapy weekly trying to come to terms. I will never again circumcise another boy, so I do believe some good has come from this, but the flip side is I feel like I have been taking it out on my poor sweet babe who never had a choice. I feel myself pulling away and ignoring him because after reading so many harsh critiques, it has made me to feel like he is not whole, not worthy, when I know that he is deserving of everything and he is perfect the way he is, because due to our choices, he is the way he is TODAY and there is nothing than can be done about that.
I need no more convincing that the choices I made were not the ones I'd make today, but that day we acted in his best interest only, and feeling and knowing that is the only way I know I can move forward.
Believe me, no other sons of mine will go through that, and as a future Pediatrician, I will not perform the procedure and will not recommend it to parents who come to me for advice. Neither will I alienate any parents who have made the choice. I believe I can make a fair impact and part of my struggle has been coming to terms with the type of practitioner I'd like to be and having to decide how I feel about the procedure as a future physician.
What I need is help and support to move forward. Some days I feel like I can conquer this and I feel that my DS does not deserve a mama who aches for something that cannot be changed. I look at photos of his perfect penis on the day he was born and my heart longs and aches to be there and to stop time and make a new decision. My heart longs to be able to run after the doctor as she wheeled him down the hallway on his second day of life. But, alas, I cannot. I hope we made a decision he can live with but at this point in his life I know that is a non-issue - I need to be able to live with it in order to be his loving mother and see him as the WHOLE, WONDERFUL little boy who has already helped me become a better person. Unfortunately, it has been at the expense of a part of him which is now gone.
I have read all the links and all the articles about regret and circumcision, and to be honest they are often not so helpful. I feel for these women, but I Do not want to be one of them. I do not want this to bring me to tears when he is 2 years, 7 years, or 20 years old. I want it to become a part of our past together which we learn from, and a misjudgment with far-reaching hidden benefits which we will reap in the long term. There is no point to living with remorse and I know I need to keep convincing myself of that every day.

This is more of a rant but I would love some more input. You all seem to have a wonderful way about you and very accepting of those of us who feel we have made a mistake but do not feel that it should define who we are as mothers. Please, be kind. Thank you for reading.
post #2 of 38
All I can offer you is a virtual hug! Honestly, your son is going to be fine and you have to forgive yourself. You are going to be doing a huge service to some many children and parents out there by learning this lesson and that is an AMAZING thing!


What's done is done. If your son ever asks why just tell him you thought you were doing what was best. Every single day we just try to do what is best and sometimes we realize we made mistakes despite our best efforts!

Just keep working hard on your schooling so you can join the frontlines of protecting little boys from this procedure!
post #3 of 38
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your comments.
I do feel that in a way my heart has been touched so that I can go on and help so many other babies. In a way, it is as if my sweet boy going through what he went through has woken up his mommy in a way that would have never happened otherwise, and will allow this one misjudgement to turn into a positive thing for so many other babies to come (his brothers included).

I just need to think of him as a "warrior" of sorts and realize that if he is as sensible and as much of a straight shooter as my husband is, which I hope, he will never feel inferior and will love his body the way it is and no other way. I don't want him to feel inferior in any way and I don't believe he or any other babies who have been circ'd should feel this way. It is enough for those of us who are going through the process to feel like we have acted wrongly on behalf of our babies, but we should continue to educate without alienating, which I think can be a difficult thing to accomplish. It will require treading a fine line, but I will ensure that if there is any talk of "missing out" or anything of the sort, it will come from him and never from me.

Thank you.
post #4 of 38
When we know better. we do better.

As a Ped, you are in the position to change minds, protect babies and really make a difference.

Have you looked into the vaccination controversy? There is another side to that as well.
post #5 of 38


My son is undergoing a second meatotomy in a few weeks due to my mistake. My only hope is that my story will protect infant boys close to us from having the same thing done.
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post


My son is undergoing a second meatotomy in a few weeks due to my mistake. My only hope is that my story will protect infant boys close to us from having the same thing done.
Have you forgiven yourself? I believe forgiveness is so important, and at certain times on certain days, I feel the power of that forgiveness and it feels good.

Luckily, your son will likely never know what he had to have done and will suffer no ill-effects, so unless he is for some reason unsatisfied about his circ and brings it up, it will be a non-issue. You can just take what you've learned and do the best you can in the future, like I will strive to do. But importantly, I think, is to do this while accepting that our boys are just as good and "whole" as any others and should never be punished or made to feel inferior for our misjudgements.
post #7 of 38
I'm so sorry, mama. So many hugs to you (HUGS). Every single parent make mistakes and therefore, have to live with a regret. We just have to accept it as a part of parenting journey. My son is intact, so no regrets there, BUT I endlessly regret not doing my homework on vaccines prior to partually vaccinating him as a baby (I stopped when he was 8 months old though, thanks god!). I SO wish someone just told me that there was something about the subject I needed to research, but no one did. My son is fine, but still knowing what I know now about vaccines I just can't forgive myself for letting them inject this poison into his presious body and ignoring my mama-bear instincts to just grab him and run away. Because I regret it so much and wish someone had told me (but no one did), I'm telling it to you now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocMom View Post
That was further solidified by my experience with a 7 y/o boy with phimosis who later required surgery, which I assisted in.
I'd say 99% sure that the only reason this little boy had a surgery is because american doctors' ignorance about the issue of foreskin and normal penis development. Phimosis is NORMAL for kids, this is how it is supposed to be. Only 50% of boys retract by the age of 10 which is 100% normal. Many do not retract until after puberty (which is, once again, NORMAL). Just wanted to make this comment for the sake of readers.
post #8 of 38


We made the same mistake with DS. I have forgiven myself and Dh because I know the decision we made was from the heart. We did the best we could do with the information we had. I chose not to regret because all it does is destroy you. We circumcised our son because we love him. We will not circumcise future children because we love them from a more informed place.

Your Dh turned out fine. My Dh turned out fine. My DS and your DS will turn out fine. We can only move forward and not let out craning necks tip us on the rest of the path.
post #9 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakotablue View Post


We made the same mistake with DS. I have forgiven myself and Dh because I know the decision we made was from the heart. We did the best we could do with the information we had. I chose not to regret because all it does is destroy you. We circumcised our son because we love him. We will not circumcise future children because we love them from a more informed place.

Your Dh turned out fine. My Dh turned out fine. My DS and your DS will turn out fine. We can only move forward and not let out craning necks tip us on the rest of the path.
Wow. A million hugs to you. By sharing that with me you have given me a gift. I can sense the calm and peace in your reply. Especially when you say "we circumcised our son because we love him." Precisely. Thank you, thank you, thank you.. you have infused so hope and love into my heart this morning and I thank you deeply. I will carry this with me always.
post #10 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yulia_R View Post
I'm so sorry, mama. So many hugs to you (HUGS). Every single parent make mistakes and therefore, have to live with a regret. We just have to accept it as a part of parenting journey. My son is intact, so no regrets there, BUT I endlessly regret not doing my homework on vaccines prior to partually vaccinating him as a baby (I stopped when he was 8 months old though, thanks god!). I SO wish someone just told me that there was something about the subject I needed to research, but no one did. My son is fine, but still knowing what I know now about vaccines I just can't forgive myself for letting them inject this poison into his presious body and ignoring my mama-bear instincts to just grab him and run away. Because I regret it so much and wish someone had told me (but no one did), I'm telling it to you now.



I'd say 99% sure that the only reason this little boy had a surgery is because american doctors' ignorance about the issue of foreskin and normal penis development. Phimosis is NORMAL for kids, this is how it is supposed to be. Only 50% of boys retract by the age of 10 which is 100% normal. Many do not retract until after puberty (which is, once again, NORMAL). Just wanted to make this comment for the sake of readers.
I agree. That poor boy being circed for no reason because phimosis isnt even able to be diagnosed until well into puberty. Since being non retractable till then is normal for the majority of boys.

Be gentle with yourself mama we all make mistakes
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocMom View Post
Have you forgiven yourself? I believe forgiveness is so important, and at certain times on certain days, I feel the power of that forgiveness and it feels good.

Luckily, your son will likely never know what he had to have done and will suffer no ill-effects, so unless he is for some reason unsatisfied about his circ and brings it up, it will be a non-issue. You can just take what you've learned and do the best you can in the future, like I will strive to do. But importantly, I think, is to do this while accepting that our boys are just as good and "whole" as any others and should never be punished or made to feel inferior for our misjudgements.
I could never forgive myself. I have to rip open my 8 yo's urethra after surgery every time he urinates. It would be impossible for me to forgive myself for that. And he will remember. He remembered the last surgery 3 or so years ago and he will definitely remember this one at age 8. We've already discussed circumcision and how it was my mistake. My son hopefully will be functional as an adult, but never whole without his foreskin. He has endured years of pain and humiliation from enuresis. I do not want him to feel inferior, but my goal is to get him functional and happy at this point. I would never not bring up the circumcision. The meatal stenosis is directly related to it, and it would be a lie for me to skirt the issue. He has every right to know why this is going on so he knows it isn't his fault.
post #12 of 38
So glad to see you here and glad that your experience has given you a change of heart on circ. Heaven knows we need more pediatricians in this country who are intact friendly and knowledgeable about natural male anatomy.

I was wondering if you're familiar with the group Doctors Opposing Circumcision? http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/ They are a tremendous resource for someone in your position. There is all kinds of information there about the structure and function and normal development of the intact penis. They will also be good support system as you go foreward when you decline to perform circumcisions during your training.

Hope you will stick around here.
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
I could never forgive myself. I have to rip open my 8 yo's urethra after surgery every time he urinates. It would be impossible for me to forgive myself for that. And he will remember. He remembered the last surgery 3 or so years ago and he will definitely remember this one at age 8. We've already discussed circumcision and how it was my mistake. My son hopefully will be functional as an adult, but never whole without his foreskin. He has endured years of pain and humiliation from enuresis. I do not want him to feel inferior, but my goal is to get him functional and happy at this point. I would never not bring up the circumcision. The meatal stenosis is directly related to it, and it would be a lie for me to skirt the issue. He has every right to know why this is going on so he knows it isn't his fault.
oh mama, I'm so so sorry . many hugs to you. please forgive yourself, you love your little one so much and that is what counts...
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocMom View Post
Believe me, no other sons of mine will go through that, and as a future Pediatrician, I will not perform the procedure and will not recommend it to parents who come to me for advice. Neither will I alienate any parents who have made the choice. I believe I can make a fair impact and part of my struggle has been coming to terms with the type of practitioner I'd like to be and having to decide how I feel about the procedure as a future physician.
What I need is help and support to move forward.


Mama, you need to love and forgive yourself just as you say you will do for other parents who regret that choice. YOU are a parent who didn't know different, and now have regrets-- how will you treat others like yourself? You say you will not alienate them, but you alienate yourself. You deserve this loving acceptance that you would offer others-- offer it to yourself, too. Remember, DH was circ'd and is now your complete, wonderful husband. DS will grow to be the same-- he loves you (both DH and DS) and would never want you to suffer so over what cannot be changed.

Also keep in mind, that like other losses, the grief will fade in time and you will heal. You are a strong mama, and you can get thru this for your own sake and for the sake of your family.



blessings
post #15 of 38
DocMom, thank you so much for wanting to make a difference! You will be in the position to do so. You are a wonderful mother and will make a great pediatritian. Thank you for all the future boys you will safe!
post #16 of 38
I understand your feeling towards your son, tragically too well.

The more my friend boasted about her intact son and the more my sister-in-law did the same, it seemed as if they were comparing their son to mine. That really hurt me because I was hurting for my ds. (btw, I've since let them both know how upset I am at them for not saying a single thing to me about genital integrity before my son was born and lit into them when they said they were so glad someone had told them. WTH is that? competition much?)

I tried to change that disconnected feeling. I went chasing for a re-connection.

In a way, I have done more for my firstborn (to whom I feel like I failed him for not having the info I do now): breastfed till he was 4, all sorts of enrichment programs, poured nearly all of our income into him, and all this for one reason:

I was trying to make it up to him somehow.

To make matters even worse, he had meatal stenosis, a buried penis, and an excruciating, blood curdling screams, growth spurt because he didn't have enough skin to grow into. God only knows what puberty will bring for him.




Speak out. Please share your story far and wide. You are in an incredible position to educate your hospital & your client's parents. Remorse and regret is perpetuated due to the lack of necessary information. There are way too many parents saying, "I wish I had known". That needs to stop. They need to know, now! Before their son is born!

There are many respectful physicians and scholars who have elected their son(s) to an arbitrary penis surgery. They have come to the same conclusions as you did and their future sons and grandsons are intact. Since then, they have become our loudest and most profound voices.

Your son needs you momma. More now than ever
post #17 of 38
Hugs. We as parents do what we feel is best for our children with the information we have. Sometimes we learn later that we could have done things better, but doing what we think is best is all we can ask of ourselves.
post #18 of 38
DocMom, I would suggest journaling to capture your feelings right now, including your posts here. Keep that journal for your son, and if there is ever a discussion about circumcision, you can show him at the right time how you felt about it afterwards. I see a difference in feeling remorse that evolves into healing, and remorse that continues and never resolves. I think the remorse you feel now is healthy, and I believe that you will get to the place where healing can begin.

Good luck.
post #19 of 38
DocMom,

We also circumcised, twice actually. At the time we did it, we thought we were doing the right thing. And to be honest, even now, I don't look at it as the "wrong" thing, but just not the best choice we could have made.

Our boys have not had any problems up to this point with their circumcisions. And I choose not to beat myself up, because I know that I did not do anything to consciously harm them, and I only wanted to the best I knew how. Much like how I did not make all the best choices with my first son, because I simply didn't know. So when I had my second son, I was able to improve as a parent. I am not proud that I didn't do better the first time around, but I also don't hold myself totally responsible because I simply didn't know to do better.

My DH was a very hard sell, even more recently, on the unnecessary-ness of circumcision. But I was finally able to convince him, and for him it was enough that he said, "So we screwed up our kids then?" Well, yea, we kind of did.

If we ever had another son, he would not be circumcised. And that's, really, all that I can do. And so I'm ok with that.
post #20 of 38
My advice is get over it for now. Most cut guys couldn't care less (because they don't know what they're missing).

BUT, there may come a day when the weight of what he has lost will sink in with him and HE will have some grieving to do. THAT is when you need to do your grieving and feeling bad. Until then whistle past the graveyard.
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