Originally Posted by mesa
I know how you feel. I'm kind of in the same place right now...and it's really really difficult. Especially when it comes to family and close friends.
I'm right there too. It's not as bad as it was when I first found out. Now it still makes me feel physically sick, and I can't deny that I've put a little distance between myself and this child's parents in order to protect myself. But it's not so raw as it was in the beginning. I think I'll be able to get past it enough to function as if nothing has changed, even though I will probably always feel that it has. I still love and care about all of them, and I don't want to hurt them over something that can't be entirely blamed on any of them. After all, mom is a victim of cultural conditioning, fear, and societal pressure. Dad is himself a victim of routine circumcision. The baby can't help what's being done to him. And beyond them, there's a hospital offering the procedure, a doctor performing it, and an insurance company paying for it. I don't feel that it's fair of me to condemn them for failing their child when they've been set up to fail all along.
Nothing makes it go away entirely. Sometimes it hurts so much that I feel like I would give anything to be ignorant of the whole issue again, so that my heart didn't have to drop to my knees every time I found out someone I knew was having a boy. I seem to handle the idea much better if I find out about it after the fact, when there's nothing I can do about it, than if I find out before and have to anticipate the event. To my knowledge I've never been successful at convincing anyone not to circumcise, even though I keep trying. The thought of another impending failure on my part, another baby violated and in pain, another postpartum bonding period disrupted in such a damaging, unnatural way is all so hard to bear.
But here's what I remind myself when I'm struggling:
There's a lot more to determining someone's fitness as a parent than whether or not they choose to circumcise. As upsetting as it seems, most who choose to circ do it out of love for their children, not a desire to harm them. They just don't know what they don't know. I'm also convinced that circumcised men choose to circumcise their sons because, on a subconscious level, they're trying desperately to reclaim the choice that was taken from them when they were babies. It's sad all the way around.
I remind myself that many men who were circumcised as babies grow up to be loving, thoughtful men (including my own husband). I truly believe that if a boy is otherwise loved, nurtured, accepted, and given the attention he deserves, then he will grow up to be that kind of man in spite of what he endured by being circumcised as a baby. He may even be the kind of man who has the strength to break the cycle with his own son, the way my husband did. Every man raised this way brings us one step closer to a world where circumcision will no longer be considered a harmless parental choice, but an amputative surgery to be carried out only with the informed consent of the individual who will undergo it.
I remind myself that I can't save them all. I am only one person, and I can't do the work for anyone, nor can I change the world overnight. Conversely, my own son, although just one child, may have a larger impact than putting one more mark in the intact column in the statistics from his birth year. He will be raised to know the value of his natural penis and the importance of his bodily autonomy. He may be in a perfect position to teach his peers and his partners the truth about intactness. He may have sons of his own who will do the same. His sisters, who see an intact penis as the default and a circumcised one as abnormal, will be empowered by their experience and our family's beliefs to educate, advocate, and leave their boys intact as well. Our family is still affecting positive change, even when I'm mourning such a painful loss as this one.
I'm glad you found this board. These feelings can be so isolating, and sometimes it helps a little just to know that you aren't alone.