or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Understanding Circumcision › Personal feelings about circ'ing affecing relationships with others.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Personal feelings about circ'ing affecing relationships with others.

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Hello!

 

Just found this wonderful forum on Mothering!  I love it!  I feel so educated and prepared to face the world as the mom of an Intact son! 

 

I have been vocal for quite some time on my personal blog (that most of my friends and family read) about circ'ing and all the benefits of the foreskin, the atrocities of the procedures, etc....

 

However, I recently found out that one of my friends who reads my blog regularly decided to circ. her son.  She even said that based off of my blogs, she and her husband DID research it on their own but that it was "just so important to her hubby to have him circed" that they did it and that she "isn't unhappy" about their choice.

 

For some reason, I have just been stewing and stewing and stewing about this.  I just found out a few days ago and I literally wake up at ight and think about it.  How could she?  Did I not do enough?  

 

And I'm sure it'll happen again.  Inevitably, someone I think I've "educated" will go ahead and hand their son over to have a functioning part of his body cut off without anesthesia while they sit and watch TV in their hospital room.  (see, even now, I have difficult containing my disdain and sarcasm) 

 

My question is that how do I get over this.  I'm having so much trouble "liking" and "respecting" this person now.  I am having difficulty incorporating the idea of a "good parent who choose to circumcise their son."  As though no good parent could be educated about the procedure and still choose to have it done. I just can't seem to put the two together in my head. 

 

I'm ashamed of myself and my feelings. 

 

I don't want to be like this.  I don't want to slowly start hating all of my friends because of this issue.....is this resonating with anyone else?  How do you get past it in your life?  Or am I just the only one stewing about it when people I know (who should know better because I feel like I've educated them) circ their sons? 

post #2 of 28
I know how you feel. I had a couple friends that I gave information to and they still circ'ed. It was really hard for me to not say anything after the fact. It was all I could think about. I know it doesn't make it easier on you, but I had to tell myself that it was too late for this little boy. Nothing I could say to them would be able to turn back time. I just had to keep my mouth shut. It hurts to know that they made that choice though. Also, keep writing about it, I'm sure you've changed someone's mind. And, hopefully, one day, it will be illegal and no other babies can be hurt by it.
post #3 of 28

You're not alone. I stew about it too and it has changed some relationships of mine in a negative way. Please don't stop trying though! You can't save them all but you can surely save some.

post #4 of 28

You're going to find a lot of interesting opinions on how to handle your situation. Some people feel they need to end relationships with those who circumcised after being given the information, as in your case; other don't. Of course there are in between courses and sometimes people decide how to handle it based on who it as, family vs friend vs acquaintance. The latter are easy to 'cut-off' but some of the former though may not be so easy, consider not having a relationship with your nephew for example; that's a tough sacrifice.

 

In short, my opinion, the way I see it, if you cut them off, you cast off all hope that they may come around. You may be the only voice in their lives carrying that message. And even here in this forum there are many parents who initially made a mistake but later on made a better choice. Keep that in mind.

post #5 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnDMFT View Post


Inevitably, someone I think I've "educated" will go ahead and hand their son over to have a functioning part of his body cut off


Although some parenting choices are clearly better, children can survive and thrive in spite of their parents not doing things *right.*  I agree with you on circ., but have found in my own life that dropping all judgments of others is a path to inner peace.

 

Although sharing what you've learned may be part of your Dharma, you aren't responsible for the choices others make. You don't need to control what they do with the information.

 

My oldest child is 14. When I started out I was going to do everything Right. I read all the books, I went to LLL, I studied, and I tried. And now as I look back over her first 14 years, I think I go some stuff right, and some stuff not-so-right, and some stuff I'm really not sure if it was right or not.

 

The circ. issue is more black and white than most parenting issues, but the attitude you feel can come out on MANY other choices. Rather than focus on what they did (because we ALL do not-so-good things sometimes) focus on their inner most beings -- that part of them that is sacred and divine. See them for who they really are, not as this one choice.

 

How I got past this attitude (which I used to have on lots of issues) was by seeing my own imperfections, and making a choice not to judge myself or others.

 

post #6 of 28

to me circ is one of those things that once done is done.  As my son has gotten older so many "hills to die on" issues have become irrelevant in my friendships and have switched to others. CIO, EBF, etc were *huge* to me and I often struggled with parents who chose other paths.  But true friends have remained true friends regardless of their parenting philosophies. 

 

Now I deal with parents who let their kids watch Saw, Texas Chain Saw Massacre and the like. Who force homework and sports. Who over schedule their kids.  These are my *new* issues. Many of these same parents didn't circ, did practice EBF, believed in AP and GD and other didn't. And you know what-they (mostly) have great kids but do things differently than me.

 

I like look at the big picture and not judge on the single instances. A person can be measured more by the sum of their parts.

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 

You are all so wise!  luxlove.gif

 

I am trying so hard to do what some of you are saying and not judge her and focusing on my own weaknesses. (Which I know I have).

 

Since I've been so vocal about my Intactivism, this is the first friend I've had (that I know of) that has made the decision to go ahead circ, so I feel as though if I can work through my negative feelings about it, it will help with each subsequent time it happens. 

 

This is also the first "black and white" issue to me.  I'm pretty open-minded and can usually see both sides of things but this is the ONE issue I've not been able to do that with.  No matter how it's justified or what people say about it, circ'ing will never be okay in my eyes.  Ever.  So, even though she talked about how important it was to her husband, I have no sympathy for that.  I just see selfishness and weakness on their part. 

 

I have all of this passion about it and really don't have a lot of places to put it and my frustration with those who choose it.  I reluctantly blog about it.  None of my circ. blogs ever get comments because I know I'm talking to an audience of people that have circ'ed their sons. 

 

This is definitely a significant part of life's journey for me! 

post #8 of 28
For me it was time. I still have days where I am very angry but for the most part I dont think much about it.
post #9 of 28

There's nothing wrong with putting faith in that friends will read and understand how you do. But the simple fact of the matter is that some just don't. In the end, why argue about who's right and wrong? We all have our opinions, and there's nothing wrong with following them closely. We can do our very best to educate our friends that there are other options that maybe can make more sense, but that's the best we can do. The rest is up to them. You did your job. You cared. You put the information out there, and you sat there and hoped. But that is the very best you can do, and it's a damn good one at that. :) 

 

Besides that, I cannot sympathize. I'm pregnant with a boy, and we will not circumcise, and I'm sure after I deliver I will hear grief about it. I'm sure I'll feel just as aggravated and disheartened as you. I'm sure it must sting - you care so much, and you care for the life that your friends bring into the world, care about the fear and pain inflicted upon those bodies and the damage done to their future, but unless you physically stood in their way, sometimes being concerned is the best you can do, and the rest is up to your friends.

post #10 of 28


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnnDMFT View Post

 

 I'm pretty open-minded and can usually see both sides of things but this is the ONE issue I've not been able to do that with.  No matter how it's justified or what people say about it, circ'ing will never be okay in my eyes.  Ever.  So, even though she talked about how important it was to her husband, I have no sympathy for that.  I just see selfishness and weakness on their part. 


I do see the other side of this one.

 

This is the thing -- many men have issues regarding their penises.  For a man who is circumcised, this become more complex when they have a son because to make a choice to NOT circ. their son, they have to come to place of acceptance that it matters that part of their body was cut off.

 

Now if we were talking about a piece of the ear or the tip of their finger or something, they could most likely make peace with this a little easier.

 

But it's their penis. (some men are honest to god confused and think their value as a man is wrapped up in that body part).

 

To admit that part of it is missing, that they are incomplete, is too horrific.

 

so they live in denial instead.

 

And for a woman to go to bat with her husband saying that Part of His Penis is Missing is just, well, some couples can get through that and grow together, and some just cant.

 

My DH is from a country where circ is not routinely practiced and he is therefore intact. He's quite confused about what they cut off, as he just doesn't feel that any part of his penis is extra. He'd miss any little piece of it.

 

But I can see how for a circ man, he'd go to hell and back before he could admit that part of his penis was missing.

 

I still think cutting part of a child's body off is completely barbaric, but I can see how the pattern continues from one generation to the next. Compassion. compassion compassion.

 

The father was a victim, and he wasn't able to get past it. May be the son will get past it.

 

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks again, ladies!
 

 

I'm stewing less and less about it though it's still at the point that every time I see one of her comments or think of her, I don't think of her like I used, I just now think of how she let her son be circ'ed and picture him laying strapped to the table and screaming.....but, I hope to get over that. 

 

And, Linda, my hubby said the same thing (only on a less deep scale) and basically said that I didn't know what was going on in their marriage that they made this decision.

post #12 of 28

BTW, and kinda off topic, but your baby is just beautiful!  What a sweet little face!

post #13 of 28

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.  Anyway, I have come to an uneasy peace with it all.  For me, the best way to handle it was to offer all my information, my love and support, and then...just let it go.  After I offer the information, I simply tell them I love them, and I hope they read with an open heart.  The key for me has been to not ask afterwards...if they offer the information, great, but I don't go looking for it.  Several times friends have come to me and thanked me for my help, and told me that I was a key player in their decision to leave their baby intact...but all the others, I have no idea if they did it or not.  I decided this because my heart honestly hurts too badly to think about those poor little boys.  I had to protect myself, and if that means I have to live in ignorance, then so be it.  I'm not a good intactivist though, I get too emotional and worked up, and I can only do as much as my heart can stand. 

post #14 of 28


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesa View Post

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.

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by So-Called View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesa View Post

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.


Wow! Beautiful post!
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 

@ Linda-  Thanks!  I think so too but I'm biased!

 

@ everyone else:  I am truly overwhelmed by your wisdom.  Your words have healed me some.  I had wanted to write a scathing blog in order to get my feelings out about my friend making this choice.   But, after reading your responses, I have calmed down about it significantly.   So much so that the scathing blog doesn't seem necessary anymore. 

 

I have gotten so  many different points of view and reframes from each one of you about this issue that instead of anger, I now feel like I did everything I could for this little boy.  That's all I can do and I am okay with that.

post #17 of 28

Can you help me better understand why you're so upset with your friend doing what you did? Making a parenting choice that she felt was best for her baby.

 

I definitely can see being disappointed that after spending so much time offering your own opinion and research that you've come up with that your friend didn't follow along with you and do what you wanted her to do, but it almost seems as if you were at a point where you were willing to toss aside a friendship because they made a different parenting decision than you.

 

Perhaps because I'm not as anti-circ as some of you on this thread I don't get the passion, but it seems like you're upset that she made her own parenting decision and didn't follow yours.

post #18 of 28

I can't speak for the OP, but I do not consider routine infant circumcision to be a parenting decision. I see it as a human rights issue. 

This is a great thread BTW, I think many of us have felt like the OP, to varying degrees. Linda I appreciated your point of view on a circ'ed man needing to feel "whole". Food for thought. 

post #19 of 28

Sorry for the double post, I just wanted to add--   I am not outspoken about circ, so in the rare case that a friend or family member does have a circ'ed infant there isn't any awkwardness between me and the parents, I just feel really sad for the baby.  It seems like by trying to reach out to a friend with a strong message, and the friend went ahead with the circ, it would add another layer of tension and possibly even more complications in maintaining the relationship.  Because now the other parents know that you think they did something harmful and hurtful to their newborn baby. I can see navigating around that "elephant in the room" would take a lot of grace.  OP, I don't know how much of that rings true to you at all.  I hope you can find some peace with where the relationship goes from here.   

post #20 of 28

I can't speak for OP either, but I feel so very sad about this because it is such pain inflicted on a tiny little person. I'm the sort that can't even watch National Geographic without the remote in hand in case some furry critter is about to become lunch.... but suffering really bothers me. Needless suffering even more so (at least that furry critter is feeding another animal and its family, not to go off on a tangent)

 

Circ itself is usually recovered from relatively well and the baby can grow up full of love and joy and into a healthy, happy man. I know that because my dh is wonderful, gentle, loving and circ'd. He feels no ill effects, and really, I don't either. We are both happy with him for who he is.

 

However, he was circ'd back when people really thought there were medical reasons. I think OP is upset that needless surgery was inflicted upon a newborn, when that mama knew better. Consider this.... is it our parental right to remove any other healthy body part? Do you think that is something that should be allowed without question? Why is removing healthy tissue considered a parenting decision one is allowed to make for boys (and not girls, as is the case elsewhere) Is our cultural conditioning that this is a routine newborn surgery part of any uncertainty or antipathy on the issue? (I know it affected me greatly until ds was born, and I cringe now that I worried a little that he might "miss out" on something )

 

In my opinion, it is frustrating to be aware of this issue after taking off one's own cultural blinders, then to share the true information with others who refuse to take that last step and remove the blinders..  only to see them fall victim to the same cultural conditioning and to inflict this surgery on yet another helpless baby. I think there are some lovely opinions above that really get to the heart of the matter. Will I lose friends over this issue? Probably not, unless they cannot respect my opinion as well. Will I hope and work for a day when RIC is not considered the norm? Yep, and I plan to start with my own two children. Education is the key, not anger. I agree with what has been said above, we cannot be angry at good parents who are merely following advice from doctors and popular culture. I second what was said "compassion compassion compassion."

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Understanding Circumcision
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Understanding Circumcision › Personal feelings about circ'ing affecing relationships with others.