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How do you handle it when you fail?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

A friend of mine circumcised her baby boy today.


I was visiting when the nurse came by for his "circumcision check" and I almost threw up.  They "checked" him and he screamed, they explained all the things the new parents have to do, and it was all I could do not to sob or scream.  Instead, I just held my toddler tight and tried not to look or hear.  It was already done; there was nothing my words could do but offend at this point.   


I had sent her some information when she found out she was having a boy.  She's seen me change my little one, and knew that there are no special instructions for an intact boy.  I did not follow up; while she's a friend she is not a close one.  I wonder if I didn't do enough.  I wonder if there's something I could have done differently, if I should have had DH talk to her husband (they're not friends), if I should have really pushed her... I don't know.  I feel terrible.  My words and writing have stopped literally hundreds of parents from circumcising.... but not my own friend. 


How do you handle it when you fail?  How do you let go?

Edited by erin23kate - 4/11/11 at 9:01am
post #2 of 8

It's really, really hard.  I don't know that I've ever fully gotten over the ones I've "lost."  I'm sorry about your friend's baby.

post #3 of 8

Yeah, it is really hard.  I'm sorry to hear that. :(  I'm still pretty sad that my nephews are circ'd.


It helps to remind myself that I did keep 2 boys from being cut (my sons) and sometimes, that's all you can do.  I am just so thankful that I kept questioning the practice of it, because there was one point when I did consider it (when I first found out I was pregnant).  Now that I'm educated and know soooo much about it, it's sometimes hard for me to remember that.

Edited by rissierae - 4/10/11 at 5:18pm
post #4 of 8

Oh, I needed this thread right now. I knew in my heart my cousin was going to circ...just that kind of person, you know. But I tried anyway to convince her not to. Just found out that she took her son back to the doc to get it done. (They wouldn't do it in hospital d/t NICU baby) So sad and sick to my stomach. And mad...really mad at a society that keeps this legal. Kinda wish nobody told me she did it.


Back to the OP. You have so much success to be proud of!  You've done more than most of us can hope to. You have every right to feel sad, betrayed, even. But you should not feel responsible. You can only do so much. Don't look at it as a personal failure--it isn't. It is the failure of a society to protect its infant boys. 


I look at it as a lose-or-break even scenario. You can't win when someone you know has a boy. You might "break even" if they choose to keep him intact. But no matter what you do, it is ultimately their choice, even though it shouldn't be.


For me, just coming on these forums, "talking" with other intactivists...that helps get through tough times like this.

post #5 of 8

Try to focus on the babies you saved, and the domino effect it will have: The hundreds of intact boys will grow into hundreds of intact men, who will most likely keep their sons intact. They will all have girlfriends and ex-girlfriends who will realize that a foreskin is a good thing, and that itself may affect a whole bunch of people's views on circumcision. Each parent you convince not to circumcise may convince another parent not to by slipping it in the baby shower conversation, and without being aware of it, you've spared another one!


It's horrible that it happened, and it seems so much worse and more personal when you're in the room with the poor baby, but it wasn't your fault. This happens every day to so many infants that the hundreds you were able to save are very lucky. Use this experience to fuel more activism, save hundreds more babies in the name of this one little man, and then it won't go to waste. Marylin Milos prevented who knows how many circumcisions because of her regret for circumcising her two sons; in a phone conversation with her, she told me she now has four intact grandsons. : )

post #6 of 8

Unfortunately giving people all the information never guarantees a good decision. She and her husband will have to deal with that decision and you can at least feel that you tried, which is more than many people will do.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you all. It's very helpful, and I'm so glad I have this community to talk to. 


Another friend (DrMomma) went through the same thing this month and she had good advice - that I try to save 10 babies in honor of little C... I like that, and I'm going to do it. 


She also had me read this post, and I wanted to suggest it for others who have been here:



There's no going back, only going forward.  I definitely hugged my baby boy extra-special tight this weekend.  I swear, babies know what their mamas need - he was glued to me like a barnacle this weekend.  SUBMIT

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by christifav View Post

Kinda wish nobody told me she did it.


THIS.  I didn't follow up because I didn't want to know if she'd done it.  When that nurse came in for the "circumcision check" it hit me like a board to the side of the head.  THAT was why he was non-responsive, that was why he whimpered when I held him... that was why he hadn't nursed in 6 hours (ended up 10 before he finally latched; 2 days later he's still not nursing right and they're worried about jaundice). 


I wish I'd left just believing he was super-sleepy, not in shock.  :(

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