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deep down sickened by having to convince people

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
on the outside i try so hard to keep a neutral face, but on the inside i'm boiling when i hear about people circ their ds!!!!! i am just so appauled by the tradition/practice of circ!!! it's just a sick, cruel society sanctioned torture that breaks my heart and makes me seriously doubt parents who choose to do it.

i offer convincing literature and discussion to ANYONE i know who is expecting, and i try to keep my cool so as not to push anyone away or come across as preachy...but inside i'm thinking "why in the world do i have to tell you not to strap your newborn baby down and cut off a third of his penis??!!!" in any other circumstance a person in our society would be jailed for such cruelty---

i will of course keep up the faith and continue to get through as best i can, but deep down i'm just so taken back by having to convince people not to circ in the first place. the ones who really get to me are the ones who 1) don't even want to talk about it...are actually offended by the topic and 2) those who have educated themselves but are still not comfortable going against what they think everyone else does (both 1 and 2 apply to my sister in law who is pregnant with their first child right now)..

so anyhow, figured i could get some "yea, know what-cha-mean"s here. thanks for at least letting me vent.
post #2 of 20
Definitely I know what you mean!

But then I remember that at one time, I knew as little as the people I'm now trying to convince. So, then I remember that my work of convincing them is important and I TRY to do it in a non-patronizing way!
post #3 of 20
Sometimes I get the same way and then I have a victory and it makes me feel soooooo gooooood!

The more you do it the better you get at it and the more parents will get the message. I'm having quite a few victories now. Keep up the good works.

Just remember, every time you save a boy you are also probably saving his son and his grandson. That definitely makes it worth it.

post #4 of 20
I hear you!

The more I think and learn about circumcision, the more it makes me so angry. I get angry at my SIL who circed to "make him look like daddy." I get angry at my OB friend who didn't circ her two sons but I'm pretty sure she performs routine circs. I get angry at my two Jewish friends who were pregnant at the same time I was, one of whom's a doctor and the other of whom is the daughter and sister of doctors, neither of whom questioned at all that they would circ (thankfully one had a girl). I get angry at my MIL/FIL, who circed my DH and his brother (and still don't get why it was a bad thing).

I need to learn how to stop being angry all the time, especially at these people who are important to me. I also think I might be able to advocate more effectively if I didn't come across as so angry and forceful when I talk about it. I just don't know how!
post #5 of 20
Hi everyone,

I can only second your sentiments. A couple of my co-workers and also people I socialize with had their sons circ'ed. The "funny" thing is that they both had fertility problems. One couple ended up adopting and the other finally had a son after years of fertility treatments. And what is the first thing they do??? mutilate the genitals of the child they waited years to have!!! I just don't feel like spending time with these people anymore, even though I know they are nice people.

I know that the statistics say that only 60% of baies are circ'ed nowadays, but it seems like almst all the babies I see have no foreskin. Is it just me or what?? Anyhow, I want you to know that I am so grateful for this board, and Frank you are truly amazing, thank you so much for all your posts. Sometimes I wonder if you are real!!!

I have lurked on this board for a couple of years and finally started writing in. I know that there are a lot more out there like me, so let's keep this board going.

Just my 2 cents
post #6 of 20
inside i'm thinking "why in the world do i have to tell you not to strap your newborn baby down and cut off a third of his penis??!!!"
Amen!!! I feel the same way. I get tired of hearing all the lame "pros" to circumcising i.e. so he'll look like his father or 'it's tradition'. I don't understand why ppl would want to do that to their children either.

post #7 of 20
Circumcision is truly a sensitive topic of discussion, equated with religion, politics, vaccination, etc.

Keep in mind people have been taught this is for the child's benefit, health, and social status; for a long, long time.

And also taught that so many who have gone before us can not be wrong. As they have *obviously* learned from their mistakes, <right> ?

How do you argue that?

Very gently.

By pushing away from, and immediately diffusing any possibility of heated discussion.

With the sweetest mannerisms ever, with very little inclination of your passion. Totally detaching yourself from the baby boy involved.

<Maybe mentioning just how often compications arise. Who knows : maybe the Mom can be made aware of the circumcision scar her dh now has. Or the bend or twist that would not naturally have occurred. Or skin tags, bridges, etc. Is hair-bearing skin from the groin and scrotum pulled onto the shaft, where hair is not normally found.>

How 'bout knowing that a good portion of it's size no longer exists.

Yes, this can be a feat of super-hero dimensions. But one way to gently implant the seed that may indeed take warmth to sprout.

When they begin to realize that not "everyone does this" they may see the beginnings of opening their minds to another possible avenue.

When they lift the cloak from their eyes they may also see that the son may not indeed ever look like the father even though both possess that same special appendage.

sparklemom, I certainly feel your passion and pain.

Please never forget you are planting a seed and may never see it's fruition. But also know you are making a difference somewhere out there.

And yes, lise brit, Frank has been our guardian angel at times. sorry Frank.
post #8 of 20
I sure know what you mean. I also wanted to say I love Last Minute's post. No matter how pushy, preachy, slightly embarrassed I always feel after giving anti-circ info to those who are expecting, I still do it. I make sure its written by a doctor (like Paul Fleiss) for crediblitly and I write a personal note from me gently expalaining not to be offended and why I have such strong convictions. SOme get it, some do not. You can not open everyone's eyes, but you can change a few minds.
post #9 of 20
SparkleMom - I'd join your club in a heartbeat! I have two sets of friends, both expecting near the end of May. Both will circ. One has been TTC for about 3 years, if not more. She wanted a girl *so* bad, she could taste it; and it turns out it's gonna be a boy. I asked her if she did her homework on circ, she said yes. So I reminded her that there's no reason and it hurts. She had a "yeah, so?" attitude that sent me flying. She's a friend through church. We have a "Visiting Teaching" program where a visiting teacher (me in this case) goes and visits a couple of other women and gives a message and checks in on them and makes sure they're ok. I have a visiting teacher too, it's a great networking tool. In any case, her absolute lack of caring that she's going to hurt her son upset me so much that I called the person in charge of Visiting teaching and asked that I not visit this woman any more. I just can't handle it. She's one of the biggest advocates for individuality I've ever met, she can't possibly use the "look like dad" "reason." Well, she can't logically; but I think it's logically impossible to make the decision to circ a helpless newborn so I guess that's a moot point.

post #10 of 20

Thank You!

RE: "Frank you are truly amazing, thank you so much for all your posts. Sometimes I wonder if you are real!!!"

You're very welcome. I just pinched myself and can assure you that I am very real.

RE: "And yes, lise brit, Frank has been our guardian angel at times."

I can't think of a higher honor than being known as "The Guardian Angel of Foreskins!"

In one of my first conversations with David Llewellyn, the attorney so active in circumcision issues, he told me that he didn't want to be known as "The Circumcision Attorney." I told him that I couldn't imagine a better reputation for him and that I held him in very high esteem for his stand. I think it made him feel better. To be known as The Guardian Angel of Foreskins would be an honor of the highest magnitude.

On the subject of religion, there has been a very detailed discussion on Circumcision for Christians at BabyCenter for anyone who is interested. I know the topic is taboo here and I know that many are interested in the subject. I think you will find it very informative and educational.

post #11 of 20

A Confession

I have never written about this before but considering some of the posts above, I think it is time.

I can understand the dificulty in talking with others about circumcision. I can understand that it can interfere with friendships. I understand that all too well.

Back when I first became involved with this issue I was engaged to be married. My fiance has a daughter who lives about 400 miles away. She became pregnant about 2 months after I started learning about circumcision and about 6 months after the engagement. I sent her printed material and her mother says she also talked about circumcision with her daughter. The daughter refused to speak with me and would hang up on me and call her mother and tell her to tell me not to call her again. I continued to feed her mother printed information and web links. However, she still circumcised her son. I told my fiance that I could not guarantee that I could ever bring myself to be in the same house with her and that if she came to visit us, I would probably just stay in a hotel for the duration.

There were other issues that came up that were equally important to me but it was circumcision that was the straw that broke the camel's back and I canceled the wedding. We continued dating for another 6 months or so but she kept bringing circumcision up and trying to prove me wrong. It was obvious by the arguments she used that she was not interested enough to research what either of us were saying and the arguments got quite heated.

Finally, she "found Jesus" and started using the Bible as justification. I think she thought that was something I couldn't counter. However I did counter every assertion and scripture she had. We also went to counseling at the church and by the time it was all over, I was practically thrown out of the office. Then we went to psychological counseling. By the time that was all over I had it figured out that she had me there to have a "professional" tell me I was wrong. That didn't happen. By the time we ended the sessions, the psychologist told her I had some very strong arguments and I was not likely to accept anything that was not well researched and unless she could change her way of thinking, we probably should not be married.

This has not deterred her. We still talk occasionally and she is still trying to convince me that I am a horrible sinner because I don't accept her misinterpretations of the Bible. She doesn't even try any of the other arguments any more. This has been going on almost 2 years since the wedding date and almost 2.5 years since I broke the engagement.

I think that she subconsciously believes that if she accepts that circumcision is wrong and is against the teachings of the Bible, then her daughter has done a terrible thing and she is willing to give up everything she wants rather than learn that there may have been something done that should not have been done.

That is the way I think, right or wrong. At this point, I am very suspicious that if there were all of a sudden profound revelation and she suddenly understood that circumcision is wrong and against the teachings of the Bible, that it would be false. I just can't get past that. There have been times that she has backed off a little and then come back full force and we have gotten into some arguments that were so verbally violent that I have just hung up the phone. At this point, I can't even imagine getting close to her again.

I hope no one will beat me up too bad about what has happened. This is such an emotional issue for me that I just can't get around it. I think it would have been a major mistake to go ahead with the marriage when we were so far apart on this issue that I believe in so fervently.

post #12 of 20
Speaking as someone who could never marry a person who disagreed with my core values, I think you did the right and honorable thing by being true to yourself and your beliefs. Your beliefs and values are what make you who you are. Thank you for sharing your story.
post #13 of 20
Frank, thanks for sharing your story.

I'm so glad I married the man I did, because otherwise I would have had to get divorced if I married someone who wanted to circ our son.

Now he tells all sorts of people (the woman who cuts his hair, etc.) that they should leave their sons intact!
post #14 of 20
Wow Frank, that's a powerful story and I know emotionally draining for you to rehash it all. Thank you for sharing. It makes me take a second look at my feelings about circ and encourages me to be more bold in sharing all the information I've learned about why it should NOT be done EVER!!!!!

I have several close friends that asked me if I was going to have the procedure done to my ds before he was born. At the time I had not fully researched and told them I was not sure. Both of them quickly and so casually said, "I did it because my husband wanted us to." As if they had absolutely no right or say so in the matter of their own child. I was really appauled at their indifference and it is so hard for me to talk to them about it now.

Some days I want to bring it up, but then I wonder what for? They've already made a huge mistake and can never take it back. I feel any discussion we'd have would be me making them feel like jerks and what's that going to solve? I don't know, one day I'll get up enough courage to talk about it with them...after a few stiff drinks!!ag

Thanks for starting this conversation. It's nice to get these feelings out to people who "GET IT"!
post #15 of 20
I understand how you feel. Unfortunately, for those who have already done it, the damage is done and it can't be undone. I think the best that can be done for them is to help them understand that their son may confront them someday and help them prepare for that day. If they are planning on more children though, that's a different situation.

By vocation, some way or the other I have always been involved in sales. That has led me to always be introspective in my relationships and how I approach people and issues. Recently what I have noticed is that women/mothers are instinctly protective of their child. Every mother that I have seen talk about this issue is showing that protective instinct regardless of whether they choose to circumcise or not.

As a salesman, to be successful, it was my job to learn what the customer wanted, needed, desired. I needed to know what they wanted my product to do for them, how they wanted it to perform, what it needed to accomplish and then recommend the product that would do that the best for the least investment for them.

What a Mother wants is what is best for her son. What will give him the most pleasure, reward and gratification. They want what will require the least care and maintenance and what will require the least investment for the desired reward.

When they choose circumcision, they do so because they believe for the investment of money on their part and pain on their son's part that they and their son will be rewarded with better health, lower maintenance and more social acceptance for both. To change their mind, we must counter all of these things.

For us to be successful, we must convey the message that the money spent and the pain endured has no reward and is squandered. We must convincingly present the evidence that there is no health benefit, that the maintenance is not lower, but more and in this new era of declining circumcision rates that there is no social cost to pay, indeed there may be a social cost to pay for circumcision.

One of the most respected selling skills courses is one that was originally developed by Xerox Corp. The basics of it are (1) state your purpose, (2) ask an open ended question, (3) address the question (4) confirm the response and (5) confirm the agreement.

For this issue it would work like this: (1) Ask them if they are having a son and if so, tell them you have done a lot of study about circumcision. (2) Ask a question that can not be answered with "yes" or "No" like "What do you think about circumcision?" Let's assume they are going to do it and you respond "Why?" and lets assume they say "Because it will prevent penile cancer." (3)Tell them about the American Cancer Society's statement on penile cancer and other information you have and get their agreement. (4) Confirm the response: "So you agree then, that circumcision doesn't prevent penile cancer." and (5) confirm the agreement: "Then you see no reason to circumcise your son to prevent penile cancer?"

Then you go back to step (2) and ask another open ended question: "What other reasons do you have to circumcise your son?" and repeat the process until you have addressed all of their concerns. Finally, you confirm all of your agreements: "So, you agree that penile cancer is not a reason to circumcise your son?" "yes." And you agree that health concerns are not a reason to circumcise your son?" "Yes." "And you agree that peer influence is not a reason to circumcise your son?" "Yes." And so on until you go through all of them and finish up with "Then you won't be circumcising your son, will you?" At this point they have agreed with everything you have said and have confirmed everything you have agreed on and it becomes exceedingly difficult for them to change that.

The hardest part of that whole process is to ask questions that can't be answered "yes" or "no." This pulls their true concerns out in the open where they can be addressed. This whole process makes you be perceived as interested in them and their son and makes you a trusted advisor and confidant rather than a meddlesome busybody know-it-all because you have provided the information they need and helped them make the decision. the more you use this approach, the more second nature it becomes and it works extremely well. It helped make me the top salesman in several companies.

Sell the parents on how intactness is better for them and their son by becoming a trusted advisor.

post #16 of 20
wow, frank, you are a good salesman!

i am very glad i didn't have to do much persuading for my (jewish) dh to decide he did not want to cut off part of our sons' penises. (he's pretty pissed already it was done to him.)

my birth mother, knowing i was pregnant with my now 2 yr old, wrote me a very gentle email hoping not to tread on any religious toes, but to ask that i consider not circ'ing (she had already saved my nephew's foreskin.) i was, of course, able to tell her we did not consider genitally mutilating our children to be an option. but she was very delicate in her initial questioning- i wish i'd inherited her ability to inoffensively question about the subject- it just gets me too wired up.

incidently, it is kind of weird, but for no reason i can think of, i have always been anti-circ (and pro-bfing, for that matter.) as soon as i was able to formulate an opinion, it (genital integrity)just seemed right to me, and circ'ing (or not bfing) was just never an issue, with no pro-active background (and very little experience seeing even pictures of penises- or nursing.) isn't that strange? some things i have had to educate myself about, but in my memory (and i am getting pretty old, so it has been awhile, lol) i have never ever thought cutting off parts of 'parts' was acceptable.

post #17 of 20
I've found two things worse than having to convince people to leave their son's genitals alone. 1. Not to give them the information to make a proper decision. 2. Having the parents-to-be refuse to accept the information given to them and have the procedure done anyway.

post #18 of 20

a story

I just want to share a story to show that you shouldn't ever give up on anyone. YEARS ago when I first met my best friend we each had toddlers (who are now 21 years old). She had a boy and I had a girl. Her boy was cut and I come from a family where no one has ever been cut. I asked her about the whole circ issue and she gave the standard answers. At that time I wasn't sure what would happen if I ever had a boy since my dh comes from a famiy of cut males, but I told my friend that I thought circ'ing a baby was painful and probably wouldn't do it if I ever had a boy. Well, Liz had another boy before long and brought him home from the hospital with a plastibell on and told me that the doctor told her that it just "made the foreskin fall off." I had two baby boys born close together and left them intact (YES! my dh become a TRUE convert once he did a little research) and Liz and I talked a bit about it. Eventually she moved to Oklahoma and I stayed in Utah but we wrote to each other faithfully. After she moved we both became pregnant at the same time and I decided to have a home birth and she discovered that it wasn't as routine to get an epidural and she got scared. So I helped her find a Bradley childbirth instructor so she could learn a few things that we had talked about from "an expert." TO make a long story shorter....she ended up birthing at home and leaving her next son intact! And she said to me, "When you told me about circumcision I didn't understand why you thought it was such a big deal. NOW I understand." SO, she did end up with an intact son and her grandchildren probably won't be cut! You just never know!
post #19 of 20
That's a great story. Thanks for posting it. I know it took a brave woman to go against conventional wisdom and follow her instincts 21 years ago and it also took a brave woman to recognize her mistakes and leave her third son intact. [B] I salute 2 brave women![B]

Utah seems to be a hotbed of intactivism. The state was one of the first to discontinue Medicaid funding and I see lot's of news articles about circumcision, especially from the Salt Lake Tribune. That speaks well of the state. I wish we had the same kind of coverage here. Our dominant state paper didn't even report the settlement of the William Stowell case or the Flatt vs. Kantak trial even though I wrote them asking for coverage and sent links to the sites covering the two. How sad!

post #20 of 20
That's a great story. Thanks for posting it. I know it took a brave woman to go against conventional wisdom and follow her instincts 21 years ago and it also took a brave woman to recognize her mistakes and leave her third son intact I salute 2 brave women!
Right on !!
Our dominant state paper didn't even report the settlement of the William Stowell case or the Flatt vs. Kantak trial even though I wrote them asking for coverage and sent links to the sites covering the two. How sad!
Frank, you have performed THE most important task of suggesting circumcision is well worth re-assesment. This will open doors of possible closed-mindedness for probably at least two people - the one receiving the information you sent - and that person's *supervisor* or *superior*. A seed planted is a seed planted. I give you credit for taking that first big gigantic step. It's quite possible the recipients have/had no concept what-so-ever of keeping a boy intact. Now the topic has been tweeked slightly open, thanks to you Frank. The next time - and they will have plenty of opportunity to re-evaluate their stance time and again - they *hear* of these cases they may eventually become receptive of reporting on them. These folks that are in a position to broadcast the message are most definitely part of the group we want to reach.
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