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My good friend is having a boy

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Some background: this is an old friend, former college roommate, she was present at the births of both of my daughters, more like a sister to me than my sister. She also went through years of infertility before conceiving this baby. Now she's having a boy at the end of October and I'm just sick to my stomach because she's going to circ.

I've tried to talk to her, but she thinks I'm a nut for ebf and co-sleeping and for having DD#2 at a birth center without drugs. She even told me it's easier when you have girls, as if my advice doesn't mean anything. I sent her articles over email and she replied "Thanks for sending those, I'll let DH read them. I'm letting him make the decision." I know her and I know that means they're gonna do it and they don't want to talk to me about it.

Now I have to decide is this worth losing a friend? Do I just let it go because she isn't going to listen anyway? Do I bug her relentlessly so she knows how big of an issue it is to me? I don't know if pushing harder will make her any more likely to listen, or just make her mad.

The worst decision now is she wants me to come to the hospital when she delivers and I just can't. I don't know how to tell her that if she's circing I can't be there. I don't want it to seem petty, like if she's not doing it my way I won't participate...I just can't be there when this happens.

I don't know if I need advice or just need to vent. I can't believe how hard this is.
post #2 of 16
It seems to me that you are close enough friends that you should be able to say to her, "Please do me a favor as a friend and read the articles yourself. I hope you will consider taking part in the decision making process. I think this is very important, since your son will have to live with your decision for the rest of his life. I hope you don't think I am butting in, it's just that there are so many mothers who allow a circumcision and then regret it later and wish that someone had informed them before their son was born." It also seems to me that you are close enough that you could tell her that you can't attend the birth if there is going to be a circumcision. This is not a petty or a small thing. It isn't just that she's "not doing it your way." She's doing something that you really are justified in being disturbed by.

Good luck.
post #3 of 16

My opinion...

Is that this may be the first of decisions that you won't agree with her on, and it could (depending on you) be the begining to the end of the freindship anyway.

If you don't want to be there when he's born, then just tell her and tell her why. If she sees that you feel that strongly about it, maybe at the very least she'll read the articles you gave her to see what the big deal is.

It's hard when you and close freinds don't have the same ideas on stuff.
I was so excited when my SIL had her first baby just a couple of weeks ago (they tried for YEARS to conceive this child) and couldn't wait....until I found out they mutilated him. *Ugh* It's hard to be happy for them, when I have this sinking feeling in my stomach.

post #4 of 16
If I had a friend who even considered circumcising her daughter, I would find it morally repugnant and she would not be able to shut me up about it. If she did follow through and circumcise her, I would have absolutely nothing to do with her. I do not have friends like that.

post #5 of 16
If you can't go in full joy, then it's probably better not to go. If you could totally keep your feelings to yourself, and just be there to share their joy at the birth, then go. Personally I'm just not capable of hiding my feelings that well, and it would make me sick to know what they are going to do.

The thing is that when you have kids we want to talk about the raising of them with our friends, if there are too many areas of disagreement, or you disagree on something the other finds abborant it can definately effect the friendship.
post #6 of 16
Can you gently explain that since her dh does not have a foreskin (I'm assuming he doesn't) that it is important for BOTH parents to take part in the decision? A man without a foreskin DOES NOT know what he hasn't got . . . .

How Could He Know . . . ?

He's lived most of his life without one.

The following quotes are taken from the following fully-referenced article:

Circumcision is almost unheard of in Europe, South America, and non-muslim Asia. In fact, only 10 to 15 percent of men throughout the world are circumcised. The vast majority of whom are Muslim. The neonatal circumcision rate in the western US has now fallen to 34.2 percent.
. . . circumcision robs a male of as much as 80 percent or more of his penile skin. Depending on the foreskin's length, cutting it off makes the penis as much as 25 percent or more shorter.
Hair-bearing skin from the groin and scrotum is often pulled onto the shaft, where hair is not normally found.
. . . the circumcised penis may be permanently twisted, or curve or bow during erection.
post #7 of 16
You might try looking at or having her look at the following web site. It is extremely interesting to read the male opinions which are suprisingly anti-circumcision

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies!

This isn't the first thing we've ever disagreed about. Like I said, she pretty much thinks I'm a nut, but we just work around it. There's so much history between us I can't imagine not having her in my life. That said, I think after this I can't see us being very close.

I need to talk to her...I'm tempted to write a long email, but I need to just grit my teeth and call her (she lives about two hours' drive away) and tell her exactly why I can't come to her birth, no matter how sad the thought of missing it makes me. She needs to know that this issue isn't like the others, this one is just something so horrible to me I can't get past it. I just can't imagine myself even helping her out after he's born, because there's no way I could change his diaper or even be there when she does.

Devrock, thanks for the very well-put response. Can I copy it verbatim? My emotions are making it hard for me to talk about this calmly.

Tookasmama...you're right. When I was the only one with kids it was more like she would smile at me and I knew she was thinking "I won't do things that way with my kids" about stuff like my cloth diapers and our lack of a crib and Sophie still nursing at 30 mos etc. But now that she's going to have a baby and actually circ him and bottle feed him and let him cio etc. it will be harder I think for us to find anything we have in common.

Frankly Speaking, I was thinking the same thing and I'm wondering if I shouldn't actually present her with the parallel just to get her attention. Her contention that I don't understand since I've never had a boy just got to me. I would no more mutilate a DS than I would one of my DDs.

Last Minute, I actually said something to her like "My DH and I are equally ignorant about foreskins so we decided to research this together" but it got no response. I really think she's just putting me off. I think perhaps if I can take that article (it's one of the ones I sent her) and put the many reasons not to circ in my own words and send it to her she might be more likely to read it than she is to click on a link and look at an article. I know there are pro-circ or at least neutral articles on the web as well and she'd be more likely to read those...she moves in pretty mainstream circles.

I might type up something and submit it for criticism/suggestions.

Thanks everyone.
post #9 of 16
Originally posted by kayjayjay
Devrock, thanks for the very well-put response. Can I copy it verbatim?
Of course you may.
post #10 of 16
Kay Jay Jay:

I'm glad you "got it." I was afraid it was too subtle or would be mistaken for a typo. You must be a very sharp lady.

post #11 of 16
But now that she's going to have a baby and actually circ him and bottle feed him and let him cio etc. it will be harder I think for us to find anything we have in common.
Do you know that she's going to formula feed and let the poor baby cio? This on top of circ'ing him? It would hurt me to see somone I love treat their baby without respect becuase I would love that baby too. If I couldn't convince the mom that her son is perfect and needs her protection, it would hurt more to see the little person, I would feel like I failed.
Ezzo mentions associating with people who are "like minded" and although I couldn't hang out with Ezzo-ified mommies, I do find it easier to be around people who understand my parenting decisions. On the other hand, she might feel the same way and help the relationship drift (since you are a nut =) ). This sounds so harsh coming from me, I'm so sorry. It hurts losing a friend. I think what I'm trying to say is that if you decide to let the friendship go, she might be just as willing.
post #12 of 16

Although I don't have a son...

I totally understand how you feel about the conflict with your friend. My best friend is a FF and I can't stand it so much that it makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it. I am probably not normal that it bothers me this much, but I let it eat away at me. I can't stand to sit there and watch her feed her baby a bottle of formula. I think she is selfish. She also uses her husband as a scapegoat on issues she does not want to confront. With her first child she did not try to bf at all. With her second I worked on her a little and she tried it for 2 weeks and gave formula supplements while nursing :
A tried to help her so much but the bottom line was she did not want to do it. A week after she quit she finally said "dh and I started giving her bottles last week". She did not say " i quit bf "-she said it as if he made the decision. It is making me sick as I sit here and think about it.

Anyway. It is causing conflict in our friendship especially since she has a dd 8 months younger than my dd and I am still nursing.

I hope you can decide what to do and that you will share your decision and her reaction with us!

Good luck!
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 


Well, I finally talked to her last night (I have to admit I was putting it off). My hands were shaking and I don't remember exactly what I said but my DH was in the room and he said it sounded ok. I remember telling her about my mom (whom she knows well) and how they circed my little brother in the hospital room with her there after telling her that it wouldn't hurt him and how after hearing his screams she regrets letting them do it. She was still putting me off, saying they haven't made a decision yet, so I told her I really wanted her to read this one Christian article and that I would send it to her again. She and her DH are both Christians and I think biblical arguments will carry a lot of weight with them.

I just sent her an email with the article and this is what I said:

"C, Here is a link to the website that has the article I was talking about. This website has two excellent articles (I haven't read the others) the first one is "What I learned about circumcision when I was pregnant" written by the woman who runs the website, and the other is "What the bible really says about circumcision" written by Laura Jezek. This last one is somewhat long but well worth reading. I think you and K would both find it interesting...just take a look at it, for my sake.

C (our doctor) told us she uses anesthesia and for some reason at the time I though that made everything ok. But even if you can convince a doctor to use anesthesia you still have to seriously consider the ethics of removing a significant part of your perfect, beautiful, innocent, trusting, son's body without his consent. He (and his future wife) will have to live with the consequences of your decision for the rest of his life. I know first-hand (from my own husband) that many of the complications of this procedure (and they are quite common) don't manifest themselves until later in life and men don't always even know at first that the problems they are having are a direct result of their circumcision.

I know you can tell by now that I feel very strongly about this issue. I can't wait for you to have that little baby and to see him and hold him...I love him already like he was a nephew to me. I know you don't want me telling you what to do, and I know that you would protect that baby with your life. I guess sometimes you just have to know exactly what the dangers are that you have to protect him from. So toward that end, PLEASE read these articles."

She's due in six weeks and I figure if I just pelt her with information, at the worst I'll make her mad and she'll never speak to me again, but then again maybe she'll start to listen and change her mind. I know if she goes ahead with it we just aren't going to be close anymore anyway.

Wish me luck, and I'll post again if anything changes. Thanks again for all your help.
post #14 of 16
Continued best wishes in your efforts.Don't forget to send that norm site list of what is lost as a result of circumcision.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just remembered I wanted to say one more thing. Since this has been a big issue for us lately DH and I have been looking online and talking about it alot. Last week DH came home from work and told me that for some reason this topic came up in conversation with a friend of his that has a new baby girl. After they talked for a bit, his friend said "I'm so glad we had a girl!" because they were going to circ and also said he has some pain and it never ocurred to him that it was from his circ. He told DH that he won't ever circ one of his babies!

So at I guess there is a silver lining here. I love my intactivist DH!
post #16 of 16
DH and I have two sons, neither have been circed. DH didn't even have a say in that one . I have a very good friend with 3 sons, each was circed to make them look like daddy which I think is a rather pathetic excuse (I did tell that too). I think the best you can do is give her the information you have and although you have very strong feelings about circ, ultimately it is their decision. If you value her friendship then her decision to circ is something you have to get past. My mother got two of my three elder brothers cut before she finally woke up and realised it was wrong. Are you certain she is going to bottle feed and cio or is it an option to be considered? She might find the sound of a wailing baby worse than picking the poor mite up. There are a lot of mothers out there that are doing what they believe is the best thing for their babies that other people shudder at, it doesn't make them bad people, just human.
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