Homebirthing and circumcision - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 01:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sevenkids
I think it's highly unethical for a care provider to refuse care based on religious/spiritual/social/cultural/lifestyle beliefs. It's not in my job description to judge, as much as it is within my job to educate and inform. I can tell a Jewish mama that there are alternatives to a Bris Milah, which honour and respect the covenent and don't cut, but the decision is hers. I have known Jewish couples whose families have actually sat Shivah when they decided not to circumcise. That's a lot of pressure.

I think a consumer is well within her rights to seek a care provider who shares her own beliefs. However, many Pagan, Wiccan, Fundamental Christian, Muslim and Jewish ladies will be hard pressed to find one in certain areas.
I've attended births where the minister was invited and a constant prayer circle was going on in the other room. I've attended the birth of an Orthodox Rabbi and his wife; he stayed outside the door praying while she laboured in the room with only women attending (Ack! Don't put the placenta in my kitchen sink! Or on my counter!). I've attended the births of Muslima ladies and the births of Christian rattlesnake handlers. I've joined hands and sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "Washed in the Blood of The Lamb". Births in which mama was helped along with pendulums and crystals, births that took place inside a closed Wiccan circle, Christian Scientist births with the Practitioner on speaker phone. Births where the mother was being "beaten" with plaintan leaves and births where herbs were tied around her thighs with ribbons.
I'm a midwife because I believe women of all backgrounds and beliefs deserve a birth that honours their spirituality and culture, not mine.
These beliefs and practices are totally different from genital mutilation.
How would you feel if they were going to infibulate their daughters? Would you be a part of that?
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#62 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 01:57 PM
 
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any midwife can choose not to work with clients who won't breastfeed, who will circ, who won't eat meat, etc. it's her choice. you just happen to miss out on opportunities to educate people about alternatives -

if that will be your litmus test as to whether or not you'll take on a client, then that's your business. however, recognizing that there are some religious discrimination that is involved is something that you may have to answer to on a more serious level with potential clients.

IMHO, whether a client breastfeeds or not, circs or not, spanks or not, is not really MY decision. I offer information and a wealth of reasons why these things are harmful/beneficial, I'm a hired consultant, not a dictator of their life. Do I consider most vaccines given to babies harmful? Of course! Does that mean I will try to protect the babies from their parents choice to vaccinate? No. I will, however, offer solid information on the risk/benefit ratio of vaccinations. If they are a spanking family, will I do my best to remove the baby from their care because I feel that spanking is harmful to children? What is more violent than ongoing physical pain and the emotional trauma that goes with it? Again, unless there is a law that is being broken or the child(ren) are in serious harm, it's not my role to dictate how they parent.

Why not work towards making routine circ illegal? IMHO, that would do far more for the betterment of babies than just isolating yourself as a care provider from families who will end up doing what they chose to do anyway. How is your exclusion of these people making them change their mind?

It is very sad to me that the babies in my practice get a very gentle introduction to the world and then some go under the knife for circ. But, I honestly feel that my challenging the parents would not necessarily change their minds (I HAVE changed parents' minds, of course, more times than not) when they feel what they are doing is right with their religion or their beliefs.

I also know that before I had my own practice, I was very judgmental about certain things and swore I never would take a client that wouldn't breastfeed or that smoked in pregnancy. I do it not because I need the clients (I don't), but I changed because I believe women - no matter where they are, where they've come from, or who they are - deserve respect during the birth transition.
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#63 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LeosMama
These beliefs and practices are totally different from genital mutilation.
Yes, it's different. Very different.

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How would you feel if they were going to infibulate their daughters? Would you be a part of that?
How am I a part of a Jewish or Muslim circumcision? Attending a Jew or Muslima does not make me a part of their religious beliefs or customs. That's quite a leap there.........
I am a part of their pregnancy and birth, and I choose to support pregnant and birthing Muslim and Jewish women, regardless of my personal beliefs.
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#64 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 02:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pamamidwife
any midwife can choose not to work with clients who won't breastfeed, who will circ, who won't eat meat, etc. it's her choice. you just happen to miss out on opportunities to educate people about alternatives -

if that will be your litmus test as to whether or not you'll take on a client, then that's your business. however, recognizing that there are some religious discrimination that is involved is something that you may have to answer to on a more serious level with potential clients.

IMHO, whether a client breastfeeds or not, circs or not, spanks or not, is not really MY decision. I offer information and a wealth of reasons why these things are harmful/beneficial, I'm a hired consultant, not a dictator of their life. Do I consider most vaccines given to babies harmful? Of course! Does that mean I will try to protect the babies from their parents choice to vaccinate? No. I will, however, offer solid information on the risk/benefit ratio of vaccinations. If they are a spanking family, will I do my best to remove the baby from their care because I feel that spanking is harmful to children? What is more violent than ongoing physical pain and the emotional trauma that goes with it? Again, unless there is a law that is being broken or the child(ren) are in serious harm, it's not my role to dictate how they parent.

Why not work towards making routine circ illegal? IMHO, that would do far more for the betterment of babies than just isolating yourself as a care provider from families who will end up doing what they chose to do anyway. How is your exclusion of these people making them change their mind?

It is very sad to me that the babies in my practice get a very gentle introduction to the world and then some go under the knife for circ. But, I honestly feel that my challenging the parents would not necessarily change their minds (I HAVE changed parents' minds, of course, more times than not) when they feel what they are doing is right with their religion or their beliefs.
Nicely said....
And may I add, you miss out on opportunities to educate yourself about different cultures and beliefs, and some wonderful cultural traditions about birth.
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#65 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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I would try to educate, but when it comes down to it, I cannot support a client who is going to do that. I simply can't. I do not condone child abuse in any situation.

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#66 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 03:27 PM
 
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The midwife we used for our second child asked about circumcision and I was very glad she did. I already knew that we wouldn't be circumcising, but my husband had his doubts (he didn't realize he would have to pry that baby from my dead, cold hands to do it). She asked and we kind of bickered about it and she was able to hand my husband a few books to borrow to better understand the whole process and what goes into it. I was so glad to have someone on my side who was willing to try to educate my husband on the subject. It took only about 3 days to make him an intactavist after that appointment, even though I had been telling him the same stuff for over a year It would have been horrible if she would have dropped us as clients because he wasnt convinced on not doing it. INstead she gave us information and gave him time to really make an educated decision on it, while not passing judgment.

I plan to be a midwife someday and I believe that I will not decide to not take clients based on circumcision. Instead I plan to have educational materials on hand and be willing to explain the whole thing out. I believe that women and babies deserve wonderful birth experiences.... even if in their future is some parenting that I don't agree with. For those of you who won't take clients who do things you don't agree with, that is totally up to you. You have to do what you can live with. My only request would be that you let your clients know upfront about that... not wait until they are almost due with baby and then they feel like they are being left hung out to dry with no midwife, or feeling that they have to lie or conform to their midwife's views in order to have their birth. I have heard of it happening so much with other issues and it makes me sad for those poor mamas.

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#67 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 03:28 PM
 
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Sevenkids, I think you have been very well spoken and I understand what you are saying. As I see it, you have decided where your personal beliefs can intersect with your professional life as a birth attendant and you are comfortable with that junction. You are honoring your concsious.

Different care providers have different conscious's and need to act accordingly. I think you have evaluated this situation and come to a different conclusion from some others.

I believe if doctors were to get a conscious about circ and refuse to perform cosmetic surgery on newborn's, the practice would be greatly eliminated.

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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#68 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 03:33 PM
 
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I don't think anyone is really getting what I'm saying. I would ask at the first appointment what they planned to do if it was a boy. If they said circ, I would give them a bunch of information and tell them to call me if they had any questions. I would let them think about it and come to the next appointment with any questions. At that time, I would let them know that I cannot accept them as clients if they decide to do that. However, if they were seriously thinking about not doing it, I would help them as much as I could.

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#69 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 03:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Heather_in_LasVega
We interviewed three midwives, and only one asked at the initial appointment. However when we told her that if the child was a boy then yes we would need to find a local Mohel (we are Jewish) she was wonderful and had the card of the only one in the area she would recommend.

The midwife we went with didn't really discuss it, since our first full prenatal I had already had an ultrasound and knew it was a girl.

Our doula did bring it up, as she too is Jewish and wanted to know if we needed support or information on local resources.

Ladies while I respect the varied opinions this topic always brings up, I would hate to see a woman with strong religious beliefs and strongly ingrained cultural practices denied the wonderful opportunity for a midwife attended birth because of them.

I'm not talking about the folks that have their boys circed "just because", I agree that is a wonderful opportunity for education. Just thinking out loud here but I just have to wonder how many parents make an informed decision to have their sons circed, and while it is a more invasive procedure, is it really that different from vaxing, or the myriad of other decision we make for our newborns. (they have no say in the decision, and have to live with the potential consequences the rest of their lives).

So glad you had the resources you wanted available to you if you had had a boy. (insert sarcasm here). Yes, the genital mutilation of infants is different than vaccinating. I think you are kidding yourself if you think there is really a difference between circ'ing "just because" and circing for religious reasons.
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#70 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 03:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kathryn
I don't think anyone is really getting what I'm saying. I would ask at the first appointment what they planned to do if it was a boy. If they said circ, I would give them a bunch of information and tell them to call me if they had any questions. I would let them think about it and come to the next appointment with any questions. At that time, I would let them know that I cannot accept them as clients if they decide to do that. However, if they were seriously thinking about not doing it, I would help them as much as I could.
I totally get it, and totally respect it. You wanna circ? Here's a list of other practitioners who would be more than happy to assume your care...
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#71 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 05:47 PM
 
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"I don't think anyone is really getting what I'm saying. I would ask at the first appointment what they planned to do if it was a boy. If they said circ, I would give them a bunch of information and tell them to call me if they had any questions. I would let them think about it and come to the next appointment with any questions. At that time, I would let them know that I cannot accept them as clients if they decide to do that. However, if they were seriously thinking about not doing it, I would help them as much as I could." Kathryn

I get it too & I couldn`t agree more. If I was a mw I would handle it the same way. I`m sorry, but it is abuse and its not just the pain of having it done, its making a decison without regarding the person`s own choice & it permanently damages the penis. I`d rather a baby have a not perfect birth, even in a hospital, even by c/s , than have that baby end up circed. Birth is still one day, a very important day of course, but just ONE, & the boy has the rest of his life with his penis.

Married Catholic mami : to 5 boys, : 9 6 3 : 5 mo. 5/6/02-6/22/02 (HIE)
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#72 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 07:33 PM
 
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But is refusing to care for the motherbaby at birth going to save that boy's penis?

Seriously?

If you say to the mom, "No, you can't have me as a midwife, you have to go to the hospital and have a c/sec" or even just find another midwife, do you really think that the boy will have a better chance to keep his foreskin? You lose out on the chance to show them how beautiful, how perfect he is when he's born. You lose the chance to influence them at all except to think "Those crazy judgmental midwives!".

I feel torn on this issue, because I really do think RIC should be illegal (and if we're going to allow religious exemption for that, we have to allow religious exemption for FGM), but I don't think I could say to any mother that I can't support them in birth because I don't agree with what they think they're going to do at some point in the (even near) future.

Every moment I spend with them is a potential epiphany moment for them, a moment where I can potentially influence them (and save, if not this son, then maybe their next, or their nephew, or even their grandson).

Would I participate in a bris or a circumcision? Probably not. I really believe it is possible to support women in birth without supporting all of their life decisions.

(Which is also not to say that a midwife has to accept all clients without discrimination - discrimination in this case meaning "the quality or power of finely distinguishing" - in choosing whom she attends. And if you, as a midwife, want to choose not to attend women in birth who choose to circumcise, well, I support you in that choice. Even if I don't agree with it.)
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#73 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 07:59 PM
 
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It may or may not save his penis. However, I feel I owe it to all the little boys to stand against this inhumane practice anyway possible. The more people against it, the faster it will fade.

And honestly, I would not want to help bring a child into this world in a loving and peacful way and then know that I'm "letting" genital mutilation happen to him. A different midwife that does not have these beliefs can do that.

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#74 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 08:05 PM
 
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"If you say to the mom, "No, you can't have me as a midwife, you have to go to the hospital and have a c/sec" or even just find another midwife, do you really think that the boy will have a better chance to keep his foreskin? You lose out on the chance to show them how beautiful, how perfect he is when he's born. You lose the chance to influence them at all except to think "Those crazy judgmental midwives!"." Arwyn

You make a good point, that cutting them off in a harsh way could be seen as very judgemental & of course its not that simple, like "go away you circers! Go to the hospital where your birth will suck." Especially b/c baby will be circed anyway. I was just thinking for me it is very strange for a mother to want a gentle beginning at home for her baby & then turn around & circ. I might point that out to a client gently, like hey, that is the complete opposite of his birth & he will cry more (generally) for his first month & breastfeeding can be more of a challenge.

For a mw that is very opposed to circ it would be hard to point out that perfection and then the baby still gets carved up. I would rather avoid the whole thing.

Everybody has their moral code & circ is so far out of mine that I would try the above approach, here`s some info & if you still want to do it, here`s somebody else.

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#75 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 08:17 PM
 
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How are you "letting" it happen? I guess that's the thing that I don't get. You're not "letting" it happen - you're helping and supporting the mom who, in a completely unrelated event is deciding to have it done.

I understand boycotts and refusing to be a part of something you find unethical. I boycott marriage and walmart, fercrizsake. I just don't understand the "letting" part of that, unless your other option is to steal the baby from them or physically stand in the way of it being done. (Yay sit-ins!) And again, I completely support your right to make that decision, and I've contemplated doing that myself. I just don't get it.

I dunno - maybe it's like the in/out of hospital midwives debate, where the CNMs do what they do because they think they can provide a better birth environment in the hospital and they can reach more mothers that way, whereas I think they're just submitting to and supporting the patriarchal technocratic machine. (Poking fun at myself there a bit ) Maybe it's just like that - but I still don't get it.

I think you're also making it sound like those of us who would accept a circumcising family as clients aren't against circumcision, or aren't intactivists. ("The more people against it..." "A different midwife that does not have these beliefs...") It's not like we're out there performing circumcisions or telling these folks "right on, your decision, what are those stupid foreskins for anyway, it doesn't make any difference." We're not supporting circumcision - we're supporting the mother in birth (and antenatally and postpartum), and acknowledging that what else she does in her life, good or bad, is not our decision to make.

I could maybe see not providing well-baby or post-partum support to the child/mother after circumcision, but that smacks of neglecting one's midwifery duties - we're supposed to care for the motherbaby in the early postpartum period, too.

I can definitely see not being a postpartum doula for a family that circs, because that is more about care of the baby. Even then, I do think a postpartum doula can be against circ and support the family - I just don't think I would do it.
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#76 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 08:26 PM
 
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To me, when you don't stand against something, you are saying it's ok and that is letting it happen. Part of a midwife is the aftercare and I could not do that. It goes against my basic morals to provide care for someone and their baby that is going to do that. I would not provide care for someone who was going to mutilate their little girl and I don't treat boys any differently.

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#77 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 08:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dove
So glad you had the resources you wanted available to you if you had had a boy. (insert sarcasm here). Yes, the genital mutilation of infants is different than vaccinating. I think you are kidding yourself if you think there is really a difference between circ'ing "just because" and circing for religious reasons.
This is why I have never participated in a circ discussion before! While I would do a ritual circumsicion if I gave birth to a boy, I am hadly running around promoting that *everyone* should circ! And I appreciated that a midwife realized that she was not going to change my mind, respected my informed decision, and provided the name of a practicioner she had personally witnessed and felt postively about.

I would not circ "just because" and to imply that I am kidding myself is disrespectful and insulting. This is something DH and I discussed at length and did much soul searching over.

Unless you have grown up an observant Jew and actively practice Judiasm I really don't think you are qualified to pass judgement on my decision making process.

This is a delicate subject for me and I know for other Jewish woman. For most of us we are a minority in our community, even more so in the AP community. It is very disheartening to be called a "child abuser", a "mutilator" etc. by those you consider to be a part of your "community", even if it is online.

I hate to break it to you, but if I thought I was going to loose my only shot at a midwife attended birth because of it, I would lie! Not proud of it, but there you go. And if there wasn't a good Mohel in Vegas I would have gladly made the trip to the grandparents in LA for the Bris.
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#78 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Arwyn
But is refusing to care for the motherbaby at birth going to save that boy's penis?

Seriously?
Maybe not. But, if I were a midwife/doula, she wouldn't DESERVE my help if she's chosen to do that to her son.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#79 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 08:54 PM
 
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I think you're also making it sound like those of us who would accept a circumcising family as clients aren't against circumcision, or aren't intactivists. ("The more people against it..." "A different midwife that does not have these beliefs...") It's not like we're out there performing circumcisions or telling these folks "right on, your decision, what are those stupid foreskins for anyway, it doesn't make any difference." We're not supporting circumcision - we're supporting the mother in birth (and antenatally and postpartum), and acknowledging that what else she does in her life, good or bad, is not our decision to make.
Right on.

I have had more than a few couples who planned on circing right up until the last minute, only to tell me at the 4 day or 2 week visit that they changed their minds. Imagine if I had refered them to someone who actually did support and encourage circ'ing or had no strong opinions on the subject? Quite a different outcome, I'd guess.
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#80 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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I'm not a midwife, but I have a really hard time dealing with people who I know have circed, will circ, and have absolutely no interest in stopping it.

And given that I'd internally know the entire time "these people are going to do something truly dreadful" it would probably be quite hard for me to provide quality care anyway. I can barely look at a friend of mine right now without thinking of how she handed her son over to have the most sensitive part of his genitals amputated, let alone help her through a birth. I just don't think I could do it.

She'd be better served elsewhere, with someone who can stomach the idea of infant circumcision. And I'd be better served not to reduce myself to a nervous wreck over the issue.
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#81 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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Maybe not. But, if I were a midwife/doula, she wouldn't DESERVE my help if she's chosen to do that to her son.
Deserve? that's an unfortunate choice of word......It's an honour and a privilidge to attend a birth. It has nothing to do with whether or not she deserves the birth she wants, but whether she chooses to honour you with the privilidge.
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#82 of 151 Old 04-07-2006, 09:11 PM
 
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Right on.

I have had more than a few couples who planned on circing right up until the last minute, only to tell me at the 4 day or 2 week visit that they changed their minds. Imagine if I had refered them to someone who actually did support and encourage circ'ing or had no strong opinions on the subject? Quite a different outcome, I'd guess.
I'm one of those clients. I was simply not educated about circumcision until much later in pregnancy. I was in the "I don't own a penis, my DH can decide" mentality. I was given information, but just didn't understand the significance until much later in my pregnancy when the idea of having a real, breathing, feeling baby who needed my care became more real to me.

My midwives, who are against circ, gently discussed the topic with me and DH from time to time, then loaned us a video. That sealed the deal. If I had gone to a midwife who didn't care one way or another or didn't bother to educate us in a loving manner, I doubt I would have learned what I know now.

I had a girl anway, but any future sons will be left intact.

Another thing...if my midwives had asked at the beginning of my pregnancy if I decided to circ, even if they gave me a couple pamphlets to read first, then dropped me because of my decision, I may have felt insulted or attacked and probably have been more inclined to circ just to spite them for making me feel badly. But my midwives didn't do that. They never attacked my original decision or made me feel it was wrong. They discussed the issue with me calmly and with a lot of understanding. That's what me and DH needed.

Hope that makes sense...I'm rambling and my dd is trying to get me off the comp!

ETA: So my point was, I am thankful that my midwives educated me instead of turning me loose. Who knows if/when I would have learned what I know now about circ if they hadn't bothered with it? Maybe I would have learned too late.
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#83 of 151 Old 04-08-2006, 01:53 AM
 
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many of the responses and thoughts here have me questioning my choice to hire a midwife. not because i support circumcision or bottle feeding or whatever but because i would rather be treated like a uterus than a potential demon.
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#84 of 151 Old 04-08-2006, 02:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Heather_in_LasVega
This is why I have never participated in a circ discussion before! While I would do a ritual circumsicion if I gave birth to a boy, I am hadly running around promoting that *everyone* should circ! And I appreciated that a midwife realized that she was not going to change my mind, respected my informed decision, and provided the name of a practicioner she had personally witnessed and felt postively about.

I would not circ "just because" and to imply that I am kidding myself is disrespectful and insulting. This is something DH and I discussed at length and did much soul searching over.

Unless you have grown up an observant Jew and actively practice Judiasm I really don't think you are qualified to pass judgement on my decision making process.

This is a delicate subject for me and I know for other Jewish woman. For most of us we are a minority in our community, even more so in the AP community. It is very disheartening to be called a "child abuser", a "mutilator" etc. by those you consider to be a part of your "community", even if it is online.

I hate to break it to you, but if I thought I was going to loose my only shot at a midwife attended birth because of it, I would lie! Not proud of it, but there you go. And if there wasn't a good Mohel in Vegas I would have gladly made the trip to the grandparents in LA for the Bris.
I hate to break it to you, too - but the decision to mutilate your baby based on religious beliefs is no better than doing it "just because" - you baby doesn't know the difference, after all. You can't explain that to a newborn as he has this horrific procedure performed on him. I'm sure it is a delicate subject - after all, I would know - my son is Jewish. My dh would lay his Jewish body down over his son's to prevent this from atrocity from happening to him. Since you infer that I have no idea about Judaism and Jewish law, I thought I would let you in on our personal decision.

eta: actually what got me about your post was that you were making the distinction between doing it "just because" and because of religious reasons, as if your decision was somehow better because it has some valid "reasoning" behind it.

www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org
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#85 of 151 Old 04-08-2006, 02:17 AM
 
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many of the responses and thoughts here have me questioning my choice to hire a midwife. not because i support circumcision or bottle feeding or whatever but because i would rather be treated like a uterus than a potential demon.
??? well, that would be your choice...???
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#86 of 151 Old 04-08-2006, 03:57 AM
 
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??? well, that would be your choice...???
my choice would be to deny myself the privilege of being judged or demeaned by my hired help - regardless of issue. i find it unfortunate that some don't see the harm in alienation and stepping out of bounds and role.
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#87 of 151 Old 04-08-2006, 10:02 AM
 
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i find it unfortunate that some don't see the harm in alienation and stepping out of bounds and role.
Then whose role is it to inform people about circumcision, if not one's health care provider?

- Krista

milk donation : mother to Ryan (6), AJ (5), Nate (2), Maia (1) all born at home, I have a kid-friendly food & bento blog, : :
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#88 of 151 Old 04-08-2006, 11:27 AM
 
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Then whose role is it to inform people about circumcision, if not one's health care provider?

- Krista
i'm not put out by INFORMATION. i expect that. i want that. at least half the point is the information i would get from such a person. judgement, refusal to treat as a person rather than a cause, that's my problem.
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#89 of 151 Old 04-08-2006, 12:12 PM
 
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Then you would find a midwife that is ok with you circumcising your child. There are doctors that would refuse as well, it's not just a midwife thing.

Mom to Dakota (6), Coy, (4), Max, (4), Lily (4), and Auri (June 19th 2010)!
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#90 of 151 Old 04-08-2006, 12:27 PM
 
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Then you would find a midwife that is ok with you circumcising your child. There are doctors that would refuse as well, it's not just a midwife thing.
for me circumcision isn't the issue. i think i wrote that already.
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