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#1 of 10 Old 12-11-2003, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,
I am a student doula and I just attended my first birth last month. The baby was a boy, and the mama new that ahead of time so during our prenatal meetings we discussed circumcision, and I gave her information about leaving her son intact. She said she wanted him to be circ'd but didn't give a reason, and we discussed at least delaying circ. until he was "old enough for pain meds":
She ended up not circing at the hospital, and I was thrilled b/c I have never known anyone who actually had it done after taking baby home, bonding, ect. (aside from religious reasons).
Anyway, we spoke yesterday and she has an appt. with a dr. to circ him on fri. She said "I am just dreading this b/c I don't want him to be in pain." And I told her that I understood and that it would hurt.
Would it be wrong for me to call her and try to talk her out of this? If I just say-- you seem to have reservations about this...why do you feel it must be done?
Oh, and she told me her baby has very little foreskin but the dr. said "there's enough to cut--if there's any foreskin you can cut it "
Sorry so long....
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#2 of 10 Old 12-11-2003, 11:08 AM
 
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Let me turn the question around on you. If she was Muslim, had a daughter and was taking her to a middle eastern country to have her circumcised, would you hesitate to speak up? Would you call the police or the prosecutor to protect this girl? Why should it be any different for a boy? Why does he not deserve an advocate? Would you feel worse if you did speak up or if you didn't. How long will you feel guilt if you say nothing? What if the child finds you in 20 years and asks why you didn't speak up for him? How will you respond?

I know these are tough questions but if you are going to be a doula, they are going to come up over and over again. If you don't speak up, each child you don't speak up for will just add to your burden of guilt until it becomes overwhelming. That won't be a pleasant place to be. That's too much stress to bear.




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#3 of 10 Old 12-11-2003, 12:26 PM
 
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Please, please, please contact her and talk to her about it! I am not a regular on this board and I cannot give you advice on how to approach this subject the best way - I am European and here no male infants are circumcised. The whole procedure strikes me as simply barbaric.
Just as Frankly Speaking said, in my mind, too there's no difference if you circumcise a boy or a girl - it's genital mutilation in both cases.
A penis has a foreskin for a reason - it is designed to protect it, to keep it moist and to give more pleasure sexually, too. I tell you, I would have been mad at my mother if she cut away an integral part of my genitalia at birth or in infancy.

I hope that someone gives you better advice on what to say and how to say it, but I just wanted to say what I feel.
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#4 of 10 Old 12-11-2003, 08:14 PM
 
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I would call her, and ask her what information you can give her to persuade her that this is unnecessary. It will hurt now - and it will hurt later, when her boy learns that his mother let them cut off fifty percent of the skin of hie penis for no good reason.

Ask her to watch the video of a circ at www.intact.ca before she goes to the doctor.

Good luck.

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#5 of 10 Old 12-11-2003, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the replies. I did call her, and unfortunately I was unable to change her mind . I asked her why she felt that it was necessary to circ him and she said that "she had known people who weren't circ'd who blamed their parents". I told her that if he felt that way he could have it done at any time, but that once she had done it-- it couldn't be undone. She said she thought it would be best to do it now so he won't remember it. I tried again to tell her that surely she has seen this month that circing is unnecessary and that his body works perfectly exactly as it is, and she was kind but VERY firm when she said she had made her choice.

I feel so sad right now. I wish I could have changed her mind. It feels like such a hopeless place to be...to know that tomorrow something bad will happen to that sweet baby and the one person who can stop it won't.


Thanks anyway y'all....
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#6 of 10 Old 12-12-2003, 06:18 PM
 
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Well... you tried your best, that's all you could have done in the given situation. But yes, it's awful, isn't it?

I just don't buy this "she had known people who weren't circ'd who blamed their parents". I just cannot imagine any man feeling resentful towards parents because they left his penis intact. It's not as if it's impossible for an adult to get circumcised...

Just the reverse I think - it is very possible that the man will feel angry towards his mother for mutilating his genitals.
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#7 of 10 Old 12-12-2003, 06:30 PM
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Yes, good for you for trying.

You may have to decide, though (as some doulas have done), that you cannot/will not work with clients who are going to circ if the child is male.

Yes, you may lose some clients this way, but at least you'll be able to sleep at night. And, who knows, some clients may be so impressed by your dedication to the cause that they may ask you for more information.

After all, why does a woman deserve a doula to nurture her when she is going to turn around and put her son through this torture? Does HE get a doula when he's going through this? Just some things for you to think about.
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#8 of 10 Old 12-12-2003, 06:35 PM
 
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Does HE get a doula when he's going through this?

Excellent point, mamajulie!
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#9 of 10 Old 12-14-2003, 12:23 AM
 
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Leigh-ann,

You did what you could. You gave it your best shot. I commend you for that.

Next time you might succeed or again you might not. But one thing is for sure, if you don't try, there is probably no chance for the baby to stay intact.

Matin Luther King, Jr.:
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
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#10 of 10 Old 12-17-2003, 01:23 AM
 
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Oooh that breaks my heart. Mamajulie has a very good point. I don't like to judge others and push my views on them, just as I don't like others to do the same to me, so I can see why you were hesitant to call. I think if I were you I would have to say upfront to potential clients, "I respect your decision to do what you think is right, however, I have very differing views on the matter and feel strongly enough about it that I will not be able to take you on as a client if you decide to go through with it".

Or something like that. Best wishes.
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