How to pass on info respectfully? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH's sister is expecting her first boy in a few months (as you can see from my sig, we are expecting our 2nd a few weeks after them). When we learned they were having a boy, DH and I wondered if we should bring up the circ issue with them. Ultimately, we decided that if they came to us, we would tell them our feelings. But if they didn't, we would have to accept that they were educated adults who would do their own research and come to the decision that was best for them (even if we didn't like/understand it).

There's a history amongst DH's siblings where their opinions about each other's parenting choices have created some serious and irreperable divides over the years. By being the last couple to have kids and witnessing this pattern before it affected us, we have adopted a policy of laissez-faire when it comes to pretty much all parenting discussions.

However, DH just told me that last night that he was chatting with his sister and his mom's neighbor about babies/birth/hospital experiences etc. and the neighbor mentioned how adamant she was in the hospital to make sure that her son didn't get circ'd, vaxed, etc. DH chimed in about how we were the same with DS#1. SIL revealed that she really had no opinion about circ and would probably do whatever the hospital recommended.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. NO opinion? This is hardly the "educated decision" that DH & I agreed to stay out of. I almost feel obligated to pass on some info now. I know that I initially recommended that we stay out of it, but their logic to listen to whatever the hospital says seems dangerous to me. Officially, the American Academy of Pediatrics is neutral on the subject (but we all know how "neutral" that policy reads ). In an ideal world, the hospital would be neutral as well. However, my concern is that the hospital would just assume that they're for it if they're not expressly against it, or they'd get information based on a doctor or nurses personal opinion, or worse yet, the hospital would suggest it just because it's a billable procedure.

So my question is this--how do I pass on info respectfully--without being immediately dismissed as the extreme liberal mom in the family?
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:03 PM
 
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I wouldn't say anything if I were you. It was your DH who heard the discussion, and it's your DH's sister, so let him be the one to say something. That way it doesn't look like he came home and told you all about it, and you got your nose in it. KWIM?

He should give her something basic and simple, to get her interested. And then maybe give her a bit more info later. I would never drop a big ol' lengthy bunch of text and links and videos on someone unless it was specifically requested......in my experience, that's a major turn off.

And for the best results, he should make it chatty and all about HIM and HIS SON, not about her. Not stuff like "Why would you want to do that to your son?" but stuff like "Yeah, we had no idea what circ involved till we started looking. I was completely surprised to find out that the foreskin actually has a purpose!" and "Once we started researching, I got real ticked when people would tell me crap like 'O it's cleaner!' or 'O it's so hard to take care of!' or 'O, he'll have to have it done later!' That's a load. Americans are the only ones who do it to their babies routinely. Everyone else in the world, sans certain religious sects, is intact and healthy. What a bunch of BS."
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogautumn View Post
My DH's sister is expecting her first boy in a few months (as you can see from my sig, we are expecting our 2nd a few weeks after them). When we learned they were having a boy, DH and I wondered if we should bring up the circ issue with them. Ultimately, we decided that if they came to us, we would tell them our feelings. But if they didn't, we would have to accept that they were educated adults who would do their own research and come to the decision that was best for them (even if we didn't like/understand it).

There's a history amongst DH's siblings where their opinions about each other's parenting choices have created some serious and irreperable divides over the years. By being the last couple to have kids and witnessing this pattern before it affected us, we have adopted a policy of laissez-faire when it comes to pretty much all parenting discussions.

However, DH just told me that last night that he was chatting with his sister and his mom's neighbor about babies/birth/hospital experiences etc. and the neighbor mentioned how adamant she was in the hospital to make sure that her son didn't get circ'd, vaxed, etc. DH chimed in about how we were the same with DS#1. SIL revealed that she really had no opinion about circ and would probably do whatever the hospital recommended.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. NO opinion? This is hardly the "educated decision" that DH & I agreed to stay out of. I almost feel obligated to pass on some info now. I know that I initially recommended that we stay out of it, but their logic to listen to whatever the hospital says seems dangerous to me. Officially, the American Academy of Pediatrics is neutral on the subject (but we all know how "neutral" that policy reads ). In an ideal world, the hospital would be neutral as well. However, my concern is that the hospital would just assume that they're for it if they're not expressly against it, or they'd get information based on a doctor or nurses personal opinion, or worse yet, the hospital would suggest it just because it's a billable procedure.

So my question is this--how do I pass on info respectfully--without being immediately dismissed as the extreme liberal mom in the family?

I see your problem. You want to make sure they know the facts but without causing a rift within the family. Honestly, I think the best way of doing this is in a calm, relaxed way. Instead of trying to press the importance of this issue through your own words, give them facts that speak for themselves.

Start out "So I heard your really had no opinion about the whole circ thing. We have been around the bend a few times with this, and know how stressful this can all get. We thought you might like some facts about all this to make it easier, instead of having to deal with it all at the last minute in the hospital."

And make sure all the stuff you provide is basic and informational and not too "intactivist" (ie. agenda articles trying to convince the reader something)


If I had a aunt or uncle who knew better when I was a baby, I would be pretty hurt by them if they did not do something that would help me. Considering the situation, I think its your responsibility to inform them.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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I agree that it should be dh, not you, to approach his sister.

I think he should take the tack of, "We had no idea until frogautumn got pregnant that circ isn't routine anymore, that doctors don't recommend it the way they used to. Oh my gosh, there's so much you have to figure out when you have a baby! Boy, was I glad we knew there was no reason for ds to have cosmetic surgery as a newborn." Etc, as Sancta suggested.

But after that, I'd let it be.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Seriously great suggestions. Thank you, ladies. I will definitely let my DH handle it and suggest it come from a BTDT, HTH perspective rather than make it sound like we're pushing an agenda!
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:07 AM
 
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i agree with all the good advice you've gotten so far, and would just add that if your dh gives the info in an email, they might need some time to digest before bringing it up again. What's helped my friends is when I do an easy, conversational approach in email, along the lines of "I'm glad someone shared this with me, and since you're having a boy, thought you'd appreciate it too...." ; then to follow up in real life, along the lines of "just wondered if you'd had time to look at the info I sent you, and if you might have any questions about any of it" being very open to hear what they might say and non-judgmental.

at least she's not anti-intact to begin with!
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogautumn
My DH's sister is expecting her first boy in a few months (as you can see from my sig, we are expecting our 2nd a few weeks after them). When we learned they were having a boy, DH and I wondered if we should bring up the circ issue with them. Ultimately, we decided that if they came to us, we would tell them our feelings. But if they didn't, we would have to accept that they were educated adults who would do their own research and come to the decision that was best for them (even if we didn't like/understand it).
I can totally see given the family history why you would want to stay out of it, but I think as you've found out the assumption that otherwise-educated parents will research circ (and figure out the truth) is just not borne out in many, many cases.

I have met, both online and IRL, so many *highly* educated couples who are good, thoughtful, concerned, gentle parents who circed -- without ever having thought to question or research it. It's so normal in our society to circ that many people don't think there's any issue there to be researched.

Many people will spend countless hours researching everything BUT circumcision.

It's often harder to advocate to family, but I make it a personal mission to at least plant the seed in as many minds as I can that circumcision should be questioned. It's actually way easier with strangers or casual acquaintances than with family. I can't tell you how many people had absolutely no idea that there would be reasons NOT to circ.

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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Actually I think it might go over better coming from you considering the dynamic between siblings you have described. Siblings often spend most of there childhoods learning to try to ignore teasing, pocking, etc from annoying sibling. Sometimes that carries over into adulthood.

I'd just write her a letter telling her how shocked you personally were when you learned about circ, and mention not wanting to leave such an important decision up to people who make money from doing the surgery. Just suggest that she do her own research, and don't be too pushy, and you shouldn't make her get defensive.

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:22 PM
 
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When I was pregnant with DS1, I researched and researched and showed DH all of my research. He was very educated about the pros and cons and still did not have an opinion, so it is very possible to be educated about the subject and not have a strong opinion. I told dh the decision was his and he said he was going to talk to the doctor and get his opinion. I would be insulted and very upset if someone suggessted that just because DS1 is circumcises that we weren't educated on the matter and that because DH did not have a strong opinion that he was not educated. When DS2 was born he again was very educated and again said he wanted to talk to the doctor (different doc than DS1 because we moved) and decided to leave DS2 intact. Both were very educated, informed, thought heavily about decisions.

That said, if you truley believe the lack of opinion is because she did not research, then I'd try to bring it up in conversation again and ask her if she would like some information you gathered while researching the subject or e-mail her and tell her dh told you about the conversation and thought you'd be interested in information.
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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I have a document you could send them. If you pm me your email I will email it to you.

Momma to DS (2/08) and #2 due 10/11.
 
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