I will be sending this link to a friend who is due with a boy in February. Last week I sent her an e-mail and told her my experience with circumcision(oldest son cut and youngest intact) along with links to articles. She and her husband talked about it and he feels very strongly that the baby needs to be circumcised.
I would like to share this link with her so she can see how more people felt about it. I've thought hard about just backing off because it isn't my business but this subject is very, very important to me.
I know that we can all get very passionate about circumcision but what I'm specifically asking for today are calm responses. I know she feels very strongly that her husbands views need to be respected so please keep this in mind. She is a very sweet woman who will read this with an open mind, so let's please keep this polite in regards to her husband.
(edit for spelling)
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My son's circumcision is the biggest regret of my life. I missed that Dr. Phil episode (aired a few months ago, where the mother went on TV all broken up with regret over circumcising her baby - he was dismissive of her feelings), but I totally relate. I felt a LOT of guilt and intense anger over my son’s circ, especially after I read this article which I stumbled upon at the Public Library (my son was then 6 months old).
I literally couldn’t finish reading through it for weeks without crying my eyes out. I had to force myself to finish it. I finally learned what my son had lost in the circumcision: a normal, 100% feeling, healthy functioning penis.
I learned that the foreskin has a purpose: to protect the glans from urine & feces (and amonia in diapers). So the argument that it’s more sanitary is false. http://www.cirp.org/library/normal/aap/
· When the glans is exposed to these elements (not to mention chafing from underwear) it looses even more sensitivity. This is a problem for many circumcised men in the late 40s and beyond.
The foreskin has numerous protective, sensory, and sexual functions.
· Protection: Just as the eyelids protect the eyes, the foreskin protects the glans and keeps its surface soft, moist, and sensitive. It also maintains optimal warmth, pH balance, and cleanliness. The glans itself contains no sebaceous glands-glands that produce the sebum, or oil, that moisturizes our skin.11 The foreskin produces the sebum that maintains proper health of the surface of the glans.
· Immunological Defense: The mucous membranes that line all body orifices are the body's first line of immunological defense. Glands in the foreskin produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme.12 Lysozyme is also found in tears and mother's milk. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, an immune system component, abound in the foreskin's outer surface.13 Plasma cells in the foreskin's mucosal lining secrete immunoglobulins, antibodies that defend against infection.14
· Erogenous Sensitivity: The foreskin is as sensitive as the fingertips or the lips of the mouth. It contains a richer variety and greater concentration of specialized nerve receptors than any other part of the penis.15 These specialized nerve endings can discern motion, subtle changes in temperature, and fine gradations of texture.16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
· Coverage During Erection: As it becomes erect, the penile shaft becomes thicker and longer. The double-layered foreskin provides the skin necessary to accommodate the expanded organ and to allow the penile skin to glide freely, smoothly, and pleasurably over the shaft and glans.
· Self-Stimulating Sexual Functions: The foreskin's double-layered sheath enables the penile shaft skin to glide back and forth over the penile shaft. The foreskin can normally be slipped all the way, or almost all the way, back to the base of the penis, and also slipped forward beyond the glans. This wide range of motion is the mechanism by which the penis and the orgasmic triggers in the foreskin, frenulum, and glans are stimulated.
· Sexual Functions in Intercourse: One of the foreskin's functions is to facilitate smooth, gentle movement between the mucosal surfaces of the two partners during intercourse. The foreskin enables the penis to slip in and out of the vagina nonabrasively inside its own slick sheath of self-lubricating, movable skin. The female is thus stimulated by moving pressure rather than by friction only, as when the male's foreskin is missing.
· The foreskin fosters intimacy between the two partners by enveloping the glans and maintaining it as an internal organ. The sexual experience is enhanced when the foreskin slips back to allow the male's internal organ, the glans, to meet the female's internal organ, the cervix-a moment of supreme intimacy and beauty.
Here is my son’s circ story:
My husband wanted our son circumcised; I did not. He grew up on all the myths that it is cleaner and healthier. He is Jewish, but was not raised religiously at all. So for him, this wasn't a religious Bris issue (had to be done because of God's will). For him, he was (wrongly) convinced (without doing ANY research to the contrary) that it was necessary and beneficial.
BTW, his sister and BIL (both Jewish) decided 14 years ago NOT to have their first born son circumcized. The whole family (remember, who are NOT observant) went nuts. Some members were very critical and said mean things. The kid today is learning Hebrew with his dad and just had his Bar Mitzbah. He had NEVER had a problem with his penis and does not (as far as his parents know) have "issues" with being uncircumcised. In addition, he has a 6 year old brother with developmental delays (from birth) and is not circumcised either. This time, the family didn't say boo and again - no health problems.
Anyway, back to my story.... in order to relieve my rising blood pressure anytime we argued about it, I let the issue drop and chose not to research. I convinced myself that I should be supportive of my husband’s wishes, even though I really did not want my son cut.
Both my husband and I were present during the hospital circumcision and our son was 2 days old. We wanted to be present to “protect” him from anything bad happening. How naiive I was. Our presence did not protect him at all. I did not know what exactly happened during a circumcision (if I did, there was no way in hell I would have consented) and what I saw will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Shortly after our son was born, I had a horrible pit in my stomach and my wish NOT to have this done was incredibly strong. I have never felt something this strong (intuitively) in my life. I tried to talk to my husband, but not having any facts to support my feelings, it was of little use. He was determined to go ahead. At that moment, I regretted not researching it and having any arguments to counter him with. The people I asked about it (my pre-natal yoga instructor, a doula, a pediatrician who performs circumcisions) gave me vague, useless answers.
What I witnessed was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.
We wanted a topical anesthetic (any and all anesthesia) it was applied a few moments by the OB before the procedure. I later learned that the best way for the anesthesia to truly take effect would be to apply it at least 30 minutes beforehand. The topical stuff is only superficial.
The OB stuck a sharp instrument inside my son’s foreskin to loosen it from the glans. (This was extremely invasive.) At that point it was clear to me that the foreskin is something that was never meant to be separated from the glans. It was adhered tightly. Then there was no turning back. I realized then that our presence was useless. Our son was already being hurt and being there did not stop the harm. But that was not the worse thing I saw…at the end of the circumcision, the OB ripped off the foreskin from his penis. This is a typical circumcision provided by American physicians.
Imagine someone tearing a piece of skin off your arm. How would one react? I would imagine that I would pass out from the extreme pain and shock.
My son was sucking on a sugary pacifier and held down by a nurse. My son never cried during the circumcision. Like many newborns, my son fell into a deep sleep on the spot. I am convinced that the shock and pain caused him to go into a deep, stressful sleep. Why do I say this? In the nursery, he cried and cried for me. He was unable to be soothed. The mechanical rocker did not work. The pacifier did not work. Nothing worked. The only thing that soothed him was being picked up and held. In fact, that is the only way he could be put to sleep. So why, all the sudden, does he “fall asleep” so effortlessly after a medical procedure? The only explanation is trauma.
We were never told to offer our son Tylenol for a few days at home. In hindsight, this is commonsense, but it never occurred to us. No doubt, the medication wore off and my son felt his throbbing injury in the first few weeks at home. He did cry (high-pitched screams) often and I did not know why. Now I do.
I learned later that most medical doctors perform an “American” circumcision, which removes the entire foreskin. The problem here is that it could lead to erection problems (skin stretches too tight) over the penis in the future. Sadly, parents are not told any facts about what the foreskin is: why it is there, how it is removed, and potential sexual problems in adulthood.
The essential problem is that most people, including medical professionals, are not aware of the function and purpose of the foreskin. That is why they are so quick to suggest removing it. Not to mention the financial gain (for pediatrician, obstetricians and hospitals) from this unnecesary cosmetic procedure.
MY FEELINGS OF GUILT AND ANGER
For a very long, long time, I kicked myself with guilt and regret for not researching this issue. I was really, really torn up about this. I signed the damn consent form, against my VERY STRONG instincts, screaming at me that this was the wrong thing to do. DH was full-speed ahead. At that moment, I regretted not having any facts (research) to counter him with. If I did, my son would have remained intact (uncircumcised).
Never having seen an intact penis, I used to think that the circumcised penis was beautiful. Now, I saw it differently and for what it truly was: a scarred penis. I saw how it got that way. My son has a scar and I USED TO CRY every time I changed his diaper and saw his little scar. Now I knew without a doubt that he lost something integral – an important part of his anatomy. I was also very angry with my husband and it did strain our marriage for a while. We had to go to counseling. I can understand how “extreme” this sounds to some. But you need to remember I witnessed my newborn baby being harmed before my eyes… all for nothing.
I was also angry with my SIL for not calling me to give me the heads up about this issue when I was pregnant. I was angry with FIT PREGNANCY magazine for not discussing this issue AT ALL. Stupid, I know.
Sadly, later I learned that DH feels that women (because one told him so) think an Intact penis is "ugly." Apparently, many American women feel this way. I never did! So, subconsciously, he did not want HIS son to feel rejected by some (moronic) woman. If some twit were to reject him because of THAT, he's better off IMO. Again, there is misinformation... because American women (i heard an interview with the Go-Gos once - who slept with everyone!) who have slept with both Americans and European, PREFER the feeling of a foreskin during sex. It feels better to both during lovemaking. Hmmm, no wonder so many woman "aren't in the mood" and there are so many ads aimed at American men about "enhancing" this or that.
Perhaps if circumcision were not routine in American society, men would not suffer from “erection problems,” the “need” for Viagra in later life, and couples would not experience sexual incompatibility and disappointments.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision: Untold Facts on America's Most Widely Performed-and Most Unnecessary Surgery by Paul M. Fleiss, MD
How upset am (was I) over this ? Like I said, I used to cry daily. I force myself not to torture myself by dwelling on it anymore… if I had a daughter, and she had part of her clitoris removed (which enhances/senses sexual pleasure) I would be as sad and devasted. This to me is the same thing.
If I am blessed with another boy, he will not be circumcized. DH accepts this now. Ironically, he has a 13 year old from a previous marriage, who lives in a country where circumcision is not routine, and thus, is not circumcised. Again, no health problems.
5.5 - girl
If I could only take it back, I would in a heartbeat.
Here's an appeal to new fathers:
and another argument against the "father/son" continuation of circ:
But the next day the doctor came into the room and said, we'll circumcise him tomorrow, and I just said, OK.
It was a bad circumcision. Part of the foreskin was left intact and the whole head looked like it was twisted. And he bled for a long time. I regretted it very much. I cried every time I changed his diapers. I still feel sorry that I was not better informed. And now that I am informed, I feel even worse that I took such an important part of his penis, a part that gives so much pleasure to men, and we threw it into the garbage. Why? Why would a doctor do that? For what reason would anyone take a part of a human being and cut it off? I could cry just thinking about it. My son is now 35 yr. old and I really still regrett it.
A few years ago he asked me why I had him circumcised at birth, why I bothered to do that, why I didn't just leave it alone?
I had no answers. I told him that I had regretted it many times and I was sorry even now. He harbors no bad feelings toward me, but I know he wishes he were intact.
When his sister was pregnant with a boy he came right out and told us not to circumcise him. Of couse she was not planning on it anyway, even though her husband had very much wanted to.
My son and his wife were very instrumental in informing their brother-in-law and encouraging his sister to stick with her decision.
And I was really proud of all of them when my grandson was left intact. He is 6 now and the first intact male in our family.
He'll never come and ask why we cut a part of him off after birth. And he can get it cut off if he ever wants to but sexually active intact guys usually don't get rid of the best part of their penises.
My third son is not circumcised. He is intact --as he should be. I have family ask me frequently what I will tell my sons about why ds3 is different than ds1 & 2. I will tell them the truth...I didn't know the facts before but I do now, and when you know better--you do better.
Please research this decision before you make it for your son--I wish I had.
We did not circumcise our son, so my reply does not really fit in with your request, but for stories, but I wanted to share our experience with this "decision".
I had a very complicated and dangerous pregnancy, I had Placenta Previa and was on bedrest. I told my husband that we would not circumcise our baby- my #1 reason was because I had lived in Europe and I knew that the foreskin was an important part of male sexual anatomy... and respecting it in that way- I did not think this was the sort of decisionthat parents should even be allowed to make... you don't cut another person's penis... period.
But the problem was, my husband who was circumcised could not IMAGINE that a foreskin was a part of a penis, because he didn't have a foreskin... and his penis was FINE... not DAMAGED! He could not get over that leap between him being sexually fine and another man being fine with even more sexual anatomy than he had. He was in a state of panic between common sense and self defense. Our fights were fierce- I was astounded at his reaction- he did not seem like himself- it was like he was a robot who was programmed with a execute circumcision command... and my putting an unplanned obstacle in that path made the whole system go berzerk.
The most upsetting scene of the whole time was my husband curled in a fetal position on the couch with a pillow crammed over his crotch crying... and still demanding that we had to do this. For me it was like watching regression therapy- I was seeing my husband relive the pain of his own circumcision... his outward body clenched in such a self defensive curl- emotionally he was begging to have a solution to this pain... and the solution that he thought he had found was to circumcise the baby... to make circumcision right. It was the only way he could convince himself that circumcision is a reasonable thing to do to babies...to men.
I guess the real him won out... he took the time to do some research in private (where he did not need to feel embarrased to learn or cry or whatever) and he came to realise that circumcision is not good for babies, and that we would NOT be circumcising our baby. The turnaround was fast- and a good thing too- because when the baby came 5 weeks early in a torrent of blood with a 18 inch blizzard shutting down the interstate- our family needed unity and love and trust. I was still KO from the emergency c section when the Dr asked my Husband when we would tell him the BAD news about the circumcision- my husband was the one who said WE AREN'T
The Dr was happily surprised. "Where are you FROM?" he asked... assuming that no one from here (Cincinnati area) would not habitually circumcise their baby.
It wasn't till years later that the irony of that comment became more clear... my husband talked to his parents about his circumcision, to tell them about how circumcision had effected him and that he was now restoring his foreskin non-surgicly to try to un-do some of that damage... What his parents told him was a real shock. He was circumcised without any parental consent- he was in the nursery and the circumciser cut the baby without even asking. He made the boy NOT match his father... every man in the family was intact- but that Dr took the intact baby and cut him without asking a single member of the family- all would have said no if they had been asked. No one told this boy the truth, no one told him that his circumcision was not something chosen for him- that it was a horrible sign of a lapse in security... dad out of town and mom on KO drugs from a c section... and a hospital with a universal circumcision program...
NO wonder all the dads in Cincinnati are insisting their sons be circumcised... they were all circumcised whether their parents wanted it or not. The hospital system of a few decades ago was erasing our common knowledge of human anatomy and sexuality. Was distorting our idea of normal. When surgicly modified is the presumed given. It's not given... it's taken.
It took me, a transplant from somewhere else, to carry in the seeds of doubt about the rightness of what was happening. That doctor knew that something was up when that dad said no... he knew he had been exposed to some outside thought- because the program to erase male knowledge of their own anatomy here is Cincinnati had been so "sucessful"
I hope that this father gets the compassion and support that he needs and I hope that he has the courage to bravely uncover the history of his own circumcision and to question his motives in doing this to his son. It is very hard work. I recomend the history book by David Gollaher- he can get it on Amazon.
I also hope that this mother has the courage to protect her child. This is not something that needs to have an agreement. If either parent wants to protect the child from the cutting motivation of the other parent- they have full power to protect the child. The benefit of the doubt will always lie with the child and the rightness of his body. The onus is upon the person who would cut him, to prove it must be done. Even in court, this argument has never been made- circumcisers are powerless if the child has an advocate. Circumcision only happens in the absence of protection. The is no need to make a case for NOT circumcising, the child is born that way- he got the genetic program for his penis from his father, his foreskin comes from his father... it is the GIVEN.
I told them to cut off part of my perfect baby when he was just fine the way he was. They didn't use any pain medication at all. So he was lying there, strapped down, and operated on, and he could feel it all. And I did nothing to help him. For days afterwards all he would do was sleep. I had to wake him to eat and then he would go right back to sleep. The hardest thing for me was taking care of his little bloody, scabby penis when I had to change his diaper.
Don't put yourself and your baby through what we went through. You won't regret not circumcising, but you may very well regret going through with it.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
When I was pregnant, I found and loved Dr Sear's The Baby Book. I read what he said about circumcisions. But when the pediatrician I had picked out said she recommended it to all her parents, I figured what did I know....
So I let some MORON doctor, who couldn't even be responsible for a decent delivery, cut my poor newborn baby.
Why on earth should a doctor who went to school and studied FEMALE ANATOMY and works with FEMALES all day long be in charge of surgery on a 2 day old MALE baby?
Anyhow--I cried when I saw what they did to him. I cried when I changed his diapers and he cried when the diapers touched him.
I cried when the ring around his poor penis got all yellow and gunky.
I cried when he cried as the pediatrician 'inspected' him for infection.
Why on earth do we insist on having elective SURGERY on our newborns? Why do we live in a society that presents this as a procedure, not an invasive surgery?
When i was pregnant with ds2, dh was concerned about him not 'matching' and what would I say to ds1 about it....
I looked ds1 in the eyes and told him that I am sorry. That I didn't know better. That I did what I thought was best--and yet still need to say I'm sorry, because what I thought was best just wasn't good enough.
I should have researched. I should have asked. I should have done something other than blindly following.
ds2 is intact and we haven't regretted it for a second.
Amazing, when you think of all the years of regret I've had and years of regret yet to come over having ds1 circ'd.
Do yourself a favor. Hold your baby in your arms and don't let go. Not for anything.
Look your baby over from head to toe and realize that he is perfect just the way he is.
|Originally posted by Frankly Speaking
My parents circumcised their son and I deeply regret it. It wasn't theirs top cut off and they did not have to live with the after effects.
I had already watched my three day old son have his heel cut and squeezed to retrieve blood for a birilium (jaundice) test. Two days later it was done again. The next day, we took him to the Doctor's office for the circumcision. I held him in the waiting room for an agonizing hour while he fussed -- not breastfeeding him because I was told the Doctor would be "right with us," and I was still quite shy about the whole thing (it included pulling my shirt up around my neck, 4 pillows, 2 hands and a knee at first).
The nurse told me we were allowed to come back and watch if we wanted -- I looked at her dumbfounded and told her I couldn't stand to watch & let someone hurt my son. I wish so much that I had gone with my instinct at that moment to turn and run with my infant in my arms. Instead I handed my fussy, hungry infant over. 15 minutes later my husband and myself were called back (I now realize that it is highly unlikely that the anestetic they used had time to take effect before they were even finished -- let alone started). I walked into the room as my son stopped screaming and crying. He simply stared.
I looked away from his anguished eyes and saw the board they had strapped him to. It was made of hard plastic shaped in a sort of oval big enough for a newborn. The form had an indentation in the shape of a baby's head, body, arms and legs. There were straps attached to hold his arms, legs, and body down and motionless. Seeing that board further drove home to me that I had just made a terrible, terrible mistake. I wanted nothing more than to beg his forgiveness. When I finally put him to my breast he would not nurse. It would be two hours before he would accept this comfort, although he should have been ravenously hungry.
To anyone contemplating circumcision, I would say this: Please, please do not cut your child just to make him like his father or because it is easier to clean. Consider the weeks of pain your child would go through while you clean, poke and prod his healing penis -- which will be more tramatic, this -- or normal maintenance on a normal, natural penis? My husband cringed every time he changed our son's diaper. "It just looks so painful," he commented often. And realistically, when will a child's penis actually look like his father's? Perhaps when he becomes an adult -- but how many adult men compare these things with their fathers? And statistically, barely 50% of males are circumcised (and I have found this to be true in even the most "mainstream" playgroups), so boys will not be pointed and laughed at in the proverbial locker room. Which seems silly in any case as I hardly think locker rooms are full of naked men running around looking at each other!
Good luck, Misty. You are doing a wonderful thing. I wish I had a friend like you 12 1/2 months ago.
edited to add: any additional sons will NOT be cut -- my husband and I agree on this... ...when you know better you do better...
In our newspaper today there was an article about a baby who died from the procedure b/c he bled to death.
It really breaks my heart, please don't put your child through this!
I will keep hoping and praying that he will change his mind. I feel very sad.
|Originally posted by zacksmom
Our son also had a particularly traumatic experience during his circumcision where he almost suffocated and it still haunts me.
I'm sure it does since there are no medical personnel there to resusitate him should there be asphyxia or his heart should stop.
Is there any chance that there could be a "sticky" in this forum for stories like this? I don't come into this forum all that often, but want my (my son's) story posted here to affect others.
I would have never allowed the procedure if I had an inkling of what was involved.
|Originally posted by Frankly Speaking
I'm sure it does since there are no medical personnel there to resusitate him should there be asphyxia or his heart should stop.
It's such a relief to finally trust yourself.
I think you can relax. The intent of the religious discussion rule is to stop provocative statements and I saw nothing provocative in your message. If you are guilty, I would be too and would have been banned from here long ago.
Welcome to our group. I hope you will be with us often.
You certainly seem to KNOW what you're talking about! My dh was very interested and impressed to know there is an educated man contributing to the anti-circ discussions. He always thought the lack thereof was odd, considering that you guys are the primary targets of circing to begin with!
And not to worry... I'll be around all too often. The only thing I do faster than type my opinion is say it! Thank goodness this isn't THAT instant, for my own sake!
It's such a relief to finally trust yourself.
When I changed his diaper for the first time after the procedure I was horrified. It looked so raw and sore and I was in tears over the agony he must have gone through. The nurses assured me that he felt no pain. How could they possibly know that?
When I got pregnant with Ben I assumed his father would want the baby circ'd since he was.
And the happy ending to the story is that Dave was wholeheartedly against it and my beautiful little Ben is intact
We had our son circed and I regret it (DH doesn't, yet). I did it b/c DH wanted to and it was the thing to do, I never knew any different. The thing that should've tipped me off was when he slept all day the day of his surgery and wouldn't even wake to eat! That's not a great way to start a nursing relationship. He also had a small penile adhesion that was fixed at his 8.5 mos appt by simply pulling it apart. It was all red and horrible looking and he just cried! Next time I'm planning on leaving my son the way God made him, intact.
ETA in 2012: We had our 2nd boy in December 2004 and left him whole. He is perfect and makes me regret even more what we had done to AJ. My DH supported my choice to leave him whole but I can't say he would've made the same choice. We still have problems sometimes with our now 8yo's circumcision, but thankfully he should outgrow it as he grows. We're having baby #5 now, and while I think it's a girl, if it is a boy it will remain whole.
Jennifer, LPN and nursing student, Doula, CPST, and VBAC mama x3 to
AJ (5/03), Evan (12/04), Ilana (11/06), Olivia (2/09), and Unity (8/2012)
I am ashamed to say that our decision to leave our son intact came down to the very last second. Dh and I were literally struggling with the decision, until finally one of the doctors came in on the tail end our conversation, and heard me say, "I just don't know what to do...I don't think I want to do it..."
She came around to the side of the bed and said, very matter of factly, "it is purely a cosmetic surgery, there is no medical reason to do it, if that helps any..." She didn't say it in a way to convince us either way, she just told us the facts and smiled.
I still see her as my sons angel . I shutter to think which way we would have swayed because of our ignorance.
If every expecting parent could hear and take those word in...all those little baby boys could sleep peacefully and naturally in their mothers arms instead of the trauma induced sleep that unfortunetly does not last long enough to keep them from feeling the sickening pain...After all...
...IT IS PURELY COSMETIC...
Tina ~ SAH- head Mama to -
DS (07/'03), DD (05'05), DS, unplanned UC (01/'09), DD (06/'11) ...
SURPRISE! New little one, due Sept. 2013