I failed miserably. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Not only did my sister circumcise her son, she did it less than 24 hours after he was born, despite me pleading with her to consider waiting until he could have proper pain management. I am devastated. I feel like I should have done more but at the same time I didn't want to cause a huge problem in the family.


About a year before she became pregnant, I was pregnant with my son (I did not know he was a boy yet) and was doing all kinds of research on the foreskin. I was shocked at what I learned (as in "look at all of this information and why am I just learning about now at the age of 35 and my husband is too", kinda way.) I had a very emotional experience where I went form the thinking "I'm not circumcising because I think it's gross but to each his own" to "routine infant circumcision is wrong and if you knew the truth you would think so too." I wanted to share this information with any woman I felt it was appropriate to discuss it with. So, thinking it was best to have the heavy conversations with my sister before there was even the thought of her having a baby (so I could talk to her without there being anything to get all emotional and defensive about), I shared stuff with her. Over the course of several conversations she seemed to be interested in what she was learning and then at some point even said, "There is no way  would ever do that to my child."


Then her future's husband's sister has a son and does not circumcise. I believe there was a lot of family teasing about that during the frequent family get togethers. Evidently, "circumcision is a K_____ tradition."


So she gets married, then pregnant, then at 20 weeks learns she is having a boy. I asked her if she had discussed circumcising with her DH. I got a snarly butt out message in return.


I new it was a lost cause to convince her not to do the procedure after she said that "it was her husbands decision because he has a penis." I gave up and then felt compelled to plead the case for waiting until the baby was old enough to have decent pain management and the procedure could be done by a trusted doctor (rather than it being the first interaction between the pediatrician and the baby  and family.)


I had to let it go and I was never able to talk to my brother-in-law about it.


He took the baby on his first morning and had it done. My mom told me later that my sister was crying a lot that day over it.


I want to be supportive when my sister is ready to talk to me about he birth experience (if she ever is), and I know I will be. But right now I am really upset and a little mad about it. Thanks for letting me get this out.

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#2 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 12:25 PM
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hug.gif I'm so sorry. It is such a blow to the gut when someone you love does something that you are so passionately against. But you did what you could, and maybe if she has another son, she'll remember what you said and how horrible doing something she knew deep down was not right for her baby. hug.gif

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#3 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 05:57 PM
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I'm sorry, I can completely understand your concern, especially being educated on circumcision. Ultimately though, I believe it's their decision as parents to chose what they do with their child, just as you chose what to do with yours. Perhaps with subsequent children they will be a little better read on the issue and actually listen to the information you can provide them. Personally, I believe there may be parts of tension between the sister and her husband you may not have been privy too. I know that when this argument came up between me and my husband, it was one of the worst we had ever had in our entire relationship. It would have been easy to let him have his way just to have a little peace on the topic while I was hormonal and pregnant. There may be many factors here you aren't seeing yet. *hugs* Hopefully the procedure was done correctly and baby heals well.

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#4 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 06:07 PM
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Big hugs, momma.  I know how hard that is.  Take comfort in knowing that you did the right thing by speaking up about your beliefs.  And remember, that it's natural to feel upset and hurt.  I'm glad you were able to vent your feelings here.


Two little things that helped me in this situation were to remember that

1) It isn't a personal offense against me, even though it feels like it.  This decision wasn't about you, but rather cultural beliefs/traditions that they felt unable to escape or unwilling to explore.

2) Your sister and BIL love love love your nephew.  I'm sure you know this, but I know that I needed reminding when a friend circumcised her son against my wishes/advice.  I have to consistently remember that parents that make different decisions are trying to do right by their kids, even when you think they are wrong.



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I'm Rach, full-time mama and part-time doula.  I love my city life with Mr. J stillheart.gif, Little J diaper.gif (05/03/10), and brand new Baby V love.gif (02/11/13)!

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#5 of 7 Old 02-28-2011, 07:23 PM
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You did not fail.  She failed to protect her child.  The cultural bias is so deep that it allows mothers to request and hand over their babies to knowingly subjected to a painful cosmetic procedure.  They may be conflicted, they may cry, they may be sad, but the fear of not doing it overpowers them.  Cultural bias can be extremely hard to change or move against.

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#6 of 7 Old 03-06-2011, 01:28 PM
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Your poor sister and nephew.  Her husband bullied her into it and made sure it was done right away so that it was a done deal and she would not be able to hem and haw over it.  I remember when I was pregnant with DS, DH insisted the child would be circumcised.  I was not comfortable with it, but agreed to do it so as to "keep the peace" in the family.  I stopped reading anything anti-circ and only read the pro-circ stuff.  I couldn't get over the cognitive dissonance.  Probably the only thing that saved DS from circumcision was that DH was deployed when DS was born.  I made a couple appointments to get it done, but ended up canceling.  Right before he returned, I asked DS's pediatrician if DH could bring DS in and request a circumcision.  She told me at his current age, he'd have to be put under general, so they would not do it as an office procedure.


I've seen cases where daddy sends the baby for circ while mom is in the shower or sleeping or something when there is discord on the subject.  When DD2 was born, in the pre-birth class, I asked what they did when the parents weren't in agreement--they said they don't do it unless they are in agreement, but how do you know there is true agreement versus one bullied the other into agreement?  Counsel them about it seperately?

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#7 of 7 Old 03-24-2011, 05:09 AM
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I am adding in here because I found this thread- I'm in the exact same position! My sister just had her first child yesterday and is letting her dh decide to circumcise because 'it's a guy thing'. This is even after I provided them with all of the information and truth that I could. I'm so sad about it that I can't stand it! I am actually supposed to go to see them to help with the baby this weekend and I'm really conflicted over it. I've told her that I can't help change any diapers-I think I would break into tears if I saw the fresh wound. I'm pregnant right now so extra emotional!


I never thought of it as her husband bullied her...but that does sound like the core issue. I was shocked that she felt she couldn't stand up and advocate for her own son. That's a mother's role and it's not a 'guy issue'. I told her this but she did not want to stand up to him. I guess I should focus my concern on her being married to a closed minded bully. I do agree that they love the baby...but it's so hard to understand when people make an ignorant decision or one based on a cultural bias. I am really thankful that my dh is a sensitive, loving man who cares so much about our sons that he wanted them to be intact even though he is not.

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