I feel like such a bad "intactivist". Last week at my OB's office, a couple walked in while I was waiting to see my doc. They put their baby's carrier on the bench and signed in. When the receptionist asked why they were there, the mom said, "We're here for his circumcision. We were gonna do it in the hospital, but never got to it. She said come in today."
There I am. There's a chance to save a little boy. And there I sat, very pregnant with my second intact little boy, with my first little boy running around like crazy and my little girl wanting to look at the poor little baby who was about to be violated.
I could have done so much. I could have said so many things that were running in my head. But everytime I thought of something, I thought of a reason to keep my mouth shut. I continued about my appointment. When I left, they weren't in the waiting room. I never heard a loud scream (small office). I only pray something happened, and they never did it.
So, I was thinking of the reason why I didn't say anything, and I want to talk though these issues. I'm also going to head over to nocirc or doctors against circumcision and print up some pamphlets to keep in my bag so I don't have to be so confrontational.
- Fear of confrontation. This has kept me from being more active in evangelism and activism issues. I know it's wrong to let it keep me from this, and I pray all the time for less fear and more confidence in myself and my beliefs.
- Racial divide. I'm white (for all intensive purposes--my dad's Puerto Rican and his grandfather was black, but I look white), the couple who came in was black. The only people I know who have intact children are white. I don't know anyone who is black that has kept their son intact. I know this sounds racist, and God knows I'm not (see above explanation of my background. It's kind of impossible for me to be). It's more ignorance than anything. For that matter, I wouldn't know how to approach an Asian or Hispanic couple either...
- Fear of getting told off. The mother already had attitude with the receptionist, and I didn't want to get into it, especially in front of my kids.
I hope I get some encouragement here. I really don't know where else to go for it. I don't know how to get over these fears/biases/ignorances to help other babies than my own.
Me: DH: DD: DS1: DS2:
You know, there's a time and a place for everything. And given what you describe I seriously doubt that anything you could have said would have made those parents think twice about their decision. In fact, they would probably have decided you were crazy.
I'm not a confrontational person, so YMMV, but I honestly think people are more likely to rethink things and change their minds when seeds of information are planted, rather than from big confrontational scenes. To me, those types of scenes tend to discredit the movement and make people who think circumcision is wrong look like loons.
If you want to make a difference, talk to people about your decision not to circumcise, give information to expectant mothers who ask for it, but trying to stop someone who is literally walking through the doctor's door to get it done will most likely backfire.
I don't think I would have said anything either, and that's not necessarily wrong. You are a total stranger in the doctor's office, and not someone they even spoke to while waiting. You aren't really in a position to be influencial with them.
I understand what you are saying about pamphlets seeming less confrontational than verbally speaking to people. I also am shy in public and I feel like I say things better in writing. But I think if the tables were turned, I would be offended by someone I didn't know approaching me in the doctor's office with a pamphlet, trying to talk me out of a decision I had made after discussing the issue with the doctor. It comes across as presumptuous. Who is the person really likely to listen to: Their doctor or another parent sitting in the waiting room?
Sorry, I'm not trying to knock you down at all. I sometimes spend years considering what I should have said or done in different situations that took me by surprise at the time. I do think you did the right thing by staying quiet though. Sometimes there is no action you can take that is socially appropriate.
if it bothers your conscience you probably wish you had done things differently.
next time, you might say something nonconfrontational such as:
"we thought about getting a circumcision."
pause. (see if you get a response.)
"but we decided it wasn't really necessary for any medical reasons."
(see what they say.)
if they come back with any of their reasons, first AGREE with them that that is a point that a lot of people make. you might say that you even once believed that, but once you read about it or did some research, you found out that it is not really true. and here's what you learned: (fill in the blank.)
at least to give them something to think about, and in a friendly way that is not going to get them mad at you.
if they appear to be AT ALL reconsidering, you could gently suggest that, you know, there'e really no rush to do it, it doesn't have to be done today, you could email them some resources where they could read up on it too, and then if they still decide they want to do it, they could simply reschedule.
you never know until you try!