I just posted this in my DDC, but I thought I would post here as well. I'm looking for advice as well as to vent.
We just found out we're having a boy, and are very excited. But, it does bring with it one huge problem. The circumcision debate. Luckily not with DH. He's intact and we both are in total agreement that our son should be as well. However, I have just been told by DH's cousin ("Rachel"), who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in April who is intact (double yay!), that another cousin ("Nancy") has been berating her since the sex was determined that circumcision was the only way to go. Nancy is an obstetrician in residence at a very prestigious hospital and thinks she knows what's best about everything baby related. And apparently Nancy has been calling and emailing Rachel regularly to try to convince her to circumcise her son.
I don't need that right now. Keeping the sex quiet just isn't an option in this family (they're dysfunctional in about a million ways and don't understand the concept of privacy). I'm going to be seeing her quite a bit over the summer at various family events, so I can't simply ignore her phone calls and emails. I'm obviously never going to convince her of my opinion. I mean, after all, she is a DOCTOR, with all the super-powers attendant to that profession, so I'm not even going to try going down that road. I guess I'm hoping for some advice on how to deal with her. And of course she has managed to convince large parts of her extended family that intactivism is tantamount to child abuse, so there's that to contend with.
Ugh. Why do we people have to deal with this garbage!
I agree with just telling her to mind her own business. Or you could bring up that remaining intact has worked out great for your husband, if he doesn't mind you talking about his junk. LOL Oh and pointing out that it's also worked out for 80% of the WORLD population.
Just because she's a doctor doesn't mean she knows squat about the foreskin. You could even bring that up. Say "You seem to know an awful lot about this subject...could you tell me the functions of the foreskin and the role of the preputial sphincter?" Only do this in person so she doesn't have time to research before she comes back with an answer. Then watch her flounder. LOL She probably has no idea about any of it. And then she might even realize she has no idea about any of it. And it wouldn't hurt if you were able to intelligently discuss all of that, so if you haven't already, brush up on the functions and purpose of the foreskin....knowing why to leave it there and not just the reasons not to cut it off is very important. It sounds redundant but it's not.
Don't bring up circ at all. If someone else says, "Are you going to?" say "Of course not!" and walk away or change the subject, because that is all that needs to be said.
Has your DH's cousin tried to set any boundaries with the OB cousin? If I had a cousin emailing me repeatedly about one of my parenting decisions I would have set up some serious boundaries early on: After the first two attempts, telling her, "Thank you for your input. I have already considered all the information very carefully and made my decision. So, no need to send me anything, I won't be responding." Then delete them. Just delete everything she sends. If she calls, tell her "It is no longer up for discussion."
My thoughts on things like this is to treat people as if you expect them to know how to behave properly, and when they act otherwise, just let them know you won't be making yourself available for what is clearly rude behavior. Walking away, not answering the phone when somebody crazed enough to call you repeatedly about circumcision calls, not reading emails, etc., these are not HALF as rude as obsessively contacting someone about their decision not to circumcise (OR to circ, for that matter. Although I think convincing someone NOT to is more morally compelling than the other way around. But still. That behavior of your OB cousin is lunatic.)
I knew my inlaws would be aghast that we would not be circing and thankfully they never brought it up until he was born. When my MIL did say "Oh you are going to circumsize, right?" I just said, "No," in a very natural, blase sort of way and then changed the subject. She knows by now that we do things different (natural birth, cosleeping, nursing, vegetarians, atheists, on and on and on ...)
If your OB cousin persists, I agree with the others - only you know what tactic will work best - humor ("Why are you so interested in my kid's penis?" or "Gee, my husband likes his foreskin just fine.") or strict "The matter is closed and I'm not discussing it with you anymore." With my inlaws it has to be humor. It sounds like you'll have to have some medical ammo given how psycho OB is talking up circ to the rest of your family.
Good luck and your ace card is the fact that your DH is totally with you. That helps a lot. Good luck!
Me (40) DH (49) daring DD (9) and darling DS - almost THREE! (born June 25, 2010 in an amazing, unplanned
My advice is to just go on the offensive. Don't sit around and wait for her to approach you- you approach HER. Say, hey cous- you are an OBGYN resident aren't you? I'm curious- arent' OBs FEMALE specialists? so what's the deal- why do they circumcise babies? Do they do followup on babies too? what's the complication rate with things like meatal stenosis and adhesions? What is the rate of recircumcision? Who does that? What do you use for anesthesia I've heard that OBs have a really bad rep with THAT! I was reading the ACOG guidelines for informed comed consent and I can't for the life of me understand how elective cosmetic genital surgery on an unconsenting infant can fall in the scope of that informed consent process. ...why don't you tell me how that works... when are the parents counseled? do they see a movie? are they told about the sexual function of the foreskin... you know- how it is a mechanical buffer for thrusting- and when lost- the burden of that friction is shifted to the lubrication system of the female? Hey... you deal with women with sexual problems all the time- do you ever encounter women who struggle with vaginal dryness? ...almost to the point that vaginal dryness is considetred a NORMAL part of the aging process? maybe it's not the women after all- maybe it's the fact that all the men of that generation were circumcised... hey- did you ever read the memos from the college of physicians and surgeons of sascatchewan- it's an amazing eye opener... oh- I think I might have a copy in my purse- let me check... JUST GO OFFFFF- fire as many questions as possibe at her and keep her talking!! make it all about her and not about you- it could be FUN... and it might just get her thinking.
Ten great reasons for Obstetricians to quit circumcising babies
1.To comply with ACOG guidelines of informed consent. Being born with a normal male sex organ is not an emergency. A male can make this decision for himself if he chooses. ACOG makes a great effort to protect the physical integrity of female patients and to secure consent for all procedures, the willingness to ignore these guidelines in order to circumcise infant males highlights a sexist double standard. Males should also be respected as whole and embodied persons.
2. Circumcision violates the Hippocratic Oath. Participation in an invasive non-medical procedure is an indicator of a physician’s professionalism.
3. American circumcision is a global embarrassment. Callis Osaghae bled to death after a home circumcision in Ireland. Many Irish doctors were incensed when it was suggested that they should preform circumcisions for the immigrants who requested them. They felt this was an abuse of their medical training and a clear ethical broach. American doctors are protected by law, from pressure to circumcise females, yet no such legislation protects doctors from the pressure to circumcise males. Their inability to stand up to that pressure, in the absence of state mandated legislation, reflects poorly on their ability to comply with internationally accepted medical standards.
4. Obstetricians are specialists. Despite this, obstetricians have cornered a market outside their specialty by popularizing the circumcision of male neonates. High pressure tactics in the hospital and a service industry conveyor belt give indifferent or reluctant parents the opportunity to secure a circumcision without having to do anything. A circumcising OB will rarely do any followup and will also not encounter any of the common long term pediatric or adult issues of circumcision damage. This confusion of the role of an obstetrician as child circumciser reflects poorly on the obstetric profession and abusively forces maternity nurses to cooperate.
5. Soliciting elective surgery from women in labor is abusive and unethical. There is an implied medical endorsement when hospital staff solicits in the course of admitting patients. The AMA circumcision policy states that a lack of information and deferral of the decision until after the birth contribute to the high rate of circumcision in America. This means that if parents were given more time and more information, fewer would circumcise their son.
6. Unnecessary surgery exposes a circumciser to avoidable liability.
7. The refusal to treat infant pain is well documented. The obstetrician circumciser is the worst offender of any medical specialty; with the most appalling record right here in the northeastern US. Despite the AAP admonition that children not be exposed to the pain of circumcision, many medical schools still teach circumcision without pain relief. (using living human children) Circumcision Practice Patterns in the United States Stang HJ, Snellman LW Pediatrics. 1998 Jun;101(6):E5 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/101/6/e5
8. Circumcision in America did not spring from our culture, it came from our doctors. Circumcision is now known to have no medical value, yet doctors inexplicably offer it as a cultural service, maneuvering consent from fathers circumcised in an era predating modern respect for patient autonomy.
9. Circumcision gains public acceptance at the expense of a physician’s professional integrity. As long as physicians are willing to involve themselves in non-medical surgery, parents will be confused about the intended purpose of such surgery.
10. The best reason to say, "NO!" is your own.
It sounds like to me she is just on an ego trip and has this I think I know it all attitude. I would just tell her that your son's penis is not up for discussion and according the American Medical Association circumcision is not in anyway essential to the child's health or well being. And if she is going to be involved with circumcision she is legally required to provide informed consent because if she pushes circumcision on parents based on her biased attitude she will eventually be forced out of the profession because of getting sued. These type of doctors are a disease to the proffesion.
I really like Sarah's suggestion of how to deal with your cousin - put the onus on her to explain herself !! As for the rest of the family - should they bring it up - put on an incredulous expression and ask "Why? Do you think nature made a mistake?"
Sarah, where did you get that great list, 10 reasons?? awesome!! if i may suggest, you should post that as a separate thread, with the hopes that it would get picked up by google search engine for people looking for such information. really, yes, yes, and yes, to all of the points made!!
I wrote it myself. Several years ago I attended a protest in Philadelphia at an ACOG convention and I wanted to have some literature that was just for doctors... not the same type of thing that you might use at a baby fair to approach parents. I wrote about the experience with the doctors on my blog, but I don't think I'm allowed to link to my blog here. If you do a search for "Ten Great Reasons for Obstetricians to stop circumcising babies" this thread comes up first, my blog comes up next.