Circumcision and the family - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 40 Old 02-08-2006, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry this is going to be long. Bear with me?

DH's younger sister, who has just turned 17, is living with us during her pregnancy. My in laws are having some problems of their own and couldn't keep Abby (that's not her real name but we'll use it here) out of trouble. She has really shaped up here, is studying, is passing everything she's taking at school (she's on half days) and is planning on staying here to finish school and I will babysit during the day.

Gradualy I have approached her with topics i feel will help her with raising a healthy, happy child. She is going to breastfeed (YES!) and we have already got her a sling.

She also had decided not to find out the gender but changed her mind this week. That's were this trouble started.

It's a boy.

I gently (what I thought was gently) askd her if she hadgiven any thought to circumcision. She knows we're having a boy but the circ issue never came up. DH and I had our discussions BEFORE Abby came to live with us. So I asked her, and she said "Yes, I know boys have to have that done."

I of course shifted into intactivist mode, explained that boys don't have to have it done, and of course that we aren't doing it to our little boy.

After all that, she said, "It's my child and my decision and I'm doing it."

I stayed polite and asked her why, despite all the health risks, and the fact that it isn't her penis.

She said, "Aunty Minky, have you ever SEEN an uncircumcised guy?"

I didn't realy want to answer so I turned it back and said, "Have you?"

Aparently she has NOT seen an intact male. But she has heard about it on TV. We really don't watch TV much at our house, well she does, but we don't join her, but she was able to name 3 shows, Sex In The City, Dr. House, and Nip and Tuck, where there was an intact guy and nobody wanted to sleep with him because his penis was so ugly. She even went as far as to say "In two of those show's, the boy got so depressed he cut it off himself. I won't do that to my son."

I don't know how to fight this one. I don't know what to say or what to do. I have a hard time saying it's not ugly because truth being told I do find circumcised adults more attractive but that is bcause of my abuse issues which I also don't want to discuss with her.

I don't know if I wait a few more weeks. The due date is at the beginning of April and she will be having a hospital birth due to her parent's insurance. (My little one isn't due until the end of June.)

What do I do, what would you do? I don't like the video's but should I use them? Should I recomend she look at a picture of an intact baby? Actualy seeing that intact baby cartoon that has been posted was one of the things that made me sure I would be okay with my future intact baby!

I'm just so scared that she is going to mutelate her son for this very very stupid reason of looks. She seemed to agree on all the medical reasoning but it didn't convince her. She also agreed that it should be his choice, just that she knows what he'd choose, and he'd choose to be circumcised.

Help?!!!
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#2 of 40 Old 02-08-2006, 10:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Minky
"In two of those show's, the boy got so depressed he cut it off himself. I won't do that to my son."
what about working *with her logic rather than trying to fight it? how about the well, he can get it done himself when he can consent to it argument?v
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#3 of 40 Old 02-08-2006, 10:40 PM
 
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Yikes. Well, I don't know her and I don't know what you've already said to her. But...when I was pg and researching the issue the main thing that struck me was learning that the foreskin serves a purpose....it's not some useless piece of skin! From what I read it made me feel like cutting off the foreskin would be like cutting off someone's eyelids and letting their eyes dry out. I also thought it would be like cutting off the outer labia and letting the vagina dry out. And living like the for the rest of your life until the tissues in question become desensitized. You can point out that her son may not get as much sexual enjoyment if he's circed...so then what does it matter if some women don't like the look of his penis if he'll never be able to experience a normal male sexual experience? And if a woman doesn't want to be with a man because she doesn't like the way his penis looks then she doesn't love him. Etc etc. Those are the things I said to my relatives who thought I should circ DS for cosmetic reasons and it changed their minds pretty quickly.

just my 2 cents.
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#4 of 40 Old 02-08-2006, 10:54 PM
 
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I would ask her if she believes everything she sees on TV.
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#5 of 40 Old 02-08-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bm31
I would ask her if she believes everything she sees on TV.
Yeah, keep in mind the foreskin is still pretty exotic in this country and TV writers don't have any more expertise in it than the majority of the population. It's not like doctors are writing these scripts - it's all about maximum drama and titillation!

How about Penn & Teller since she's into pop culture? I'd be happy to send you a copy for free - just PM me.

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#6 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 12:18 AM
 
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I would steer away from the cosmetic issues entirely and focus on all the benefits of the foreskin, the lost list at norm is really good. play up how progressive and intelligent it is to be "informed" about parenting issues instead of blindly following, build up her self esteem as a parent and sound like you have faith in her, show her it IS the right decision to leave her son intact.
and good luck!

http://www.norm.org/lost.html
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#7 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 02:20 AM
 
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Minky, I think you have to get to the root of this evil to attack it. In something like this, people will beat all around the bush to avoid telling you the real reason.

You've got to tell her that what she saw on TV is make believe and that it's a snapshot of another generation's phobias. Those phobias don't exist with this generation. If she circumcises her son, he will be in the minority. What's she going to tell him 10 or 12 years from now if he comes to her and asks "Mom, why did you cut my penis? Why did you make me different? Why didn't you leave that decision to me? What was the rush?"

With each of these issues, discuss them in detail with her and eventually, they will all fall away until she gets down to the real reason. At this point, she's just making excuses.

I think it would be valuable to show her one of the circumcision videos. I would also show her a photo on the internet of a newborn that is intact. They are very innocent looking and not ugly at all. Then, I would show her a picture of a recently circumcised baby penis. It will be very red and painful looking. Few mothers could look at one of those and not wince.

Finally, you need to express your disgust about any one that would do this to their son and maybe even go so far as to tell her that if she does this, she will have to find other accomodations as you have more disgust with a person who will do it than it is worth.

In this case, you have to pull out the big guns and leave no stone unturned. Don't be shy about it. A man's sexuality is at stake.




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#8 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 02:33 AM
 
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I'd sit her down in front of the "Mother, why was I circumcised?" video.
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#9 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 09:23 AM
 
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Rent a movie with Ewan McGregor in it. I'm serious--he's intact, and the movies Velvet Goldmine and Young Adam display his gorgeous intact penis quite well. I dare anyone to call his penis ugly!!!

You can also mention that Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson are intact. Almost all European actors are whole. For that matter, you can let her know that almost all European men are intact, and they think we're barbarians for allowing the genital mutilation of men to continue.

Good luck!
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#10 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 03:48 PM
 
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Where do you live? YOu might look up the statistics for your region of the country, and show her that her son will NOT be alone. In fact, intact might be the majority Also show that the trend over the years is towards NOT circumsing.

http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/bollinger2003/

Girls that age are very, very suceptible to "peer pressure" and group-think is VERy important to them.

The video of the circumsion is must viewing, of course.

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#11 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 03:56 PM
 
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I can see your hesitancy to show her a video of a circ but a 17 year old mother might be young but she is still a mother. Like it or not she has the same responsibility as the rest of us to educate herself.

First you could ask her if she knows exactly *how* a aircumcision is done and specifically *what* she is signing her baby up for. There is a site with a video that I can't find my link for that shows the photo play by play before you click on the watch video. That was enough for me. I'm hoping someone here has it?

Make sure she knows it is not less painful for a baby he just doesn't have words to tell you how much it hurts.

I also think that showing photos of an intact baby might be a good idea. The only time she is going to have to look at his penis is while he is a baby anyway.

As for the "cutting it off himself" argument. Thats TV. Its for ratings. I know you know that...be sure to point it out to her. Does she really want to get her parenting advice from Sex and the City?

I've only known a few men with foreskins and not one of them would consider cutting it off. They were *very* happy with what they had.

You could also point out to her that **IN REAL LIFE** there are many men who go to a lot of trouble to reconstruct the foreskins that their parents had cut off without their consent.

If this thread stays fairly civil you could have her come here and read.

You could put it to her as it being her job as a mother to educate herself on parenting issues, not just believing what you see on TV.

And also point out to her that with the way circ rates are going down having her son cut may leave him in the minority when he is in school. And how would she like him to find out that she cut off a part of his penis when he was a baby? Come to think of it be sure to point out that it *IS* part of his penis. Its not an extra anything.

And point out the sexual function. Compare it to her girl parts and ask how she would feel about having parts of her very private areas cut off without her consent. And maybe have her look into FGM and see how she feels about that. If its good for boys it must be good for girls too, right?

Finally point out the pain and complications, including death. Is it worth risking her babies life for? On TV teenage boys cut off thier foreskins. In real life babies have died from being circumcised. Someone here...can't remember who, sorry...has "circumcison scars" in their siggy and it links to photos of botched circ's. Very scary stuff but she should know what could happen.

This isn't just a cosmetic issue or even a health issue, it is a *human rights* issue. Be sure she knows that. Teenagers are very fond of the idea of freedom and the right to their own life, ask if her son doesn't have that same right.

And point out that if she raises him to be a strong and confident kid it won't matter what anyone else thinks about his body. But if she cuts part of it off at birth what message is that sending?

Anyway...those are my suggestions.

Oh and on Nip/Tuck the girl didn't like the boys penis because she was a lesbian...the foreskin was just the excuse she gave. And one of the girls on Sex and the City liked intact penises. Which isn't really relevant since he is likely going to want to sleep with girls his age so what is "cool" on TV now shouldn't impact her decision at all.

Casey
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#12 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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That's right, I am from Europe and the firstand only time I saw a mutilated p I though the guy had an accident or that he was a religious fanatic. I did not know it was a tradition in this part of a world. Who started it here? it is not from Europe, not from native Americans. Anyone knows the history? May be that would help. Whoever started it must have been a freak...
TV is really evil. Isn't love abt something else than look of a p.?
Anyway, when "they" have an erection you can't tell if they are or not c.- or may be I did not pay attention?

It is really interesting that she has such a strong opinion abt. it.
I guess she should be able to decide at the end. Hopefully she will do the right thing. If not, please forgive her. Don't forget, there are many c. men and they live and are happy...most of the time
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#13 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 06:53 PM
 
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In my opinion I would just say those t.v shows state the predjuice of uncut guys but now the judgement of women are getting 'erased' because lots more mom's and dad's are leaving there son's uncut which is highly getting raised up.
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#14 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 07:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minky
Aparently she has NOT seen an intact male. But she has heard about it on TV. We really don't watch TV much at our house, well she does, but we don't join her, but she was able to name 3 shows, Sex In The City, Dr. House, and Nip and Tuck, where there was an intact guy and nobody wanted to sleep with him because his penis was so ugly. She even went as far as to say "In two of those show's, the boy got so depressed he cut it off himself. I won't do that to my son."


Just so you know, EMERGENCY information.

The show niptuck. The boy THOUGHT it was because he was uncircumsized, the girl never really said that, she just showed revulsion about penis's in general.

After the boy self mutilates, and then has his uncle finish the job for him, he goes home after he is healed thinking he is about to get laid.

Then he walks in to the room where his girlfriend is having sex with another girl.

She didnt want to have sex with him because she is a lesbian and was trying to cover it up by having a boyfriend.


sad news still, but the dude was wrong about why she didn't want to have sex with him. and it came out in the show too.


His dad, a plastic surgeon, was PISSED that he would mutilate his own perfect body. Funny how that works.

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#15 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 07:49 PM
 
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Maybe the Penn and Teller episode?

good luck!

-Angela
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#16 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 08:13 PM
 
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Please tell her my doctor told me 95% of boys are not cut these days, and being cut might mean by the time a girl sees it he will probeble be the one with the ugly looking penis, then what, he might want to restore his foreskin like my dh is, why put him through that. And also let her know there are more health risks like death from getting it done than not. Hope this will change her mind. Good luck
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#17 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 09:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njeb
Rent a movie with Ewan McGregor in it. I'm serious--he's intact, and the movies Velvet Goldmine and Young Adam display his gorgeous intact penis quite well. I dare anyone to call his penis ugly!!!

You can also mention that Colin Farrell and Liam Neeson are intact. Almost all European actors are whole. For that matter, you can let her know that almost all European men are intact, and they think we're barbarians for allowing the genital mutilation of men to continue.

Good luck!
ITA!

I would definitely ask her if she thinks Colin Farrell is hot, then (hopefully) when she says yes, ask her if she thinks he has any trouble getting dates!

PLAYBOY: Do you find Americans woman fascinated by an uncircumcised penis?

FARRELL: They are kind of f****** fascinated with a foreskin, aren't they? In Ireland, at birth we don't get the tip of our f****** knobs chopped off. I f****** completely disagree with that. People say, It's much cleaner to have no foreskin. What, have you never heard of a f****** shower? Of Q-Tips? Whatever you want to do it, just clean the f****** thing. I was at the party with 20 people, one of them an agent from CAA, when somehow the subject of foreskin came up. She said, I just don't understand the foreskin. I've never seen one. So I whipped out my d*** and said, Here, that's all it is. A bit of skin. I did a little Puppetry of the Penis thing and showed her what it was about. You would have thought she was at a circus the way she was looking at me.


http://www.colin-farrell.net/articles1.php?pboy0303


How about Markus Schenkenberg? Who could say no to that!!!!!! http://www.circumstitions.com/Images...henkenberg.jpg

Perhaps Jesse Metcalf from Desperate Housewives?

Leo DiCaprio or Paul Walker perhaps?

If that doesn't work, there are lots of other great options mentioned here.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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#18 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 09:02 PM
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I second explaining the Nip/Tuck episode to her, obviously she didn't pay much attention.

I also agree with showing her the function of the foreskin etc, and then showing her an adult intact male naked in a movie (since she likes TV). Innocently rent the movie, ask her to watch it and when he's naked go "Oh wow, he's not cut" or something similar.

Then the circumcision videos. Then the testimonials of pissed off men who want their foreskins back.

And then ask her to sit down and really read this
http://wreckingboy.livejournal.com/318545.html

And remind her that it's by a circumcised man. Make sure she really reads it. It'll probably be the only resource you really need. It's got pictures and is written in simple English.

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#19 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 09:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna
Maybe the Penn and Teller episode?

good luck!

-Angela
That's a good idea too, Angela. I can totally see it appealing to the younger crowd.

Jen

PS. Here's a link to the Intact Video morning glory made referrence to: http://www.intact.ca/vidintro.htm (It shows the procedure in pictures, first...and that may be enough to stimulate her protective maternal instincts.)
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#20 of 40 Old 02-09-2006, 09:14 PM
 
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Just curiuos, but how is she going to pay to get this done? Is it covered by parents' insurance? I know cost can be a motivating factor.
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#21 of 40 Old 02-10-2006, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So many good ideas, I am glad I am up in the middle of the night checking this thread.

We do have the Penn and Teller episode. I got it off Ebay for my sister who turned out to already be pro intact. We will be watching it as a family sometime this weekend.

I have given the issue a rest. I do not want her to think I've gone insane so I am not pushing it yet. The Penn and Teller thing will be brought up gently, but very very soon, and if that doesn't work, I think it's time to watch a circ done on the net. It's not her age I'm worried about, I think 17 year old's are capable of being good moms and very adult, the circ videos bother me because the baby boy in the video didn't choose to be circ'd or have it filmed and be on the net. But if Penn and Teller doesn't work I think we are gonna have to look.

With the TV shows, thank you all for the information. I have mentioned that those shows are fiction and she says that the Sex and the City (funny I always thought it was Sex IN the city until this thread!!!!!) was probably made up, but that the medical shows are based on actual cases. I will be working on this. I don't think she can be watching most of these shows at our house because we don't have cable. Maybe this is why she doesn't know the outcome of the Nip Tuck show.

Now for you, Frank. You know me, I am not kicking her out. But what I will do is if worst comes to worst I'm going to tell her she has to find other daycare for her child because I will not care for a mutilated penis. That might raelly get her because she has the goal of finishing high school and does not have the money for childcare.

I don't know who would pay for the circ. I don't know anything about her parent's insurance, just that she asked about homebirth and her parent's told her it was absolutely not covered, she can have a hospital birth and that was that. No idea if that's true or if they just don't want her having a homebirth. I think she assumes the circ is included, or did until I told her it doesn't "have to" be done. I will ask her to look into it. I am not paying for it so that may be a stumbling block too.

We are in the Midwest and I know the circ rate here is still high. But she is always talking like she doesn't want to stay here, she would like to go to California. I think this was also inspired by Tv. . . . . Maybe the intactness rate there will help!

I will keep you guys posted. Thanks for all the good wishes. I think this is a foreskin we can save, I Just need to work on her and keep her from shutting down and desiding I've gone crazy.
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#22 of 40 Old 02-10-2006, 10:20 AM
 
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Talking about circumcision on TV. Several years ago the medical drama "ER" had a storyline about a college boy who was admitted to the emergency room because he tried to do a self-circumcision since his girlfriend expressed revulsion at his intact penis. He got half way through it and could not bear the pain to continue. The doctors gave him the option to cut the rest off or sew it back up. He chose to cut the rest off. In one of the last scenes, the girlfriend was waiting in the hospital for word and admits to one of the staff that she only said it because she wanted to break up with him. OOPS!
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#23 of 40 Old 02-10-2006, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok but I think the message that teens get from this is, it's ok to break up with someone because their intact. Even if she was just making up excuses it is aparently an excuse that has been used before. KWIM?
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#24 of 40 Old 02-10-2006, 08:23 PM
 
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Minky, is the babydaddy in the picture at all? Will he need to be educated as well? Will your SIL be influenced by his circ status even if he's not in the picture - i.e. "circ the baby to look like daddy" even if she's not with him?

Just something to plan for - I have read stories of young single mamas who decided to circ or were pressured to circ by the babydaddies even though they weren't still together.

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#25 of 40 Old 02-10-2006, 09:03 PM
 
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Hi Minky!

Since sil is interested in breastfeeding, have you mentioned how circ'ing can mess that up? Or gone through the physiological impact having that done has on a newborn? (the stress, the being strapped down, the excruciating pain, etc?)

Let's not forget Jude Law... And I practically credit Ewan McGregor for my darling boy's happy intactness.. never even heard of not circ'ing until he started strutting around!!


lizzie

PS.. well done on the refusal to care for a mutilated penis plan.. and another point to doing everything to encourage bf'ing.. formula costs WAY too much if it doesn't go well.

It's such a relief to finally trust yourself.
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#26 of 40 Old 02-10-2006, 10:46 PM
 
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About you being in the midwest thinking the circ rate is sky high... sometimes that's true, but other times you'll find yourself very, very pleasantly surprised! Check out post #98 http://www.mothering.com/discussions...0&page=5&pp=20 from fellow dear intactivist Tinijocaro who knows many intact boys in the area of Buffalo she lives in.

P.S. There's online family photo sharing websites (you know the ones) and show her a newly circumcised baby boy when it's just a couple of days or a week old and then show her an intact baby boy at the same age and she'll see CLEAR NIGHT AND DAY difference in the cosmetically appealing version. That little cone-shaped "french fry" is the "pretty" way to go! Plus, look at the difference of two boys (once again, circumcised and intact) at 2 or 3 and I'll tell you the look of a little boy with his pale, dried out glans and ugly circ scar on his shaft doesn't look _any_ better once it's "healed". Seriously, I grieve for these boys whenever I see one. Human rights violated; a penis permanently altered... it's all so very ugly and wrong, wrong, wrong!
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#27 of 40 Old 02-10-2006, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Quirky
Minky, is the babydaddy in the picture at all? Will he need to be educated as well? Will your SIL be influenced by his circ status even if he's not in the picture - i.e. "circ the baby to look like daddy" even if she's not with him?

Just something to plan for - I have read stories of young single mamas who decided to circ or were pressured to circ by the babydaddies even though they weren't still together.
The babydaddy is one of three different guys, one of whom won't admit to sleeping with her for legality reasons. We have invited the other two up to visit and take part in the pregnancy, but they both said no. I highly doubt that either of them will show up for the birth but if they show any interest I will have to educate them as well.
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#28 of 40 Old 02-11-2006, 12:25 AM
 
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Minky, I think that's a great idea about not providing daycare.

Also, if I remember correctly, you are in one of the states that has defunded Medicaid circumcisions. That's another arrrow in your sling.




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#29 of 40 Old 02-11-2006, 12:48 AM
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Not trying to make myself out to be a whore or anything, but sex with an intact male is MUCH better than sex with a circ'd male. Maybe you could mention that to her.
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#30 of 40 Old 02-11-2006, 12:51 AM
 
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With the home birth thing...do you mean that a midwife would not be covered through insurance? If thats the case what would the cost be and is there a way it could be worked out?

The reason I ask is I think that a homebirth might allow her time to fall in love with her baby so that protective instinct might kick in. Its a lot more work to haul him into the hospital and it may make her think about it more. Plus the whole hospital environment is pretty horrible when it comes to giving birth anyway. Maybe a birth centre would be a compromise that would work?

If she has to go to a hospital see if you can find one in your area that doesn't do circ. The farther you can remove her and the baby from the possibility the better.

With any luck by the time baby is here she will have seen the light anyway.

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