What made you become an intactivist? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-02-2007, 12:06 PM
 
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I'd never really thought about circ at all until after my ds was born. I'm American, but fortunate enough to be married to a Brit and live in Scotland - so no one ever asked me if I was going to cut off part of my child's penis.

It's just a given (duh!) that you leave your healthy children and their healthy body parts alone!

But when ds was 1-2 weeks old, I was talking to a good friend from the States, and she asked if we'd had ds circumcised (she had 2 circed boys at the time). My immediate reaction was, 'No - why in the world would we do that?'

She talked about how lucky I was to live in the UK and not be faced with that decision, etc. That she'd talked about it with our other American friends who had circed boys, and all of the moms had hated having it done, but felt they'd not had a lot of choice, etc.

Which made me research it.

I'd actually been at MDC for about 2 years at that point, but had never really read in CAC.

I started reading, and immediately became in intactivist. As others have said, it's been a case of, 'The more you know, the worse circumcision is'

My friend who asked the question that made me start researching has since had a 3rd boy - I sent her info about circ when she was pregnant, and he's intact!
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Old 04-02-2007, 01:51 PM
 
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When I had my first son, I was 18. My dr asked me about it, and I of course asked him what he thought. He thank goodness was from S Africa! He said he did not preform them, nor would he help anyone find someone who did. He then told me of some of the horrors. I looked into it some more, and decided I couldnt hurt my babies like that. Then I found MDC after my 3rd son was born, and after learning even more, I became an intactivist, saving penis's one at a time! Another case of the more ya know the worse it is. The work that is done on this board I am sure is bound to save many penis's from being mutilated. Good work guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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my point was when i was 16 i didn't even know about cut and natrual i was not taught about it one of my best friends had her #2 son had him cut and i was there at her house when they got back i cried and cried that baby was in so much pain i couldnt stand it was there trying to change his diaper and even starting to take off his clothes would set him off it would just get louder harder and he would get red from screeming in pain it was so bad and not a thing i could do to help him from that point on i knew it was wrong and no baby deserved to be in pain when it was forced on him not needed i still think it shouldnt be a choice i tell everyone not to do it seems no one listens to me tho they just do it cause it is the thing to do it kills me everytime but atleast i am protecting my own i know that it took years to get this world this way we cant fix it quickly it also will take time and it is one baby one man at a time every single one counts but you all know this already
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:15 AM
 
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I became an intactivist when I was 12 or so and my mom and I were going through all my baby pictures and documents. We came across my birth paperwork, and on it it said Circ - NO. And I asked my mom why I wasn't cut and she told me it wasn't necessary. I didn't think much of it until I was 15.
It came up at lunch in HS and people made fun of my bestfriend for being intact. So I decided to do some research to defend him, and I shut that table up the next time it came up. Everyone comes to me with parenting questions now, lol.

So ever since I was 15 I've been researching Circ. My girlfriend isn't an intactivist quite yet, but she's getting there too. Once she meets Little Eric, I'm sure she'll be convinced, lol. But she's not pro-circ anymore thx to this site!
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:29 AM
 
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It all started for me when I ar around 9 or 10. My whole family went to visit my new cousin and aunt and uncle. The baby was only about 3 or 4 days old and my mom was changing his diaper when I noticed his penis, it was all red and swollen and there was some blood in his diaper. I asked my mom what was wrong with him and she said something along the lines of "nothing, they do some surgery on little boys when they are born so they don't get infections" I asked why they would do that and she said "Tara go play in the other room please"

So I did, but the whole time I thought, wow isn't it kindof crazy that this baby has an open wound sitting in a dirty diaper to prevent an infection? something can't be right. It all seemed very cruel and barbaric to me, even at that young age. I thought to myself, I would never do that to a son of my own. It looked so painful and horrible, and I wondered why would anyone do that to their baby?

I brought it up a few times with my mom after that but she was a firm believer in circ and kept telling me if a baby wasnt circumcised he would get lots of infections....I didn't believe her and said I wouldn't do that to my baby (and LOL one day I found this doll in a magazine, it was anatomically correct and was uncirced. I bought it just out of spite at first, but when I got it I was facinated by it, and was proud someday my sons would look like that instead of cut up.)

So I guess to some degree I started young, the real intactivist in me didnt awake until I was about 18, I was in nursing school and we were doing the OB rotation. My teacher wanted to talk to me and pulled me aside, while we were talking a nurse and doctor took a baby behind us and closed a curtian. I asked what they were doing, and she said a circumcision. I felt sick and tried to hurry the conversation so I could leave before it happened. But I didn't make it, I heard the most horrible scream I have ever heard in my life come from behind that curtian, and I left the room. I thought I was going to throw up....

I can still hear that scream echo in my mind whenever I think back on it *shudder* so horrible.

It was then that I became an intactivist, I promised myself then and there I would NEVER do that to a child of mine. I didn't care what the consequences would be and who would think me weird. I didn't know alot about it then but I thought heck an infection would sure be easier to deal with than cutting my baby apart like that.

So I began to research...and when I found out what circ really was, a barbaric procedure that has no proven reason. I was horrified.

I began to talk to people about it every chance I got after that.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:51 AM
 
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About 18 weeks into my pregnancy, I started to really think about it. I had originally wanted to have it done since it was the "normal" thing to do (Ironic, considering I"m usually the outcast!). ANyway, I had been on a pregnancy board for quite some time and was looking around to see what other boards there were on there (Other than the due date one lol), and found Have Your Say- CIrcumcision Discussion. I though, oooh goodie, heated debate with the "weirdos" that didn't circ... well I read the research, and sure did change my mind pretty quickly!

DH took much longer to convince. I finally had to say that NO, our son is staying intact, and I will NOT sign the consent form. He finally begrudginly agreed, saying that when something went wrong it would be my fault, yada yada... well when he was born, new Daddy couldn't imagine ever hurting his baby... he wasn't an intactivist until I found a more religious-geared article, which really hit home to him... and this was just a few days ago, and DS is 6mo!

So, piece by piece I've become more and more of an intactivist, and more and more of a parenting "outcast"... but that's fine, because I'm not afraid to do what's best for my child.

Sunny coolshine.gif: gun toting, retired breastfeeding, car seat loving, guitar playing, home birthing and schooling mama to Jakob (10.06), Mikah (07.08) and Korah (07.11). uc.jpg 

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Old 04-10-2007, 05:39 PM
 
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My best friend is circ'ed & hates it. He asked me to consider not circ'ing DS (months before I ever found this board). A bit of research confirmed his opinion as the best way to go.

Now MDC has radicalized me on the issue!

coolshine.gif Mama to DS ('06), DD ('08), and DD (9.18.11).

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Old 04-10-2007, 07:28 PM
 
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I can't say that I have been an intactivist for years and years, but I have been anti circumcision for most of my life.

My Dad and brother were circumcised , and that is just how I thought a penis was. So it was a real shock on the first night in the communal shower room of boarding school to discover that a lot of the boys had a different kind of penis to my own. It was readily apparent that something was missing. I intuitively felt that this was not a good thing, and secretly wished that I had not been "modified". I was too shy to ask my mother, and the subject did not come up until I was 13 when my little bro was born. He would have been a bit over a month old when I came home from school and watched my mum bathing him. She must have felt that an explanation was in order, and told me that we had been circumcised on the advice of her father (by then deceased). Apparently his "foreskin got so tight that he could not pee, and he had to be circumcised at 12", and thought it better done in infancy. That explanation never made any sense, and I can only assume that e suffered a paraphimosis.

I never discussed circ with anyone except a few girlfriends until DS was born. There was no question that he would not be circ'd. I have since found it easier to speak out, and I have been surprised to find that most (prospective) mothers quite willing to talk about it. I am now at the point of writing letters etc as well. What is a little embarrassment if it saves a foreskin ??
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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Actually no, it doesn't even cross my mind, because I know that the people saying those things haven't got a clue what they're talking about. I've been around and enjoyed intact penises all my life, there's nothing dirty about a man who bathes regularly, the dirt is in their imagination.

To me, all they are doing is displaying ignorance.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:57 PM
 
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The males in my immediate family are intact (including myself).

We lived nextdoor to 3 boys all the exact same ages as my brothers and I, only a few months older in each case. One day the oldest boy and I were playing doctor (I was 8 and he was 8 years and a few months) and when I had to "fix" him, I saw his exposed glans. I vaguely remember being retractable so my logical conclusion was his "skin" (I didn't know the word foreskin back then, nor the absurd concept of circumcision!) was pulled back. So while manipulating it, I couldn't get the skin over the end. Here's where it gets funny/cute: I came to the immediate conclusion that your "skin falls off" at 8 years and so many months. I remember being in the bathtub pulling my foreskin back and forth wondering "When will it happen to me???". It wasn't until later that I played doctor w/ the youngest boy, about 4 or so, that I realized something had happened to them that didn't happen to myself or my brothers! Then my mom and dad were talking about Prince William and Harry and how Diana refused to circ her and Charlie's sons, despite it being a "Royal thing" and added she was sooooooo glad she didn't have us done! She said how "stupid" they looked (meaning circ'd penises). Just this head on the end exposed. Well, I guess she thinks penises in general look pretty dumb.

Well, I was 17 or so, my aunt gave birth to a son, her and her DP's first and I remember my mom and my grandmother talking on the phone that DP was done and that he wanted their son done, even though my aunt is a VERY strong-willed person (very!). My grandfather had "complications" sometime during his adulthood and had to get circ'd, but my grandparents told my mom and her sisters NOT to circ their (future-) sons! Well, my oldest aunt didn't to her two sons. My mom didn't to us three. But my aunt, who "wears the pants in the family" did. I have to admit I kind of lost respect for her after that and still have.

After that I became an intactivist where I thought it was a human rights violation. This was in 1992. No Internet back then. I still thought it was wrong and felt it. It wasn't until the late-'90s that I researched it on the Internet and could go more in-depth than parenting books had gone that I became a powerful, life-long intactivist (even registered a dot-com name ). My goodness... w/ the Internet, there's no reason NOT to educate yourself about this vital issue and still claim ignorance!!!!!!
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:55 PM
 
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Thanks for all you do, Microsoap, and thanks for sharing your story. Whoever started this thread--BRILLIANT! I've so enjoyed reading these
posts. Maybe this thread should be a sticky, too??
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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My best friend had a baby(my godson) over two years ago, and she chose to have him circ'd...just the way that the penis looked in the diaper, all bloody made me sad. Then, when I found out I was having a boy I was worried about convincing DP, but after seeing pictures online and in a baby class he agreed with me not to get it done...my parents actually are really supportive and told me that I would have been intact if I was a boy

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"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:11 PM
 
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I admit I haven't read the whole thread, but I thought it was a great idea and wanted to throw my story in too.
DH's best friend is very outspokenly intact. He strongly encouraged us to forego circ. That got the ball rolling, but we decided that we couldn't see a compelling reason for or against circ, and so we left DS intact, figuring you can take it away later, but you can't put it back. I know I know, I should have had a more solid reason, because boy, did I get flack from my family. I hated sounding so wishywashy to them. Then, when DS was about a year and a half, I had a conversation with some friends, all of whom were procirc. I still didn't feel strongly about it, so I wasn't able to defend myself very well. But I thought a lot about their reasons and came to the conclusion that they were beyond asinine, and I'd better do some research. Well, whoever said the more you know the worse it gets sure knew what they were talking about. After about an hour of internet searches, I was totally intactivist. Then I found my way here, and it's been so lovely to know I'm not alone!
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:48 PM
 
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Pardon the pun, but it was not hard for me. I'm one who always wants the straight dirt, never satisfied with the pundit half-baked responses I get from anyone, and the more media-entrenched, the less trustworthy. I was cut as a baby as well. Anyways, although I've known it to be the norm in the USA, I never really gave it much thought until DW and I found out that we would be having a child. Her and I are both very avid information-seekers, and one of the things I found while researching all things children is the debate over circ. Well, it didn't take long to bring me into the anti-circ camp for two reasons: one, the absolute lack of medical necessity, and two, since I am rather anti-religion, circ on basis of religious principle made it automatically bad for me. I have had some knock-down drag-out forum fights over the religious basis for circ and have, somehow, never lost.
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:58 AM
 
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Even though I had a botched circ and a botched re-circ, I really didn't start to pull my head out of my a$$ on this issue until I was about 34 and got hooked into the internet where I could do some research without any embarrassment. Up until that point I suppose something in the back of my mind never seemd right about circ (why does a baby's penis NEED an operation at birth???!!!), but I bought into the socio-cultural brainwashing that it was a necessary, must-do thing. I just figured I must've had defective genitals or that my penis just didn't respond properly to the circ....there must've been something wrong with ME.

I actually thought I had a "foreskin problem" when I was young. I thought the constant, painful tampering with my penis and bleeding and infections were what happens when you DON'T circ. After doing some research and piecing together my recollections, I confronted my mother (when I was 35,lol) and she confirmed what I had put together: Loose circ = adhesions = painful reseparations = constant infections = a tight re-circ from he!!. She claimed she didn't know it had caused me problems, but it must've been blatantly obvious that it wasn't right. My nomal penis that hung out over my testicles became nothing but an acorn-style glans poking out.

And I guess it was somewhat my fault as well. I remember once when I was 11 or so and while I was bathing at my grandmother's house she had gathered up my clothes to wash them and noticed blood in my underwear. My erections could be so terribly painful and still split the skin open in places up until my early teens. My mother came over and they both pled with me to let them see, but I adamantly refused. I didn't want them to see my shame and I wasn't about to have them take me to a doctor to mess with my penis again.

Beyond that, it never dawned on me why I always hated my penis. Why I didn't even know I could masturbate until I was 16 (which I came to find out was on the late side, lol), because I got so little pleasure out of it. Why I had to regularly pluck hairs off the shaft (which was only visible during erections) before I was out of HS. Why I had sex once at 17 and never thought it was worth bothering again. Why I actively avoided relationships or sabotoged them before they could get intimate. Why, why, why....

But information is power, and it all started to make sense to me. There wasn't anything wrong with me. For all their supposed good intentions, they wrecked my penis. And it was all for a bunch of nonsense! :

Still, it wasn't until about two years after this revelation that I became an outgoing intactivist. My sister I was closest to and who I first told my story to and had encouraged me to confront our mother had my nephew. She STILL rolled the dice and had him cut. She might as well have stabbed me in the heart. I guess I always thought if what I had been through would make a difference for anyone it would be for any nephew(s) she might have. We didn't speak for two years and only started then when my niece was born with a severe heart defect. Our relationship will never be the same, but I will never have kids of my own and I do love my niece and nephew and want to be a part their life. It's still very hard for me to see or speak to her (I don't blame her dh at all, he would've went along with whatever she wanted) without thinking of the awful thing she did.

Sorry for babbling, but I guess that's what I like about this forum...being around so many wonderful parents who are willing to look past social convention for the sake of their children. You're all the best!
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Old 04-12-2007, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry for babbling, but I guess that's what I like about this forum...being around so many wonderful parents who are willing to look past social convention for the sake of their children. You're all the best!
I agree. This forum is a great place! I love reading everyone's responses. It is refreshing to see such a significant number of like minded intact friendly people.

Mama to 5 busy bees (12, 9, 7, 3, 2) and expecting #6 June/2014

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Old 04-12-2007, 01:18 AM
 
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I was 12. My baby brother got circed and I saw how utterly raw and sore and in pain he was
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Old 04-12-2007, 01:46 AM
 
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For me, it was becoming a mom to a precious little boy. Before I ever got married, I knew I didn't ever want to circ if I had a son. I had mentioned it to my husband before we ever got married, and he was adamantly opposed to leaving a boy intact. Looking back, I never would've married a guy like that, with what I know now. At any rate, I blew off his opposing opinion, and said it was a moot point since we weren't even married. Well...we got married, and never discussed it until we decided to start having children. The arguements were SOOOOO heated...but I eventually won him over. In the midst of all my research, I realized just how strong my feelings were about genital integrity, and being here has only made that conviction stronger.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:38 AM
 
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And I guess it was somewhat my fault as well. I remember once when I was 11 or so and while I was bathing at my grandmother's house she had gathered up my clothes to wash them and noticed blood in my underwear. My erections could be so terribly painful and still split the skin open in places up until my early teens. My mother came over and they both pled with me to let them see, but I adamantly refused. I didn't want them to see my shame and I wasn't about to have them take me to a doctor to mess with my penis again.
(bold mine)

How is this your fault? Having erections is just a normal part of being a boy. It isn't your fault that they caised bleeding and being scared that let your parents know you were having problems might lead to worse was reasonable. You are in no way at fault for any of this.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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Old 04-12-2007, 06:25 AM
 
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Prelude to becoming an intactivist: I didn't circumcise my two sons, born in the 80s. I had seen circumcisions in nursing school and knew it was barbaric, plus I was very natural-oriented, so I never even considered it. Also taught Bradley classes in the 80s, and read enough then (Anne Briggs's book, Mothering, NOCIRC materials - no Internet then) to teach other people that it didn't need to be done. After I stopped teaching, though, I basically forgot most of what I knew and just went on with life.

Anyway, my boys grew up fine, and I really didn't think too much more about it till I went back to work in a hospital nursery 7 years ago. While I was against circumcision and was unwilling to assist in them, I still hadn't gotten completely clear on the ethics, and I really didn't have much of a knowledge base any more. For instance, I couldn't have told you what the functions of the foreskin were, or why penile cancer wasn't a valid reason to circumcise. Also, I'm ashamed to say, I still kind of thought that it was the parents' choice, and even though I wouldn't assist, I still felt it was my job as a "team player" to at least clean up and set up for the circs.

Several years later a whole complex of things happened which catapulted me into intactivism. The main catalyst was that my then 15-year-old younger son told me he wanted to get circumcised! After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I went on an intensive three-month Internet search in order to be able to talk to him knowledgeably about it. I read everything I could get my hands on (and as you all know, that's A LOT), and the more I read, the more outraged I became. (This is a really long story - but don't worry, it all turned out OK and he's still happily intact at age 20, but thinks it's ironic that it was his wanting to get circumcised that led to me becoming an intactivist.)

Simultaneously, I went from night shift to day shift, when they do most of the circumcisions, and all of a sudden I had to be around it all the time. Also, simultaneously, ICEA (Int'l Childbirth Ed Assoc) put out a new circumcision position statement in their journal to which I subscribed. By that time I had enough knowledge under my belt to see how inadequate and biased it was. So I spent the next four months continuing to research and writing a rebuttal article which I submitted to their journal and which was rejected for publication.

Meanwhile I was getting crazier and crazier being around circ at work every day, and I got into trouble at work for a few circumcision-related incidents (also a long story). To find some outlet for my increasing sense of frustration and disempowerment at work, I decided to start a graduate program that I could build around circumcision issues (still working on it). Eventually, after several failed attempts, I got in touch with the (very inactive) NOCIRC people in Colorado about 2-1/2 years ago. Bingo, I was officially an intactivist.

No turning back now. I know too much.

Gillian

PS - I do of course know now that it is absolutely not a parent's right to circumcise their babies for non-medical reasons. Though I continue to tread the line at work (as far as risking getting into trouble again), I absolutely will not assist in ANY way with a circumcision, except in the case of a complication, in which case I make sure that a hospital incident report gets filled out.
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Old 04-12-2007, 07:07 AM
 
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Wow, Gillian, even though we were room mates in Seattle, I didn't realize all that background to your journey. Thanks for sharing your story and for all the good work you do to stick up for baby boys.
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