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Frootloop 01-07-2008 04:02 PM

.. and I said, "Well, you should be scared.. for your son".

That's how my conversation about circumcision ended with my very close to my heart cousin who is due to deliver her second son the last week in April. Her first son, who is 2.5 yrs old, was circumcised.

Quick back story..
After casually asking her about whether her 1st was circumcised and finding out the answer, we had a very fast "well, I think it's wrong", "well, I don't know much about it, but *D* wanted it done" kind of conversation about it.. She agreed to hear me out regarding circumcision and allow me to educate her since this next one is a little boy. She has no computer access and is pretty computer illiterate, anyway. Her husband is a very.. ummm.. "I am the man of the house" kind of guy. He's not jerky to her at all times, but the ultimate decision with just about anything is HIS, period.

I have printed out a BUNCH of information about it.. from the religious aspect (I know that we're not allowed to discuss that here, but they're not Jewish), pain, breastfeeding problems, the procedure itself, etc etc etc. I literally have a stack of papers almost an inch high. I talked to her on the phone today and mentioned that all of the info would be on the way this week. We talked a about it a tiny bit.. a little about the procedure itself, why it's still done these days, the threat of MRSA, adequate pain relief. Well, this is what I found out on her end.

She had an emergency c-section under general anesthesia and I guess, was pretty out of it. She knew NOTHING about what circ entails at all. She didn't research it, nothing.. she was under the impression that it was just always done. They never discussed it beyond the doctor asking, "is he getting circ'd?" - hubby pipes in with "OH yeah!!".

The day they did the circ, which was 48 hrs after his birth, I guess they had told them that he would be strapped to the board and given a sugar pacifier thing.. she said that she didn't want him to have that and that she didn't want him strapped to the board, either. So, hubby is actually allowed to hold baby J while doc circs him. I asked her out of curiosity how long Baby J had been gone from her arms while he was getting circ'd. She said, maybe 15-20 minutes. I said that unfortunately, it was probably pretty safe to assume he had no pain relief.. she said that surely he HAD to have something since hubby was there.. I said that it was highly doubtful. They simply didn't have enough time. She doesn't know for sure because she was so out of it and they never discussed it afterward!!!!! All she knows is that the baby wouldn't breastfeed for HOURS afterward.

She told me that she would go through all of the info.. that I could probably really easily convince her, but that there is no way in HELL we would be able to convince her hubby. He's that adamant about it. He's "cut" and "so was Baby J", "he's just not going to allow this".

We talked a little more about the procedure and risks.. and that's when she stopped me with "I really don't want to hear anymore and if you keep going, I won't want to read the paperwork, either.. So, please stop, you're scaring me..". I said, "Well, you should be scared.. for your son" and ended the conversation.

Does anyone have any links geared toward circumcised fathers? I mean, that would help convince HIM that it's ok for THIS son to stay whole?

This is not going to be easy at all. I mean, hell, he actually held his newborn down in the hospital to be circ'd with no pain meds.

So, let's say this information does convince her and he refuses to listen? What the hell do I do then? Let it go? She's a SAHM, who rarely leaves the house, who's over 950 miles away from me. I can guarantee this is going to cause a huge fight and it's quite likely that she'll cave she's not headstrong at all.

Sorry this got so long, but I'm feeling rather overwhelmed right now. I KNOW I can convince her. I heard it in her voice and I felt it in her heart.. she's regretting it. She couldn't even bear to hear it. I just don't know what to do about HIM.. I've only met the guy once and that was 8 yrs ago.

perspective 01-07-2008 04:29 PM

Honestly, its going to be hard. But because he is so pro -circ, you need to dump anything that would make him insecure about his penis, or his first son. Anything that questions him, is going to lead him to retract from the discussion. (thats if you can get him there at all) I would suggest talking about the possible complications to the procedure, give him cases where things have gone wrong. Give him stuff written ONLY by doctors. Things that talk about how its better to wait a few years for the health of the baby. Include just enough research about how its EASIER to clean a uncircumcised penis. The only exception to the doctor rule, is if you can find stuff from men who were in a situation like him, and decided to hold things off for a few years, or men who waited till they were older, and decided to get cut, and were very happy they waited. Articles that discuss how great the penis is, and how his son will have greater advantages to circing in later life.

I say all this, because at this point I think its going to be hard to make this guy anti-circ, and taking that stance may make him feel like your personally offending him. Your best bet now is to convincing him into waiting a few years. Scare him a bit, but shape your discussion around the idea that its best for the future and health of his son and his penis to wait a bit.

good luck.

carriebft 01-07-2008 04:32 PM

It really takes a special kind of detachment to hold your child down for genital cutting [esp without pain medication].

I would go into the "wed resources" thread and use a lot of those studies. I posted a post on page 2 at the end full of studies on infection. There are lots in that thread that could work. It would be best to give the citation and the conclusions of the articles in some order that you can easily talk to him about them as you go.

KBecks 01-07-2008 04:42 PM

OK, first, give her some breathing room and time and space to process this. Then call her in a week or so and ask her if she has any questions. Then, I think you encourage her to go it alone in terms of protecting her son.

It is *a lot* to process when you learn about circ, and it is going to need a little while for this to settle with her. But keep talking to her, she will need lots of encouragement and support to protect her son. Make sure you aren't doing ALL the talking, listen to her too.

Hugs and good luck!

Frootloop 01-07-2008 04:59 PM

Perspective, thank you.. and I agree it's going to be very hard to get him to change sides. What you are talking about is exactly the types of things I'm looking for to print out.. things that are going to get into the male brain a bit. Technical type things.
I have a ton of info printed that will tug at her heartstrings, but barely anything to even remotely nudge him. I will have to dig around a little more.

Carriebft - I have a quite a bit of info in that thread printed out already, but I'm going to print out some more about MRSA.. I only have one short page about it now, and those links you have there are great. The MRSA risk should be a big one as I just went through a scare a couple weeks ago and she was extremely concerned for me. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

And as for him holding Baby J down, I know. Believe me, I know. I almost threw up when she told me that he held him down. If he actually watched and didn't even turn his head? Ugh.. where's the bucket when I need it? I've gotten the sense that he's slightly a control freak and takes this "head of the household" thing quite literally. There has always been something I didn't like about this guy.. just from the little things that she has told me he's said and done, but this made me teary-eyed. I hated to have to tell her that I didn't believe he had pain meds, but I felt she needed to hear it.

KBecks.. The info that I have for her won't be sent out until next Monday, at least. So, it won't get there until probably the end of the week or so. I'm sure I'll talk to her again before then as we usually talk twice a week or more.

And I do know that I'm sending her a LOT of info to process, but since she doesn't know much about anything, I'm trying to go at it from all aspects. I told her not to dive in one day and not stop until it's done.. I want her to learn a little at a time and ask me questions if she's ready (which, I'll probably end up asking you guys if I don't know the answer lol) and I did tell her this.

DH is stressing out that I'm going to upset her too much and it's going to cause problems with the baby. Can I really do that by doing this? I don't want to cause her pain.. I really don't.

KBecks 01-07-2008 05:23 PM

No, I don't think this will have any effect on her health or pregnancy. If she is sounding too stressed when she talks to you then tell her she should let it sit for a while and take a break from reading and learning about it.

I think she will need to make the decision and keep her son intact w/o her husband's approval. This may be difficult for her to do, but I feel that if he is resistant, she's going to have to stand up for her son alone.

I think you should encourage that as long as you have zero evidence that her husband is dangerous or abusive.

I've read the Penn & Teller circ video is good for men. Maybe look into that -- do a search here.

Love&consciousness 01-07-2008 05:28 PM

This is a good one:
An Appeal to New Fathers

Maybe some info on the motivation behind the hype ($$$):
To know that someone may have some serious motivation for cutting off your baby's foreskin might not sit well with him

Frootloop 01-07-2008 05:56 PM

Kbecks, thanks for the assurance. I really appreciate it. I will do just as you said..

I did tell her that, even if he refuses to budge on his stance, in the end, it's going to come down to her signing that consent form. I just fear that she won't go against him. She's not afraid of him or anything.. well, at least not that she's told me, but she's also of the belief that since he's the breadwinner, the man of the house, the macho guy, he DOES have final say.. She feels that, as his wife, this is how it should be. SAHM, make dinner, make everything a-ok for the hubby when he gets home. It's always all about him.

She wasn't always this way.. not before him. She's reaaaally changed.

My DH and I have both seen the Penn & Teller video.. unfortunately, since I don't really know his personality at this point, I just.. ehhh.. I don't know. I'm thinking that maybe I will save that one for after I convince her (yep, I have high hopes haha) and I talk to her more about what she thinks would help convince him.. do think that's a good idea?

Love&consciousness... THANKYOU. Those are both perfect!

perspective 01-07-2008 06:06 PM

Frootloop- Just to make sure what I said is not misinterpreted, you should not look at it as "hes a guy, hes going to be pulled by technical stuff before emotional." Guys can be convinced by emotional arguments as much as woman can. The difference here, is that HE believes circumcising is a moral thing he can inflict on his child. He might even feel a bond by being able to circumcise his son. To tread around this guy in the right way, you got to remember where his emotional strings lie. Because you need to know how to avoid them at the right times, and play them at the right times.

The argument I presented appears very factual, but its actually lightly playing on some strings. Guys put a lot of importance in the penis. ( for example one study done recently where men and women were told to look at a picture of a baseball card, they discovered that in general, the first thing that women looked at was the face, for men, it generally was the crotch)
So it makes sense that fathers are very concerned with their sons penis. (And why they are very very worried about living it in a condition they dont understand) For this man, if you play it the wrong way you could make it sound like he did something wrong with his first son. But if you play it the right way, scare him a bit, tell him he could be helping his son and his sons penis by waiting a bit, he may actually agree. Because buried under every father, even this guy, is a real, strong emotional concern for his sons penis and doing whats best for it.

I hope that made sense.

Frootloop 01-07-2008 06:22 PM

Perspective, actually I was looking at it in the way you were afraid I was. I was planning on attacking it mostly scientfically, except for the two links that a PP posted. Thanks for clarifying that.

I do know that men put alot of weight on the penis.. I do get that, I promise! And I guess I kind of understand it

What's hard for me is that I really don't know this guy AT ALL. I met him once.. at my father's funeral in 1999. I don't even remember anything about him. I really have to go on what she tells me about him. It would be so much easier for me if I knew his personality, you know?

serendipity22 01-07-2008 08:33 PM

He's that adamant about it. He's "cut" and "so was Baby J", "he's just not going to allow this".
Sounds like a typically angry man who is jealous of a son who has a complete body, who has a 'I suffered so my son/s should suffer too' attitude.


Maybe him seeing some videos would help.

ramlita 01-08-2008 07:14 PM

I second the Penn & Teller suggestion.
If they're not computer savvy, though, it might mean buying the whole Season Two DVD set.

If you call RIC "Penis Reduction Surgery" it sure makes men think.

How about stressing that people used to think it was for the best, but now we've all learned better and know that it has no real benefits?
It's hard to go against what a man's mom chose for him- to criticize the choice is to criticize his mom, unless you address that directly too.

That risk of infection is another good one. That MRSA stuff is freaky.

I am so thankful that my DH was so open to this stuff when we were pregnant the first time around. He got it right away, and now tries to talk people out of it. A friend of mine just told me she'd been assuming he was intact, the way he is so unhesitatingly anti-circ.
Sorry to go OT... but, you know, just feeling fortunate.

thixle 01-08-2008 07:16 PM

I have an anti-RIC, pro-circ document I can email to you, just pm me.
You don't know his personality, but it may be worth a shot!

Frootloop 01-10-2008 11:41 AM

.. Sorry that it took so long for me to get back to you guys. I've been a bit : the last couple of days and still feel pretty miserable

Serendipity - I agree with you 100%.. immaturity.. anger.. all of it!

Ramlita - I've printed out quite a bit of info about the MRSA risk now.. Seriously. that's some scary stuff!! I know that that will get my cousin's attention, for sure.
I'm afraid of the "penis reduction" aspect.. simply for the fact that I don't really know his personality. I don't want anything to seem like an attack on him, you know?

Thixle - Expect a PM from me! I'd love more info..

She refuses to watch videos at this point. And I do mean flat out refuses to. She says that, if I do send videos, she won't be reading anything, either. BUT, even though she's really not looking forward to the printouts that I have detailing circ (Plastibell and Gomco methods printed from, I've still convinced her that, if she's going to allow it to be done to her newborn son, FIRST she needs to see what exactly is being done.

As far as hubby goes, I think that what I'm going to do is wait until she's had a chance to go over everything and be convinced (which I know in my heart that she will be) and then ask HER what route I should take with convincing him, besides the info she has from me already. Maybe he'll surprise us both and turn to our side? It's probably wishful thinking, but..

Incubator 01-10-2008 01:48 PM

Originally Posted by serendipity22 View Post
Maybe him seeing some videos would help.
This man HELD HIS SON DOWN while he was being cut. I don't think watching a video would change his mind.

Frootloop 01-10-2008 03:33 PM

Originally Posted by Incubator View Post
This man HELD HIS SON DOWN while he was being cut. I don't think watching a video would change his mind.
Very true. You know, even though I posted this thread, even *I* keep forgetting that she told me that he held him down. I just can't even wrap my mind around that!!! It literally makes me sick that he could do such a thing.. and without any kind of pain relief. I'm hoping against hope that Baby J had something prior to getting it done and that my cousin was too out of it to realize it.
I'm also hoping that maybe her DH turned his head.. that would make him a little more human to me. Also because I have a sick feeling in my stomach that he might try and trivialize the whole thing, to her at least - "It's not that bad! The doc was so quick! He barely bled at all!" - that sort of thing. If he did turn his head.. then maybe he doesn't realize how bad it really is? Or hell, maybe he does understand how bad it is but wants to do it anyway because he's cut and so is the first son.. I don't know. Hope is all I have when it comes to him. :

thixle 01-10-2008 03:42 PM

Originally Posted by Incubator View Post
This man HELD HIS SON DOWN while he was being cut. I don't think watching a video would change his mind.
Well, he may not have *really*-- just like nurses say, "oh they slept through it." The only person that knows is the father (I'm sure the doc has forgotten).

I've never been able to watch a video. I've seen stills. I read the transcript that is in this forum. I can't watch it. The dialouge is just so horrifying. That dad was freaked, under the impression that the baby was NUMB throughout, just FUSSY. And you are supposed to trust doctors... We will never know if that man had subsequent sons circumcised.

How you choose to view it-
sleep vs shock
fussy vs pain
necessary vs cosmetic
-is a HUGE thing when it comes to circ.

serendipity22 01-12-2008 08:12 AM

This man HELD HIS SON DOWN while he was being cut. I don't think watching a video would change his mind.
It all depends.

If he did hold his son, IMO he needed to have switched off his feeling side. A part of him might have screaming to stop what he was doing.

Seeing a video could have an impact if his feeling side was present.
switching off empathy

Frootloop 01-12-2008 09:50 PM

Well, the package of info went out today. No turning back now
Not that I was really questioning whether to educate them or not, but.. ugh. I have this odd sick feeling in my stomach over it. My heart has been pounding all day.

What if I poured my heart into this and they decide to circumcise him anyway? What will it do to our relationship? Will I ever be able to look at her the same again? I honestly don't know.. and it scares the hell out of me.

The thought of *losing* her makes me teary-eyed. I'm not exactly someone who is swarming with friends. She has been my "bestestest cousin in the whole wide world" since we we've been able to speak to each other.. I'm talking 30 years here.

I can bicker and fight with my brother for being a wordIcannotsayonhere because of his asinine views on the subject and not have to worry as much over never speaking again.. but her?

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease reassure me that I'm doing a good thing here.

Night_Nurse 01-12-2008 10:55 PM

Originally Posted by Frootloop View Post

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease reassure me that I'm doing a good thing here.
You ARE doing a good thing!

Anytime any one of us speaks out to protect innocent babies it is a good thing!

Originally Posted by Frootloop View Post

What if I poured my heart into this and they decide to circumcise him anyway? What will it do to our relationship? Will I ever be able to look at her the same again? I honestly don't know.. and it scares the hell out of me.
I've been in your shoes. It may not work, especially since they circed the first baby. But at least you'll have tried. That's all you can do. DH & I were unsuccessful in saving one of the babies in our family. It hurt like hell. I remember crying in my kitchen because I knew what that poor baby was going to go through, even though his parents had been educated. You can lead a horse to water but... you know the rest.
It put a MAJOR strain on the relationship, so much that I choose not to have anything to do with them. But for me, those people were always negative people I tried to avoid anyway. For you, it sounds like the relationship is very positive.
To be honest, I don't know you but I suspect you won't be able to look at her the same if she circs and you'll most likely have a bunch of anger towards her. At least that's how I'd feel, and I bet many of us here would feel that anger. But that doesn't mean you have to end your relationship.
And HOPEFULLY, it will all work out and she won't circ.
Even if she does, I hope you won't be discouraged. I hope you'll still try to educate all the other people you know about the harm of RIC.
Even if your cousin makes the wrong decision, you've still done a very good thing. Please know that.

ramlita 01-12-2008 11:01 PM

rmzbm 01-12-2008 11:19 PM

Good luck, OP! Keep us updated. Very sad situation.

Frootloop 01-13-2008 12:00 AM

Thank you so much for the hugs and reassurance.. I appreciate it greatly.
I do know in my heart that I'm doing the right thing, but there's this irritating little voice in the back of my head telling me that, if I would just mind my own business, we wouldn't be having an issue now.

I'm still so new to this intactivism thing, that it's just so overwhelming. I'm usually not one to use my voice at all... I'm usually the quiet one who detests confrontation of any sort. But, this is just something that I feel too strongly about to keep my mouth shut - so, no worries there no matter if I succeed at this, or not. I'll keep trying with others.

Bottom line, I believe that what it's going to come down to changing HIS mind or her being able to stand up to him and refusing it. She is going to be so torn on this, I just know it. She's going to beat herself up over and over. I just pray that she has the mental strength to say "NO!".
I'm afraid of being the cause of marital problems between them. I truly do not want to cause her any pain.. but I know that this will.

I don't want to have ill feelings toward her and I know that this is a fear of hers as well. She's told me more than once that she doesn't want me to be angry with her or to cut her out of my life if they go through with it. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that I will be furious if they do it. I will cry for that baby boy.

Part of my struggle with this is.. if they DO go through with it, is circumcision, which is done to boys every day and they live through it (no, I am NOT trying to minimize it, but this is how my mind is working right now) worth severely harming a relationship over? My mind is telling me that it's NOT worth it, as though I'm being irrational.. but my heart says that I AM trivializing circumcision if I DO just accept it and go on like nothing ever happened.
Does that make any sense?

Fellow Traveler 01-13-2008 04:45 PM

Originally Posted by Frootloop View Post


Part of my struggle with this is.. if they DO go through with it, is circumcision, which is done to boys every day and they live through it (no, I am NOT trying to minimize it, but this is how my mind is working right now) worth severely harming a relationship over? My mind is telling me that it's NOT worth it, as though I'm being irrational.. but my heart says that I AM trivializing circumcision if I DO just accept it and go on like nothing ever happened.
Does that make any sense?
While I understand how devastating this situation can be, I would be inclined to suggest that you try and maintain the friendship. Perhaps it will change but you might consider the long play. I seem to recall that there was someone here who was recently in a similar situation that you were in only it had been a year or two ago (from when she made the post). In any event, like you, she tried and failed to prevent the circumcision of her friend's son. She gave them all the information and had the discussions but in the end they circumcised him. She went through a similar crises period but maintained a slightly more distant relationship. A year or two later she reported that she managed to save their second son because after their first experience the couple was more willing to listen. Had she terminated the friendship who knows what would have happened. Now she is there to objectively answer any questions that might arise which is great news for the second son. So the long and short of this is just because your message doesn't sink in the first time doesn't mean there won't be other opportunities and to cut someone off because they make this mistake, even after you present them the facts, puts their future boys at risk.

It may not be easy to maintain a close friendship after giving them all the information and watching them ignore it but it may be worth it in the long term.

Frootloop 01-22-2008 03:46 PM

I am so disgusted and hurt and pissed beyond words right now that I'm shaking and bawling my damn eyes out

She PROMISED me.. she freakin SWORE to me that she would read the information that I sent her. She "very quickly thumbed through it" and instantly threw everything away.. and THEN didn't even bother calling me to tell me she'd done so. She sent me a letter in the mail which I just got telling me all of this. She said in the letter that she knew she wasn't going to keep her promise.. that she knew it all along, but didn't have the "heart" to tell me. She begged ME and God to forgive for lying.

I know that we can't discuss religion in here, but that's ALL she talked about in the letter.. that was her reason. She's Christian and it's "God's will" and "God put it on her heart to do it".

She admitted that even opening the box filled her with anxiety.. That tells me that she KNOWS that it's wrong.

She also kept asking me to forgive her and that it's basically on me to keep the relationship going. We'd "grown apart" years ago and just gotten much closer again within the last couple of years. She's hoping that this is something we can just get over again.. that I'll forgive her. But it's all on ME to forgive..

I'm heartbroken. Totally heartbroken. Part of me wants to call her to scream at her. The other part wants me to let her know how hurt I am. And then another part wants to never speak to her again.

I absolutely poured my heart into this. With everything that I printed off, I read it first and wrote in my own little notes. I went at it from pretty much every aspect, INCLUDING religion. It cost a damn fortune to send it all.

WHY did she have to lie to me? That whole time, I thought I knew in my heart that I would be able to convince her.. that it would be HIM that would be the problem. It never even got that far.

I failed. I failed miserably. I suck at this. :

I wish to God I didn't know how wrong this was.

ramlita 01-22-2008 04:04 PM

You did your best. That's all we can do.

Frootloop 01-22-2008 04:16 PM

I couldn't help it.. I had to call her. I told her that I was very hurt that she lied to me. I told her that I didn't want to cut her out of my life, but she really really really hurt me by knowingly lying to me the way she did.

I also briefly told her about the only half-assed acceptable forms of pain relief.. and I HATED doing that. It was like I was giving her my permission or something. But I had to tell her, right?

She was bawling on the phone almost as hard I was. I told her that I still loved her and that I had to think for a while..

phatchristy 01-22-2008 04:20 PM

Originally Posted by Frootloop View Post

I failed. I failed miserably. I suck at this. :

I wish to God I didn't know how wrong this was.
You know, you didn't fail. She did...she failed her son in her role as his ultimate protector.

phdmama06 01-22-2008 04:25 PM

I'm so sorry to hear the update. You did the best you could, and just know that you are not a failure. She is the one who is failing her baby boy.

Frootloop 01-22-2008 04:50 PM

Thanks so much for the hugs.. I really need them right now.

This was just my first REAL attempt at convincing someone not to circ. I poured my heart and soul into it and she just threw it all away without reading anything at all. And that baby boy will pay the consequences.

I KNOW how wrong it is, but I don't know if I can do this again. I'm the quiet, sort of shy, non-confrontational type. This is soooo why I usually keep my mouth shut and don't speak up. I feel so unbelieveably stupid and I don't even know why!!!

I just can't freaking believe she threw it all in the trash. It makes me want to hurl repeatedly.


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