Oh, a client of mine is probably gonna circ... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 08-05-2003, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so sad. I'm doula'ing for a woman that's due next month, and she and her husband said they were probably going to circ. their boy. When I met with her, I told her all the con's of circ. How it was the equivalent of removing a woman's clitoris, and so on.
She talked to a couple of friends, and they circ'd their sons. They went on and on about how it was no big deal, how circ'd penises were less likely to get UTIs and STDs, and so on. I can't keep pushing this issue, or I may lose her as a client. As a doula, it's my job to keep my personal preferences to myself. I gave her all the info. I had so that she could make an informed decision... now there's not much more I can do, except mull it over in my head, over.... and over.... and over.... and over..... again. I keep thinking that if I would have explained more... would have been a bit clearer, would have been a bit more forceful.....
but it's too late now
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#2 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 12:06 AM
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I'm so sorry. Some doulas have chosen not to work with anyone who has decided to circ. Of course that has to be up to you.

There is a video you could get or download to show her or other clients (of circ.)
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#3 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 12:30 AM
 
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A friend of mine didnt want to circ and her husband did-until they went for the hearing test in the hospital and they saw the contraption they tie babies to for circing and the nurse cleaning up bloody towels. Their son is intact.
Sometimes people have to see something before they realize how awful it is.

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#4 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 03:45 PM
 
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"Sometimes people have to see something before they realize how awful it is."

Exactly.
I would make sure that they watch a circumcision/s performed at their hospital well before the birth.
After all, if they've done the 'hospital/birth center tour' and orientation in preparation for a natural event like birth, they should certainly see the surgical facilities and procedures that will be used on their newborn.
If you have to, be cunning and find out when they do the circumcisions and 'coincidentally' arrange to meet them there for a final planning session before the birth.
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#5 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 04:21 PM
 
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I just wouldn't feel comfortable being anything but upfront and honest. I'd feel like I was resorting to the same things doctors do when they do "informed consent."
But the goal is admirable, I just couldn't do it that way.

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#6 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 05:12 PM
 
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I think I'd have to tell them, "I am sorry, the reason why I got into this line of work was to help families have a wonderful birth experience. Your child is a part of that family, and his experience is as important to me as yours is. If you are going to circumcise your child I am afraid that my personal feelings of grief over your disregard for his basic human rights would interfere with my ability to be an advocate for you. My heart is filled with a heavy cloud of sorow when i think of what you are planning to do to your son, It would be inapropriate for me to be involved with a client whose birth plan brought me such a great level of distress. Out of respect for you I think I must tell you to find another person to be your doula."

Honestly- I don't think circumcisers deserve a doula. Why should they get caring love and compassion when they plan on offering none to their child. A doula has no obligation to offer people a level of respect that they are not willing to extend to other human beings. That mother (and fther) should be tied down and just have some slicing done on her while all the people around her block out her cries for help. She should have a bunch of people tell her that THEY decided what as best for her and that she had no say in any of this... that other people have decided what is best for her.... even if what they decided goes against her human rights, all current medical knowledge, will damage her sex organ irrepairably and will be excruciaingly painful... despite the fact that it's entirely avoidable.

Will HE have a doula?

"No Dr. would you turn the lights down? Jared is feeling frightened right now..." "you are terrifying him, I think he needs some time to calm down." 'stop rushing him"

"before you touch his body,you should ask permission and explain what you are going to do, he is not a piece of meat."

"He would like to avoid a crushing dorsal slit if at all possible, please let's try some gentle massage."

"My client views his penis as a normal part of his body,he would like to avoid all medical interventions unless there is an emergency in which case he would like the opportunity to discuss it with his doctor and family."

"Excuse me, that probe is making him uncomfortable, is there another way we could tear that still forming genital structure from his body?... maybe if we wait a few years it will release all by itself?"

"Is this necissary?"

"What is the purpose of this intervention?"

"What risks will he assume if he does NOT go ahead with this?" Will he be in danger?"

"My client refuses this treatment, he did no consent to this."

"Do not touch him in that way."

"Stop right now, you are hurting him."

"Jared, you don't have to let them bully you into anything... you just tell me if you want them to stop."
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#7 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 07:17 PM
 
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I think I'd have to tell them, "I am sorry, the reason why I got into this line of work was to help families have a wonderful birth experience. Your child is a part of that family, and his experience is as important to me as yours is. If you are going to circumcise your child I am afraid that my personal feelings of grief over your disregard for his basic human rights would interfere with my ability to be an advocate for you. My heart is filled with a heavy cloud of sorow when i think of what you are planning to do to your son, It would be inapropriate for me to be involved with a client whose birth plan brought me such a great level of distress. Out of respect for you I think I must tell you to find another person to be your doula."
I think this is very well said-

There are basic human rights that some people can not watch taken away and if that means you walk away and they do it anyway that is fine.

I am also a Doula and it is always a hard thing for me to talk about circumcision with parents because most of the time I hear "Yes, no question we will circ" I have not done any doula work for over a year because I was pregnant and had my DD. I think now being a mother- where before I was not- I would be stronger in saying I would not work with clients that wanted to circ. After becoming a mother myself I undestand the love that a parent has and to cause any pain to my daughter is unthinkable. We had to get her blood taken at 4 weeks and I cried more than she did- I cant imagine anyone cutting her woman hood up and with little or no pain killers then the days that follow- It is becuase there is a view in this country that babies dont remember or have feelings- PLEASE!!

I would day walk away so you dont feel like you supported it. I really feel that a Doula has to support natural birth and parenting. I mean if they are so up on having a doula- I wonder why- is it because they have passion for their child and want the best and bring it into the world in peace and kindness only to have his penis cut open? That doesnt seem to flow with the mindset. Maybe sit down with them and talk about gentle birth and parenting and be honest with them.

[B][I]~Ang~ Mom to 2 sport-head crazy girls: Rainey and Breeze  and my little lost love- @18 weeks with gestational age of 7 weeks
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#8 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 07:26 PM
 
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Maybe if you do say that you can't be a doula for a family who plan to circ, it will be the wake up call that they need. Too many people are full of circ being 'nothing' and 'no big deal', or a 'personal decision'. If this is all that they are hearing, then maybe if you take a stand, the penny might drop. At worst, you will have your own integrity intact.

Sorry, I typed that before the pun hit me. If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.
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#9 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 08:08 PM
 
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My SIL is a doula as well. I know from her experience it is hard. I think you should have them see a video. Is it against the doula beliefs that you can tell them you won't be their doula if they are going to do it? Just wondering because that might be an obvious way of stating your beliefs. YKWIM? I will ask her what she does too.
~Earthmama
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#10 of 18 Old 08-06-2003, 08:29 PM
 
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Is it against the doula beliefs that you can tell them you won't be their doula if they are going to do it?
I dont think it is against the doula beliefs-

Like I had said in my post I am a Doula- I think that being a doula is a woman who is there to support the mother and the birth itself, but as a doula, woman and mother I can not support anything that I do not believe as moral- that said, it must go into my doula practice as well. I am not saying that you turn your back on a mother if she ends up with a c-sec even if it is against my views, because sometimes there are medical reasons. But what I am saying is that circ is a choice and eveyone -doula or not- has the choice to have be part of that or not. A doula can back away from a client for any reason- and if she cant bring herself to support that choice and feels it is against the moral right of the parent and the human right of the child then she should not be part of that birth circle. Because she feels very strongly about circ she should not put her self in a place to have to support the mother that she knows will do that. It is a hard call- because as doulas we support women and the family circle but if we are questioning the family choices then we are not a good doula for that family, and it is okay to step away. Other wise we will not fully be doing our job as doulas.

[B][I]~Ang~ Mom to 2 sport-head crazy girls: Rainey and Breeze  and my little lost love- @18 weeks with gestational age of 7 weeks
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#11 of 18 Old 08-07-2003, 02:45 AM
 
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Ok, thanks Crayon! Would you put that in your contract or just tell them? I am working on my DONA crrtification and I want it for my own resources too.
~Earthmama
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#12 of 18 Old 08-15-2003, 02:49 AM
 
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I have been printing the following info as handouts. It is accurate information without being confrontational.

http://www.circumstitions.com/Itsaboy.html


Sarah
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#13 of 18 Old 08-24-2003, 01:57 PM
 
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I love the "DoulaSarah approach"!!

I really struggled with this very issue about 10 months ago. I decided not to work with people who are planning on circumcising. It was a hard decision, but ultimately very easy. There is no one way to approach it. I have tried talking about right away in the first interview, to waiting until I was hired. I wouldn't recommend waiting until you are hired. I have only done that once and it was very hard to back out. They were Buddist too!! I thought, hmmm...I'll work with them. And then they said they were circ'ing. I actually have the e-mail that I sent them before we went our seperate ways. I am sending it in full so that you know how I approach things. I have changed the names.

Hi Tammy! I haven't decided on a back-up doula. I would love it, if you and your husband would do that. It is always better when you know the person that "could" be there. Although I don't use back up often...hopefully not again! it is really nice when it is someone that you are comfortable with. If you want, I can also ask someone to do back-up for me. It is your call. Tuesday will work well for me. How about 6:30-7:00pm? I will need you address and directions. I didn't know that you had all of that scary preterm labor. I hope that is all over and done with. As far as birth books go, you sound like you have found a lot of really good ones. Some other really good ones are, any of the Sears library...the Baby Book, the Pregnancy Book, the Breastfeeding Book, the Attachment Parenting Book, The Birth Partner is a good one too. And Misconceptions, by Naomi Wolf.

I do have to say that all of the families that I work with don't circumcise, and I have tried to go about "feeling" out familes, (that sounds all wrong!). I am wondering if we could talk more about your decision to do it. The last thing that I want to do is offend you in any way, so I will try not to!! I guess that I am used to families seeing the facts that are out there and not circumcising. I wasn't sure if it had something to do with your religion and I looked up more information on the internet, and I did find the following statement...

"There is a major world religion which places a positive value on being physically whole and intact. It is Buddhism. Buddhist scripture lists 32 signs of a Holy Buddha, Enlightened One. The tenth reads, "His privates are sheathed." Some translations say, "His male organ is fully retractable" or "well retracted."Buddhism consistently emphasizes compassion and asks followers to practice harmlessness and to avoid extremes of asceticism or self mortification. From this it is clear the early recorders of Buddhist teachings knew about the cruel rite of circumcision and wanted to emphasize that it must never be inflicted on one who would become a Buddha. This means everyone, because in Buddhism the opportunity to become a Buddha is open to every living being who chooses to follow the eight-fold path to enlightenment.A man circumcised near birth is deprived of his freedom to choose, should he desire to fully enter into the way of Buddhism. A man who is intact, on the other hand, is still completely free to choose for himself to be circumcised if he wants to join or to confirm faith as a Jew or a Muslim."


I am confused and would like to talk more about this, if it is ok with you and your husband. I am not trying to change your mind, only to understand your decisions so that I may be able to support you fully. I feel that I should apoligize for not explaining my views before hand. I believe SO fully in natural childbirth. One of the reasons I do, is because of the negative effects that medications and interventions have on our newborn babies. I carry that belief throughout the birth process and it doesn't end when your son is in your arms. In the same way I believe in the process of giving birth, I believe that our sons should be left alone in their natural state.


That is my e-mail to her. I DO have to say that nine times out of ten, families change their minds. My favorite thing to here is "Oh, we know it's a girl!"

I use this line a lot when I get "I want him to look like me"
Oh, it must be very important to you that you look like YOUR father.

Which of course, it isn't. I give out the Case Against Circumcision, some nocirc pamplets, and a bunch of other articles. If I am contacted over the internet, I give out websites. I also have a couple of copies of What your doctor may not tell you about circumcision. And Docs re-examine circ. Which are always loaned out! That is a great thing to send to someone in the beginning. All of the info and two really good books. You could also put in a circ video, although I don't, it is because I don't have one yet. I haven't needed yet. I always offer to show them one though.

I have to say that I have helped to save at least ten foreskins. And have lost one and one turned out to be a girl. (I didn't doula for her, although a friend did)

I have some doula friends that say if I don't work with them, then they are for sure going to, but I always try my hardest, I can't go that far. I did end up not working with someone who had their first circ'd and were planning on doing it to #2. But I talked with them, they hired someone else, and they left the hospital with an intact son!!

Sorry this is soooo long!

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CIRCUMCISION

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#14 of 18 Old 08-24-2003, 03:05 PM
 
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Sarah, what did the Buddhist couple decide? I thought your email with the excerpt on Buddhism was great. I really hope they decided to be non-violent with their baby!

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#15 of 18 Old 08-24-2003, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thanks so much for the great information, everyone!
Well, I have some pretty gooood news.... my client and her DH have been doing research on the internet and now they are "leaning toward" not circing!!!!! I am absolutely ecstatic to hear that! I thought for sure that after talking to all their buddies that circ'd that they were pretty sold.... but apparently not! Woo hoo! I'm gonna keep praying about this one... thanks, everyone! You guys are awesome!
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#16 of 18 Old 08-25-2003, 02:50 AM
 
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I am just wondeing, if you don't take on families who decide to circ', have you had many families not choose to hire you? How do they feel about that? I know you do it becasue you can't fully support them, right? I am just wondering if this has any affect on your business.
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#17 of 18 Old 08-25-2003, 06:37 AM
 
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Good for you.
Great for you!
If everyone refused to participate in circumcision--like you, other pro-intactness doulas, nurses--like at St. Vincents or wherever it is, etc. routine circumcision would die a quick death.

I get so nuts when I hear about a local pediatrician who refuses to work with parents who choose a different vax schedule from that of the AAP, but considers genital cutting & use of breast-milk substitutes a matter of 'parental choice.'
(Nevermind the AAP when it doesn't suit your prejudices)
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#18 of 18 Old 08-25-2003, 11:23 AM
 
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Since I made the decision about 10 months ago, I have worked with 13 families. ( I have two children and don't do anymore then that. It is usually two or three in one month, then a month off!) there have been two families that haven't hired me that would have. One ended up having a girl, and one ended up having a boy. They both worked with doulas that I know well. Yay, about the girl! And the couple that had the boy, brought him home intact! SO, even though I didn't work with them, the infomation that I gave them obviously had an effect. And they have an older boy who is circ'd. I would never have known, if I didn't know the doula. (Well, I was the back-up, so I would have found out..)

So, yes..it does effect how many clients I have. But I am still very busy and have turned down parents for other reasons more then the circ one. (They don't know that I have turned them down..that sounds wrong) I don't work with families that are planning on having medication, and that is more of a factor then circumcision. It is all connected to me. I try to protect the baby through the whole process. And mom too.


I just talk to them about matching birth philosophys, and it works well.

Edited to add: I am not sure about the Buddist couple. I think that they are still planning on doing it. Who knows why.

And yes, sometimes I lose a client. And sometimes it really sucks, but it is very important to me. This is what I do for a living...well, what I do in my life, so I need it to be as positive as it can be. It is worth losing some people. And I really haven't lost yet, although i know I will. It is interesting, I work with some AMAZING women that under other circumstances I wouldn't be able to serve. They are having girls, and I am able to help them. Now, if they came to me with a boy next time, what would I do? That is the struggle. And until it happens, I can't answer to what I would do.

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CIRCUMCISION

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