Need help reassuring my young daughter about her baby brother's circumcision - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 09-10-2012, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,

 
Our five year old daughter is very excited about being a new big sister and enjoys assisting in as much baby care as possible. We've encouraged this. On our son's fourth day home from the hospital, my daughter was at my side as I bathed him, and she became quite concerned and asked many questions about "the booboo" on her brother's penis, aka, the circumcision site. I don't really feel that I did an adequate job reassuring her that this was done for a good reason and that he will be okay. I imagine that others on here may have found themselves in a similar situation, having to explain to a young daughter what to make of seeing her brother's newly circumcised penis. Any suggestions as to what I might be able to say, and how to say it, in order to set her worried mind at ease? It's been a few days since she first saw him bathed, and she still brings up the topic.
 
Any advice? I'm all ears.
 
Thank you!
 
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#2 of 15 Old 09-10-2012, 03:39 AM
 
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Well, what were your "good" reasons for doing it?  If you really feel that it was a good thing to do, then why is it such a struggle to explain it to your daughter?  I've had to explain a few rather unpleasant medical experiences to my kids, but never had any trouble with it, since they were all necessary, so I just explained the reasons.  Perhaps the reason you're having trouble with explaining it to your daughter is that you're having regrets about the circumcision?  Many, many parents have realised after the fact that their "good" reasons for circumcising their sons weren't as compelling as they seemed at the time.
 

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#3 of 15 Old 09-10-2012, 06:11 AM
 
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Hi Lilyann.  Welcome to MDC!  I am going to move this post to the childhood years forum.  I do want to give you a heads up though.  Mothering does not support routine infant circumcision, so the answers you recieve may not be exactly what you are looking for. 

 

I also want to remind everyone to be respectful.  This is a new poster who has come here for advice.  Be gentle! 


 
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#4 of 15 Old 09-10-2012, 07:25 AM
 
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Sorry LilyAnn, you won't find much help here. At MDC we have a large forum called "The Case Against Circumcision". Most of us do consider routine infant circumcision to harm the infant and it can disrupt breastfeeding and bonding.

My son is 16 and intact. He's never had any issues and he's happy that I and my husband kept him whole.
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#5 of 15 Old 09-10-2012, 08:03 AM
 
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My son is intact. I don't approve of circumcision.

However, if an older sibling is asking about the baby's health, and the baby is fine, just say so. Whether its a question about the circumcision wound or the belly button crusty or the flakes on his head or some red scaly cheeks from eczema, you say the same "thanks for caring about your brother's health. He's going to be fine. Lots of babies have this."
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#6 of 15 Old 09-10-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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I would be very matter-of-fact about it and not treat it as a big deal. Just be reassuring that her baby brother is okay.

 

I personally believe that, as parents, we make lots of choices for our kids, This is just one of them. And we all try to make the best choices possible.
 

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#7 of 15 Old 09-10-2012, 11:10 PM
 
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yk, this exactly is one of the (many) reasons i chose to NOT circumcise my son. first off, why would i want to cut healthy functioning body tissue from his newborn body? but to your question: the so called "medical" reasons that the doctors use to "sell" you on circumcision usually include a lower risk of sexually transmitted disease. WHAT? you gonna explain THAT to your 5 year old daughter?

 

or that there is an extremely slight (i believe it's 1/10 of 1 percent) reduced instance of urinary tract infections during the first year of life. if you tell that to your kid, i will bet that they will see right through it, and wonder why the instance of infection would not be greater being that the raw injury is exposed to pee and poop.

 

kids ask the best questions because they have no filter for prejudice.

 

i would humbly suggest that you allow this experience with your daughter's questions to open your mind to the idea that the surgery was indeed NOT necessary. that could trigger a flood of regret, and i feel for you in that.

 

but the bottom line reason that people circumcise their sons in our country is merely because "that's what people do (here)." it is no different than female circumcision in parts of Africa. the only difference is that our culture is accustomed to circumcising boys only.

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#8 of 15 Old 09-10-2012, 11:47 PM
 
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That's a hard thing to have to talk about.

 

My oldest boy is circumcised. I have three younger boys who are not. We explained to all of them that when ds11 was a baby, we thought that's what you did and that we were wrong, so we didn't have it done with the other boys. I have apolgized to 11yo ds.


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#9 of 15 Old 09-11-2012, 12:39 PM
 
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Personally, I don't agree with circumcision. But you have your reasons as do I. And what's done it done.

 

Just don't make a big deal of it and reassure her that he's fine. What more can you do. She's only young and she will just forget about it once he heals.

 

Congrats and enjoy your son!
 

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#10 of 15 Old 09-13-2012, 02:29 PM
 
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The truth is that your baby is wounded very badly. He has had an important, necessary part of his body amputated against his will, and he will never get back what he has lost. He and any future partners will suffer the consequences of a less satisfying sex life. His glans won't be protected and will become calloused, and he'll be more likely to have sexual dysfunction later in his life. All this damage was done to him on the very small chance that it might prevent some hypothetical very unlikely problem in the future, which could be dealt with in the future if/when it comes up anyway. It makes no sense to cut off the most erogenous part of someone's genitals instead of just teaching them about hygiene and safe sex. When he's old enough you can talk to him about foreskin restoration which will help him a lot if he decides he wants to do it.

His sister's observations are spot-on. He is hurt. I'm not sure there's any gentle way to say that--there's no way to sugar-coat it, it's just horrible. It is what it is.

If it were my daughter, I'd tell her that he is hurt very badly because I let the doctor cut off part of his penis. That I thought it was something we needed to do but I was wrong, and I'm so sorry I let that happen. And that the wound will heal, so not to worry too much about it. But to make sure when she grows up, if she has a son, to make sure that he keeps all of his body, and to be thankful that she was born as a girl in this country, because it might have happened to her if she had been a boy, like it happens to some girls in other countries.

Please do visit the Case Against Circumcision forum to find sources for information about circumcision. The more you learn, the more horrified you will be, and I'm very very sorry for both you and your son. greensad.gif
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#11 of 15 Old 09-14-2012, 03:31 PM
 
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Hey guys, what's done is done, and she can't exactly go back and un-circ him, so what is the point in chastising her about it?

 

Welcome to MDC, Lilyann. I don't personally believe in circumcision, but that isnt really the issue at hand. The issue is how to talk to your DD about it without worrying her. If I were in your situation, I'd say something like, "I know you noticed little brother's booboo the other day. I don't want you to worry about him- he is going to be okay. When we get booboos our bodies have a way of healing them. Remember to always let Mommy know if you have a booboo anywhere." Done. 

 

She's a five year old- she doesnt need to know all the details. I do encourage you to check out the MDC circ board. There are a lot of moms here who have circumcised their children and then changed their minds about circing future children. But, what's done is done and even if you do decide it was a mistake, you have to forgive yourself and move on. 


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#12 of 15 Old 09-14-2012, 04:12 PM
 
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Thanks Adaline'sMama, and OP I know I was harsh and I'm sorry for that. The thought of babies being circumcised (male and female) is extremely triggering for me. I did not mean to chastise or make OP feel worse, but I do want to make sure she knows that this is a big deal, and why. RIC makes me sad and enraged beyond words, and I am working on how to cope with those feelings--obviously I don't quite have a handle on them yet. Hugs OP.
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#13 of 15 Old 09-14-2012, 04:19 PM
 
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Dear OP, 

 

You certainly walked into this one!  Just remember, just because people on this board think your choices are wrong, it does not mean it is.  I am sorry that you came looking for support here and you got the wrong kind.  Walk away from this post if you haven't yet already; there is nothing here for you.   

 

And by the way, your daughter will be fine.  So will your son.  I imagine, by now, your son is on the way to healing and the conversation has moved on anyway.  

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#14 of 15 Old 09-15-2012, 05:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artekah View Post

The truth is that your baby is wounded very badly. He has had an important, necessary part of his body amputated against his will, and he will never get back what he has lost. He and any future partners will suffer the consequences of a less satisfying sex life. His glans won't be protected and will become calloused, and he'll be more likely to have sexual dysfunction later in his life. All this damage was done to him on the very small chance that it might prevent some hypothetical very unlikely problem in the future, which could be dealt with in the future if/when it comes up anyway. It makes no sense to cut off the most erogenous part of someone's genitals instead of just teaching them about hygiene and safe sex. When he's old enough you can talk to him about foreskin restoration which will help him a lot if he decides he wants to do it.
His sister's observations are spot-on. He is hurt. I'm not sure there's any gentle way to say that--there's no way to sugar-coat it, it's just horrible. It is what it is.
If it were my daughter, I'd tell her that he is hurt very badly because I let the doctor cut off part of his penis. That I thought it was something we needed to do but I was wrong, and I'm so sorry I let that happen. And that the wound will heal, so not to worry too much about it. But to make sure when she grows up, if she has a son, to make sure that he keeps all of his body, and to be thankful that she was born as a girl in this country, because it might have happened to her if she had been a boy, like it happens to some girls in other countries.
Please do visit the Case Against Circumcision forum to find sources for information about circumcision. The more you learn, the more horrified you will be, and I'm very very sorry for both you and your son. greensad.gif
This is possibly the cruelest thing I've ever seen on the Internet. This is how you talk to a new mother?
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#15 of 15 Old 09-15-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildKingdom View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by artekah View Post

The truth is that your baby is wounded very badly. He has had an important, necessary part of his body amputated against his will, and he will never get back what he has lost. He and any future partners will suffer the consequences of a less satisfying sex life. His glans won't be protected and will become calloused, and he'll be more likely to have sexual dysfunction later in his life. All this damage was done to him on the very small chance that it might prevent some hypothetical very unlikely problem in the future, which could be dealt with in the future if/when it comes up anyway. It makes no sense to cut off the most erogenous part of someone's genitals instead of just teaching them about hygiene and safe sex. When he's old enough you can talk to him about foreskin restoration which will help him a lot if he decides he wants to do it.
His sister's observations are spot-on. He is hurt. I'm not sure there's any gentle way to say that--there's no way to sugar-coat it, it's just horrible. It is what it is.
If it were my daughter, I'd tell her that he is hurt very badly because I let the doctor cut off part of his penis. That I thought it was something we needed to do but I was wrong, and I'm so sorry I let that happen. And that the wound will heal, so not to worry too much about it. But to make sure when she grows up, if she has a son, to make sure that he keeps all of his body, and to be thankful that she was born as a girl in this country, because it might have happened to her if she had been a boy, like it happens to some girls in other countries.
Please do visit the Case Against Circumcision forum to find sources for information about circumcision. The more you learn, the more horrified you will be, and I'm very very sorry for both you and your son. greensad.gif
This is possibly the cruelest thing I've ever seen on the Internet. This is how you talk to a new mother?

Again, I truly did not mean to be cruel. That really is what I would say to my own daughter. I honestly don't have the skill that you other ladies seem to have of being able to gloss over infant circumcision. It's a human rights violation and it keeps me up at night. I know how it is done and the mental images haunt me.

When people talk about it like it's just a benign personal parenting choice, alongside feeding, vaccines, and sleep choices, it does not compute for me. It's not a choice that deserves validation, ever. There's no gray area here. Should we not say this to new mothers? I don't know--it seems we should be screaming it from the rooftops as loud as we can until the world stops doing it. Maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway, I knew I shouldn't have posted at all while I was feeling emotional, and I did anyway and regretted it. But I honestly can't think what else I would have done, except not post at all. I am calmer now and re-read my post and I didn't say anything that's untrue or that I wouldn't want to hear myself, in her place, painful as it would be. Really.

OP I am sorry if I said anything cruel or hurtful. I really am not a cruel person. My caring is in fact what motivates me to be so vocal, even if I'm wrong or misguided about my approach.

Edited to add:
I have been thinking about this all day. I am very upset by any pain that I've caused you, Lilyann, or anyone else in this thread. Someone up thread warned us to be gentle, I realized that what I needed to say could not be said gently, but I said it anyway and I really shouldn't have...you're right WildKingdom, newly postpartum mothers should be treated more gently than most people. I should know that having been one twice myself. I am really kicking myself for being such an insensitive a-hole.

But it's not fair to call me "cruel." If I were Lilyann, I would want to know the whole truth, (instead of just validating that the baby is "fine") but perhaps I should've just pointed her over to "Case Against Circumcision" as others did. Either way she would have figured out that there really are no "good reasons" for RIC--I was just the one to explain it a bit on this thread. Incidentally, the cruelest thing I've ever seen on the Internet, hands down, is a video of a baby boy being circumcised--and it was so traumatizing for me that I couldn't even watch the whole thing. If that puts things in perspective.
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