Hi Becky!- Welcome to MDC. I would like to comment on your dad's reaction... but first I'll have to tell you my story.
I have two kids, a boy and a girl- my son was born first and he is intact. The reasons why he is intact has probably as much to do with the cosmos as it does with me doing any research. I just happened to grow up in certain circumstances which allowed me to find out about the value of genital integrity. My parents were artists, so there were art history books in our home- and the very first nude males I ever saw were in classical art- intact. I lived for a while back and forth between in Europe and USA, and had European and American boyfriends, I majored in figurative sculpture in college and developed a whole new feeling about natural anatomy in the everlasting asthetic of the human body.
I married an American man from Kentucky. His father was a Cherokee Indian, and his mother was a horse girl from the Applachian foothills. They trained racehorses.
When I was pregnant, my husband swore that our son should be circumcised to look like him, that it must be done! I objected and said that this would never happen... that I could not allow my child to lose such an important part of his body. The arguments would downspiral as my husband would feel the implication that HE was sexually damaged.... and he would become more angry, more defiant, and more desperate. He would say "You hate me!" It was NUTS. All I wanted to do was not cut the baby... and now I'm being accused of hating the love of my life!! This is the way that circumcision damages.
In the beginning I thought that it was the sexual anatomy which was the great loss, but over time, I have changed my mind on that. I now feel that the way that circumncision harms our culture, our relationships, our feelings about each other and ourselves... that damage might even be far worse. A new mom who feels sorrow whenever she sees her beautiful child's body.... that is a terrible wound... perhaps worse- than the surgery. And that sadness might also carry over to him as well. (why are europeans so comfortable with nudity and americans are so ashamed?) How does it set the stage for your maternal empowerment into society when in the very first days you made a mistake you can't undo? Well- it doesn't! It sets a precedent that you can be bullied... and they have the mark to prove it. Our culture is harmed when there are so few parents who will take on the administrations which destroy our families. When the grown-ups have already been bullied by "the lockerroom" when we are expected to drop our son's into the helplessness of mob rule. This will come in handy when the t-ball team is going to meet in 99 degree weather in black uniforms, when they want to pass random drug tests in your son's school, or when they want to draft him into an unjust war... "they" are going to keep testing your limits and your boundries... and they do it from the very start. We see the harm in a father's horror, or shame. A grandfather's dissapointment. A mother in law's insistence. A doctor's inability to be honest, or objective. A culture which is, like my husband once did- loudly proclaiming- "NO DAMAGE HERE!" all the while we are hiding our shame, zip-lipped and turning our backs to the soundproof room where they do that to our sons.
My in laws- they did not consent to circumcise my husband. My MIL was knocked out on post c-section drugs and my FIL was not even in town. It was done because the hospital had a habit of doing it. My husband was circumcised- just like all the other boys in the nursery that day. My in laws were ashamed of what happened. No one was circumcised on either side of the family- they never would have let it happen had they had a chance to stop it... but their shame over their child's loss- kept them silent. Then they circumcised the younger brother to keep that silence unquestioned, because they were hoping that really the doctor did know best.
When I had to tearfully struggle to defend his grandson's genital integrity- against his own accidentally circumcised son... my son's INTACT grandfather said not one word. Grandmother, sister to four intact bothers, wife of intact man, daughter of intact father... she said not one word. (they did not know the struggle was happening... just as my husband did not know that he was the first man in his family to bear this mark) No one stood up to help me defend this child from this cultural compulsion. It was just fate on my side (and my son's side) that had left me with a knowledge base strong enough to actually be willing to walk out over this. Had my feelings gone only so far as "it's painful"... my son would be circumcised because of the fierce pressure put on me to comply and keep peace. If I harbor any resentment- it's to the people who were "polite" and minded their own business and did not speak up in defense of my child.
Your dad did that to you. He held it all in until it was too late, when his dissapointment could not help you or his grandson. I think, before you do any worrying about what to say to your son... you have to figure out what to say to all the people who let you down by not giving you the benefit of their own honesty. And you need to encourage them to start speaking up so that other people are not in the position that you are in. Give them permission to talk about you... tell them- "I want you to tell every pregnant woman you see that you thought you had to be quiet and mind your own business and that I regret circumcising my son every day- and only after I circumcised him- did I find out how many people would have supported me in a decision to leave him intact... that if people were more honest with us, we would not be feeling so sad about what we allowed to happen to our son. You tell them how you felt when you saw inside that diaper. Do that for me from now on."
Write to the hospital and to the doctor who did it. Tell them how you feel, that you did not understand what you were getting into. Were you shown a film of a circumcision? What was on the consent form? Did anyone tell you about the sexual function of the foreskin? Did anyone tell you about how to care for an intact boy- how easy it was? Or that circumcision is not recomended by any medical soicety?
over and over- informed consent is benefits, risks AND alternatives... was the option of NO circumcision offered as a totally safe and reasonable alternative? Were you solicited for a surgery no one needed? Did they give you the impression that you were authorised to elect unnecissary surgery for someone? You weren't... not unless there is an indication or an emergency! The people who set you up- and you were set up... they were violating some very well laid out professional guidelines in order to do a circumcision... common or not- it's still outside their guidelines. They should be sued, but if nothing else- they should be told that you would LOVE to sue them for what they did. It might make them think twice about turning that conveyor belt on.