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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So tonight we went to the required tour/orientation so we can birth at our local midwife birth center. Toward the end, the nurse who was leading the tour asked for any questions. One woman who was apparently the mom accompanying her pregnant daughter asked, "What if you have a baby boy and want him circumcised?" and the nurse simply told her that you would make arrangements with your pediatrician. I was really shocked that it had come up, and I felt I so needed to say something, but what and how? I had never met any of those people and it wasn't like an open discussion group. Then one of the midwives answered a few more questions, and asked if there was anything else, so I asked her where we would go if we wanted a baby girl circumcised. She said she hadn't heard of such a thing, and I said, "you never heard of infibulation?" and then she said, "oh, that, well I would call it something else." I don't even know if the woman who originally asked about boys heard this exchange or not. Or if she would make the connection to her question or not. Or if they would think I seriously wanted to do that to a girl; of course I was trying to put the idea out there that why is it okay for boys then? But it just makes me so irritated that so many in the birth/childcare field are OH SO RESPECTFUL of the parents choice in this matter that they don't say ANYTHING. Like, could they not have simply pointed out that you could get your ped to do it BUT it is not medically recommended??? Not that I would expect them to launch into a tirade against circ, but to simply point out to those who are expecting their first children that the procedure is NOT MEDICALLY NECESSARY?? or heaven forbid actually recommend that the prospective parents carefully look into what is really involved before doing it? I mean, their whole philosophy as a middwifery practice is to inform the women of their options in care, all the risks/benefits of procedures and let the woman then decide what treatment she wants. Wouldn't they also suggest parents become INFORMED about risks and "benefits" of circ? It is sad to think this group is so dedicated to caring for and empowering women but don't seem to care about protecting children.
Any thoughts?

Jen
 

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That's pretty bad...the birth center I birthed at was much more direct about being against circumcision. They brought it up several times at my prenatal appointments, to say they didn't recommend it.
 

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Birth centers already have a limited client pool.They would not want to loose money/clients by saying anything negative against circumcision. Atleast they don't do circ in the birth center.
 

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It is so amazing to me how some midwives and doulas can be all about supporting women's choices in birth *because women have a right to bodily integrity and autonomy* but when it comes to circ, the same midwives/doulas are all about parental choice - *and the baby loses bodily integrity and autonomy.* Double standard, anyone?

Fortunately there are a lot of midwives and doulas out there who take a strong stance against circ. My midwife for Clara's birth, a CNM whose practice is now almost completely homebirths, researched circ back when she was practicing at a birth center to find out whether the birth center should offer circ as a "service." After her research, the answer was a resounding NO.

Circ has no part in a gentle birth.

I would bring this up directly with your midwives at your next appointment. If they don't at least give information on circ and how it's completely unnecessary for medical and hygienic reasons, then they are failing in their responsibility to educate their clients and ensure INFORMED consent.
 

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Hey Jen - long time no see! I didn't know you were pg - congratulations!

I, too, do not like how non-committal they are at the Midwife Center re circumcision. If you read your little folder of info, they present anti-circ arguments but not very strongly. But when they discuss it with you one-on-one in appts, they advocate no circ. That is what I remember from being pg with Maddox. Now next appt I am going to bring it up, b/c I also think they need to be more proactive, and my last appt my MIL was there so I didn't feel comfortable discussing it as she circed all 5 of her boys.

I think, though, it is b/c we are where we are (Pittsburgh) and the circ rate is fairly high, so they don't want to offend people. I think that that is still a bogus reason, but there it is.
 

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It comes down to two things, political correctness run amuck and money.

Somehow our culture that was once known for it's forthrightness and outspokeness has become a culture of meek mice, afraid to say anything that might even slightly bother someone. Thus, when the subject of circumcision comes up, we tend to demurr instead of speaking up. Years ago, someone speaking out would gather a "Um huh" of approval and the allies would gather around. Now when it happens, even the supporters will scatter like flies for worry about offending someone or disagreeing with them. It's like we have this national rule that we all have to agree on everything and someone who doesn't agree is roundly criticized as being "insensitive." This definitely comes into play in the circumcision issue. Many who strongly agree that circumcision is wrong on a very basic level will also say "it's a parent's choice." (or a parent's right) and therefore absolve themselves of almost all guilt of disagreeing with what they perceive as the majority and avoid conflict. I know of one woman who is in training to become a midwife and who is a staunch intactivist yet she has agonized with how to address this subject with parents. At one point, she said she would not take clients who were going to circumcise but at another point, considered backing off on this one point.

The other part is money. Not only physicians but midwives and doulas fear that if they speak out against circumcision, they will offend someone and they will take their money elsewhere. Heaven forbid that they might miss one single dollar! What they are doing is selling out their ethics and morals for a pittance! They are also selling out the rights and the body integrity of men for the almighty dollar. What they don't realize is that for each of those they refuse, they will get many nights of peaceful sleep confident in the knowledge that they have not allowed this abuse to take place on their watch. Those who do not speak their feelings carry a heavy burden.

Frank
 

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I stumbled across a mainstream board with a thread discussing this. A pregnant woman had taken a hospital tour and at the end someone asked about circumcision- maybe when or where or something like that. The nurse giving the tour did tell the group that it was not necessary or recommended, and was done for cosmetic reasons only.

So this woman actually started a thread to vent about the nurse! She said the nurse had no business giving her opinion on something that was a matter of personal choice for the parents... She was completely incensed that the nurse had "gotten on her soapbox" about circ, and wanted to know if the others thought she should write an angry letter to the hospital about it.

I agree that a birth center should take a much stronger position against circumcision. Mutilation is just incongruous with the philosophies of gentle birth, as Quirky said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lula's Mom
I stumbled across a mainstream board with a thread discussing this. A pregnant woman had taken a hospital tour and at the end someone asked about circumcision- maybe when or where or something like that. The nurse giving the tour did tell the group that it was not necessary or recommended, and was done for cosmetic reasons only.

So this woman actually started a thread to vent about the nurse! She said the nurse had no business giving her opinion on something that was a matter of personal choice for the parents... She was completely incensed that the nurse had "gotten on her soapbox" about circ, and wanted to know if the others thought she should write an angry letter to the hospital about it.

I agree that a birth center should take a much stronger position against circumcision. Mutilation is just incongruous with the philosophies of gentle birth, as Quirky said.
Wow, amazing. What is wrong with the nurse stating the current position of the AMA and AAP? You would think people would want to know the latest medical opinions on procedures. Just like the nurse, if asked, may have stated, "we no longer put women completely under anesthesia for birth as the epidural has been found to be a much safer method of pain relief."
Matter of personal choice for the parents, my butt.
Surprising that a tour at a hospital mentioned what a midwife did not. Sigh, like I don't have enough to do now I have to write a letter to the center.

Jen
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Galatea
Hey Jen - long time no see! I didn't know you were pg - congratulations!

But when they discuss it with you one-on-one in appts, they advocate no circ.
Hey Lilli, I didn't know you were pregnant, either! When are you due? July 9 here. (yikes!)
I am curious how they advocated no circ in your appointments. They only asked me if I had considered the question and when I said no way would we do it, who would?? she said, "well, we try to be respectful of all choices here." (This was my least favorite mw in the practice.) What did they say to you?
As for losing money, what about the people they turn off with their pro- "parent's choice to do it" stance? Of course, they know we crunchier folk have no other choice in town except lay mw's, they are the only freestanding birth center. If I ever have a third kid it will be HB with a lay midwife so they will lose my business, but that wasn't going to work out this time.

Jen
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by wednesday
That's pretty bad...the birth center I birthed at was much more direct about being against circumcision. They brought it up several times at my prenatal appointments, to say they didn't recommend it.
Wednesday, could you tell me how they brought it up and what they said against it? Just so I can mention it in my letter to my practice. Thanks!

Jen
 

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When I read the OP, my first thought was that they were refraining from discussing medical matters that belong in a private appt. But I 1000% agree that they could've said something more like: We don't do painful cosmetic surgery here. Talk to your ped.

There was a lot of room for them to do that with a stronger stance. She was just taking the easy road to avoid potential conflict. Blech!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jenP
Hey Lilli, I didn't know you were pregnant, either! When are you due? July 9 here. (yikes!)
I am curious how they advocated no circ in your appointments. They only asked me if I had considered the question and when I said no way would we do it, who would?? she said, "well, we try to be respectful of all choices here." (This was my least favorite mw in the practice.) What did they say to you?
As for losing money, what about the people they turn off with their pro- "parent's choice to do it" stance? Of course, they know we crunchier folk have no other choice in town except lay mw's, they are the only freestanding birth center. If I ever have a third kid it will be HB with a lay midwife so they will lose my business, but that wasn't going to work out this time.

Jen

Sept. 19th. I'm jealous - I so want to be done already!

We don't remember too well, but I think it was Lori who said that her son is not circed and he is happy about it (this was when I was sure about not circing and dh agreed, but wasn't as sure.) She asked if we were going to circ and we said no and she said something like, "Good, it is not necessary." So not as strong as one would have liked. In fact, after my 1st appt this pregnancy, when I read the folder, I got upset and planned to talk to them about it. Now that you have brought it up I definitely will.

Maybe they think, if they get a parent who is pro-circ, if they keep them as a patient by not alienating them, then they have time to advocate no circ as the pregnancy progresses, but if they come on strong, then they will scare the person away/piss them off. At least they don't do them themselves. I agree with you that there is a real lack of birthing choices around here and I, too, would like a HB but it just didn't happen.

Did you find out the gender? We're having another boy, another little no circ ad.
 
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