My Precious Love I am Sorry.

Many of us parents face circumcision regret.  My Precious Love I am Sorry is my story.

circumcision “I need to understand more” I said to the nurse.

“Can I go with him?’

“No” she answered, “and trust me, you would not want to.”

“Yes, I do.” I insisted “I want to be with him.”

“I am sorry, you cannot.”

“Does he receive anesthesia?”

“He is numbed and he cannot really feel it.  Even if he does, he will not remember it.”

As I handed over my beautiful baby boy, every part of me wanted to scream “NO, YOU CANNOT TAKE MY BABY TO CUT OFF PART OF HIS BODY.”

But I knew, this was standard procedure.  This is what everyone did.  I did not have the option to say no.  So I let him go.

I cried.  I could think of nothing but what was happening to my precious love the whole time he was gone.  A kind nurse assured me it was the baby blues, and that it was common for me to be crying.

Owen was returned to me far too long later.  My arms were ready for him before he was brought through the door.  And I did not let him go again.  For six months.

I did not know, but I knew.  It did not feel right. Not for me and not for my son.  I should have trusted my intuition and questioned what was happening.

Every day I think of those moments in the hospital when Owen was not with me.  Every day.  They were life changing for me.

It would be years before I found validation that my intuition was right, and even then I would not be able to read all of the reasons why.  It is still too painful.  But I have learned enough to know that routine infant circumcision is wrong.   I know that the reasons we do it do not make sense, and that I allowed my baby to be mutilated.

It might be more comforting for me if I perpetuate the myths.  It might make me feel less sadness, anger and grief about my own choice.  It might allow me to suppress my grief and anger.

I am writing this today to say that I made a mistake.  I was wrong.  And I will not let my need for solace stop me from sharing my story so that others may have the option to consider the facts instead of the myths.

Sharing this story will piss people off, even some of my friends. I wish that were not so.  But if I were to pretend  this is insignificant, it would be an injustice to babies and their parents everywhere.

And now it is my choice.  I can continue to pretend that this one day nearly five years ago was not defining for me, or I can admit to my mistake and work hard to make sure others have all of the information to consider.

Clearly, I am opting for the latter and I hope that you will respect my experience.  It is valid, informed and factual.

Mostly though, I hope that you will be kind.  Because whether you “agree” or not, this was a trauma that my son and I will need to process for a long time to come.

Click here for more information about the realities of circumcision.

And you can watch this video:

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  1. I am an English girl who now lives in the States – not long after moving here I found out I was pregnant with my son (who has just turned six) on my first visit pregnancy doctors visit at 7 weeks…I was sat down in front of an office assistant with a clipboard and asked a series of questions. One of the first was ‘if you have a boy, do you want him circumcised?’ I was shocked, I had no idea circumcision was so routine and mainstream.

    My research later on that day scared me. Finding out that circumcision is so common, that my son may be circumcised anyways, by a doctor in a hospital setting, because so few people choose not to…it’s just something so routinely done.

    In the weeks after that, I found a midwife and went on to have a home birth with my baby boy.

    I think this is a difficult subject to speak of to many moms because we already beat ourselves up over everything else (oh that mothering guilt) and because it is such a common practice that many just ‘go with the flow’

    Good job mama on speaking up, you sounds like a very sweet and amazing woman

    • Dee,

      Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your own experience.

      It is a tough subject, for lots of reasons. And ignorance really is bliss. Except that often times we eventually find out the truth, and wish we had known earlier.

      I congratulate you for recognizing so early on the vast difference in how things are done here in the US and taking an active role to make sure things went as you envisioned. While it does not seem like an easy path to me, I suspect it was easier than I realize and worth every bit of preparation you did to make it possible :)

  2. Thank you for writing this. I had a similar experience with my own son’s circumcision. I don’t think I’ll ever find peace with it either and I don’t think I should be allowed to. My instinct was screaming at me the way yours was as well and I just allowed convention and lack of research to blind me to the truth. I watched that video clip yesterday and it disappointed me greatly that both of those doctors were able to make light of this and to perpetuate the lies we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better about this. Thank you again for your honesty.

    • Shannon,

      I share your sentiments about not being allowed to find peace with this consent, for myself. But what I want to say to you is that you didn’t know. You were doing what you thought was best for your baby. And had you known, you surely would have chosen differently. So I guess that should tell us both something.

      I am also realizing that just because we forgive ourselves does not mean we have to stop sharing our stories, or helping to spread the truth about circumcision so that other boys can avoid this trauma. And so that other mothers do not have to feel the way that we do. And fathers.

      Have you read this by Dr. Momma? It helped me to start the healing process. And while I don’t think I will ever fully forgive myself or be at peace with my choice, I do intend to work toward it.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story, too. As I have also learned this week it is tough to make yourself vulnerable and for that I think we all thank you.

    • I didn’t know that female icicumcrsion was considered a normal procedure especially in the U.S. Its funny how i cringe at the thought of circumcising a girl, yet most of us wouldn’t think twice to have it done to our boys. Its one of the first decisions we make as a parent right after they are born and one we should really consider before making a decision..-= Aliciab4s last blog .. =-.

  3. BConthePrairie says:

    Like many mothers (I imagine) I felt this inner voice screaming ( this is wrong , no, no, no), but like most of us we let the pressure of husbands, family, friends, all telling us that everybody’s doing it and its no big deal so we push aside those feelings. However I was one of the lucky ones first off I’m Canadian so its not so main stream anymore and I think it really depends on the hospital whether it will be done in the hospital or not as it was never mentioned once while we were in care. You see I thought I was in the free and clear, my husband hadn’t mentioned anything about circumcision since before our son was born and we had now left the hospital .Then one day my mother-in-law and FIL mentioned it to my husband. Asking if we had made an appointment yet, my son was 2 weeks old. That being said I voiced my concerns to my husband as every part of me said this was wrong and it seemed obvious to me that it was probably dangerous, my husband and in-laws scoffed at the idea. I was told that I was being ridiculous and that circumcision was what was best for my son, so literally I was pushed to make the appointment right there. Like so many I hadn’t done any research prior so who was I to say they were wrong, even if it felt very wrong to me. So I called the Dr’s office at everyone’s insistence to book this procedure, I was told that the paediatrician would have to call me back as he needed to discuss the procedure before I could book anything…….. When I talked with the Ped his first words were “ you need to know there is absolutely no medical reason to circumcise your son and in reality it is COSMETIC surgery as any medical benefits if there are any are so small that they aren’t worth mentioning because what effects a intact penis can also effect a circumcised penis” (this is why Canada will no longer pay for this procedure because it is not necessary) “you also need to know that there are some very real risks to circumcising your son and though they are rare, they can and do happen” (this is when he proceeded to tell me about the risks the two that will always stick in my mind will be)”sometime ago a baby died on the way home after bleeding to death after his circumcision”,( because of his diaper they never realised he had been bleeding out until they had been driving 20 min , their son was obviously dead), “this is why Saskatchewan charges so much for the procedure as they are trying to sway people to not circumcise, the benefits if there were any do not out way the risk’s “(he then went on to tell me all the policy’s that his hospital had in place so this does not happen and that he had never had this happen to him, but like all things nothing is infallible. The second risk that will be forever burned into my mind is)” you also must be very careful due to the risk of infection, babies have died from infection as well as have had major complication’s from circ’s not healing properly where the child may need a second procedure to fix the affected area”.( he went on to debunk everything that my husband and his family had been spouting for pro-circ and then he said )” I must stress that even though I will circumcise your son if that is truly what you and your husband want, you need to know that there is ABSULOUTLY NO REASON TO CIRCUMCISE and I will not perform the procedure unless both parents are agreed”. (As in both parents agree to the procedure, I think he could hear the emotion in my voice, how much what he told me affected me and how I really didn’t want this) This is when I asked the Paediatrician to relay everything he told me to my husband, so I passed the phone on to my husband. You know even after everything my husband heard he booked an appointment, I was floored. So I asked my husband why he wanted to perform a needless procedure on our 2 week old son that would affect him forever and could potentially cost him his life..(For me it was already a no brainer, what the paediatrician said sealed the deal). My husband finally confessed that the only reason he wanted to circumcise our son was because he wanted him to look like Dad (WTF ??) . I asked him “ are you willing to bet your son’s life on cosmetic surgery , because that is all circumcision is, the paediatrician just told both of us there is absolutely no reason to perform this procedure “ then I placed our son in his arms and left the room. Sometime later he came out and agreed that it wasn’t worth the risk (ummm duh). Like I said I was lucky had the Ped only wanted to make a little extra cash and not cared, I would have been like so many mama’s out there living with such a huge regret and a hurt that simply wont pass, I know this for a fact as I remember everyone talking about it and how I felt about it, if it had happened and I know what I know now, as I have since researched it extensively , the mama’s guilt would have eaten me up, so I feel for all the mommy’s and I hope that one day soon we won’t have to worry about RIC as it will no longer happen. Like all things Know better do better, that’s all anyone can do is such a circumstance anyhow hugs to you momma, and I thank-you for your honesty and bravery for writing this :)

    • When you said that your son was spared from circumcision, I felt my whole body relax. I never imagined how happy that could make me.

      What an important story you have just shared. Though you already said it, I will again say how extremely fortunate you were to have that particular doctor.

      One of the things I am starting to realize is once again how very different the US views this. I did not realize how much less common circumcision is in other countries.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your story so honestly. This post is getting lots of views and every one we share matters.

      • I think the biggest problem is that medical professionals, who swore an oath to do no harm, are allowed to lie about the procedure, and bullying someone that clearly has no knowledge of what they’re talking about. By saying ‘everybody does it,’ they’re making you feel like your child will be the odd one out, and everyone wants to be included. By saying that they won’t feel it, is just a plain lie. Numbing it doesn’t help. Injecting the area is probably just as painful. Sugar water, let’s not even go there. Since when was it legal to lie to patients? They hand babies back, telling parents that they did so well, and didn’t cry, or they slept through it all. The fact that parents aren’t allowed to see it happening, is because it’d be awful, seeing how much pain they really were going through, and you wouldn’t take any future boys back.

        I’m lucky, as I’m a New Zealander. When I had my first son, I don’t know if I’d even heard of circumcision. It just doesn’t happen here. But being 22, I think that I’d feel a little clueless, without having any real information on the procedure. Being told that they would take him there and them, puts you on the spot, and unable to make a fully informed decision. They denied you that. Legally, these days, they have to disclose all risk factors. You were lied to, by the people who you trusted to care for yourself and your son. If you’d delivered that baby here, he’d still have his circumcision. America needs to lose this culture. Our babies are perfect, without this cosmetic surgery. I always wonder why Americans don’t look to other countries, who don’t practice circumcision. Surely, if it’s supposed to fix all these problems, places like New Zealand should be rife with UTI’s, infections, etc? But they don’t seem to look further than their back yard.

        My 2 boys are intact, and were never at any real risk, since our hospitals don’t push this barbaric surgery. But, after seeing how what is going on in America, I’ve got myself into so many debates, and one of the mothers who was dead set on getting it, regardless of the risks, has now decided not to get him done. One down, and so many more to go.

    • but why, why, why, do these doctors say they will perform genital cutting if the parents ask for it, even though they’re aware of the serious, often deadly complications? what other unnecessary surgery does a doctor allow the lay parents to ask for and get??!! outrageous!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I also had my son circumcised and immediately regretted it. . I WISH I had done research, I went along with what my husband and doctor wanted. (I now see that my doctor made money by doing the procedure and my husband wanted him to ” look like everyone else”) You see, after my doctor took him away, my gut was telling me something was wrong. It turns out that when she did the procedure they couldn’t stop the bleeding so he needed to be cauterized. When they handed him back to me and told me what happened I immediately began weeping and regretted not taking a firmer stance against it. I now see that it is COMPLETELY unnecessary, and I feel so much guilt for having let this done to my precious baby boy.

    • Thank YOU for sharing your story. Mother’s intuition… I don’t believe it is ever wrong. No matter what they try to tell us. I am so sorry for what you went through. No mother should have to feel that way. Ever.

      I know, it is not you who you are worried about.

      Have you had a chance to look at Dr. Momma’s website ( While nothing will ever make things better, I am understanding how insidious the process of getting us to believe circumcision is normal and necessary is. Learning this only added anger to my sorrow, but there has to be some healing that comes from better understanding. I hope.

      Here is the link to a follow up post that I wrote:

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I never thought twice about it, until I was 7 months pregnant and a girl from work asked me if I was going to circ my son. (we knew we were having a boy) and I shrugged and said I dont know, its up to my husband. She pointed out some resources and left me to make a decision. After a few hours of researching, I was against it, but my husband was adamant. I reluctantly agreed, and when our son was a few days old they took him from my arms and circ’d him. My husband went with him and he said he almost made them stop when they laid out the tools to cut our son. I sat there and bawled like someone was cutting my heart out while he was gone, when they brought him back to me the removed his pacifier and handed him to me. The moment his eyes met mine, he started screaming, inconsolable ear piercing screaming. Two nurses came running because they thought I dropped him. I was hysterical and they tried to remove him so I could calm down. There was no way I was letting him go. He went on to be an extremely difficult infant and I sat up for hours consoling him. I cant help but wonder if he hadn’t been cut, if he had been left alone, if he would have been a more peaceful infant. I will never know.

    • Melissa,

      If only there was something to say. Reading your story made me angry. I suppose because it was so similar to my own. And the image of feeling like your heart was being ripped out…often this expression is dismissed as a cliche. In motherhood though, it is not a cliche. And in this case there could be no more accurate description.

      I am thinking of you Melissa, a whole bunch of people are.

  6. I will keep this short as my second baby boy is teething and is crying miserably. When. I was pregnant I planned to circumcise my first baby. The day he was born I still had it planned out. The day his circumcision appointment came I found myself beside myself. I couldn’t speak to anyone and I didn’t feel right about it at all. I couldn’t be with him so I made my sweet husband stay by his side. My son screamed out in pain so loudly I could here him over a hundred feet awayaroimd corners and behind shut doors. My husband vomited.

    We went home, the three of us all shaken and upset and the wee one writhing in pain.

    My husband went over the gory details. He said that the doctor claimed he was the best at what he does and that as he has a son himself , circumcision was something he did perfectly .

    Such blatent …bull crap.

    My now three year old has to undergo surgery to correct mistakes the almanac who botched his circ job did. He must inorder to have sex at all as an adult.

    My one year old is safely uncircumcised.

    How do I explain why this is when they are older?

    • Rebecca,

      I wish there was something I could say. Something that anyone could say. We both know that there is not.

      I can offer you warm thoughts and positive wishes that you are all able to find a way to work through this. This week has showed me a tremendous amount of support, and it is out there for all of us who were deceived, lied to and misled. So it is there for you too. And I myself have realized that by opening myself up by accepting responsibility, I have been offered a way to start to work through this myself.

      Thinking of you, your son and your husband, Rebecca.

    • Tell them the truth–you did what you thought was best with your first son. Since then, you’ve learned better and did what was best for your second son. You did what you did out of ignorance, not malice. I’m sure your sons will understand that, since they know you love them and would never intentionally hurt them. *hug* I hope you can come to a place of forgiveness for yourself. As Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

  7. The flaws of Western medicine! Parents say no! Be informed.

    I’ve only just realised this is standard practice in the US. I thought you were a civilised race?! The poor traumatised babies.

    I was watching USA version of One Born Every Minute last night – amazed by how pushy the doctors were over epidurals. And they they insist all women birth on their backs in stirrups!!!! My god!

    Well done you all for speaking out. Awareness and information is the only way that this is going to be outlawed.

    Lots of good vibes to you from Ireland xx

  8. Mom of 2 says:

    I am so in the fence here, but I don’t know if it’s because I have been so conditioned to what my mom&dad have said and done, and the reassurance of my dh that keeps me there. I knew beyond a doubt I wanted my son circumcised. It was all I’ve known or heard of…I didn’t know there was a choice, options, consequences. When my dr asked my dh and I without hesitation both answered at the same time, yes. It was then my dr said “really?! Make me do something I don’t agree with doing. (said while chuckling walking out of the room.)”. I looked at my dh and something inside me stopped. I asked, “we do…right?!” and he said “don’t be silly…yes we do. There’s chance of infection, etc of we don’t!” medicated from my cesarian I was in no position to ask questions or argue. I trusted if there was something wrong my parents, my inlaws, and my dh would be ok with it. I chalked my feelings to baby blues, lack of sleep and exhaustion after not sleeping in labor 24hrs before my section. Since I came in contact with some women in a parenting group…and they have all talked openly about it…and I look at my son heart broken because I could’ve killed him. What if he never experiences sex the way it was meant to? What if he grows up hating me? I mentioned my concern to dh & my family and all reassure me I’m being “silly”, over dramatic and a hypochondriac for thinking such things and allowing me to have more concern than I already do (like I over worry about my kids). I wish that dr had not just commented about not agreeing with it and ASKED me if I knew my options! Instead I wouldn’t have taken it as a religious preference of his but a very serious act that deserves more definition and looking in to.

  9. For most of the 20th Century, female cmccuirision was practiced in the United States. Insurance companies stopped paying for female genital cutting in the ’70s and it became illegal in 1996. The US culture has done a complete 180 and now considers female genital cutting as aborhant, while still embracing male genital cutting. Many say female cmccuirision is totally different than male cmccuirision, but they miss the point. A helpless infant, who is counting on their parents to protect them, is having their genitals altered. Female or male, it is a violation of the bodily integrity of the child. I was circumcised as an infant and I would have preferred to keep all of my sex organ.

  10. Tiffany says:

    Please, tell me how I can share the video. I’ve tried hitting the share button but it only shares the article. It was a wonderful article but the video was very informative.

    • Tiffany,

      If you click the share button on the actual video which is located in the upper right hand corner it gives the option to share on facebook, twitter, etc, or to copy and paste the address. I agree that this video is informative. I have shared it a lot.

  11. It’s funny….many of these same arguments are also used to defend pro-life arguments. “It’s not YOUR body.” (Your right- it’s someone else’s human cells you’re destroying. “They are not of age.” (neither is the unborn child). “It’s not your right to remove such a sexually important part of the genitals.” (Funny, killing an unborn child totally removes any future rights to even having sex in the first place).

    Let’s get our priorities straight.

    • Someone ALWAYS brings up the red-herring of abortion.

      If you’re Pro-Life you believe it has rights beginning at conception. Those rights do not end at birth. If you’re Pro-Choice you believe everyone has the right to bodily autonomy. That includes ALL BORN people.

      I have three frozen embryo’s. Are they “people”? Get a grip & knock of your agenda.

      • I’ve been reading this thread and finding it strong, and sensitive, and most of all, supportive of our sisters, their opinions, their choices and their regrets, until I reached your comment. One of the major thrusts of this article and the personal experiences shared is that truth does not always follow the practices of popular culture, and of course “if I knew then, what I knew now!” 40 years ago (when I had an abortion) delivery at 22-25 weeks gestation was called a miscarriage, now it’s called the viable delivery of a BABY.

        So, I’d like to suggest in the spirit of love and sisterhood, that you and your 3 embryo’s step back and rethink your agenda. NO ONE on this earth has sure knowledge of when life begins, and given the bang up job our legislator’s have done with even the simplest of tasks, and that they the same doctors and scientist art the same folks that brought about routine circumcision of newborn boys, I’m not confident in their political definition of when human rights begin.

  12. Here is an American Male’s response…
    The amputation of a male child’s nerve enriched prepuce is a penile reduction surgical procedure that unfortunately still infects our civilized, capitalistic, and so-called “equal rights” society. Not only is the circumcision of male infants and young boys considered a human rights violation by many, it’s a men’s health issue and perpetuates an irrational belief in our country that all little boys are somehow born imperfect or faulty requiring surgical correction of their penises upon birth ! This idea is a sick one and is absurd to not only me, but the vast majority of people on earth.
    Evolution and God has perfected the human body making every part sacred, miraculous, useful and functional. Circumcising male children is medically unnecessary, disfiguring, disabling, unnatural, non-Christian, abusive, unethical, painful, and a profit driven surgical procedure confronted by parents of newborn boys in most American hospitals, especially in the mid-western states. It’s a “cure” still in search of an identifiable disease. Most parents have and are given minimal information about the appalling history, unjustifiable reasons, and adverse consequences of circumcision. Many parents and many physicians in America acknowledge the male prepuce as an “extra flap of skin” and are uneducated about its protective, sensory, and essential sexual functions. In my view, all lack common sense and many also lack the courage and intuition to follow their maternal / paternal instinct to protect their boys from easily avoidable harm, enough said.
    I am grateful that the male newborn circumcision rate in America continues to decline with the current rate being about 50%. I am also grateful that ALL national and international medical associations DO NOT recommend the practice of routine childhood circumcision for both boys and girls ! I am deeply saddened and vitriolic that many Americans encourage and welcome circumcision surgeries for male children due to parents’ personal preference and ignorance, cultural or societal influence, physicians’ profits, numerous other irrational reasons, or flip of a coin.
    My heart goes out to all those mama’s and papa’s who learned too late the adverse consequences of consenting to have their little boys circumcised. I commend them for standing up and spreading the word to end the practice and protect other boys. The regret in their voices is so sincere and painfully heartfelt. Their voices need to be heard to help end the still popular practice of amputating parts of male children’s penises in the 21st century. It is highly probable that in your young childrens’ lifetime the U.S.A.’s 1996 Federal Female Genital Mutilation Act will be amended to protect the genital integrity rights of all little boys too. What a day it will be for rejoice as well as a reflection of sorrow and regret for the millions of males who have undergone genital cutting and unnecessary amputative surgeries without their consent.
    If all you mama’s and papa’s do your research well, listen to your hearts, and use common sense, I am certain you will protect your sons.
    Best Regards and Many Blessings to all perfectly born Intact little boys.

    • Devin,

      The joy felt when law is rewritten to also protect little boys will be pure and great. Only then can we stop speaking up- even when it makes us uncomfortable. Every morning when I wake up I think of the precious newborns who are comfortable in their mother’s arms and do not know of the terrible fate that is just moments away… it is atrocious.

      Thanks you for sharing this information with us today. This blog is always open to you for any reason. If you ever want to write a post from the American Male Perspective (or about anything else) this blog space is yours to use.

      • Hi, OMB, I really enjoy your posts and appreciate all the time and thoughtfulness put into each article. I just wanted to add my humble 2cents here. For many years now, in the U.S., everyone has had a choice to decline circing their sons and I completely support anyone who chooses not to. And at the same time I support my God given instruction, as a Jew, of circumcising my son . That instruction was not given to any of the other nations and no Jew nor God expects anyone to follow it. I also claim my human right to follow that instruction, based on the Freedom of Religion set forth in our Constituion. A law banning that right and disregarding God ordained religious practices (to ME and not non-Jews) completely imposes your beliefs and pracitices on me. I do not impose my practices on others and I should be afforded the same respect, ethically and in acccordance to our Constitution. Now, I know someone is going to mention “what about imposing the child?” Well, he is a Jew and it is a convenant, a contract, to set us APART, from the other nations. Even Maimaonides, a great doctor and Torah sage of 12th century acknowledged that circumcision reduced sexual pleasure. And his insight to why it was given to us was not just to be set apart from the other nations physically (because Jewish men dressed modestly and it wouldn’t have been seen) but so that the men would seek wisdom and not be ruled by carnal desires. So, by all means educate folks that they have no reason under the sun and heaven to circ their sons, but do not justify an oppressive law which would take away my rights. I know there are some modern Jews who have concerns and who have not circed their sons. Well, that is there choice not to be in covenant with their God. A Jew is a Jew no matter how observant they are. I respect their decision, and all we ask is respect for ours. Thank you for letting me tell my side.

        • p.s. my Dad, God rest his soul, was born in 1927 and raised Catholic and was not circed so it has been an option for quite some time. Why don’t people just say ‘No”?

          • Hi OMB, as I lay down to sleep, I replayed my post in my head and I feel I need to say :

            A)it is so hard to project tone in text and I hope it was perceived in the gentle and respectful way I intended it. I hope my firm position did not outweigh the tone. I used CAPS for emphasis only, not shouting here 😉 wish there was a way to use italics…

            B) It is saddening to me that so many people have gotten their sons circed and are in such pain and heartbreak. I wish it had never been introduced to the other nations :-( Heart break on the subject is so foriegn to me because in our tradition the bris (circ) is SUCH a sacred honor.

            C) To complete my question above : Why don’t people just say “No” to their doctors” ( when they are admitted? I was asked if I wanted my baby circed or not.)

            D) Is the intent to get circ completely banned in the the U.S. or just within the hospital system? Which I guess doesn’t really matter, as there may be non Jews (and non Muslims) who might still want to circ their sons and only have the hospital system to turn to for that procedure. I understand trying to inform the public, I really do. Informed people have the right to make their own choices, though, and I’m having a difficult time understanding why anti-circ advocates feel the need to make an individual’s parenting practices illegal.

            E) A favorite quote: “Forced acceptance is not tolerance Nor compassion. And that’s not something that changes just because you might be in the right. The best way to promote both tolerance and compassion is to live by example. And if you’re steadfast in that example, you may find that you’ve inspired others to do the same.” the Unschool Bus

            With all due respect and peace in this dialogue, Darlene

        • My 22 year old Jewish son is intact, as his creator created him to be. I believe in a loving creator, not one who is so lacking and needy that he needed my newborn to be tortured at birth. God is love and forcing a newborn to experience great trauma, fear and pain is not loving, no matter how one rationalizes the experience. Showing love for the creator does not require the amputation of a body part. Genital cutting is an outdated, barbaric and sexual assault.

  13. Wow. Neither my boys are done and I never even considered it.

    Here and now (Vancouver, Canada) they do not even offer it or even suggest it. It’s something you do on your own, with your family doctor, and there are not many that will do it (or in a Synagogue if for religious reasons).

    I’m glad it’s becoming a thing of the past.

  14. Jennifer, thank you publishing your story, and also for providing a forum for others to share theirs. Surely these heartbreaking accounts of regret, shame and remorse will have a profound impact on anyone reading them who may be considering circumcising a son.

    My story is a bit different from most. I was circumcised as an infact and was blissfully unaware of that fact until the age of six when I was sent to a boys boarding school. The very first night, about twenty of us were herded into the communal bath room, containing about half a dozen tubs for our evening bath. I was horrified to observe that many of the other little boys had a penis that differed from my own. Clearly something had happened to mine, and I had this very uncomfortable feeling that it was not a good thing. From that day on I was very curious as to what had been done to me, and why.

    When I became an adult, I resolved that if I was ever blessed with a son, he would keep all of his penis. Many years later, my son was born, and I had little opposition. However this was long before the age of the internet and information was very sparse, and as I have since discovered, very inaccurate. We were instructed by our doctor to gently retract his foreskin at each bath. Something I now know is an absolut no-no. By the age of one, his glans was just visible. By five he was halfway retractable, with his foreskin still adherent to the glans behind that point. All the child care books of the day stated that boys should be able to retract their foreskin by either three or five. We asked the doctor at a visit and he referred us to a urologist who freed my son’s foreskin almost to the sulcus. It was not in least uncomfortable for him. For the next two years he retracted in the bath each night, until one night his foreskin got a little slit in it which obviously stung and made him cry. We asked the doctor (different one) who said that there was no need to retract (finaly someone who knew what they were talking about). I do not think my son ever retracted his foreskin after that. Fast forward to age eleven, when I was woken up in the middle of the night to my son crying and calling for me. He had got up for a pee and was holdind his penis, letting it out very slowly, and clearly in pain. The next day he was diagnosed with a UTI, and prescribed antibiotics which cleared the infection in a day. However it was noted that his foreskin had closed up like a newborn’s and we were sent to a urologist. The appointment was five months away, and I was filled with anxiety as to the prognosis. I managed to contact Marilyn Milos of NOCIRC (still no internet) who kindly put me into contact with a couple of other doctors. All of them advised me to avoid a circumcision, and one provided detailed information on the use of catheters such as are used to enlarge arteries as a means to enlarge the opening of my sons foreskin. The appointment was complete disaster. The urologist was very arrogant and completely dismissed all the information that I had brought. He insisted that my son had to be circumcised, and when I argued with him, he handed us a glossy brochure on the merits of circumcision as a prevention for penile cancer and walked out. My gut was telling me that this was totaly wrong, but I had no information to substantiate that, and I just refused to go back. My wife still felt that my son had a problem that needed to be rectified and subsequently took him back for a circumcision. Since getting on the internet and learning all I know now, I was correct. A foreskin that does not retract is not some ticking time bomb. Some men live their whole lives that way, perfectly happy. There is no magic age that a boy must be retractable. The regret I feel will live with me for ever. All I wanted was for my son to have what I had been deprived of, and I failed him. What infuriates me the most is that there are methods of dealing with a tight foreskin that do not involve amputation; from steroid creams and stretching to preputioplasty. That urologist should have known about them and offered that option. Some of the papers on the subject had been published by then. I have talked to my son about it. He says he is O.K. and glad that it does not hurt to pee. He realises that circumcision is not a beneficial procedure, and to his credit, has disuaded at least one of his friends from doing it to her son. I am so angry that there are still medical practitioners who are totaly ignorant of the normal, natural form and function of an intact penis.

    • So sorry for what occurred. Most likely, your son had difficulties due to retraction. The foreskin adheres due to tears and rips caused by retraction. that is usually the cause of problems for intact boys. In my family, no boy was ever retracted and no boy ever had a problem. It’s not your fault, it was the wrong information you were given. My son is intact and I never retracted him. He’s never had a problem. I always recommend that parents just leave their sons alone. Nothing special is needed in the care of boys. Bes to you

  15. Thank you. It is stories like this that helped me advocate for my son’s genital integrity.

    I didn’t know, thought it was normal. Then I started meeting men who were vocal about their displeasure in regards to their circumcision, and two who were damaged. At first, I dismissed them as isolated cases(one was adopted and circ’d at age 3, the other was Jewish and was damaged during his Bris) and went on my way. Then I got pregnant. I started reading. I started talking. I stopped “following” and became a leader. A leader of my family, guiding ours against the “norm” and towards the “natural”.

    My son was born a year ago. He is perfect, from head, to toe, with foreskin intact..

    • Natalie,

      That is beautiful. Just beautiful. I love the idea of becoming the leader of your family. My heart feels such sadness for the people you met along the way who taught you and gratitude and joy that you son is whole.

      Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your insight.


  16. The fact that you’re admitting you made a mistake and feel regret toward it, shows that you have grown as a person, and as a mother. I commend you for that. There is only one statement with which I disagree

    “I did not have the option to say no.”

    Sure you did. “NO!!!” It’s really that simple.

    Besides that, everything you said is absolutely respected by me. I applaud you for sharing your plight.

    • Pen15.

      Herein lies the problem with true intactivism. In now way is it really that simple. If we are to end RIC, we must understand that we live in a cutting culture and it is difficult to comprehend that everything we have ever been told is wrong. It is literally difficult to comprehend that.

      I also think it important that you remember to be compassionate to those of us who have realized and admitted this human rights violation that we have chosen for our children. There is nobody on earth that could punish us more than we do ourselves.

      Your statement was loaded, whether intentional or not, and I encourage you to consider that.

  17. I applaud you for sharing & standing up for genital integrity. I am curious how your husband played a role in the decision, & how he feels now?

  18. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I’m so sorry that you had to experience this. You didn’t have the tools before, but you have them now–hopefully this story will save countless boys from this unnecessary surgery. *hug* You’re being the best mama you know how to be–for that, your son is lucky.

  19. I have five boys – ranging from 18 down to 7. And not one of them was taken away from me in hospital to be circumcised. I never even thought about it, and nor did anyone ask me if I wanted it done.

    Looking back on my births I am so glad that it was expected of them, because I wouldn’t have said No. I so wished I had home births because our rights as Mothers is taken away from us (not all of the time but mostly) with what the doctors think is right for our children, and I didn’t know what I know now.

    If I could have my time over none of my kids would have any needles while in Hospital…I am very grateful that my boys were not circumcised but I could see how easily they could have been – my hubby was and he reckons that they should have, but I am glad that they were not.

    Its good to read about your experience so others can make an informed decision. Being born into the medical world means some choices are not our own :(

  20. wow, thank you for sharing your story. I wish there were more out there, and that I had read something like this 5 years ago. I too didn’t really want to circ my son. but I went along with it due to pressure from my ped (male) and my husband. As soon as it was done I regreted it. How could I, the one person in this world that is suppose to protect this babe from harm willingly hand him over to be mutilated? What kind of mother was I? We dealt with all kinds of issues and infections from the circ. Everytime I changed him and had to peel his skin back, and put ointment on his scabs my heart broke into a million pieces. In addition to everything else, I think it looks terrible. It was fine the way God made it, and we just messed it up and hurt our little babe in the process. I haven’t had any children since, but if I were to have another boy I would NOT circ him! It is a horrible and barbaric tradition that creates undo stress and anxiety for the new mom and baby. We as women need to educate and empower young women to make the best decision for thier babies.

  21. Well done for posting this! I don’t have a son, the practice is not common where I live, although there is no legislation banning it. My husband I have spoken about what we would do if were ever to have a son and he said he would prefer to circumcise him. It never has sat right with me either (instincts) thankyou for posting this, if we ever have a son, I will get my husband to read this and I will follow my intincts. Thankyou!

  22. I adore your post. You are a true human, accepting of the fact that we err. I have changed so many things in my life and I am now more prone to educate myself before just going with the flow than I was 15 years ago.

    Circumcision is not even debated in Mexico, (well, it is starting to be). and I am not sure what I would have done if I had had my son 15 years ago in Mexico instead of 3 years ago in California.

    Even if we try our best, I am sure we will make some mistakes when it comes to the upbringing of our child, yours is just more physical, visual but that does not mean that you have to beat yourself to death for it. I applaud your strength, your courage and your endless love for your child who, I have no doubt will understand you and love you regardless. And I will never stop to think before saying I am sorry to my son if I ever wrong him.

    I really am proud of you and keep spreading the word.

    Thank you

  23. What I find interesting is that medicaid in the state I live in will not pay for circumcision as it is not considered a necessary medical procedure. That means you can opt out. I am not sure if this only applies in Montana, but I found it interesting that a procedure so many people say is necessary and important cannot even be covered my state funded health insurance.

    • genital cutting is not funded in 17 states because it is cosmetic surgery and medicaid does not pay for cosmetic surgery. of course a parent can opt out, there is no law saying that parents must cut off a part of their newborn’s genitals! what keeps circumcision alive in this country? greed. genital cutting is big business, not only from the surgery itself, but from the sale of foreskins which are sold and used in many products. this barbaric assault on our newborns only happens in this country and by jews and muslims around the world but the majority of the world’s male population is intact, as nature intended and they do very well with their foreskins. i’m jewish but kept my son intact when he was born 22 years ago.

  24. You are very brave to have written this and I applaud you for opening the discussion and hopefully, helping to raise awareness for future mothers that it is not just because it is ‘the done thing’ that it is the right thing to do. I’m sorry for the pain that you and your son have suffered.

  25. Thank You for posting this even if it was painful. It is a nice break from mothers who have it done and say they would do it again. When your son is old enough you can introduce him to restoration.

  26. Thank you for posting this… When I was pregnant with my daughter (before we knew we were having a girl), my husband said we would circumcise if we were having a boy. I got lucky because it was just a distant memory of a conversation after we found out we were having a girl and I didn’t actually have to think about it. I’m a very different parent than I thought I’d be, I was very mainstream in my ideas about parenting before… This pregnancy, I remember holding back tears when I saw we were having a boy. It was immediately as soon as she settled the wand on my belly. I did NOT want to deal with the circumcision issue since my views had totally changed since that one and only conversation I had with my husband.

    A couple of weeks ago, I sat down with him and asked him about how set he was on circumcision on a scale from 1-10. He said like an 8 or 9 (he and his son from his previous marriage are both circumcised). So we talked… and talked… and talked… And, just when I thought I wasn’t going to convince him, he pulled his phone out and did his own research… He looked up at me and said, “Well, I guess there’s no real medical reason to get it… We won’t get it done, then.” Wow! What a relief! Now, I feel like I can finally be happy about having a boy.

    Honestly, if we would’ve had a boy instead of a girl for my first, I’d be in the same boat… Just the thought of it would keep me up at night. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I’d let it happen.

  27. I don’t regret it. Not one bit.

    • you may not regret it but one day your son might. now that the truth is becoming known in this country about the trauma of genital cutting and more americans are learning the purposes and functions of the foreskin, an increasing number of men are asking, WHY? why was a normal, healthy, functioning part of my genitalia cut off, taken from me, without my consent, basically, why was i subjected to cosmetic surgery? who gave that doctor-who profitted from your son’s pain–the right to cut off a part of my penis? many babies die from genital cutting, they bleed out. you’re lucky that your son suffered no such complications and that you can say, “i don’t regret it”.

  28. One of my only fleeting wishes for the ability to change things we cannot in this life is with having my baby girl at home this year.. is that she wasn’t a boy.. I wished she was a boy, so that I could not circumcise her and be able to say “I didn’t circumcise my second boy” because I regretted doing so to my son, so, so much.. I really love that I have a girl, especially since she is perfect and a joy and I wanted a girl and boy and am done having babies.. but.. if she’d been a boy I somehow think I might’ve done the Universe a right by not circumcising him. I guess, I guess it is good enough that I didn’t circumcise her and didn’t want to. Every time I see my little boy naked I am reminded of my error. I was on the wrong side of history for a change. I -hate- that I was on the wrong side of history and hate even more than he may have issues because of my ignorance……. I join you in the ranks of regret moms. I hope you find peace some time.. I know it will be hard for me to.

  29. There was no reason to cut my foreskin off.
    I was born in a military hospital in Georgia.
    I am not Christian, but my parents are. Even still, the Bible denounces any body modifications.
    All my botched surgery did was permanently ruin my sex life and give the doctor that cut me an extra pay-check and an erection from feeling empowered.
    Of course this was when I was an infant, but it has given me psychological torment my whole life which hardly anybody understood.
    My botched procedure has given me complications known as penile and scrotal raphe split where the bottom of the scrotum to the upper portion of the shaft is ripped apart.
    I first noticed it slowly ripping apart when I was only four years old; wondering if this was natural, or if it had something to do with the ring around my penis.
    One day it totally ripped open from just sitting down in the bath tub and blood squirted everywhere. It was very painful but I did not yell for help and kept quiet to hide it from my parents.
    This was because we are all taught to not talk about our no-no’s and it is very embarrassing to openly talk about it.
    This was caused by a jagged upheaval (caused from the amputation line) at the base which was irritated by the regular daily wear of undergarments.
    It has grown back with scar tissue that causes numbness/pain when touched, which I have and will live with for the rest of my life.
    I have gone to the urologist in Virginia (where I used to live) and he seriously just laughed in my face and did not give a crap.
    He told me that I had no condition and I was just exaggerating my pain, and to put some baby powder on it.
    What’s done is done. A sensory organ is missing from me, and many other men (and women).

    • Vance,

      I am so sorry for all that you have endured and that this is not only legal, but accepted as “normal” here in the US. Your human rights were violated and you are facing a life time of consequences because of it. When will people start to see? This was avoidable. This should not have happened.

      I thank you from the bottom of my heart for speaking up.

      As you well know, one of the most common defenses of circumcision we hear is: “I don’t hear any men complaining about it.”

      People are listening Vance. They are often quiet, but they are listening- and they are changing their minds because of your words. Thank you.

  30. Gustave Rayl says:

    I think these idiots need to have one ear taken off at birth just to show that their parents were ignorant, that is the legacy of circumcision out of the religious context. A procedure inflicted on male children for aesthetics. How the natural born phallus looks is a surgical decision of societal concern? ,are you kidding me?
    yet the maiming goes on.

  31. I was ignorant! It will kill me everyday for the rest of my life.

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