This week has been eye-opening for me. I shared the entry “My Precious Love, I am Sorry” which is about the circumcision of my son, and lots of people were interested in reading it.
When I first posted this entry I was afraid. It is a personal story and one that is upsetting to relive and think about in such detail. The week became more difficult as I learned more and more about the dangers, pain and horrible violation performed with every circumcision.
It has only been in the last few months that I have fully understood that my intuition was right , and that I should have held my baby tight instead of letting him be strapped to an immobilizing apparatus while a part of his body was unnecessarily removed.
But what devastated me this week is this question: where did this part of Owen’s body go? What did the surgical staff do with it? Did they throw it away? Was it put in a Bio-Hazard container? Was it incinerated? A part of my baby?
Please do not provide me the answer. Not this week.
Because a God-given and important part of Owen’s body was discarded thoughtlessly and routinely. Along with countless other foreskins that once belonged to other precious baby boys.
Owen does not know about any of this.
What would I tell him? That I asked a nurse to take him away from my breast, to strap him down without either of his parents there, while a doctor took a sharp and shiny knife to his penis and removed the most sensitive part? And then throw that part of his body away?
How could I tell him this? How will I tell him this?
Some of you will think I am being dramatic. You think that because this is a routine procedure it is insignificant.
I am not being dramatic. It is not insignificant.
This is what I have been sitting with all week, all year and really for four and a half years. And the more I have learned the harder it has been. And I have wanted to stand up and tell everyone “DO NOT DO IT! LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS.”
But I was afraid. I thought that intactivists would shun me because of my ignorance and that parents -to- be would tell me it is not my business. I thought that parents of boys who had chosen as I did would tell me not to tell them, not to remind them, because it is too upsetting.
Instead, I was met with e mail after message after comment offering support. Intactivists sent me e mails with quotes and information and virtual hugs to comfort me. They took time out of their busy weeks to stop and e mail one mother who is profoundly sad.
Mothers left comments and e mails sharing their stories of circumcisions that almost were, and circumcisions that should not have been. They too feel anger at themselves and sorrow for the babies.
Mothers- to- be sent me e mails thanking me for sharing my story. Because if they have a little boy they cannot imagine allowing this to happen, but they do not see it as a choice. Before reading this piece, they did not understand that the reasons to choose this are only cosmetic, and that most parents now are choosing not to circumcise.
Fathers told me that really, they do not care if their son looks like them and that it is a scar they do not want to share. That they would be filled with gratitude to have good reason to choose differently for their own child, and for him to be whole.
Most importantly what I received this week is compassion and acceptance. And somehow, by hearing others admit that this is real and that it is right for me to feel upset and angry, it is allowing me to fully embrace the awfulness of my choice. And I am starting to believe that this will begin my healing process. Somehow.
Though it still will provide nothing for my son.
A male intactivist who contacted me directly offered me this comfort: he believes that because I will be honest with my son and admit my mistake and let him know that I am trying to do better, we will be okay. That this will mean something to him. Because a lot of men are not. Okay. You can see their stories here. And in lots of other places too, if you look.
I can only trust that this comfort offered to me will be so.
So today I thank you. For taking this seriously. For hearing the desperation in my written words. For allowing me the space to accept responsibility for my choice, and for offering compassion while I face it. This gives me strength, encouragement and determination to continue sharing this story.