Please, Not this Week: A Thank You to Baby Rights Advocates

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.

I did thenWhen 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.

 

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Comments

  1. Bravo! I absolutely believe that if you are honest with your son you will all be better off. He may or may not be ok with what happened to him, but he will not hold it against you. When you’re ready to know what might have happened to Owen’s foreskin I have links.

    • Ashley,

      Thank you. Both for your words and respectfully holding off on those links. I don’t believe Owen will ever be okay with what happened to him, but I do hope that you are right that he will know that if I had known even a little I would have chosen differently.

  2. Rachel H. says:

    When you know better, you do better. Bravo to you for educating yourself, and educating the public. Most people don’t look past what has been done to themselves or their children. I applaud you for speaking out. I am sorry for your guilt, that is something that I hope you’ll be able to overcome one day.

  3. Christina says:

    Thank you for your bravery and honesty. I know this pain all to well as I too have an Owen. My Owen does know what happened to him and he knows and sees the difference in his friends and his brother. My personal shame, guilt, self hate, remorse, and pain do not need to mark him I have done enough damage; so, I let it go when we talk about it. I know we will have more conversations as he grows and I now look forward to being open, honest, raw, & human. I want him to know he is loved and that we are all still learning to be human.
    Thank you,
    Christina

  4. that is SO awesome! i have a male friend i approached during genital integrity awareness week, asking him if i could talk to him about RIC and why i’m against it, and he stopped me and said, “there is no way i am chopping off a piece of my sons penis, my dad sat down with me when i was young and told me it was a huge regret of his, i know it’s wrong”

    you are teaching your son how wrong it is, THANK YOU!!!!

    • Lexie,

      You truly just gave me a gift. The imagery of your friends dad sitting down with him and explaining… that somehow brings me some comfort. Thank you.

      I also thank you for being brave enough to speak up for baby boys.

      • wow, i am deeply touched that i could help in that way. that’s a gift right back to me!

        i hear about a lot of men (my fiancee included) who have realized what has been taken from them, and aren’t sure if they even have a right to feel upset about it, not thinking it’s something worth making a big deal out of. and by your blog entries, and your obvious genuine feelings on the subject, i believe, will speak volumes to your son, and already validates any possible feeling he may have. and again, hearing from men affected by circumcision, although they know they cannot go back in time, that their parent(s) acknowledge it as a mistake and a regret, alone gives a huge sense of comfort (again, from what i have heard.).

        i am deeply sorry for this very emotional piece of your life, but i deeply admire you that after being given facts, you are strong enough for your family to make the right decision for future sons and serve as inspiration to other parents faced with guilt from choosing circumcision. i feel so proud to come across fellow mammas that bear their soul for their children, you are amazing! i welcome you to check out a blog i help moderate ran by my fiancee called ‘circumcision ends with me’ https://www.facebook.com/CircumcisionEndsWithMe 🙂

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