When I was seven years old I saw my newborn cousin's bandaged penis during a diaper change. I was shocked to see such a thing and my mother nonchalantly explained to me that he had been ‘circumcised’.
My first sex partners had been cut as infants, though at the time I had never seen many penises and could not tell if they were or not at first. The first time I saw a naturally whole penis I was confused because it appeared to have no head, though now I know that it appeared this way because the penis was not erect or retracted.
When I met my spouse I didn’t notice right away that he was intact. He taught me alot about how the penis is suppose to function I was surprised that he didn’t spit on his hands or use lotion to pleasure himself, and that he could climax just by me simply fondling his foreskin over the head of his penis. I noticed that his foreskin provides a nice gliding action and with him I as able to experience sex the way nature intended.
We now have a son and he is whole. During pregnancy I read books about natural childbirth and midwifery. One book, Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin, contained a section about the nature of the infants penis. I learned that a baby boy's foreskin is actually fused to the head of the penis at birth and retracts slowly over the years, typically by puberty.
I will always be so grateful that I learned all I needed to know in order to protect my son from this penis cutting cycle. Despite all that I knew at that point I didn’t feel strongly about speaking out against circumcision.
I knew that other parents were allowing for their sons' circumcisions but didn’t give it much thought until I attended a pharmacy tech course. During the reproductive system module we were given a glossary list and among the words were ‘circumcision’ I knew enough that I felt strongly enough about it that as a definition for the word I put, ‘the unnecessary removal of the foreskin’ the instructor marked me correct though she was in favor of male circumcision but strongly opposed to female circumcision (aka FGM female genital mutilation). This I realized after she showed us a video on youtube of a male infant being strapped to a circumstraint and having his penis cut. It was horrendous. She then showed us another video about the genital cutting of females in Africa and most of the other females became very vocal and outraged at that point. I asked them, "Why is it wrong to do to a female but not wrong to do to a male?" I shared some information with her and she said she would ‘google’ it This was a turning point for me.
I researched the topic of circumcision further and I’m convinced that the more one knows about the history of it and the functions of the male prepuce (foreskin) the easier it is to be totally against it and see through the smokescreen. I decided that someone should be talking about this…what has been done to baby boys here in America is no different than what is done to females in Africa. I was so happy to learn that many people have been fighting for genital integrity of all people all over the world and I use facebook to find like minded people and do what ever I can to join them. All this has led me to this point where I share my story in hopes of helping others see what circumcision really is. It’s a violation of human rights to forcibly and non therapeutically cut and forever alter someone else’s genitals/body. Religious rights of the parents/elders should not trump the rights of the individual/child who doesn’t/can’t consent . One's religious/cultural beliefs and cosmetic/sexual preferences should end where another persons body begins. Many people agree, including many doctors and Jews. Many of the people speaking out about and working to eradicate genital mutilation worldwide include doctors who refuse to perform it, parents who regret their child's circumcision, people who resent having been cut without their knowledge/consent, people who suffer sexual dysfunction as a result of being cut/mutilated and want to ensure protection of future generations to a whole intact body as nature intended and Jews who believe that genital cutting has no place in modern Judaism.
Many myths are still being spread to perpetuate the genital mutilation practices. Let’s educate ourselves and start a new tradition of wholeness for all people worldwide. There is no excuse and thanks to the Internet the information is at our fingertips. Start by researching the functions and purpose of the prepuce and the history of circumcision.
Fast forward to age 17, it's the summer after senior year of high school. Me and 6 guy friends go camping, and bring a lot of beer. During a game of "Never have I ever", I said "Never have I ever been circumcised." The general reaction was "Ohhhhh gross!!!" or "Weird!". Anyway, it becomes sort of a running joke to tell everyone (even girls who haven't seen it) that I am in possession of a foreskin. This doesn't bother me, because I think it's funny.
But ever since, I get comments from friends and people like "Why not just get it cut off?" and "In America, you should be circumcised." While these comments don't actually bother me, it made me realize a general undertone of non-acceptance. So I started a fan page on Facebook for Foreskins, and I generally post things that aren't very serious on it.
I do believe however, that a mutilation like this should be a man's choice. If, for whatever reason, he decides that he no longer wants a foreskin, he can undertake the simple procedure to remove it. It is unfair to force this on an infant who has no say in the matter, and will be affected by this non-reversible procedure for the rest of his life. That's why I say I'm Pro-Skin-Choice. I don't have any kids yet at the age of 19, but when I do, whether or not they get circumcised is a descision they can make later in life.
What happened during WWII? Medical insurance became a standard work benefit. In those days, health insurance paid for baby circ without question. Also, military docs thought that being intact made it much more likely that a soldier would catch VD from a sex worker. They also thought that having foreskin often caused problems when fighting in a desert or jungle. The views of the military carried enormous weight in those days.
In high school locker rooms in my town and at the Y, and in pool locker rooms in summer, I saw all of one intact boy. The boys I grew up with were a potty mouthed lot, but one sexual subject they never touched on was foreskin and circ. I very much doubt that most of them knew that their johnsons had been surgically altered. Those of who went on to attend better colleges began talking about it a bit when we were in college.
I was surprised to discover in the 1980s, by reading Rosemary Romberg, that there were American men who were very unhappy about their RICs. I was even more surprised to read, starting in the 1990s, that RIC can have deleterious consequences for the pleasure and functionality of both genders. American intactivism is, in my opinion, a social consequence of the internet and of the rise of sex positive feminism. It is also surprising that nearly all of the passion and leadership in this cause comes from married mothers like yourself.
My French mother refused to have me circumcised. When her American mother in law said that she was thinking of having it done without my mother's consent, my mother replied saying that if I were circumcised without her consent, her marriage to my father was history. This was in 1949.
When the history of American sexuality is written, the 20th century obsession to make the penis bald will look very very bad.
A warm and tight embrace,
keeps me sheltered in this room.
My safe and secure nest,
I know this is your womb.
I feel the surges pushing me,
and I meet a cold harsh light.
Then suddenly I'm in your arms,
and everything's all right.
Warm and sweet milky life
,given to me with love,
Then something firm snatches me,
a hand covered by glove.
I feel so angry and hurt because they had no respect for me and betrayed the oath to do no harm to their patient, and because in the eyes of the law I'm considered less important than a woman, as just pricking a girl or woman's genitals is considered genital mutilation even for religious or cultural reasons. When I masturbate or have sex I don't feel any pleasure from the glans I only feel some pleasure from my frenulum and I always feel the need to rush because ejaculating is only real source of intense pleasure I get. I would do anything to get back what was stolen from me and until I do I will grieve and suffer while working to prevent others from having to endure suffering like I have.
by Rosemary Romberg
(originally published in Mothering Magazine, No. 22, Winter 1982, p. 34-39.)
When children are born and people grow up in this world, we expect each individual to keep all parts of his or her body. All people have hands and feet, fingers and toes, noses and ears. People are unquestionably accorded that basic right. Most people would be aghast at the idea that any individual should be unwittingly deprived of any part of his or her body. People without their expected body parts are usually regarded as unusual.Our feelings toward tiny babies inspire emotions of tenderness and protection. Babies are to cuddle and hold, to he kept secure in their parents' arms. Babies should nurse (preferably) at their mother's breast and sleep peacefully, safe and secure from any harm. Parents want to protect their infants from any unnecessary pain, discomfort, or unhappiness. The idea of cutting, pinching, or tearing the baby's skin, of injuring that baby, causing him to experience pain, crying, or bleeding, is totally against what most parents want for their infants.In the United States people make one glaring exception to these "rules" in that the foreskin of the penis of most newborn baby boys is routinely amputated shortly after birth.
As an American middle class woman I had always thought penises were supposed to look a
I gave birth to our first child, a son, by the Lamaze method, and successfully nursed him. However, I gave birth in a "traditional" hospital in which the baby was separated from me, kept in a central nursery, and brought to me on a four hour feeding schedule. Therefore I had little knowledge or control over what was being done to my baby.
Two years later after our second son's birth I again became pregnant. During this time I underwent a tremendous amount of change in my thinking about what I wanted for this birth and baby. We made the unconventional and daring (for that time and place) decision to go
We made plans to use only dim lighting when our baby was born. We would hold massage and speak softly to our new baby and welcome him into the world with gentleness and love. We would delay the clamping of the umbilical cord. No silver nitrate or other chemicals would be placed in the baby's eyes .
The idea occurred to me that if our new baby was a boy, perhaps he should not be circumcised. However, I knew practically nothing about it . None of our doctors ever gave us any information about the operation - pros, cons, why or how it was done. Although mothers regularly discuss at length all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and infant care, I had rarely heard anyone else talk about circumcision. While I regularly discussed in detail such things as nutrition, breastfeeding,
What incomprehensible force brought me from this beautiful, untraumatized birth at home to a strange doctor's office one week later - sitting there frightened and reluctant, holding my
Many people choose not to believe that the newborn infant feels any pain when his foreskin is smashed, slit, torn back from the glans, clamped and cut off. Circumcision, in its primitive origins, was often deliberately intended to be a means of torture and a test of endurance in adolescent initiation rites.We think of' that as Barbaric, yet regularly do the same thing to babies. There have been no documented studies to support the popular assumption that babies have little or no feelings. Curiously, the earliest modern writings on infant circumcision, those that appeared in medical publications around the beginning of the 20th century, were full of concern for the feelings of the helpless infant. (19., 20.) The belief that infants feel no pain came about years later during the 1920's, 30's, and 40's, during an era that advocated bottle feeding instead of nursing, rigid schedules, separation from mother and baby following birth, and rigid toilet training. Parents were warned not to rock, hold, or cuddle their babies for fear that they would "spoil" them. Popular attitudes and practices during that time totally ignored the baby's feelings and needs in many different areas.Recent scientifically controlled studies on the reactions of newborns to being circumcised have revealed that the infant characteristically lapses into a deep, "semi-coma", non-rapid-eye movement type of sleep which is an abnormal sleep pattern for newborn infants. This is clearly a stress-withdrawal reaction. (21.) Because some babies do not cry out in response to being circumcised, but instead lapse into this deep sleep, some observers have falsely believed that the operation is not painful for infants.Another study, attempting to evaluate gender differences among newborn infants, found that boy babies were generally fussier and more restless than baby girls. However, it was found that the greater fussiness on the part of the baby boys was due to recent circumcision - not gender. When the study was repeated, using only non-circumcised newborn boys, no behavioral differences between girl and boy babies were found. (22.)
Update: In 1985 I gave birth to our fifth child and fourth son. He has been left intact. Even I, after years of research, activism, and writing my book, was surprised to learn how ridiculously simple the whole matter truly is. Correct care of an intact son requires virtually no thought or action at all.
When Kevin was four I gave birth to our sixth and last child, another daughter. Why this baby did not have a penis required considerable explanation to a perplexed four year old boy.
When he was 7 years old I explained to him what circumcision was all about and why his penis was different from his Daddy’s and his brothers’. (He had never asked about it, and I don’t think he had ever even noticed.) As opposed as I now am to circumcision, I left open the option for my son that he could have the operation done if he felt that he wanted to "match" the other males in our family. As I was telling him how some guys have the foreskin cut off, Kevin’s face took on a horrified, frightened expression! His eyes grew big and his hands were cupped over his genitals as he shouted emphatically: "No!! That is NEVER going to happen to ME!!!"
As of this writing (2000) my son is a teenager. He could not care less what anyone else’s penis looks like. Although he is facing all the usual teenaged "crises" right now, the matter of foreskins or the lack of them is a total "non-issue" for him.
1. Bryk. Felix
Sex and Circumcision: A Study of Phallic Worship and Mutilation in
Men and Women Brandon House, North Hollywood, CA., c. 19672. Loeb. E.M.
"The Blood Sacrifice Complex"
American Anthropological Association Memoirs, 30, p. 3-40 .
3. Bettelheim, Bruno
"Symbolic Wounds" p. 230-240.
from Reader in Comparative ReligionLessa, William A., & Vogt, Evon Z.
Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 2nd Ed., c. 1965
4. Remondino, P.C.
History of Circumcision from Earliest Times to the Present
Ams Press, New York, c. 1974
(original ed.) F.A. Davis Co. 1891
5. Marcus, Irwin M., M.D., & Francis, John J., M.D.
Masturbation: >From Infancy to Senescence
National Universities Press, Inc., N.Y. c. 1975,Ch. 16, "Authority and Masturbation", p. 381-409,
by Spitz, Rene A., M.D.
6. Barker-Benfield, G.J.
The Horrors of the Half Known Life
Harper Colophon Books, New York, c. 1976.
7. Persky, Lester, M.D.
"Epidemiology of Cancer of the Penis"
Recent Results of Cancer Research, Berlin, l977, p. 97-109.
8. Aitken-Swan, Jean, & Baird, D.
"Circumcision and Cancer of the Cervix"British Journal of Cancer, Vol. 19, No 2, June 1965, p. 2 1 7-227 .
9. Terris. Milton, M.D.; Wilson, Fitzpatrick, M.D., & Nelson, James H., Jr.,
"Relation of Circumcision to Cancer of' the Cervix "
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 117, No. 8,
Dec. 15, 1973, p. 1056-1066
10. Gee, William F., M.D. & Ansell, Julian S., M.D.
"Neonatal Circumcision: A Ten-Year Overview: With Comparison of the
Gomco Clamp and the Plastibell Device."
Pediatrics, Vol. 58, 1976, p. 824-827.11. Grimes, David A., M.D.
"Routine Circumcision of the Newborn Infant; A Reappraisal"
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 130, No. 2,
Jan. 15, 1978, p. 125-129.
12. Kaplan, George W., M.D.
"Circumcision - An Overview"
Current Problems in Pediatrics, Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc.,
Vol. 7, No. 5, March 1977.13. Limaye, Ramesh D., M.D. & Hancock, Reginald A., M .D.
"Penile Urethral Fistula as a Complication of Circumcision "
The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 72, No. 1, Jan. 1968, p. 105-106.
14. Shulman, J., M.D., Ben-Hur, N., M.D.; & Neuman, Z., M.D. (Israel)
"Surgical Complications of Circumcision"
American Journal of Diseases of Children, Vol. 107,
Feb. 1961, p. 149-154.
15. Money, John, Ph.D.
"Ablatio Penis, Normal Male Infant Sex-Reassigned as a Girl" *Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1975, p. 65-71 .
(*The full story of this experience is related in detail in the recently published book:
As Nature Made Him
HarperCollins Publishers, NY., c. 2000.)
16. Mackenzie, A. Ranald, M.D.
"Meatal Ulceration Following Neonatal Circumcision"
Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 28, No. 2, August 1966, p. 221-223.
17. Freud, Paul, M.D.
The Ulcerated Urethral Meatus in Male Children"The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 31, No. 2, August 1947, p.131-141.
18. Brennemann, Joseph, M.D.
"The Ulcerated Meatus in the Circumcised Child"
American Journal of Diseases of Children, Vol. 21, l920, p. 38-47.
19 . DeLee, Joseph B., A.M ., M.D .
Obstetrics for Nurses
W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA., 7th ed. 1924, (1st ed. 1901 )
p. 436-440.20. Valentine, Ferd C., M.D.
Journal A.M.A., March 16, 1901, p. 712-713.
21. Emde, Robert N., M.D.; Harmon, Robert J., M.D.; Metcalf,
David, M.D.; Koenig, Kenneth L., M.D.; & Wagonfield, Samuel, M.D.
"Stress and Neonatal Sleep"
Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. 33, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 1971, p. 491-497.
22. Richards, M.P.M.; Bernal, J.F.; & Brackbill, Yvonne
"Early Behavioral Differences: Gender or Circumcision?"
Developmental Psychobiology, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1976, p. 89-95 .23. Gairdner, Douglas, M.D.
"The Fate of the Foreskin - A Study of Circumcision"
British Medical Journal, Dec. 24, 1949, p. 1433-1437.
24. Reichelderfer, Thomas E., M.D. & Fraga, Juan R., M.D.
reprint from Care of the Well Baby
by Shepard, Kenneth S., M.D. (ed.)
J.B. Lippencott Co., 1968, p. 10.
"I'm 65, and I can remember back to being a teen and resenting circumcision. It was like I was missing the moving parts. I was totally exposed and could do nothing about it. As I investigated what had been imposed on me, I recognized I was a victim of quack medicine, bogus research, and doctors who heartlessly perpetuated a practice they touted as being beneficial. In fact, I learned 20,000 nerve endings were gone, the ridge bands and an entire protective sheath that had an integral part of the mechanics of sex. Beyond being deprived of that structure, I was, and have been, astounded by the cavalier attitudes of so many people who seem oblivious to the notion of human rights, self-determination, wholeness and genital integrity. I could never understand a nurturing, loving parent unable to instinctively protect their baby boy from the intrusion that is circumcision. Obviously when our son was born in 1975 and our grandsons in 2009, they were left intact. I take pride in the non-perpetuation of such a practice in my family. When I restored by foreskin, starting in 1995, I recognized what had been take from me. It only further convinced me that Americans have particularly been duped by the circumcision industry. I never regained what was taken from me for $10 (I have the hospital receipt). I'd give $10,000 for my foreskin back."
Lawn, thank you so much for sharing your point of view.
Lawn's blog can be found HERE.
I am a Texas girl. On the surface, I must seem overly opinionated, & stubbornly stubborn. Underneath all that you will find that I am a survivor of 17 years of molestation, ashamed-of-himself physical beatings by my mother's husband, and drugged rape at age 13 when I thought I was being taken to a ChemFree Dance by a security guard who was a co-worker of my friend's father.
These things took a huge toll on me... Once it became obvious to me (Divine intervention after Divine Intervention) that I was not going to succeed at offing myself, I did a tremendous amount of work trying to bring myself to a reality that I could live with: practiced kindness, compassionate service to others, and heriocs for the underdog. I remember from a very young age adoring babies and children in general. I baby-sat from the time I was 11. I knew that someday I would have a family. I knew that I would protect my babies from what I had not been protected...
I married when I was 20, in 1993. I had been attending a small community college and was working full-time for a group of 5 family medicine doctors who loved to medicate, snip, take samples and make demands of people they have no human right to. And I was right there with them, following orders, encouraging patients.
My husband-to-be (28 yrs old) and I (still 20 yrs old) eloped in Tahoe on January 5th, 1993. My arrogant bosses had told me I could not have time off to get married, so my intended marched into the office manager's office right after Christmas, told her he was taking me to Tahoe to get married and if I did not have a job when I got back, so be it... We came home married. I did still have a job, and we went house hunting.
I turned 21 that March and we made an offer on our 1st home in mid-April. I found I was pregnant on May 3rd. I was ecstatic, overwhelmed with joy and this all encompassing wonder at my human body!! I could NOT stop looking at my belly, touching my belly, waiting for signs of pregnancy.
I was all about all things pregnant... I'm starving because I'm PREGNANT! I'm sooo tired because I'm PREGNANT! PREGNANT!! I still remember that complete wonder I felt. July 1st (Hotter than a cannon in Dallas, Texas that time of year) we moved into our new home. When came September, I was seriously bummed that my body had not changed much at all... sooooo, I hacked off my long, long hair to just under my chin above shoulder length hoping to look more "mommyish". These seemed to be the longest months I had ever endured.
My OB was a man I had worked for during high school. It seemed completely right and proper that I looked to him for my care. I had no pregnancy nausea or sickness. I did feel extra tired but nothing too dramatic... until I hit 20 weeks. My face, hands and feet swelled hugely one Saturday afternoon. Naturally, I called my ex-boss OB. He, fine fellow, had been playing golf and was quite peeved that I had the nerve to call him on a Saturday. After all, he reasoned, I worked for a huge group of physicians who could advise me... Well, that irritated me to no end and I immediately picked up the phone book and looked for a midwife to call. I have no idea where I got the notion to call a midwife... I had never even heard of midwives, before, at that time. Another Divine Spark, like the several that had kept me alive when I desperately believed I should be dead, led me to midwifery for the first time.
The midwife I talked to was wonderful. I was very graciously told that I probably ate too much salty food (Not hard to imagine as my husband managed a huge Mexican food rest. chain and we had had lunch together that afternoon...) and that my swelling was likely related to that. I should drink some really pure water with fresh lemon, watch the salt and rest. I did so and was fine in a few hours. WOW, I thought. A little lemon juice and water, my feet up and a nap... A fruit fixed my issue, allayed my fears... and opened up a new world for me. Were there more foods that could heal? I had to know.
I immediately went to the Whole Foods in East Dallas and grabbed book after book. EVERYTHING I could get my hands on, I devoured... and was hungry for more. I also informed my mostly absent husband that we were having a homebirth instead of an interventionist, medicalised hospital highjacking. He was reluctant, but I'm opinionated and stubborn, remember? What's the old adage??? Dynamite comes in small packages...
We began midwife shopping that next weekend, starting with the midwife who had graciously answered all my questions for no other reason than I asked them. Her schedule was jamPACKED and she only delivered in her birth-center... nope, not what I was looking for. We kept looking and found a homebirth midwife we liked, signed her up, so to speak... and then I fired my good ole' boy ex-boss. He was not gracious about it, at all, and felt it necessary to tell me that I was likely going to murder my baby at home. Nice guy.
I still worked for the 5 arrogant doctors, mind you, and they were not happy about my switcheroo, either. I just did not give a damn. The world I was now immersed in was wonderous, and spoke truth in a volume that was deafening but comforting to me. My heart was eased and stimulated at the same time... I KNEW I was home. I suddenly had this steely driven purpose that I'd never had before. I'd spent YEARS questioning my worth and existence on this godforsaken planet... and like a flash, I KNEW what I was put here, and then kept here, to do.
I did have a sonogram before I left the good ole' guy, and did find out that I was carrying a boy... it did not matter much whether it was a boy or a girl that I was carrying, but it was very nice to know what to buy, etc. The mere fact that I was capable and was actually growing, nurturing, sheltering a brand new life, that I could feel moving inside of me, was just beyond amazing. I still did not even begin to show until I was well into my 7th month. My midwife called me a deep pelvis... and I weighed all of about 95lbs when I got pregnant.
The first time I ever heard of circumcision was when my midwife asked what my feelings were about it... There is such a thing?? I was incredulous. WHY on EARTH do we hack off a part of the body that is there naturally?? And I was off again on a tangent... buying the books, doing the research, absorbing absolutely everything in front of me, and trying to talk with my husband about it. No fight for me there, as he was all about NOT doing it and I was even more all about NOT doing it. No medical necessity, all the amazing erogenous tissue destroyed, size and girth affected. No way. My baby boy was going to be a healthy, natural, intact, long-term breastfed, attached-to-me peanut. Period.
Fast forward to January 20, 1994 11:30pm, after 5 days of exhausting prodromal labor ... His birth journey included a transport with me sitting on his poor baby head the 2 miles to the hospital and then me screeching, "I need to push!!!" to the bored receptionist who had told me to sit down and fill out paperwork... my midwife had forgotten to refill her oxygen tank, my water showed meconium and my baby boy's heart had begun to decelerate.
Jacob Alan was born at Doctor's Hospital in Dallas, Texas at 1:41am on Friday, January 21, 1994, 8lbs, 19inches long (16 days after his sonogram due date)... He was born vaginally, no pain relief... and the doctor cut me against my will. He grabbed his scalpel and began to cut, my husband said "Noooo! She does not want an episiotomy!" Dr. B. replied,"It's the only way this baby's coming out of there!" It took 6 months for my perineum to stop aching and stinging. (I have had 6 children, all vaginal births. Only this birth "required" an episiotomy. My 3rd baby weighed in at 9#6oz and was my largest.)
I was cut against my will and did prove with 5 more successive vaginal births that I could, indeed, push my babies out over my intact perineum.
Back to my beautiful boy... With him, I was mesmerized. He was an angel I had been blessed with; the most precious being I had ever had my hands upon. The MOST wonderous creature I had ever laid glance upon. His hair at birth was jet black with flecks of gold at his scalp. His eyes were like deep sapphires, literally. So blue, you would think they couldn't possibly be real. We walked out of Doctor's Hospital "against medical advice" at noon the same day he was born... I was NOT staying another moment in that dirty, germ infested place with my new baby.
Jacob and I were natural baby and momma. No vaccines, no drugs, breastmilk on demand... and the white liquid gold cured absolutely everything!! That was it for us. He was a very happy boy, sweet, huggy lovey-dovey, snugglebuggy. Very soon he was a platinum blondie... his hair just changed and stood straight up on end. People would stop me and tell me how stunningly gorgeous he was. He was everything in my world. He, in my eyes, had led me to the wonderous world of alternative health. He had introduced me to my reason for being here. I kept up my ravenous reading habits and all things herbal, aromatherapy, accupressure, massage, chakras. Reiki...
A sniffle came upon me... homeopathics were my best friend. I had quit my job with the arrogant 5 and was home with my sweet boy. We were happy. I bought the book, "You Can Teach Your Baby To Read" and made all the flash cards, read to him, cuddled with him, slept with him. We were a team and that was it. My husband worked about 18 hours a day and took only an occasional day off. He liked to drink (a lot)and smoke (a lot of) the wacky tobacky to unwind... this was not all that conducive to bonding with his son... Pretty much ALL of the decisions about Jacob's care were mine to make... And I only made decisions after I had read everything I could dig up about the subject in question.
Jacob began talking coherantly at 6 months. He was the only person I really had to talk to. I talked to him just as if he was a human who just "got" me. No babybabble... so, in self defense, he started talking, one day around 6 months old. At 7 months he began walking. It was tentative for a few weeks, but then was full on running, climbing, into everywhere and everything at 8 months. I used to have the home videos... almost all of them, and those of my other children were lost either in the many moves we made, or the house fire we went through in 2008...
Now here is where I hesitate. Right here, in this moment in the timeline of his life story, is where the ache begins, where my head begins to pound and my eyes and throat burn with the tears I know will fall no matter how much I strive to hold them back.
Jacob loved taking baths... the swimming, splashing, wet "wakka" (washcloth) laid over his head, warm water dripping on his cheeks and into his eyes... he didn't care. He just loved the water. One night when he was 8 months old he stood up in his bath and grabbed at his penis. I noticed his foreskin was ballooned out, filled with urine. It startled me... I had not seen this before. I told my husband. We agreed we ought to take him in to his pediatrician to make sure everything was ok. She was familiar with me, mainly because I had refused her routine vaccinations and she had tried very hard to convince me otherwise... She had no idea what was even in the vials, much less what that liquid toxic waste could do to a baby. And I had told her so, several times.
I told her what had happened and she immediately told me that there was something very, very wrong with his foreskin... and that I needed to see a pediatric urologist ASAPP... As soon as possibly possible... It usually took some time to get a referral... but we had an appointment with this urologist within days, at his Dallas office.
The urologist was very tall with very tight, curly dark brown hair. I cannot remember his name... Carlton, Clayton... something like that... He looked at Jacob's records and asked me to undress my baby for the examination. "Yes, his foreskin is "phimotic". Yes, something HAS to be done... He will end up with a severely urine-burned penis and will suffer through uti after uti, his foreskin will not ever function properly..." This man was kind enough to tell me that although I had tried to make good decisions for my baby, not circumcising him had not been the best decision. Jacob needed to be circumcised before he ended up with a septic infection. There was urgency in his voice, and a determination that I could not combat. I was in such a state of shock and disbelief that I had hurt my own child by trying to keep him whole. Dr. Whatshisname told me he would give me some time to think it through before I left the office, and left the room. We were there for several hours. Either he or his nurse would pop their head back in and say, "are you ready to schedule this procedure, yet? That baby is only going to get worse with time..." The massive guilt I felt coupled with the disappointed anger my husband directed at me, the decision maker, was unbearable. We scheduled the procedure for a few days later.
The morning of the procedure, I breastfed my son. I was not supposed to. He was supposed to be NPO for 12 hours before the surgery. My child was hungry and could feel that I was tense and needed to feed, to be cuddled and held and loved. He was going to be put under general anesthesia, completely asleep for the circumcision. I breathed easier with that knowledge... stupid me. We arrived at the hospital and I very reluctantly turned my sleeping baby boy over to the attendant for the IV to be put in... then we waited. Another nurse came and took my son to the OR. We were told it would take about 45 minutes. As soon as Jacob was taken away, my breasts began to leak profusely. I shook and could not sit down. An hour and a half later they came and told us Jake was in recovery. I was the first person he saw when he opened his big blue eyes. Instantly his brow furrowed, and he began to cry that sucking, hiccupping, keening cry of an injured animal... He writhed in obvious pain. The nurse said it was just an after effect of the anesthesia. NO! I knew my baby. He hurt like he had never hurt before. And I was responsible. Again, I consoled myself with the thought that at least he had been asleep... I WAS SO STUPID!!! They let us take him home after he had urinated once... and screamed in agony at the burning of the urine on his wounded penis. I think that was when I knew I had made the most horrible decision for him, that I could have EVER made. I just wanted to get him home, love him, hold him, feed him, soothe him and move on... What was done, I could never undo. I had to live with that.
Jacob became combative after that. He would get so angry at me, would hit me and look at me with such rage, I could feel it rippling through the air around me. Put to breast, he shoved at me to get away from him. In one day everything about his personality changed. He stopped walking and stopped talking for a couple of months... It hurt me tremendously to see my sweet happy bubbly baby become this angry stranger right before my eyes. I tried not to notice... there was no getting around it. He did continue to breastfeed, eyes closed, stubbornly, refusing to look at me... Until, when I became pregnant again 6 months later and was so sick, he had to be weaned. Many, many, many tears have fallen. A year later, while attending a talk given by Jeanine Parvati Baker, I learned that phimosis is NORMAL, a physiological process that is part of the growing cycle. I was just CRUSHED, beyond devastated. I had KNOWN better. I KNEW BETTER and I had butchered my beautiful baby boy. I had taken from him something I had NO right to... and he knew it.
I had listened to a butcher who makes his living cutting babies. I did this to my child. That ache will never leave me. I will not ever get over it. There's no way to assuage this horror that I have perpetrated on my child. It's one thing to learn about the horrors of circumcision after it's done... but I KNEW before he was born. I knew.
My beautiful boy is now 17. He knows that I am an Intactivist. He literally runs in the opposite direction when this topic comes up. I can only pray that he lets me in at some point... But please can someone explain to me... HOW do I apologize for robbing him of his sexual integrity, his right to whole manhood??? How do I make right the wrong that I participated in? Even believing that I was doing the right thing at the time has not eased the horrific pain in my heart.
Exactly what do I say to this young man whom I feel is responsible for gently pushing me in the direction of alternative health, which like all my children, has brought me unspeakable joy?
I just do not know... and the anguish that still courses through me even now is so heavy and so sadly familiar. I feel that I will bear this weight forever. I earned it.
Today, I am well aware that phimosis is a normal, natural part of the growth cycle. I have 2 more sons who are intact. Neither have ever had a problem. I had been very careful not to retract my son's perfectly intact penis, so there was no reason to worry, in reality. I am disgusted and horrified, to my core, that a pediatric urological surgeon (who makes his living cutting babies) saw us as an easy paycheck. My son is forever changed so that this man could make a few extra bucks.
This is why I am so vocal and adamant about seeing an end to infant circumcision. I was lied to. My son will never be whole, again. Many, many parents are lied to, every day. Their baby boys' right to a whole being, a whole body is given away by mostly unsuspecting parents and ultimately stolen by doctors... Make no mistake: these doctors are violating the very premise of informed consent by not explaining that removing this vital tissue damages the penis irreparably... and each and every physician who performs this brutal surgery is violating the Hippocratic Oath they swore to uphold...
In 1888, Dr. John H. Kellogg, a well respected physician and founder of Kellogg cereal company, spoke for the then current mainstream Victorian medical modality regarding male and female masturbation when he wrote in his book Plain Facts For Old and Young:
"A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed. ”
“ In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid [phenol] to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement."
Circumcision, is the result of a series of lies, distorted data, and an unnatural shame and shunning of the intricate sexual parts of the human body. Circumcision is harmful beyond compare. It is also a multi-billion dollar industry promoted by doctors for their own benefit. I cannot and will not ever "just let it be","give it a rest", or "get off my high horse". This is a human rights issue, not an "agree to disagree" topic of discussion. I can and will be respectful when educating about Genital Integrity. However, when I bump into those mothers who "will cut" their "fucking children if I want to", I tend to lose my cool.
One is either FOR Genital Integrity, FOR the Rights of a Child, and an open, active advocate for our most vulnerable... or you are against all those. There is no middle ground with genital mutilation.
As a parent, I have the right to decide where we live, how we eat, whether to send my kids to public school or to home school them. I DO NOT have the right to remove a body part. Period.
My children were gifted to me, entrusted to my care... they do not belong to me. Religious beliefs are not viable arguments to sexually violate a child's body. Ever. http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/christian.html http://jewsagainstcircumcision.org/home.htm
This quote, attributed to Edmund Burke, sums it up pretty well for me...
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
William Penn is also very eloquent:
"Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it."
Thankfully, many parents are waking up and becoming aware. More parents are respecting their baby boy's Human Right to Genital Integrity. When more people understand that 80% of the entire world's male population is intact, they will question WHY it is even done, at all. As this tide further changes, my prediction, my dearest hope and wish is that we will see less violent sexual assault, less divorce and separation, which will then result in less broken homes and families. Family is everything.
We are raising future leaders of our world that is fraught with peril of every description. Our children need every advantage we can give them.
It's not enough to want the best for my children, and yours... I have to GIVE the best, and when appropriate, fight against the apathy, ignorance, and greed that perpetuates wrongs done to all of our children. That is my calling.