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.