The first intensive exploration of the unrecognized psychological and social aspects of this increasingly controversial American cultural practice. Endorsed by dozens of professionals in psychology, psychiatry, child development, pediatrics, obstetrics, childbirth education, sociology and anthropology.
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"What's done to children, they will do to society."
"Parents do not know what they are choosing, and physicians do not feel what they are doing."
"In response to circumcision, the baby cries a helpless, panicky, breathless, high-pitched cry!...[or] lapses into a semi-coma. Both of these states...are abnormal states in the newborn."
"Doctors who circumcise are the most resistant to change. They will not admit that they made a critical mistake by amputating an important part of the penis."
"In this case, the old dictum 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to make good sense."
"A whole life can be shaped by an old trauma, remembered or not."
"If we are to have real peace, we must begin with the children."
"We are interconnected. When a baby boy's sexuality is not safe, no one's sexuality is safe."
A Mother Discovers Her Strength Talking to Her Husband
My name is Patricia and I just had my son, Daniel, last month. I come from a family of all circumcised males and married a circumcised male. During my pregnancy my husband and I discussed circumcision briefly and agreed that we were going to do it. At some point during the pregnancy a very dear friend of mine (who I looked up to as a model mother) asked me if I planned on circumcising our son. When I told her "of course" she started to tell me about how it was a "human rights violation" and "genital mutilation." I was offended and defensive and felt attacked as a mother. I came home and told my husband how rude my friend was and how "out there" her perspective was. He agreed. I even called my mother and re-validated my position to circumcise Daniel with her. Daniel needed to look like his father and everyone else. He would not remember it, etc....
But I could not get my friend's words out of my head, and I began to look up information on the subject. That is how I came across your site. I began to see circumcision from a new perspective. I raised the issue with my husband to just see if he would reconsider. He very authoritatively said no and commanded that I "drop it." So I dropped it because I did not want conflict, and I told myself that ultimately the decision was up to my husband if he was that passionate about it. Dropping it was an easy solution for me.
Then my son was born. I held him in my arms and something in my mind changed. Why would I do this to my son? My mind had been opened and I could not ignore that. I was my son's protector. It was my job to advocate for him when he could not advocate for himself. But I knew that standing up to my husband would be like throwing myself in front of a truck.
During my son's first pediatric appointment the doctor wanted to schedule the circumcision. I looked at my husband and said in an almost meek voice, "I don't think I can do this." He ignored my comment and signed the paperwork. When we went home I brought it up again. It became very heated and let me just say that it was the worst fight my husband and I ever had. He threatened divorce (which I knew deep down he would not do). He threatened to take Daniel in without my knowledge. I said over my dead body. He called my mother, and my mother called me to convince me that it was none of my business to decide such an issue. It got very ugly.
I tell you all of this because I want to share my story of how difficult it was to go against the grain of my culture. I am the first in my family to make this choice. I am the only one of my friends (other than the friend that opened my eyes about this) that has made this choice. My husband is used to me following his lead and did not know how to deal with my insistence in this situation.
I did not know I had such strength to stand on my own and take on so many people--especially my husband, family, and friends. And the funny thing about it is that I do not even question for a moment if I am doing the right thing. I KNOW THAT I AM. Therefore, I do not have the need to be defensive about my position. I have been called a freak and hippie, among other things, and I just respond calmly with a little laugh (making light of it) and share with them the research I have done. Hopefully I can replant the seed that was planted in me.
Every time I look at my son I know that I saved him from this tragedy, and not just my son, but every son we have after--and hopefully all of their children as well. Because of that, I have confidence in myself as a mother. My husband is silent about it. I don't know how he feels, but I can only hope that someday I will hear him advocating against circumcision, too.
Your wonderful site helped me open my eyes, and I refer people to it all of the time. Thank you for existing. I will always raise my voice to help bring awareness to others--even if it is uncomfortable.
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