Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How I Feel About Circumcision Regret

Lately I've read a lot of stories of parents regretting having their sons circumcised.  I wish I didn't have to ever read one.  Some of the things I read just bring tears to my eyes, and it hurts my heart!  These parents spent months getting ready to bring this little boy home with them, talking about how he'd grow up to be he'd play in the NHL, or how he'd grow up to be someone who changed the world.  Dreams for their perfect little guy.

And then when he was born, and they looked at him and knew they'd been given something wonderful.

The next day as their little one looked up at them from their arms, they were asked a question they weren't prepared to answer because they had never been given all the information they needed to make a fully educated choice.  They believed the doctor when s/he listed all the "reasons" it should be done.

"It's cleaner."
"Your son will thank you for it later."
"He'll be the only one in the changeroom with foreskin.  He'll be laughed at."

"It's a useless flap of skin anyway."
"He won't even feel it.  Most don't even cry."
"It'll keep him from having UTIs now, and when he's old."
"No woman wants a man with extra skin on his penis."
"It'll stink if we don't."
"Foreskin is a lot of work and gets infected easily."

"It's better for him to have it taken off."
"He'll never remember it if you do it now."

So much bullshit.  Parents are so rarely being told the truth by the doctors about what circumcision really entails.

I really do believe that if parents knew exactly what happens behind those closed doors, we wouldn't have to read all of these horribly sad stories from fathers and mothers who wish they could turn back time and protect their sons.  

Parents are not being told of long term effects of circumcision by their doctors.  Parents are making choices on minimal information, trusting that the medical "professionals" are telling them what they need to know.  And they're being left to make a decision for their son that should never even need to be made in the first place.  You can't take back what's done, and these medical professionals are leaving the guilt and pain for the child and his parents, while lining their pockets with the blood money.

Parents aren't being told how circumcision can negatively impact the mother/child bond, or that it's quite common for a circumcised baby to refuse breastfeeding afterward.  They aren't being told how this one traumatic event could forever alter their tiny son's opinion of them, and of himself.  They aren't being told the whole story, and they're making a choice for their son that should never have been made by anyone but that boy.

I have people ask me all the time why I "care so much" about circumcision, and it's for two reasons.  First, it's because I have to speak up for the little ones who don't have a voice, and whose cries are being ignored.  People have to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves.
The second reason I do this is because of the fact that so many parents are left shattered after finding out too late what they allowed to be done to their son(s).  The guilt is intense, and forever.  Even when parents are able to understand that they did the best they could with the information they had at the time, so often they still carry the guilt of not knowing better, sooner.

I hate that there are people hurting forever for something that doesn't need to be done.  I hate that there are children being violated, and adults being lied to.  I hate that doctors aren't recognizing or acknowledging that foreskin is meant to be there, and that to cut off a functional body part makes no common sense.

To those who made the best decision they could make with the information they had at the time, and who went on to find out that the decision they made was not the one they'd have made if they knew more, I want to tell you that I'm sorry you weren't fully informed.  I am sorry that you carry guilt.  I am sorry that you even have to.

Our sons deserve better.  By not informing parents of the full and total truth, doctors are denying these boys of their right to an intact body, free of unnecessary and dangerous medical procedures.  They are allowing parents to believe half-truths and total lies, and to be left with the burden of guilt.

As the parents of intact and circumcised boys, we need to stand together and educate others.  We need to take what we know, and share it.  Knowledge is power!  Sometimes we can give parents information their doctor never gave them, and it can save their child from that trauma, and it saves those parents from knowing too late.  

We, as a whole, need to stand up and speak out.  We need to end the suffering for those little boys, and we need to make sure that guilt-baggage is a thing of the past.

I'm sick of knowing that there are people who live in pain everyday because of this.  I'm so sorry it wasn't different.

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