Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Things that make you go $%&#*@*#&*!

Hey, everyone!

I first want to take a moment to say "Thank You!" to those who have emailed me or commented on Connected Mom regarding the loss of my grandfather. It has been a hard week, but I'm working on moving forward and concentrating on family and my caking.

This weeks' post was the first that has come somewhat easily to me. I've been playing catch up the past few days and running lots of errands; all that driving has given me quite a bit of time to think.

I've been thinking heavily about circumcision this week. I read a quote by Guggie Daly that made so much sense--

‎"I did not "choose" to keep him intact any more than parents "choose" to let their newborns keep their legs, arms, nose, etc. It's a non-decision."

Wow. That seems so simple, doesn't it?!

I thought about coming here and beginning this post with a sarcastic epiphany that would read somewhat like:
"Hey there! (Fill in here about my week, all those niceties, etc.)
I think I've come to a realization-- I've decided that after reading all the arguments 'for' & 'against', that circumcision really is the best and should be done as soon as possible after birth. Unfortunately, I chose to leave my son and daughters intact. Thanks to sites such as, with their many helpful brochures available on a plethora of subjects in many languages, I have come to realize the immense benefits of circumcision.

I've decided that 8 months is too long to have ignored the risks of not having my son circumcised and he has an appointment with a urologist to have it done tomorrow. Finally he will 'look like his dad' while they stand side by side & compare for years to come. It's healthier & cleaner, and we all know that kids, let alone boys, need all the help they can get with that. Oh, & the locker room-- I'm sparing him the embarrassment, since everyone's doing it.

After a lengthy talk with my husband, we both feel that this is best for our son and have done extensive research. Actually, in doing all this research, we've come to realize that we really should consider circumcision for our other two as well. It took some digging, but I found someone who realizes just how important this opportunity at equality and removal of a source of distraction is."

I would then go on to tell you not to judge me-- that these were 'my children' and I needed to make these decisions for them.

It wouldn't be long before the intactivists would be crashing the server and trying to change my mind.

However, reading Guggie Daly's quote made me stop and think...

Are such far reaching tactics necessary? Why is the choice to keep our sons intact even a choice? Why is it *OUR* choice?

It is *not* my penis. It is *not* my husband's penis. It certainly isn't my relative's penis! It is Killian's.

The doctor who will perform it at my request is ignoring the fact that it is not my penis. Here's a list of reasons why that doctor shouldn't be so quick to do routine infant circumcisions.

I've done my research and, to me, circumcision is a non-negotiable issue.

However, I cannot write this without acknowledging that had Killian been born in 2002-- i.e., had Chloe been a boy, I would be writing a much different piece.

I would be writing about my struggle with guilt over circumcising one child (born in 2002) and not circumcising the other (2010). I would hopefully stumble upon this post at Dr. Momma/Peaceful Parenting.

If you take no other impression from me than this, please remember that I am not a persecutor-- my biggest hope is that as parents we simply strive to be better than we were yesterday.

I am a Christian. I am politically a conservative. I am straight and married. I am a stay at home mom. I eat fast food a *lot*-- I love a burger or a steak, too! I am a lactivist (pro-breastfeeding) and intactivist (pro-keeping our sons intact).

If you scroll down my Facebook friend list, you'll find wiccans, agnostics, catholics, etc. This is their choice.
I have my share of liberals and anarchists on that list along with other classifications that I don't even know, since my political savvy is a recent (since marriage) venture. This is their choice.
You'll see people who identify as things other than straight, who are single, divorced, or state "it's complicated". This is their choice.
A lot of my friends who are moms work outside the home. This is their choice.
I have vegetarians and vegans on my list. This is their choice.
For each of these instances, the choice belongs to that friend. It impacts that friend. Sure, there's a ripple, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a small one that can be changed with minimal effort if so desired.

On this list, in the grey area, are my friends who do/have formula fed by choice. I post pro-breastfeeding links and blurbs here and there, and that's about all I can do. At the end of the day, I too was a formula feeding mom once. I get it. Whatever your reason/argument/issue, I get it-- I may not agree, I may try to persuade you otherwise (especially if you've been misled by an ill informed nurse/doctor or friend), I may shake my head, but I get it.

The area on this list, however, that is a struggle for me is those that choose to circumcise.

Those that list their status as "poor baby--- has to go get circumcised today" or "just waiting on them to circumcise him then we can get discharged. poor little guy". Things like this make me want to scream "Don't you know--- you don't have to allow this!" or "Will you be watching!?" (I am a firm believer that you should at least have to watch a video with sound before allowing this to be done-- even better would be if it was necessary that you watch your little baby have this done.)

These moms, who buy 'the best' car seats, 'the best' diapers, 'the best' clothes, 'the best' stroller... don't make the best decision.

At the risk of losing half my friend list-- a circumcision performed as a routine surgery on a newborn is never the best decision.

You are changing something that is not yours to change. You are taking away something from your little boy that you can't give back. You are projecting your preferences on him and his future girlfriends/wife. You are choosing to ignore-- and allow your husband to ignore what was done to him and you are choosing to perpetuate that cycle.

You think sugar water makes this hurt any less-- did there really need to be a study to tell us that it doesn't dull the pain? Do you think it really hurts worse as an adult (often the response about why parents should have it done to their baby ASAP) or is a grown man just better able to vocalize in a manner we must pay attention to?

Cut off a piece of skin from your most sensitive area and stick a lollipop in your mouth-- all better right?

Not hardly!
The good news is circumcision rates in the United States dropped to 33% in 2009, a steep drop from 56% just 3 years ago! Something to consider for those 'what will the guys in the locker room think' arguments!
Times they are a changin'-- which percentage are you contributing to?


Fam.VanGurp ~ bajafam said... [Reply to comment]

I love you!! I love this post!!

Carmen said... [Reply to comment]

:bats eyes:
well, thank you! ;o)

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

"or is a grown man just better able to vocalize in a manner we must pay attention to?" EXACTLY!

Carmen said... [Reply to comment]

:o) Jenn--
i figure that if we (women) choose to have surgeries to change our bodies (which HURT- be they necessary or cosmetic), why should men be any different? should my parents give me implants as a child if i'm genetically predisposed to have small breasts? should they have a doctor perform a rhinoplasty if my family has a tendency towards 'large' noses?
of course not-- they let me choose for myself at an appropriate age.

men who choose to undergo the knife-- any knife-- as grown men tend to be quite vocal about their discomfort, however I really am not convinced that it 'hurts more'.

imagine what today's children would look like if we 'spared them pain' by doing to them early whatever we figure they'd do eventually anyway?!

Toddler tribal tattoos, anyone? ;o)

Amanda9542 said... [Reply to comment]

Great post!

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

It is my greatest mistake as a parent that I allowed it. Thankfully my husband and I are on the same page regarding future sons. I do not think it hurts more as an adult, but a man can talk about it and he can take pain medication and ice it - whatever. If a man wants to do it to himself, that is his business. Although as a doctor I guess I would question the desire to cut up one's genitalia. Might do a little pysch assessment first.

Carmen said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks, Amanda!

Carmen said... [Reply to comment]

((hugs)) Jenn-- you know my motto "better today than yesterday-- & even better tomorrow!"

& re: a psych eval-- you cannot fathom the things that are done in the body modification community-- things I severely do NOT comprehend-- but in the end, it is a decision being made by an adult at that time. (no matter how much it makes me wince!)

Rebeldream said... [Reply to comment]

I love you. But you knew that, right? This is the best piece of writting I've read in a really long time. <3

Carmen said... [Reply to comment]

aw, Kelli-- you rock. ;o)
it's hard to present everything I want to say without venturing off on a tangent (I swear-- tangents are like my life's calling, lol!), but I hope that this will help give out some info in an easy to access spot... nothing better than links & logic at your fingertips!
i've honestly had my doubts about my 'blogability' (i like to listen & answer with these issues; not carry the conversation..)

Carla said... [Reply to comment]

Excellent post, absolutely excellent. People just don't seem to get the basic argument: even IF it prevented disease, even IF it was healthier and cleaner, even IF the foreskin had no sexual purpose, even IF circumcision didn't cause permanent damage leading to decreased sensitivity and sexual pleasure, you STILL have no right to do that. Because none of those reasons makes it better to do it as a baby than as a consenting adult. In fact, there are a multitude of facts to demonstrate that doing it to a baby is more dangerous and a great deal more painful and traumatizing. And it's NOT YOUR PENIS anyway!

Wait, I thought it was down to 32% - am I mistaken??

Kathleen said... [Reply to comment]

Great piece, thanks for posting this! The bit about thinking about getting all of your kids done would have upset a lot of people, and that's good. Seriously, every "benefit" that people talk about for male circumcision is also used as an argument for female circumcision, and not one of them overrides human rights in either case.

I don't know why people seem to think "he's going to have it done later, anyway, so we might as well get it out of the way now." Why would they think that? Assuming that no one's messed with the poor kid's foreskin and forcibly retracted it, the guy will grow up with a healthy, functional foreskin that will improve his sex life and his partner's. If guys are doing it now, I'm betting it's because either they or their partners are brainwashed by society's mass circumcision fetish into thinking that it looks better. When my sons are grown up, they'll be in the majority.... why would they ever want to mess with such a great thing?! Even if, for some unfathomable reason, they want it done, it will be THEIR decisions.

I also love the quote you started with. Just gets right to the point, doesn't it?

melissa joanne said... [Reply to comment]

Perfectly stated! Thank you!

Carmen said... [Reply to comment]

@ Carla-- Thank you!!! I've been a bit out of the loop & in a fog the past while and somehow missed the newest rate announcement! The post has been updated with the new info!!!

@ Kathleen-- thank you! & ya know what? I wish my parents would have known I was going to get numerous tattoos and piercings and would have done it early when I 'wouldn't remember'... ;o)
Even with my ear piercings, despite being Hispanic (where very early ear piercing is the norm) they waited until I was old enough to ask them and make the decision myself!

@ melissa joanne- thank you :o)

Jennifer said... [Reply to comment]

Carmen, What a great post. I am glad we did not have Alex circumsized, I feel guilty about having the six others done, but again that was done in "dumber" days


Carmen said... [Reply to comment]

You are a real life example of exactly what I mean when I say 'better today then yesterday & even better tomorrow'!

It would have been so easy for you to do your research and still cut Alex simply because you did the other boys! You are proof that it's never too late to educate yourself & that when you do and find out that you could do better than you've done in the past, you don't beat yourself up about it-- you simply do better an try to move forward!
You practically live in a locker room with all those boys and managed to get past the 'he won't match his brothers' stigma!
Kudos to you! :o)

mygentlebirthing said... [Reply to comment]

I am so completely humbled by this post. You say everything I believe, everything that is my passion (a new one at that), and everything I'm so grateful for (because I had a daughter instead of a son in 2007).
I never thought circumcision was something that should be my right to make a decision about, and I never knew why... I was not an inactivist, I honestly had no idea about anything having to do with intact-ness, every man I've never seen has been circumcised. I just knew in my heart, soul and being that I couldn't make that decision on behalf of a son. I have since talked my husband out of his reasons for wanting a circumcised son, and he has seen a video of a newborn having it done, while in medical training. He is not as passionate as I am about it, but he vows he will not ever make the decision to have his son circumcised.
Thank you so much for this post!

My Gentle Birthing

sam said... [Reply to comment]

Not your penis. Not your choice.

Good post :-)

Restoring Tally said... [Reply to comment]

Well said! You are correct. The circumcision decision must be made by the owner of the penis, not anyone else. I was circumcised at birth and I really wish my parents had left my sex organ alone. I would have preferred to keep my body whole.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I'm impressed by the way you stated your position even at the risk of losing many of your FB friends. One of my best high school friends is a pediatrician whose status updates often refer to going to work to perform circumcisions ("the baby boys in the nursery better watch out!"). It makes me ill, but I have yet to gather the confidence to say anything about it. Obviously I can't suggest she watch a video to see what the procedure is really like! She is not a mother yet, so I'm hoping that when the time comes she will change her ways.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful post Carmen! And so TRUE!

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