Parents who have circumcised their children and come to regret making that decision often feel a sense of purpose by sharing their story. Men who have chosen to be circumcised have also regretted their choice. These stories reveal a side to circumcision that new and old parents alike may never have considered. Circumcision pain reaches far beyond the physical into the mental, emotional and spiritual, too.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Most Precious and Beloved Son (by N.E.)

My most precious and beloved Son,

 I am writing you this letter because it has been on my heart to do so since having the realization that I failed to protect you when you were a baby. I’m talking about consenting for you to be circumcised. This letter is difficult to write because it kills me to know the pain and suffering you went through with my permission. It makes me sick knowing things could have been different if only I had educated myself.  You see, all babies are born with a foreskin. It is a normal part of genitalia and in baby boys and it is routinely removed after birth where we live. The doctors did not tell me about the risks of circumcision or the benefits of being left intact. It is left up to the parents to find out about these things with very little guidance from the medical community. I didn’t even know I needed to research it.

Son, your father and I decided to have you circumcised because we thought it was good for you. We had believed it to be more hygienic than leaving you intact and that it was just something you had to do for a boy. I had no idea that it was dangerous, is painful as it is, or that your foreskin was an important part of your penis that had an important role in your emotional, physical and sexual life. I did not research anything aside from recalling discussions I had with a man I knew who had a circumcision later in life and how he wished his Mother would have had it done when he was a baby. Everyone says it’s better to do as a baby because you don’t remember it happening.  There are a lot of things that people say because they have heard others say it and eventually, they come to believe these things. I encourage you to be a free thinker my love. Read, think analytically, and pray when you encounter these sorts of people and thinking.

After we brought you home, a good friend of mine started sharing information about circumcision.  My heart sank when I realized the kind of risks I took with your life and how much damage circumcision caused boys. You had some complications from your circumcision as well.  On the day you had the surgery performed, you came back to me mostly quiet and still. Your Daddy assured me you did “good” and that the procedure was quick. I quickly picked you up and loved on you and offered you my breast but you were not interested for long. Shortly after that you began to cry an inconsolable cry and panic rose up in me. I was so worried about you and it was awful to not be able to calm you. I worried I wasn’t breastfeeding you right and there was something wrong with my ability to produce milk for you. I prayed over you and held you close until you finally closed your eyes and slept. Several months passed and one day I opened your diaper you had a giant blister where your foreskin once was and no one could tell me what had caused this blister. You also suffered from adhesions where your skin tried re-attaching to the glans of your penis. No one warned me of the risks of circumcision and even though I wish someone would have; ultimately it was my responsibility to educate myself and I did not. I failed you and I am devastated by this reality.  I can only hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me. If I had the chance to take it back, I would.

This has been a transformative experience for me and while I have agonized over this event in your life; I have tried to redeem the experience by becoming part of the intactivist movement. My goal is to make a little intactivist out of you as well. It has always been important to me for you to learn empathy and respect for human rights.  The man I pray you become will be passionate about caring for others, have integrity and speak the truth regardless of the consequence. I can only lead by example. You already join me as I advocate for those baby boys whose parents do not know the truth. Moms and Dads who think they have to do this for their sons when in fact, they do not. You show me the babies on the cards and carry them around with you.  I take this responsibility very seriously and I am passionate about telling people the truth even if it means people don’t like what they hear.  I believe in supporting the human rights of all people, no matter what their age, sex, color, religion, or sexual orientation. These are the types of things we must not be silent about. Every time I share, I think about you. I love you so much and am so blessed to have you as my son. I am always here for you and pray that this can be a healing experience for you.

Love Always,

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