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.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Not Normal (by J.M.)

I never questioned it. 
Well, I *did* bring it up before you were born, "Are we going to circumcise?" It really was a rhetorical question. 
Duh, of course we are. 
So you "look like Daddy", so you're "normal" in the locker room, and because we're not hippies.
Fast forward to 2 days after you were born. You are perfect. We drive to the pediatrician's office. I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach, an uncomfortable feeling. You *are* perfect and I don't want to hurt you, but I do it anyways. It's the right, normal thing to do. *I* am normal, all the doctors are waiting, Daddy is waiting, other patients are waiting, it's not a big deal, therefore this must be right.
They won't let me come with you and I cry while I'm waiting for you to come back. (Clearly, an emotional post-partum mother)
"I hate this. Why are we doing this?"
You're back. I am nursing you the best I can to comfort you. You're so tiny, only 2 days old. Suddenly, there's blood oozing out of your tiny diaper. Apparently, I ruptured the clot while holding you. 
"Oh, god, I'm so sorry!" 
The doctor just warns us to be careful. This must be normal.
Fast forward a couple weeks. I am bringing you back to the doctor's because I "know" something's not right. You cry so much when I have to push back the foreskin and, though I'm not an expert on penises, I think the ridge of the head of your penis should be more pronounced.
Doctor says, naturally, "It's reattaching. Sometimes it tries to heal itself." 
(This is normal?)
The doctor then tells me to hold you down while he grips your penis and pushes back on the foreskin. Hard. You scream, I cry, you bleed. This is abhorrent.
(Yes, this is normal.)
Fast forward 2 weeks later. Your penis is trying to adhere again. This time I know. 
I also know you need anesthetic.
Why didn't they give it to you the last time? 
So I ask, and he seems surprised, but he gives me a tube and sends us home, only to come back the next day after I've kept the numbing cream on you for a couple hours. (The doctor would have actually cut into you again without anesthetic?!)
This is not right. This is *not normal*!
Back again. The doctor uses an instrument similar to a scalpel to cut your adhering foreskin. You cry, it still hurts you, and you bleed.
I am crushed, I am defeated.
I made the wrong choice.
I never meant to hurt you, over and over. I am the one who is supposed to protect you. I am the one supposed to make the right choices for you. I am your Mother. I am so sorry, my beautiful, perfect angel. I didn't know. 
I was ignorant. 
I am sickened.
This marked the beginnings of changes in my many parenting perceptions and beliefs I had before you were born. I needed to write this in hopes of being able to forgive myself. You may not remember your circumcision, but I cannot forget it.
I love you so much.


  1. crying....I cannot forget what I did to my sweet son 16 years ago...I need to write my story too. Love to you Mama <3

    1. I cried when I read this too. This is a painful reality for many. Would be honored to share your story, too, mamagonzo. You can send it to circregret@gmail.com.

  2. I cried when I read this too. It breaks my heart that this is allowed to continue in America. I pray for the day that routine infant circumcision is made illegal so that this barbaric procedure can be stopped. No baby deserves to be put through that, and I am so sorry your son was made to suffer like this. My heart is breaking for him, and for you.


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