My Sons Don’t Match- Aftermath

When I published my post “My Sons Don’t Match” a few days ago I didn’t know what to expect.  It was frightening to put something so personal, both to me and to my sons, on the internet.  That knot in my stomach told me I should.  I knew it could help other mothers who might be afraid not to cut their second (or third, fourth, and so on) simply because they had done so to their first.  And it might even help a first time mom make the decision not to cut at all.

I’ve been around the internet long enough to know that the topic of circumcision is enough to cause riots in comments.  Because the topic was about my own family, my own children, and my role in the event that causes me so much pain, having strangers weigh in was terrifying.  I knew the bad comments would sting a million times worse on this post than any others I have ever written.

When I hit publish my whole body was trembling and I waited for a comment.  The first comments were on my Facebook Fanpage.  At each positive comment, thank you, and commiseration I started to let go of the shaking and I breathed a sigh of relief.

When the first mother commented that her unborn son would be saved from the knife thanks to my post I knew it was all worth it.

 

 

Comments continued to pour in, both on the post and on Facebook.  95% were positive and quite a few brought tears to my eyes to hear mothers regretting their decision as much as I do.  Most were urging me to move on from the guilt.  Others offered ideas for when my boys ask about the differences in their parts.  Surprisingly, many other families had gone through the same situation and sometimes the boys never even noticed the difference.  Same for sons not matching their fathers.

I would also like to thank the mothers and fathers who emailed.  I’m especially thankful to the intact men who have emailed me experiences and words of advice.  My website doesn’t get a lot of male traffic so that feedback was very welcome.

Reading these comments has affirmed my decision for my second son, and has even given me some peace over the decision we made for my first.  As much as I regret circumcising him it is done and the only thing to do now is hope he will understand why I did what I did and forgive me.  Luckily the rates of circumsicion are now dropping and by the time my boys are old enough to undress in a locker room I have a feeling each of my sons will have “penis brothers” around them.

The biggest realization has been that our medical system failed my family.  I was not given the proper information or facts about circumcision.  Perhaps other hospitals and care providers do offer unbiased facts on both options but mine did not.  Would we have changed our mind?  Maybe…. or maybe not.

This post would have never seen the light of day if it weren’t for Gina from The Feminist Breeder.  I’ve been writing this post in my head for months and never had the courage to put my fingers to the keyboard.  I started it once and cried so hard and had no strength to finish so I erased what I wrote.  The mere fact that she mentioned the C word publicly gave me a boost of courage.  If she could face the potential shit storm of haters then so could I.  So thanks Gina!

The response to my post gives me faith in humanity and the internet.  When things could have taken a different road, parents (for the most part) respected me and my family.

Internet: 1 Trolls: 0

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  • How blessed you are that you had some men personally contact you with some words of wisdom.  We each make parenting decisions based off of what we think is best at the moment.  Sometimes we are at peace with those decisions and other times we wish we could change or undo them.  

  • Doula_jen

    “The biggest realization has been that our medical system failed my family.”   YES.  This.  
    Informed consent is supposed to be one of the tenets of ethical medical practice, but it so rarely happens in our country.  People are not fully informed about the things that medical personnel do to them, and if a person isn’t fully informed, then she’s not really making a choice.  (Just think of the disaster that our maternity care system is!)   I am so sorry that you were not fully informed the first time, but you are giving a big gift to your second son—-and hopefully lots of other sons in America, too:  the ability to chose for themselves when they’re older.  

  • Knoodleknits

    You are incredibly brave, and I respect you even more than I did previously (which was a great deal) for posting why you did yesterday. Thank you. Because of women like you, I kept my firstborn intact and was also able to influence my brother to keep his firstborn intact. Please let go of your guilt, “when we know better we do better”, and find comfort in the fact that you are helping people and may not know it :0)

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! That means a great deal.

  • Rani

    Thank you so much for sharing! I really feel for you. My husband was very strong about not circumcising our boy, so I never even had to deal with that decision. You are an awesome mom!

  • tinytami

    hey there! just wanted to say that i totally appreciate your decision, and i think we all have to do what is right for us. i am jewish, so if we have a boy he will be circumcised, but the jewish ritual circumcision is immensely different from the hospital experience. it is very quick, and sometimes the baby doesnt even cry. and you get to nurse the baby right away. the mohel (the guy who does it – sometimes a woman) dedicates his entire life just to this practice, so he is a complete expert. after reading about hospital circumcisions, i was horrified, but then reading about how the jewish people do it i felt much better about my decision. thank you for sharing your story!

    • Linda

      He will still experience just as much sexual dysfunction as a boy cut in a hospital. The decision is his, not yours. (P.S. someone who “dedicates their entire life” to cutting babies genitals off, is a pedophile. Just fyi.)

  • Kate

    “When the first mother commented that her unborn son would be saved from the knife thanks to my post I knew it was all worth it.” AMEN!THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY, KIM!The United States of America is one of only a few fully industrialized nations (and in the minority in the world) that continues to routinely circumcise baby boys for non medical and non religious reasons. Unless there is a religious or medical reason to do so, it is hardly ever done outside of the USA, with the exception of a few other countries.The supposed “health benefits” are so marginal and so statistically insignificant that it is ridiculous to cite that as a reason to circumcise. Outside of legitimate medical or religious reasons I can think of no reason to take this choice away from a healthy, perfect baby boy.Just to put this out there, I am still shocked and horrified at the ignorance that seems to exist among American pediatricians in this area. I have heard countless stories that the doctor said the child’s foreskin was too tight and suggested circumcision was necessary despite the parents not wanting to have this procedure done. A boy’s foreskin should never be retracted by anyone other than him. It may not be fully retractable until he is an older child or even a teen in some cases. You do not need to retract to clean your son! It can damage his penis. Phimosis can be a legitimate reason to circumcise but not at the infant/toddler/child stage!

    • Kate

      Oh and I am not trying to start a religious debate or upset people, but I have never understood why so many Christians feel the need to circumcise. It’s a Jewish practice. It’s a Muslim practice. I respect those who choose to do it for those reasons. It has never been historically a Christian practice. There should be no religious pressure to circumcise for Christians, in my opinion.

    • Kate

      Sorry for going on and on here. I am just a little passionate about this. People have the right to choose for themselves. I am not saying people are wrong for the choices they make. I DO think that it should be a requirement to those who are considering this procedure to watch a video of a child being circumcised. You can search and watch  them on YouTube. I warn you though, it is just about the most horrifying thing to watch I have ever seen in my life.

  • Smell_the_rose

    Kim, I respect your decision and sharing your story. I was very sad that the few of us who had differing opinions were slammed with others who were disrespectful (I see one example in a comment below…). I only took the time to comment because I felt you were taking the high road so to speak about this issue and had a good attitude and assumed commenters would do the same. Not so! It seems that all mothers want to do
    is criticize each others parenting and tell one another that their way
    is the best way. Why does it seem that mothers get a high out of being a
    one-upper all the time? 

    I know I’ll get nasty comments just for saying all this!

    • Anonymous

      It seems after the first day of comments that more “outsider” comments came in. It was a handful of people that are probably considered intactivists. I read your comments and everyone else’s and I respect your opinion and the others who took time to comment. I decided not to moderate them unless they were just plain nasty. Please know the comments in the post are not all a reflection of my opinion. I do appreciate your POV. Thank you.
      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  • lauren

    I read this with interest and just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience. I also wanted to echo others who have expressed surprise at how much anguish you still have about it, even though of course your feelings are valid because they are yours. But it sounds part of it is that you weren’t there with him when it happened and don’t know how much pain he was in. You had asked if there were people out there who had been with their babies when they were circ’ed, so I thought I would offer my experience. We had ours done at the 2 week checkup, and we stayed with him the whole time, the ped explaining everything as he was going. My son fussed for the numbing shot (not even an actual cry, just one little fuss), and then happily sucked a paci dipped in sugar water for the rest of the procedure. Now, if you wanted to ask how he did when he received his vaccination shots, I would have to tell you he screamed his head off. 🙂 Leaving aside the topic of to circ or not to circ, I just wanted to offer that experience. It is quite possible he slept through the whole thing. If that helps you in any way.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks very much for sharing your experience.

      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone