***Update*** This post is over 2 years old now.  With time I have come to terms with my guilt more than I had when this post was written.  It doesn’t mean I’m OK with the decision, it just means that I have forgiven myself and my husband for the uninformed decision we made.  I know this post has been shared by many online groups that are anti-circumcision and I’m fine with that.  I just want people to understand that it was not written to shame or guilt the families who have circumcised.  It was written to share my own feelings about the subject for families who are still deciding.  My boys are now 5 and 3 and so far neither has asked why their parts are different…

Hitting publish on this post is like stepping out on stage nude, but even more so because it is more revealing than not wearing clothes.  I want to post this more than anything in the world and at the same time I want to hit erase on both the post, and the moment that made this post possible.  First, let’s go back to 2008…

 

When I saw my first son in 3D on that giant screen I was thrilled.  My husband and I wanted a boy and there IT was.  Happy cheers and tears all around!

Planning for a boy was exciting.  I picked an alligator theme for the nursery and even cross stitched an entire set of Mario’s from the Nintendo games.  I just knew my son would be a gamer like his father and myself and I couldn’t wait to play video games with him.  Names were hard to decide on.  Had he been a girl I had a name all picked out.  Once we decided on “Fletcher” we were set.  Nursery-done.  Name- done.

The “to cut or not to cut” debate came up in the many conversations about the little baby kicking in my tummy.  I let my husband decide.  At the time it seemed like a decision he should make.  Unlike cloth diapers, I didn’t research that aspect of having a child very much except to know that there were two choices.

When I toured the hospital I asked the nurse about the procedure and if the babies received any pain medication, how bad was it, would they be in pain after, and what would we do to care for it.  She showed us the little baby shaped table with straps and outlined what would happen.  A knot formed in my stomach.  I pictured my vulnerable newborn strapped, screaming, to that table.  Suddenly I wasn’t as happy about having a boy.  If he had been a girl this terrible decision would not fall on us and I would have a clear conscience.

November 22 I gave birth.  November 24 I was set to be released from my hospital prison and would be sent home with a baby.  The only thing keeping us from our home was the circumcision.

As I write this and hold back tears I see the signs.  I should have said No.  I should have realized that the obstacles put forth on us were meant to steer us toward another decision.  I should have listened to that little voice in my head, that knot in my stomach, the physical illness that crept up on me as the event came nearer.

Instead, I waited.  We were informed that the doctor from our practice on staff did not perform circumcisions for personal reasons.  SIGN.  The other practitioner, a midwife, did not perform them.  SIGN.  We would have to wait until after 4:00 PM for the next doctor.  I had never met this OB and yet I was expected to trust her with my son’s genitals.  SIGN.

I remember feeling annoyed at being in the hospital many hours longer than I should.  I also remember the anxiety as this procedure loomed over me.  I dreaded what would happen to my son but I convinced myself this is what was right.  This is what millions of parents do every year.  It is normal, routine, every day.  If it were so bad why in the world would so many parents choose this?  Breathe.

The time came and a nurse explained again what would happen.  We were told my husband nor I could go with him because so many have fainted in the past.  SIGN.  My first born son was wheeled away in his bassinet to a room: location unknown.  I honestly don’t know how long it took.  Ten minutes, thirty, an hour…. I sat on the bed and cried.  I started having a panic attack as I envisioned my baby back on that baby shaped tray with his arms and legs strapped down.  What must he be thinking?  Every time I thought of the pain he would be going through my anxiety would get worse.  My husband, ever calm, tried to reassure me.

The nurse and the OB who performed the circumcision wheeled a burrito baby into my room.  He was asleep.  I breathed a sigh of relief and wanted to scoop him up and never let him leave my side again.  The nurse and OB explained about how to care for the newly trimmed penis.  I was so afraid of doing something wrong that they had me change a diaper there in the hospital.  Again, the knot in my stomach returned when I saw the red, oozing, bleeding penis.  I felt physically sick at the sight.  Suddenly, I hated myself.  I tried to hide the internal dialogue happening as I learned to gently apply gobs of (non cloth diaper friendly) vaseline to the penis, then add a tiny square of gauze over the top to prevent chaffing.  I was assured he was feeling no pain and that it would heal quickly.  After they told me that he slept through most of the procedure I wondered if this was true (how could it be, unless he was in shock) or if this was a lie designed to make mothers feel less guilty after seeing the result of the circumcision.  (Perhaps a L&D nurse would like to chime in on this one.)

Weeks passed and I noticed that my son’s foreskin wasn’t peeling back as it should.  Or, I thought it wasn’t.  I’m no penis expert.  I asked our pediatrician and she confirmed that there was some skin adhesion and we could do one of two things about it.  Because it was significant we could use a steroid cream on it to thin the skin and hope it pulled back.  Or, we could wait until he was curious enough to start tugging away and hope it broke away then.  The knot in my stomach returned.  This is so wrong, I thought to myself.

We used the cream and saw a little improvement but not much.  Every visit to the pediatrician left me more concerned and feeling more guilty because it looked as if I had ruined my son’s penis.  I did begin blaming the OB for a botched job, but saw so many other cases of this happening to other boys (friends’ children) that I started thinking it was common.  But not common in a good way.

One day, long after my son turned one, all of the skin was able to pull back.  Finally, things looked “normal.”

Over time many things changed in my life.  I learned more about parenting, babies, and pregnancy thanks to the internet.  I can’t explain when and why but one day I broke down in tears when I was bathing my son and saw his penis and the unnatural look of it and realized the ramifications of what had  been done to him.

I cried at the idea of him missing a part of himself.  I cried at the possibility of one day having to tell him that I and his father are the reason he was cut.  I cried because he experienced unknowable pain and I can never take that back or truly understand what it felt like.  I even cried at the thought of him missing out of future sexual satisfaction because I thought circumcision was normal and that if I DIDN”T have it done to him he might one day have a future partner who wouldn’t want to have sex with him.

And I cried because he didn’t match his brother.  His little, intact brother who was bathing along side of him.  My boys were splashing and smiling and I was crying because one day I would have to also explain why one penis didn’t look exactly like the other.  How the hell do you explain that do a pair of curious young boys?!  I’ve played out the conversation a million times and no matter which way I choose to say it it doesn’t sound good.

Why am I choosing to post this? (assuming I grow the ovaries to do it.)  I think there are a million reasons, but one is that I am finally following that knot in my stomach.  The knot that has been nagging me for over 3 years.  I didn’t listen to it the first time it tried to warn me NOT to cut.  Now the knot is telling me that I need to tell me story so maybe another boy won’t have to get strapped to that baby shaped table.

A few years ago I stopped following a few Twitter users because every time they tweeted about MGM (Male Genital Mutilation) it disgusted me.  It angered me that they would broadcast those messages and images.  I was still clinging to a notion that what I had done was OK and a valid choice for many parents.  I scoffed at those “intactivists” and convinced myself that they needed to find a new cause.  In reality, those blog posts and tweets were just reminding me that I had done something that couldn’t be taken back.

I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty.  We all make mistakes; some are just harder to live with than others.  The decision to circumcise my son weighs on me every. single. day.  Each time I see him nude I am faced with what I did to him.  Over time the guilt has only increased as I learn more and more about the ramifications of being cut and what this might mean to him as an adult.

Hitting publish is going to take more courage than anything else I have done in my life.  I’m terrified of criticism and negative comments.  I don’t do well with hurting anyone’s feelings and this post is likely to do so.  I’m even afraid that people I know in real life will read this and judge me.  Before you tell me I am awful for circumcising in the first place, or awful for not circumcising, or even more awful for posting about it, read “Who I am and Where I’m Coming From.”  I can’t even explain why I’m posting this, I’m just finally listening to that knot in my tummy and hoping maybe a little cathartic blog post will give me some sort of relief.

(PS, I cannot read back over what I just typed.  I’m already in tears and I can’t re-live it again.  Please excuse any run on sentences or typo’s.)

233 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting this!  Now that I am a bit older and more educated, I too feel horrible for allowing my son to have this done when he was born 12 years ago.  Now that I actually know what is really going on, I would never, ever have done that to him.  I was lucky enough to have girls with my next two babies, but the whole thing still bothers me.

  2. Kim –

    Please dont feel guilty – you are a great momma, and I think this is one of those controversial topics for which there is no right or wrong answer. American society is riddled with these parenting controversies – BFing v. formula, Extended BFing v. Weaning,  cloth v. disposables, to cut or not to cut… We are a strong willed nation, and unfortunately are not always tolerant of people with differing viewpoints – I hope that the comments that you receive here dont venture into that territory.

    My little guy is intact, but its a decision I definitely wrestled with. I, too, let my husband make the decision. Dad and baby match.

    I think that it is important to remember that when you talk to your boys one day and the question of why they don’t match arises, that you use the opportunity to teach them about differences, and tolerance, and that just because they look different, it doesnt mean that one of them is broken, or not normal. And most of all, dont let yourself feel guilty when you explain to your oldest why he was cut… he may never even ask why.

  3. I am so proud of you for being brave enough to share your story. I think that lots of moms have the same knot you do, but feel society’s pressure to conform to what they think is normal. Time and time again society’s normal is proven wrong. It takes brave people to speak up and stand out on these issues. Thank you for posting this. Thank you for being brave enough to speak up. Thank you for planting the seed of doubt that might save a tiny baby boy from being strapped to that table. Hugs to you. I know that wasn’t easy.

  4. I am in tears reading your post. We circumcised our son and I regret it every day. If only I had done the research and followed my heart. You are definitely not alone. Thank you for deciding to post.  Let’s hope it helps other new mamas step back and do the research before it’s too late.

  5. Thank you for your honesty! I have a son that I too circumcised and still feel guilty as well. Not quite to the same extent as you, but guilty still. As a mother, we are faced with major decisions in our kid’s lives everyday. It is so hard to know if we are making the right ones. All we can do is trust our gut. Circumcision is such a personal choice either way. I don’t find your post offensive at all. I can relate with your heartache over putting your son thru unessecary pain. You are more scarred than he will ever be! Thankfully he has nothing to compare it to and will not remember the pain. Although you have deep regrets, don’t beat yourself up. Take from this lesson learned, trust that inner mommy gut!

  6. This is exactly how I feel! I had three baby girls first then found out I was pregnant with a boy! I was so excited. I let my husband handle my sons penis because I felt I didn’t have a say in it. I didn’t even think much about it until the day it was done. It took everything in me to hand my baby over to be cut! And then I wanted to run down the hall and stop them. I remember being so upset and knowing it was wrong but I felt like I couldn’t stop it or like it was normal and I was being “weird”. Now we want another baby and I hope for another boy but I am terrified. My husband is set against an intact baby. He said the new boy would need to match him and his brother. How did you get your husband to agree? He says our first son doesn’t remember it so it’s not a big deal. He also seems to think that an intact teen will kill them selves for being different in the locker room. We live in the Midwest. I think most boys are not intact around here. How should I handle this? I am almost willing to not have another baby because I am not putting another boy through this. You are so brave for posting this. I am going to show this to my husband. I really think this will help other woman decide not to cut their sons. If anyone has any advice I would apreciate it.

    1. I think a good point to make with your husband is that the circumcision rate is declining in our country and will continue to do so now that every medical organization in the world says it is medically unneccessary and does not recommend doing the procedure, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Just because it’s been the norm and in his day an intact boy might have been a target does not mean it will be this way in the future.

  7. You were extremely brave to post this, i wish it had been about 4 weeks earlier. I just had my second son and he was cut like his brother and father b/c i was afraid to even go down the road of my boys being different. I didn’t do any reasearch the first time b/c i didn’t know to. this time, i didn’t do the research b/c i didn’t want to have to make a decision that might make my boys different. I do regret it.

  8. Thank you so much for posting this! I can imagine it took lots of courage. I have almost the exact same situation as you. I let me husband decide with our oldest son and have regretted it ever since. We even dealt with the same issue of it not healing right and looking abnormal. When my second was born I literally held onto him weeping in my bed because i thought my husband was going to steal him away and do the same thing. It was a completely irrational fear I just had post partum hormones flowing. I now have 2 intact boys and one not. I have mulled the conversation I’m going to have with them over and over. It’s so encouraging to me to read your article and realize I’m not the only one. I always felt like I did things twice as wrong first cause we circumsized my oldest then cause our kids don’t “match”. Thanks again!

  9. I don’t have any little boys, 3 girls here so far, but I have 3 friends all with intact boys… I made the mistake of watching one of circ videos on youtube, about halfway through I just wanted to turn it off, but I had to see the rest of it! I’ve never been more sure of the decision to not cut any future sons as I am today!!
    Posting this took a lot of courage (and a monster set of ovaries) and I’m proud to say that I read what you write! Going to link this to my facebook if you don’t mind, Kim.

    1. Yes that is fine. I’m happy with the comments so far so I’m not quite as freaked out about this being online… Thank You

  10. Thank you for posting this as it affirms my thoughts. If both parents aren’t in agreement though, how is the decision made?

    1. Because we had a homebirth with our second son a circumcision wasn’t an option. While it was discussed it would have had to be done at 6 months with anesthesia. It was a bonus that it wasn’t a real option. I was hoping the leg work would make the decision easier for my husband. With a hospital birth it would be quite a bit different.

      1. That is interesting that you state it would have to be done at a hospital at age of 6 months since he was homebirthed (if that is what you chose). Here if it is not done in the hospital there are some family practice doctors that will do them in office at just a few days old. No anesthesia or waiting til 6 months necessary.

        1. That is all a regional thing. There were no doctors here that would perform it in house, so I was told.
          Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

    2. I bought tons of literature that were in magazine form so my husband would look at them (he was pro-circ before our boys were born). I’d read off all the things i thought could get his attention. The things that actually did get his attention/make him change his mind? The number of botched jobs. And the fact that sex is better for an uncircumcised male (the part with the most nerve endings is what’s removed). And lots of articles by men who had no feeling left before of botched jobs. I didn’t care if his reasoning was sex related, all i wanted was him to get on board with leaving the baby in my belly intact! Years later he has found lots of other reasons why it was the right choice. But it was information like that that got him agreeing that circumcision was not best for our baby.

    3. Before my first son was born my husband was pro-circ and I had to convince him to leave our son intact.  I emphasized that deciding not to circumcise is not a final decision.  If it was too hard to keep the uncircumcised penis clean (I certainly did not think that would be an issue) then we could always decide to have our son circumcised when he was a bit older under anesthesia.  Or, if our son ever decided that he wanted to be circumcised then he could it done at any age.  But, if we decided to have him circumcised then that was a final decision – we could never change our minds and our son would never have any say in the matter.

      Once my husband grew used to my son being uncut it was no longer an issue.  When we had our second son we were fully in agreement that he would remain intact.

      Wendy

  11. Hugs, Kim! I admire your courage in sharing this very raw, painful truth. I know (unfortunately) that you are not alone in this experience or this regret. Fletcher knows you love him, I’m sure of that…so just be honest with him when he asks. There’s nothing more valuable than the truth. <3

  12. Thank you so much for writing your story.  It will help many other parents– not only with the circumcision information you have here, but because so many can relate to your pain.  I have 1 intact son but I thank God daily that I learned about circumcision before I had him, because everyone I know circumcises & I thought it was totally normal.  That is one of the big problems.  Other cultures look at us like we are routinely chopping off baby ears to prevent ear infection– it’s just insane.  Yet it is so normal in the US.  Guilt is a heavy burden, but we all carry it for different reasons, especially in parenting.  Sometimes it is irreversible.  Sometimes nothing but words can remedy it.  But you have done a monumentalt thing by sharing your story.

    Most importantly, I want to say I am sorry that the medical community failed you.  Every parent should be FULLY informed about circumcision before having if performed on their children.  They should have to watch the procedure, understand that it kills babies, & see a gallery of botched circumcisions, as well as learn the immunological & protective functions of the foreskin.  With the right info, I don’t know anyone who would actually choose it.  It is the medical community that is failing here– it is THEIR job to do better.  

    1. They will never do that because it hurts the money they would get. Circs will decrease when parents have to pay out of pocket.

      1. Actually parents do have to pay out of pocket (in this area anyways). We looked into having our son circ before I had him and asked some simple questions because at the we were still researching the options and our Drs office told us that it was not considered a medical procedure (it was cosmetic) and that it was a $200 fee for the circ. and that insurances will not cover it.  

        Thank GOD we did the research and chose not to have him circ. Honestly, (both hubby and I will agree) that it was one of the best decisions of our life.
        I’m just glad our son was our 3rd child because after having my oldest I learned that research was my best friend and looking back I would have done many things different had I just done the research before I ever had kids.

        All I can say is you live and you learn…No need to feel guilty for our decisions. We all make mistakes and I try not to dwell on them. I just move forward and continue to research what is best for MY family. I am pregnant with #4 right now so hopefully I will be a pro at this research/decision thing. 😉

      2. It’s not just the fees, the actual foreskins are sold. Each foreskin, as it’s sold & resold down the line, can generate $100,000 in sales

  13. When my son was born, my husband and I planned to have him circumcised.  A few minutes after they took my newborn away, they came back and said they couldn’t circumcise him, he had what was called an ‘automatic circumcision’ (foreskin not attached, he’d grow into it, yada yada).  I felt relieved hearing this.  One month ago, the day my son turned 14 months, he had surgery to remove a cyst and fix a hernia =(  WORST day ever and this is why…  The day before the surgery I took my son to see his pediatrician for possible penile adhesion.  She called the surgeon to make sure they could just fix it for him while he was under anesthesia.  The morning of the surgery, the surgeon was looking him over in pre-op.  I was already a sobbing mess, leaving most of the talking up to my husband.  The surgeon said she did NOT see a penile adhesion, everything looked perfectly normal.  I had mentioned the ‘automatic circumcision’ and everyone in the room looked at me like i had 10 heads.  The surgeon said she had never heard of such of thing, but said she could circumcise him if we’d like.  My husband immediately said yeah, why not and I just went along with him.  I couldn’t think of anything besides that my baby was about to go under anesthesia.  As soon as we hit the family waiting room, I knew deciding to circumcise him was the wrong decision and for the past month I have been sick to my stomach over it.  He was in so much pain afterward due solely to the circ, he screamed when he had to be changed, when we tried to hold him facing us.  It has been a nightmare.  Everytime i change him I am over come with guilt, that I could decide such a thing for my child.  I wish I wasn’t bombarded with the option in the  pre-op, I wish I had time to think about it, I wish I wasn’t already such an emotional wreck that day that I could have been more clear headed to at least say ‘not right now’.  I had never thought this would ever be an issue, so I never thought about it in the past year.  

    Sorry for using your comment space as my personal sounding board, but THANK YOU so much for this post.  I just only wish I had read something like this a month ago.  In retrospect, there were so many *signs* I was blind to also, and now I have to live with that.

  14. way to go, you strong, brave mama! While both of my boys are intact. We still brave comments from family members and unknowing friends. This is a hard topic that lots of people don’t want to face or talk about. Thank you for being willing to do so! Maybe you will help one mom who’s teetering on the fence!

  15. Thank you for sharing your post. I have a daughter, and I’m honestly terrified of having to make this decision if we have a son. I didn’t even know there was a decision to make until reading online. We are religious, and circumcision is common in my church culture, even though it’s not a religious practice. My husband is circ’d and he’s mentioned before about a friend who wasn’t and how weird it was. I’ve yet to talk to him about it. I just don’t really understand why I would put a newborn through that when there is no religious significance to us. In fact I didn’t know that circumcision was a common practice until I was in high school. Before that the only thing I knew about it was from the Bible, and I knew that it was no longer practiced as a religious ceremony by Christians. So, I assumed only Jews practiced circumcision. Even if my husband is for it, I don’t think I can let it happen. If I can’t stomach watching it, and I know my husband wouldn’t be able to, than why on earth should we subject our helpless baby to it? The argument that he’d be different than daddy doesn’t really hold water for me.

  16. I cant read your post…I got to you sitting on the hospital bed crying & had to stop.  I know all too well how you feel.  Except I had done the research & was completely against it & my husband was completely for it & we COULD NOT agree.  

    My second son is also not circ’ed and so I know someday, its possible (but not guaranteed) that they’ll ask why they don’t match…but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.  

    Hugs Mama…you can’t change it, so you must forgive youself & do your best to change the future for all the other boys who have moms who think “everybody does it”.

  17. I know how those “crying so hard you can’t see the screen by the time you finish typing” posts feel, so I admire you for being able to hit post.  I don’t have a son myself so I don’t know how I would deal with this myself – my family is Jewish (but not terribly observant); my husband is circumcised himself but kind of wishes he weren’t…so many factors that go into it, but when it comes down to it, like you I feel that knot in my stomach that says “Don’t allow your child to be hurt!”  I think you are very brave to post this.

  18. I am very proud of you!!! I also have been sharing a lot of info on anti-circumcision on my facebook page, twitter, and blog. I have gotten some negative responses to what I was typing, but for the most part people agreed with me… or more importantly, changed their minds! That’s what it’s about… like you said. Even if you can prevent one sweet baby from going through that, this story is worth it. And I believe you will. <3 You are an amazing mother, and blogger. I love following you. I know it's a struggle for you to not feel guilty about your 1st choice, but think about your second. Think about your story, your changed mind and attitude, and the other baby boys you can help. I hope this calms your tears a bit. Stray strong and awesome!!!

  19. Thank you for sharing your story.  It does help people like me…people who don’t have sons, but some day may, and need to hear stories like this to understand that circumcision is not just a harmless little “snip snip” as so many people seem to think.  Your first son saved your second though, so your story has already saved one little boy and likely many more.  I’m sorry you have to live with the regrets, big hugs.

  20. You are right, Kim. We all make mistakes. Some are harder to live with than others. And as mommies, we agonize over every single decision made from per-conception on. You have used your experience as a lesson learned and made (what you and I both consider) a better decision the next time around. But don’t hold on to that guilt. It has served its purpose, and now you need to let it go and just be the wonderful mommy you are to your boys. 

    I know that’s easier said than done. I harbored  guilt for some of the decisions I made while pregnant with my first child- like just taking the word of someone who had a c-section on who was a good OB for me when I was determined to have a natural birth and allowing that OB to tell me I didn’t know when my period had been so I was 2 weeks farther along than I really was and listening to my doctor instead of my gut when I felt something was wrong and he told me it was nothing. Those decisions together ended in my daughter being induced at 35 weeks with tons of IV fluids because of my medical problems (which could have been treated with medication if they had not been ignored to start with) and being threatened with having my child removed from our custody because they thought she lost too much weight (from the IV fluids) and was not gaining weight fast enough. Are her allergies and dairy sensitivity caused by an immature immune system from a premature birth and formula supplementation so the pediatrician couldn’t report me for medical neglect? Maybe. Did she get RSV because her lungs weren’t fully developed when she was born 5 weeks early? Maybe. Is there anything at all I can do to undo all of these wrongs done to my daughter? Nope, but I did learn some lessons. I am driving 2 1/2 hours for prenatal care from the only midwife practice in the state covered by insurance because it was THAT important to me (even though my extended family and in-laws think I’m crazy). I am taking my entire family to a naturally-minded, pro-natural birth, pro-breastfeeding, pro-cosleeping, anti-circumcision family doctor who supports my decisions to delay/selectively vaccinate and extended rear-face in the car. 

    I know how hard it is, and I hope God can heal your broken heart.

  21. While I don’t share your viewpoint on the subject I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience. I did much research on both sides of the topic and while there are plenty of arguments for both sides, there are few personal stories. I know your story will help many soon-to-be mothers see the emotional side of this issue. Thank you for being brave enough to share.

  22. I am sorry that you are hurting from this decision you made, I wish I could offer you a hug. My son is circ’d and I don’t feel it was a mistake, I don’t feel guilty at all. Our pediatrician wouldn’t do the procedure in the hospital, so it was done a couple days later in the office. My son really did not cry one single tear while the procedure was done (we were in the next room, and could hear the doctor and nurse talking, so if he cried I would have heard it. He also used the plastic bell cap to make recovery easier. My son never seemed uncomfortable and a couple days later the bell fell off and he was fine.

    I respect everyone’s choices, if you circ or not, BF or FF, it’s your child and your choice, and while I’m sorry you’re hurting from this, I can’t help but feel like this post is going to make moms feel like having their son’s circ’d is a “mistake” and that we should feel guilty for “mutilating” our sons. While I know that is not your intention, it’s how it made me feel. Decisions like these are personal and no one should ever have to live with the regret you’re feeling, and I hope you find peace, knowing you’re a great mama 🙂 hugs to you.

    1. This is exactly how I feel. I respect other people’s differing opinions but I don’t feel regret for having my sons circumcised. I honestly didn’t have strong feelings in either direction. I let my husband decide. There were no complications and my sons didn’t seem bothered at all. Having my older sons frenulum cut was more traumatic to him! I don’t think I’ve ruined my son’s lives in any way whatsoever.

    2. Circumcion is a cosmetic procedure. Cosmetic procedures should be the choice of the individual who’s body is being altered.
      I know that you feel that it is your choice to alter another person’s body. BUT this is intrinsically different than other parenting choices- as it does not really affect parenting. It affects another person, and how they experience their body and sexuality.

      1. Hiding behind an anonymous name? If you can sit there and judge me, at least own up to it. Anyway,That’s the great thing about being a parent, until he is 18, I get to make the decisions. I would like to know how being circ’d affects sexuality? Will he be gay because of it? Doubtful. My husband is circ’d and is glad he is. He enjoys sex just as any man does, he’s not missing out because his foreskin is gone. So we made the decision after much discussion and research. I doubt my son will hate me because his foreskin was removed.

        1. No opinion here but I did want to point out what the PP was probably intending to say regarding how a man experiences his sexuality.  The foreskin in and of itself is meant to cover, keep moist, and ultimately protect the nerve ending of the top of a males penis.  When a male is circumcised, that protective cover is removed leaving the sensitive part of the penis (the head – which has the most nerve ending in a condensed area than any other part of a body, male or female) exposed.  In reaction to that exposure the head becomes dry and tough, losing some of its sensitivity.  

          Another way to imagine what happens is to think of the other protective “foreskins” we have on our body…our lips, our eyes, a female’s labia, etc.  

          It is somewhat difficult for science to determine if the removal of the foreskin reduces a man’s ability to experience pleasure since most have it done at birth and therefore have no way to compare; however, there is anecdotal evidence out there that would support this idea.

          Hope that helps!

          1. Once I saw a detailed photo comparing an erect circ’ed penis and intact one it is clear the difference.
            Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

          2. It takes an expert eye, good lighting, and getting up close and personal to distinguish cut from intact when both are erect. My spouse, who has been intimate with a half dozen intact and 2 dozen cut men, concurs. However, what is subtle to the eye is obvious to the hand during foreplay.

          3. I just felt as if PP was being awfully judgmental of my decision when I was trying to be polite in mine. I didn’t post here to be judged. As parents we should lift each other up, not tear each other apart for decisions that are personal. Thanks for the info though.

          4. Straight men know but one penis: their own. At any point in time, they can be only one of cut or intact. But a woman or gay man can date one kind of penis one weekend, and the other kind the next. I find it very revealing that quite a few demur sounding American women have revealed on the internet that they’ve “been with both” and prefer intact.

            @Reilly: I beg you to accept this comment in the educative spirit in which I write it. It is a common misconception, held even by sexologists, that the ground zero of male sexuality is the glans. It isn’t; the most sexually sensitive parts of the male body are the very tip of the foreskin, which become the ridged band encircling the erect penis, the inner lining of the foreskin, the frenulum, and the frenular delta. These male bits are all damaged or destroyed by routine infant circumcision. Circumcision is sexually harmful, not because it leads to a gradual degradation of the sensitivity of the glans, but because it ablates the most sensitive parts of the male body. Nearly all scientific investigation here has missed this point. The major exception is Sorrells et al (BJU 2007).

            I am intact and in my 60s, and most of my ability to feel anything in the glans during vaginal intercourse, is gone. But I retain rich feeling in the inner foreskin and frenulum.

        2. I am not judging you anymore than you are making permanent lifelong decisions for another human being.
          Your son is his own person. Not his father. Not you. 

          1. As his parent I’m allowed to make decisions for him until he’s an adult. It’s no ones business if I choose to circ, but thanks for your opinion.

          2. I would like to state, “personal decisions” usually apply to decisions made for oneself- not someone else. I am fine with an adult who chooses to have themselves cosmetically altered in any way (pierced, tattooed, circumcised, other cosmetic surgeries).

            Legally, yes you are absolutely right. You do have the legal right to make that decision.

            The point I was trying to make was not to attack you. Your decision has obviously been made.  I was stating such to add my opinion to the discussion, for those who have not yet made that decision or may have other sons in the future.

          3. “It’s no ones business if I choose to circ,”

            Then do not reveal the fact in an internet forum. When I don’t want to be judged for my choice X or opinion Y, I don’t reveal it and decline to answer questions about it. I invite you to do likewise.

          4. And you do not pay their bills, nor do you care for any member of their family, so it is not your choice or place to tell her she is right or wrong

          5. Choice is really the key thing here. Who’s choice should it be? 

            My response to that is “well who’s body is it”.

          6. Unless she paid out of pocket, I can see anyone’s reason to complain about this cosmetic procedure. It is a procedure performed without medical need, PAID by insurance usually (everyone’s tax dollars) & with our country’s budget deficit, federal & state budget issues, I find is irresponsible for insurances to cover such unnecessary procedures. So, if it is not medically needed, why should all tax payers pay for a non-needed procedures & be told not to complain & to mind our own business? If your tax dollars were paying for me to have a cosmetic procedures, how would you feel? Also, @Amanda Maupin did you ask your pediatrician WHY the hospital won’t allow them there? I’ve been doing research in that aspect and our new pediatrician, anti-circ without medical need, very pro-intact, African decent, absolutely won’t do circumcisions, said it is a liability issue for hospitals, to have doctors performing them on newborns, when there is no medical need. In hospitals, if more than one staff is involved, there is more liability for the hospital versus individual doctors performing in their office, especially with such low caps on medical malpractice! Which means, if they are negligent, they no most attorneys still wouldn’t take on a cases inch the legal costs far outweigh any awarded funds with those limited $$ amounts regarding the caps (max amount you can obtain fom the negligent pediatrician).

        3. Don’t take this persons reply to heart, there are going to be pushy bullying jackarses everywhere you go, what i dont get, is if they dont agree and cannot even empathize with another parents obvious pain, why even post, other than to disrespect and cause more undo stress

          you did just fine, and continue to do so

          Ignore the troll hun, we all have to deal with them from time to time unfortunately:/

        4. There’s a whole industry for men who want to regrow their foreskins.  There have been law suits where grown men sue their parents and doctors that cut their penises.  So, you can “doubt” that your son will hate you, but it’s not a guarantee.

    3. I hope more parents realize that making a cosmetic decision about their infant’s body is a mistake and if they made the mistake with their first, they don’t with subsequent.  If you don’t feel guilty, fine.  If you don’t think it’s a mistake, great.  But maybe it will reach others differently and they will learn from it 🙂

      1. For the record, I am not for male circumcision, however your comparison of female circumcision to male circumcision is misinformed and judgmental to say the least. I did (one) of my thesis papers on fgm, and am very well informed on the subject. Do you know that the LARGE majority of fgm victims have their ENTIRE external genitalia removed? I guess the comparison could be made if people were cutting their sons testicles and penis off, but this is clearly not the case. Not only is your comment unnecessarily hurtful to this blogger, but over-exaggerates the male circumcision procedure while undermining the significance of having ones ENTIRE external genitals removed as is the case in fgm. I am on my tablet right now, so I will not provide citations at this time, but if you would like to read further on the subject of fgm and it’s effects on those victims who have been mutilated, I will be happy to provide you with studies on the subject later today.

  23.  To each their own when it comes to this topic and I see nothing wrong with voicing your experience or concerns (I’m just as passionate about non vaccinating). With either side there are arguments why one way or the other is best. Personally I worked in a family practice office and saw that many non circs had issues with the ‘upkeep’ of being non circed (young children and teens). Many had to be referred to a specialist multiple times. I also worked in anesthesia billing for a period of time. I can’t tell you how many surgeries I saw that were for non-circed problems as men reach 70s and 80s. I’m sure being circed at that age is not fun. Looking at all of these issues I never questioned that our sons would be circed. I also know how most boys are really dirty (it’s their nature lol) and wouldn’t take the seriousness of the ‘upkeep’. Add the fact that if they do start having issues they probably won’t say a word to me and that is just a recipe for disaster.

    Anyway, that is my view on the topic and I didn’t write this to start an argument with anyone.

    1. It is actually quite rare that there is a TRUE medical need for circumcision, and people will either bathe or not bathe. An intact penis is incredibly easy to care for. As an infant until the penis self-retracts (typically between 3-10) all the cleaning it needs is to be wiped down like a finger. You NEVER retract foreskin unless it is YOUR penis. Foreskins aren’t dirty, they are there for a reason. And infants still feel pain. The difference between circumcising an infant and an older male is that the older male can TELL you he is in pain and needs more medicine, and if he does need a circumcision later in life he will be able to understand why it is happening.  Circumcising to prevent problems later is like removing an appendix or gall bladder or tonsils as an infant. But those aren’t done. Wonder why.

      1. Like I said……to each their own. There are arguments for both sides of this issue. I am not bashing those who choose to not circ, I am simply sharing my PERSONAL EXPERIENCE from what I have learned and understood.  They don’t remove appendix, gall bladder or tonsils because they are a functioning organ so  I don’t see your point with that.

        I am not denying they don’t feel pain. They are however given a local to numb the area for the procedure and it is very quick. I don’t believe that the procedure itself is this horrifying experience for them.

        1. I am not being snarky in any way, but saying you saw a lot of problems with whole boys when you worked in a family practice is like a hospital saying they ONLY ever see homebirths gone wrong. OF COURSE you only saw the problems! How many perfectly healthy little boys and teenagers are going to come in just to show you their penis and how well it’s doing? Just saying. I know your experiences have skewed your perception, but it would likely serve you and your patients well if you did some more research on the topic. 🙂

          And the foreskin is a perfectly functioning part of the penis, btw. The penis actually misses out on quite a bit of it’s natural function when it’s missing the foreskin.

          1.  I failed to mention a large majority of the patients were pediatrics. MANY children came in for well child checks and illnesses all the time. I think that seeing a lot of these non circed boys coming in with issues was not a skewed view at all esp considering non circed boys are a minority in the practice to begin with.

            I’m sorry I even made a comment on this blog. It looks as though anyone that had any differing opinion or experiences were slammed with people who responded very disrespectfully. 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?

  24. Thank you for posting this. Perhaps you felt you needed to share this because it’s EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I have one son who is circumcised and we are TTC another baby. If we have a boy it is weighing heavily on my heart to leave him intact. I’ve read a few really good non judgmental articles about circumcision lately and this is just another one that is validating my decision. Thank you so much.

  25. I have sons that don’t match either. My oldest son is now 9 and he isn’t cut due to him needing surgery when he was a week old. So, if we had him cut it would be a the anethesia and big deal thing when he was 6 months or older. My hubby really wanted it done and insisted that that our two other boys are cut…they are 7 and 5. I was hoping that after one not being cut he would change his mind, but hubby didn’t.

    The fact that they are different hasn’t been an issue at all for the boys at this point. Maybe it will be one of those things that they get upset about as adults, but for now all is well. Of course it may also be that our story of why our first is different is an easy one to tell to the boys.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that it may not be so bad explaining the difference. Oh, my uncle and his brothers aren’t the same either and they are all just fine with it!

    Also, I did watch one of my boys get their circ and it wasn’t as bad as I thought, but not something I want to see again. My son only cried for a brief moment and was really calm and yes even sleeping during most of it.

  26. I think it was very brave of you to write what is obviously a difficult topic for you. Your emotions and feelings are real and raw and beautiful, so thank you for writing this.

    However, I have to say that circumcision isn’t evil, and it is NOT mutilation. That’s like saying someone who formula feeds or uses disposable diapers or pierces their daughter’s ears as an infant is an awful person. I love my son just as much as you love yours; being told I “mutilated” my child is unacceptable to me. You do not know the reasons behind why I made my decision. Amazingly enough, there are legitimate medical reasons for a circumcision.

    I really do feel that your poor experience with that circumcision was a failure on the medical staff’s part. My son was circumcised at 2 weeks of age in our pediatrician’s office. He laid on a table in the board meant to secure his legs so he wouldn’t kick, but I sat right next to him, holding his hands and talking to him, offering sugar water as he got the numbing medication to make sure he wasn’t in pain. He didn’t cry, he didn’t fight, he didn’t struggle; but I was there with him. I was very torn on whether to circumcise or not, so my husband and I had the discussion and debated our options. What made us lean toward circumcising was a personal family experience – I had several relatives who had to be circumcised at an older age (one at 3, another at 9, 16, and 25) and it was very painful and difficult to recover from.

    I’m a bit concerned that you still have such a reaction to the circumcision. You shouldn’t feel guilt about being uneducated at the time. If you had all the information, you would have made a different decision. Ignorance isn’t a crime and it doesn’t make you an awful person. I think you’ve done an amazing job and your kids are all so happy!

    1. I won’t get into whether or not I agree with your actual position today because that’s not what this particular blog post is about. However, I would like to point out the fallacy in your logic that circumcision is not mutilation simply because there may be medical reasons. One of the definitions is “to cut off or change permanently.” There are medical reasons to amputate a leg also, but if you do it unnecessarily, that would indeed be classified as mutilation. Some people view piercings the same way. I don’t happen to share their point of view, although I can see how they came to that conclusion. I had my daughters ears pierced at about 4 months old and have any regrets about doing so, but there are hose who would call that mutilation.

    2. Thank you. I am definitely not a fan of the “mutilation” term seeing as how I do have a circ’ed son. And I have issues with those who equate it to torture or FGM. I am still struggling with my feelings. I do think it is a decision families should make and based on more research than i did before my first. Like I said, this is a tough topic.
      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

    3. There are NO legitimate medical reasons for circumcision. Comparing it to formula feeding is insane. You are in denial.

    4. Without judging you, I want to ask how it is not “mutilation”, technically. I mean, it is cutting a piece of someone’s body off without their consent, and requires pain killers…so, in some way that’s mutilation.

      My whole thinking on leaving my son intact was that I just spent 9 months hoping my kid had all the right parts, and now I’m going to start hacking them off? Who decided we should just start cutting bits off? What if some king decided ears were gross and we should start chopping those off at birth? I just feel like…until the medical community can agree on what the damn thing’s for, maybe we give the body the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s got a purpose.

    5. “I had several relatives who had to be circumcised at an older age (one at 3, another at 9, 16, and 25) and it was very painful and difficult to recover from.”

      I can’t help thinking that if they’d been in Europe at least three of them would never have been diagnosed as needing to be circumcised, and they’d have been just fine.  Medics in the USA seem really keen on finding reasons to circumcise though, especially if they’re circumcised themselves.  Your relatives weren’t having their foreskins retracted were they?  All the medical organizations say not to do that, but people still keep doing it, and that can lead to the need to circumcise.

      It’s very painful and difficult to recover at any age, but more so for newborns.  You can’t use general anesthetic on them for a start, the foreskin has to be separated from the glans (the most painful part), and they’re a lot more vulnerable to infections or blood loss.  There are other countries that circumcise, but only two countries in the world circumcise more than 50% of baby boys – the USA and Israel.

      1. You all are so rude! We are all mothers and we all love out children more then anything of this life and you are going to sit and judge..who are you to know anything about why the medical reason was for her family members to need a circumcision..you DON’T know her not does she know you so for any of you to judge a fellow mother is disgusting..we are supposed to have each others backs and support one another wether or not our opinions are the same. My boys are circumcised and if anyone was to tell me I was mutilating them or destroying them is just not okay with me. We all have out own opinions our own beliefs and our own right to parent the way we choose. If you are trying to say its more painful for an infant to get circumcised that is beyond me..I had a friend who had to be circumcised when he wa 17 and he was from Europe thank you and it was beyond painful for him he had to take medicine to stop himself from getting an erection was out of commission for weeks and he CHOSE to be circumcised for his own reasons! I think we should all support one another whatever our choices may be..

        1. Mothers who have their daughters cut love them just as much and are equally convinced they’re doing the right thing, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be questioned (and many of the most common forms of female cutting do significantly less damage than the usual form of male circumcision).

          Doctors who are circumcised are far more likely to diagnose a medical need for circumcision than doctors who are intact, and in countries where it’s rare, almost no-one gets circumcised, especially not before puberty.  I can’t imagine any doctor in Europe or South America diagnosing a need to circumcise a three-year-old (the exceptions would be recurrent UTI’s which happen more often to girls, and hypospadias where the circumcision wouldn’t take place at birth anyway).  There are lots of countries where more than half the men are circumcised, but the USA and Israel are the only two countries where more than half the baby boys are circumcised.

          It is unquestionably more painful for a baby boy to be circumcised than for a grown man for the reasons I mentioned (babies get erections too, as you presumably know).  I don’t have a problem with anyone deciding to be circumcised for whatever reason they choose, but almost all intact men choose to stay that way, so there’s no operation needed at all.

          I know we’re not going to agree on this any time soon, and there are things way more important than circumcision, but I think the choice should be for the man to make, not for the baby boy’s parents.  It’s *his* body.

        2. Ashley,

          As a man who was needlessly circumcised at birth and who has had to deal
          with a lifetime of the psychological, physical and sexual
          repercussions, I am disgusted whenever I hear parents defend their so-called right to cut off normal, healthy body parts from any child, regardless of the gender of the child.

          A circumcised penis has had nerve damage and it will never function the way it was intended to do so. The most sensitive parts have been ablated and the normal gliding action has been destroyed.Yes, male circumcision is a form of genital mutilation and forcing it upon a child is a serious form of abuse.

          You are in denial which is not surprising for a parent who has so permanently and severely harmed her children. The sooner you snap out of this denial, the sooner you can prepare an honest explanation to give your sons when they ask you why a normal part of their bodies was stolen from them.

      2. I agree with you on some of what you said. Sorry in advance if this is a jumbled mess because my paragraphs disappear when I comment here.

        “There are other countries that circumcise, but only two countries in the world circumcise more than 50% of baby boys – the USA and Israel.” Respectfully, this is not true. Just so people are not mislead, circumcision is a Muslim practice as well as a Jewish practice and most Muslim countries have very high percentages of circumcison. However, the USA is one of very, very, very few countries in the world who performs this procedure routinely for strictly cosmetic, non medical and non religious reasons. Honestly I don’t understand it!

        1. There are several other countries where more than 50% of males are circumcised, but they don’t do it to babies.  It’s normally performed at the ages of 7-14 in Muslim countries and the Philippines, and 16-20 in African countries.

          One of the most common arguments for doing it to babies in the US, is that it’s safer and less painful at that age.  That’s not true though, and in the countries which do it later, they find it bizarre that anyone would do it to babies.

          I see no valid reason not to wait until people are old enough to decide for themselves.  It’s *their* body after all, so they should get to choose.

      3. ITA! Unless they had gangrene, cancer or frostbite, they didn’t NEED an amputation of the foreskin. Those are the only actual medical indications for circumcision. If they were given any other reason, they were lied to.

  27. Thank you so much for your post. I have 2 boys and both are intact. We didn’t make the decision whether or not to circumcise our first until we were at the hospital. When I saw my new little baby the whole thought of surgery freaked me out! Thankfully I had a very supportive husband and an awesome pediatrician. The ped shared unbiased info with me and my husband (who is also intact- but said the issue of circ was my choice) was supportive of my decision not to circumcise our son.

    Unfortunately the nurses in the hospital were not as supportive. For both of my boys the nurses brought the consent forms into my room before asking if we wanted circ.  With my second son the nurse even sent the orders for the circumcision in to my sons dr before even talking to me about it.  I think a lot of moms are railroaded into circumcision with out being given real info and an opportunity to trust their instincts.

    My family and friends were not overly supportive of our choice. OK. There were some who were down right rude. Most were just curious.  I think that sharing info and support is the best way to inform others.  Just like cloth diapering, non-circumcising moms need support 🙂

  28. I hope more parents research this very important decision. We didn’t know what we were having the 1st time but I researched and researched and saw pictures. That was enough. I didn’t need to see a video of it done. My husband and I discussed it and easily decided not to circumcise if we had a boy even though my husband is circumcised. After my son was born while we were in the hospital at least 7 different staff asked if we were circumcising. The day we were getting ready to leave a young woman came in asking again, when we said no she said “Oh good, I thought we had missed one.” Nobody offered advice one way or another. People really have to do their own reach with many health related decisions in life, take your own health (or children’s health) in your hands and be as informed as possible. More information is always better than less.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was honest posts like this that helped me decide to not circumcise. You did what you believed was best at the time & circumcision is so ingrained in our culture that we push aside all the little red flags. It takes mothers like you who are brave enough to admit a mistake & move forward who help change that culture. When the time comes to talk with your boys, you will find the words. Your love for your children is obvious.

  30. Kim –

    This sounds almost identical to our story; however, we didn’t find out boy/girl for my first.  So, quite frankly, we didn’t do a lot of research since we were both convinced he was a girl.  It is one of those moments that I replay over and over and just wish I wouldn’t have signed the form. After reading more about it I am horrified and feel guilt about it all the time. My first was a preemie/NICU babe and I can’t believe they even offered such a procedure…but they did…at 4 days old and at 5ish pounds. We are lucky he didn’t have any life threatening issues from it. It sounds like he had the same issues that Fletcher did which is ultimately why we decided to have ‘mismatched’ sons (Our second was born this fall).  If we have any more boys they will be left intact as well.

    Keep your head up, Mama! When we know better, we do better. 🙂

  31. I remember my brother (who is 9 years younger than me), having had a botched circumcision. I was only a kid myself, but I can remember when it happened. Apparently, our aged (and thus I am assuming, shaky-handed) family doctor had “slipped” and they actually had to give him stitches in his little penis. I was pretty shocked, even at my young age, that a doctor could screw up like that, and I knew that that wasn’t normal. My parents were livid, and I remember my mom having to take special care of his stitches once they brought him home.

    Needless to say, my brother healed all right and there were no visible scars. He and my other brother  (who is 8 years younger than me) ended up looking pretty much the same, despite the accident. I helped change a lot of diapers so I know. Neither of them know it ever happened. I’m glad that it didn’t end as badly as it could have.Thank you for sharing your story here. I think there are many options to weigh when you make this sort of decision, and it helps to hear both sides of the story, good and bad. It’s not easy to open up about your personal emotions online, so props to you for having the courage to share your story here.  

  32. Wow–kudos to you for being brave enough to publish this! I don’t know if I would have been, were I in your shoes. I don’t condemn anyone for choosing circumcision for their boys. If I hadn’t married an uncircumcised man, I don’t know that I would’ve thought twice about it, but now that I’ve learned more about it, I cringe to think that anyone still does it. (Of course, if you read My OB Said What?!, it’s amazing what kind of bad practices are accepted as the proper course.)

  33. Stories like yours were a HUGE factor in the decision to keep my Son intact. It was a huge fight to do it, but like you I am a Mother who would have regretted it every day of my life if I hadn’t followed my gut and instinct and caved and cut him.  I hope you forgive yourself someday, we ALL make mistakes as Parents.  

  34. Thank you for sharing your story.  Brings tears to my eyes.  Shame on the doctors and the medical industry for even making you feel like you had to choose this for your son.  This is not your fault.  Your son will forgive you and your story will help save others the same pain.  When we know better, we do better. <3

  35. You are not alone.  My first born son, born in a hospital, is circumcised.  My second son, born at home, is not.  I feel guilt over my first born everyday.  I look at his penis when I change his diaper or give him a bath and I wish I could fix what I had done to him.  To think, I almost had my second one cut so he could look like his brother and dad because my family told me it would be wrong for him to be different.  I plan on someday sitting my son down and apologizing to him, when he’s old enough to understand and hopefully know not to make the same mistake I did if he has a son someday.  I know SO many families who have this same story.  As first time moms, we know very little and trust our doctors.  Unfortunately, they don’t always have our best interests at the fore front like we think they do.  I have turned my guilt into activism.  I am speaking out as much as I can because I know that the hospital and doctors not giving me the right information is to blame for our choice.  I want people to learn what their doctors will not tell them.  So they don’t make the same mistake I did.  The only way we can right our wrong is to protect other babies and moms from having to go through this.  Remember, you are an amazing mom just because you feel the way you do.

  36. Kim, this brought tears to my eyes. What courage you have to share your most inner thoughts and personal experiences with all of us. Your post reinforces me to always go with my gut feeling as a mother. You chose what you thought was best and no one can ask for more than that, it is what all parents do every time they make a choice regarding their child. I am sure any parent who reads this will make an informed decision. Thank you for sharing with us!

  37. Thank you for being willing to be so vulnerable. We chose to circumcise our son and I’m fine with it, but any irreversible decision that you later regret is a sad situation, regardless of which side of the debate you fall on. I’m sure your son won’t hold it against you, and you did the most that any of us can do at any given time – do the best with what you’ve got, and try not to beat yourself up for the things that you later wish you could change. 

  38. Thanks for sharing. I too have boys that dont match it makes me sad but, I didn’t know what i know know. I just did what i thought i was suppose to do (like their dad) with the first two my baby boy is intact though. We learn we grow. I think they will understand:)

  39. Kim – one of the biggest reasons I went ahead with circ’ing my second son was because I was worried about them “not matching.” It was stupid, I know, but I knew so much less at the time. With my first son, I had NO idea why someone wouldn’t circ. To me, it HAD to be done for all boys at some point, and my logic was that I’d rather it be done when he was young enough not to remember it. I didn’t even realize there was the option of NEVER having it done. For my second son, I became more aware that people weren’t circ’ing, but I honestly thought to myself “I cannot deal with the questions they’ll have about why they’re different. I mean, what I’m I supposed to say? Oh, mommy was stupid the first time around and cut you, Jonas, but then I got smart, and didn’t cut you, Jules. It’s just not worth having that conversation.”  CLEARLY I still was not informed enough to know that an uncomfortable conversation was far less troublesome than what would be done to my boys.

    Yes, I feel bad. But like with so many things, all I can do is feel sorry about what I did, and move on. I hope my sons aren’t too mad at me about it. Maybe they won’t care one bit. But I also have a really hard time watching people call it “mutilation” because it implies that my sons are mutilated, and they are not. They are perfect. Yes, they’ve been altered for no good reason, but I would NEVER want someone to make them feel that their genitals are wrong, or disgusting, or “mutilated.” My MamaBear hide gets real hot if I think anyone is referring to my children’s genitals in a defamatory way. It’s not their fault I made those choices, and I know I’m still a good mother. So are you, and don’t let ANYBODY tell you otherwise.

    1. We had serious discussions about doing it again for the boys to match. Now I am glad we did not. I don’t want Fletcher to feel mutilated or less than. At least society still has many, many circumcised men and he is not alone. And luckily for Ev there are more parents choosing not to. Maybe, just maybe, both boys will have a healthy sampling of cut and uncut weiners in their locker rooms.

    2. I completely agree with your second paragraph. People need to really watch the verbage they use about this, especially when discussing the issue around children. Guilt or no guilt, circumcised our not, NO child should be given the impression that there is something wrong or dysfunctional about their genitals (let alone MUTILATED!). There is absolutely no reason to create emotional and psychological issues in children by parents and other adults who have the gall to use these kinds of words. Please, whatever your stance, do not speak about your child’s or any other child’s genitals in such a hurtful way. Your words won’t have any impact on whether they are circumcised or not, but they WILL have the effect of impacting a child’s self-esteem and future sexual health. I too had our first son circumcised because I didn’t really know better at the time. After doing a lot of research on the subject I will not be circumcising any future sons I may have. Yes I have some regret about having my first one circumcised, but that is wasted energy at this point. Every day, every decision I make is the best decision for me and mine given the information I have at the time. This is how I choose to see our decision to circ our firstborn. Good luck to you on your journey through parenthood-I hope you come to peace with this, and are able to find a way to discuss this with your children that is matter of fact, and positive 🙂

  40. My first born son is due any day now and my husband and i have had many conversations about to cut or not to cut.  My husband feels because he is our son should be and that if our son isn’t he will be made fun of.  I on the other had DO NOT want to put my son through it.  i have seen it done first hand in clinical rotations and i do not want to put my son through it.  I would rather not have it done as a baby and have him have the choice farther down the line when he is older.  i have done a lot of research and healing and pain is much less if he gets it done at an older age than as a newborn.  my husband argues that he doesn;t remember it and so it didn’t scar him and his son will be just fine.  thank you soooo very much for being brave enough to post on this, i will be making my husband read this as well 🙂   

    1. With circ rates dropping each child will be made fun of equally. If that’s the only reason hubby can rest easy.

    2. My husband is intact. He didn’t know of anyone else who was not circumcised as a kid- but he wasn’t teased about it. He told me that the whole “locker room issue” really wasn’t an issue. With the rates of circumcision dropping there will be quite a few more intact boys in this generation.

    3. You are right to not want your son to go through this. No national health organizationin the World recommend it and most strongly urge against it;
      http://www.cirp.org/library/statements/.
                  And father/son matching penises really isn’t a good reason to remove healthy, functioning genital tissue. There are a lot of boys being left intact (not circumcised) and having circumcised fathers “Your father has part of his penis (foreskin) missing because doctors used to think it was healthier and now they know it is best to leave the penis alone” When this is explained to intact son they are thankful and would never imagine having their penis skin removed. Over 50% of boys are being left intact in the US.
      85% of the World’s male population is intact (not circumcised) and their culture appreciates the many benefits. The foreskin has a definite purpose and function. Intact genitals are natural and normal. In the medical community it is widely accepted to first do no harm and second to use less invasion means of treatment, especially before amputation (i.e. breastfeeding to reduce UTI’s, antibiotic for treatment, condoms for STD/HIV prevention). The prepuce is a common anatomical structure of the male and female external genitalia of all human and non-human primates; it has been present in primates for at least 65 million years, and is likely to be over 100 million years old, based on its commonality as an anatomical feature in mammals.
      What I really believe is that most parents do not know what is lost. Most parents who are informed of the functions of the foreskin, do not choose to amputate this purposeful organ. Do you know that the male foreskin’s primary function is immunological? Just like the labia in the female, it maintains and contains a number of infection-fighting components, from anti-fungal and anti-biotic microflora that fight yeast and bacteria infection to anti-viral Langerhans cells that trap and neutralize viruses?
      Most people, even many doctors, are unaware of these functions and abilities, leading many to underestimate the need for a foreskin.
      A circumcised penis has no gliding mechanism and has no immunological capability. That means that not only does the circumcised penis abrade the vagina during sex, but it’s also liable to be carrying more infectious agents than an intact penis.
      American men really are losing a lot here when it comes to their full sexual experience, 20,000 pleasure enhancing nerve endings, the foreskin provides natural lubricant and retains and seals in moisture during intercourse, it protects the head of the penis from progressive desensitization, there are 3 feet of veins and arteries, circumcision forever alters the form and function of the adult penis.
      http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html
      http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/taylor/
      http://www.foreskin.org/immuno.htm
      http://www.drmomma.org/2009/11/case-against-circumcision.html
       
      http://www.drmomma.org/2009/10/how-male-circumcision-impacts-your-love.html
       Multiple studies by Cold, Taylor, Sorrells, et al, have shown that about 20,000 fine-touch nerve receptors are amputated in circumcision, amounting to the four most sexually innervated parts of the penis (five, if the frenulum is also removed). Compare that to the 8,000 nerves in the female clitoris, and the 4,000 in the male glans (many of which are not fine-touch, but pressure and pain-sensitive). A new study in The International Journal of Epidemiology; “Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark” Morten Frisch, Morten Lindholm and Morten Grønbæk, concluded that “circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment. Thorough examination of these matters in areas where male circumcision is more common is warranted.”
      A parent, doctor or caregiver should never retract the foreskin of an infant or child (this is well known in all other Nations where circumcision never existed or has since ceased to exist). It is sad because many boys and men are victims of this foreskin ignorance by the medical community and are prematurely forcefully retracted (any manipulation of the foreskin by anyone other than the boy during his own discovery) and have or are living with the consequences of these actions; a lifetime of foreskin problems directly related to forced retraction in infancy and childhood. When American culture learns to leave it alone (this means there is nothing “extra” to clean because the foreskin and penis are one structure during infancy and childhood) then foreskin problems will disappear. Forced retraction is proven to be harmful and compromises the foreskin’s integrity directly causing infection, irritation, scarring, adhesions, adult phimosis and pharaphimosis. As an adult; retract, rinse, replace. Over cleaning will cause an imbalance of good bacteria.

  41. If it weren’t for people like you sharing your stories, our son would probably have been circumcised. Since it is considered normal, we don’t know unless someone says something…so thank you for sharing so others can learn.

  42. You asked for anyone with experience to chime in  – I’m not an L&D nurse but I do have 2 cents’ worth to chime in.  When I was a teenager I was a hospital volunteer.  I spent one summer in the nursery on the L&D floor.  I was asked to assist in 2 circumcisions – my role was to administer sucrose water.  The doctor applied a topical anesthetic, then one via injection.  With both babies there was a little crying, but the pediatricians explained that it was mostly because they were cold and they stopped crying once the anesthetic kicked in.  From my observation, I think he was right.  And if the baby was cold, the sugar water was enough to distract him.  So it is very possible that Fletcher did, indeed, sleep through the whole thing.  So not every circumcision is traumatic for the baby – if you were told he slept through it, I’d believe it.

    I would like to add the disclaimer that this does not make me pro-circumcision so please nobody comment saying I’m horrible and trying to advocate it.  I did not circumcise my son, partially because I have no religious convictions that lead to circumcision and because insurance didn’t cover it.  I am glad I didn’t, but I’m not an advocate one way or the other.

    1. Thank you for that information, i have known of doctors who have done both none and with some, my dr. did numb my boy and I think that made my decision easier, for me

      Again, thank you:):)

  43. Thank you for sharing your story! I have 2 girls and have never had to make the decision. We are discussing TTC #3 and this topic will be discussed as well. I also have a friend who’s sons procedure was done so poorly that they opted to re-do it! That scares the crap out of me! You are helping other moms who have not yet made this decision weigh the options! Thank you!

    1. I know a friend of a friend and her son had to have surgery due to them cutting too much skin. Stitches were needed and it was very scary for them. This doesn’t always happen but it is a scary thought. Luckily the only complication Fletcher had was the skin adhesions.

  44. I am so sorry that your family has gone through this. I’m sorry you feel guilt for a decision you made with your first son. I’m sorry that your going to have the convo about your son’s differences. I’m just sorry. And I am proud of your courage to write this at all. I think this is one of those issues that’s needs to be discussed more and I commend you for starting that convo.
    And now it seems I go against the other poster’s.
    I was saddened by the end of your post. Because you did so well in sharing your story and how you felt a guilt that was only there b/c you weren’t fully informed on everything that goes with this decision. And then you stopped informing and started judging and ridiculing the other side. Circumcision is just as much a religious right/tradition and just like religion itself  it is a very personal decision that we will not all agree on.
    I agree that we need to make sure parent’s are making a fully informed decision but I do not agree that anyone has the right to say that this decision is right or wrong on either side of the issue.
    (hugs) to you for sharing your story and I hope it helped you work through some of the guilt and emotion and has put you on the path to healing.

  45. I hated this decision, mainly because I didn’t really feel there was a “right” choice. I still don’t. If it was entirely up to me, I probably would not have circumcised my sons just because I wasn’t fully committed to the idea. But I trusted my doctor’s expertise and my husband had a stronger feeling about them being circumcised. I know that some people disagree with this stance, but I felt that after we researched information, the choice should ultimately be his as the father and someone who has been circumsized. I have to say that I don’t feel like either of my boys were traumatized by the experience and I am sorry that your experience was so painful. 

  46. I’m extremely proud of you for writing this. Such an emotional topic for so many people, for sure. My son is intact and I’m so proud of that decision, but have gotten so much slack from so many people. In talking with DH before the baby was born I discovered that while us mamas may stress over this decision, no man (I suppose I should say almost no man!!) would rather have something else. Hubby is circ’d and couldn’t imagine life any other way and our son will be the exact opposite, but still not be able to imagine life any other way. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t feel bad, I agree with others…you did what was right at the time. We can’t stress on past decisions (Lord knows we have all made bad ones!!). Thank you for posting, I need to be just as brave when standing up to people who question our decision. 🙂

  47. thank you so much for sharing, you are so brave!

    i have 2 nephews, both have been cut. my older nephew is 3, the 1st child between me and my sisters. since he was 1st born, none of us had done any research (on birth/babies/circ in general) and i believe my sister decided to circumcise so he would look like his father (just a guess).

     my dd was born 2 years later (16 months old now) i prayed and hoped for a boy and was so upset when we saw her girly bits on the u/s screen, but now i know she is a blessing and the fact that she’s a girl was a blessing from god. he allowed me the time i needed to do the proper research, i have learned so much since she was born and i became a sahm.

    my younger nephew is 4mo and i counseled my younger sister against circ, but she was determined to leave the decision up to the baby’s father. in the end, all i could do was provide her with as much information as possible, but i couldn’t make the decision for her.

    if hubby and i ever have a son, i will fight tooth and nail to keep him whole and intact as god designed him.

    (ps-my mil had my bil circ’d in auburn about 4 years ago, her ob did it in the office when he was a week old, but that ob is no longer delivering  babies, i haven’t heard of any other ob’s doing the circ in the office. my nephews were both circ’d at the hospital-the older at crouse, the younger at amh)

    1. Just so you know, legally, it is the MOTHER who decides. Some states/drs ignore this fact,but if you don’t sign the consent form, it is not actually legal for your hubby/baby daddy to consent to circumcision! If you have decided against cutting and you have a boy in the future, put it in writing before going to the hospital. Tell staff not to mention circ, not to bring the consent form, etc, especially if daddy isn’t convinced.
      If you tell him it will make his penis longer and sex better, though, that is usually enough to convince any man…and both are true!

      1. i know that legally it is up to me and i hope hubby and i don’t get to the point where i’m throwing laws at him-ha. when it comes down to it, i am the momma and this is my job. i don’t go to his work and tell him how to do it. i intend (as good as intentions are) to never birth in a hospital again (eliminating the push of circ by many docs/hospitals), i want to homebirth with midwives or unassisted with a doula (if that makes sense) the rest of my childbearing days. hubby has also expressed concerns with home birth, but i find he can be quite uneducated on birth and babies for being the oldest of 12 kids!
        🙂

  48. Thank you for your bravery in sharing your story.  I was reading the comments and noticed that many moms are expecting their circumcised sons to be angry with them for having them cut.  My husband was circ’d at 9 years old and was in terrible pain for a week.  He doesn’t hate his mother for choosing it for him, and he doesn’t have any regrets about it even knowing the potential disadvantages of having no foreskin.  He even was adamant that our son be circumcised. 

  49. wow, that was intense to read.  I’m so sorry that it has affected you like this.  I’m more concerned about that then anything else.  First of all both of my sons fell asleep after the numbing and they cried just about as long as they do when they get shots…max 10 seconds.  My daughter cried about the same amount of time when she got her ears pierced.  i respect your choice.  But I couldn’t help but get the horrible gnawing feeling that you and others who DON’T do this are thinking insanely horrible things about those of us that do.  My husband is, therefore my children are.  I think its a good idea cleanliness wise – and while these aren’t great arguments (AND I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT FACT) they are reasons we did.  I have a couple girlfriends whose husbands aren’t and they started getting yeast infections and different issues that they discovered were partly related to not being circumcised….again, not a powerful argument.  I don’t believe it is anyone’s business but ours when it comes to deciding to circumcise and it just infuriates me to no end when people start talking about outlawing it.

    To be truthful, your sons may ask the question later on….and my five year old has because we have friends who don’t.  I explain it simply but also very scientifically.  My husband explained exactly what they did and looked up medical things to explain it better.  Answered his question and he moved on.  If you make it an emotional thing and start talking about mutilation and how just traumatized you were and all that I think it will have a more significant and emotional impact on your sons.  Tell him the scientific and simple truth.  This is what we did then and then we learned more about it and we decided that we didn’t want to make that decision for your brother.  We’re sorry we made it for you..but its no big thang.  I’m not saying be flipant about it…but there are worse things you can do to a child.  Who knows, your other son may decide some day that he wants to be.  My husband knows three, count them , THREE, guys that have had it done later on in life because that’s what they preferred. 

    You do what you need to do as a parent and I’ll do what I need to do and don’t let anyone try to tell you that you are horrible for whatever decision you made.  We all grow and change as parents.  I didn’t cloth diaper my first two, but thanks to you and some of the education i’ve received from other blogging mamas I now cloth diaper my third.  I’ve educated myself about breastfeeding and I’ve been breastfeeding my third and hope to do it way longer with this one than I did with my other two.  I had issues and through supplements and teas I increased the amount of time I did it with my second and now my third.  I babywear, but I don’t co-sleep.  I cloth diaper but I don’t use cloth wipes.  This is what makes us wonderful!!!  This is how we help and educate other moms.  I have a friend that religiiously co-sleeps, that’s her preference.  Not for me, but she does it.  She had her fourth child who was just having a horrendous time at night.  I said to her, “may he doesn’t like co-sleeping?”  the thought never occurred to her.  She put him in a little side bed thing, with his own space and he literally magically started sleeping better.  Maybe she would have thought of it, maybe she wouldn’t have….but the difference in our parenting helped her at that moment.  I never thought cloth diapering could be so easy until I foud you and others like you.  we all make different choices and that’s what makes us great!

    1. I am hoping Fletcher prefers being cut and Ev prefers not. I just need to worry less until he is old enough to ask, if he does.
      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPad

      1. I recently read another article about this topic and this is part of it. You might find it encouraging.

        “I found out that a distant family member was kept intact, even though
        his older brother and dad were circumcised. Although it seemed like it
        would be an awkward conversation, I just had to have my husband ask him
        about it. So he did. It turned out that he really didn’t care and it was
        never a big deal.

        I connected with other men who grew up intact with circumcised dads,
        and they laughed saying, “I don’t even remember what my dad’s penis
        looked like…. and quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to remember!”

        It all made sense even though I never thought of it that way. To my surprise, it just wasn’t an issue for these men.”
         

  50. Thank you for writing this. If your anguished words cause even one mama to research the harm of circumcision or the highly suspect ‘medical reasons’ parents are given to coerce them into performing this unnecessary amputation, then it has been worth the writing of it, right?

    When we know better, we do better. It’s a hard lesson to learn.

  51. I have regretted circ’ing our son too, but my husband is for it, and I doubt anything could convince him to leave a future boy intact. He feels it is better health-wise, and that I am stupid for regretting to have our son circ’d. After many discussions before and tears after, it seems like something he is totally unwilling to bend on. I hope we don’t have girls, either. He thinks I’m irrational about it, and I feel the same way about him.

  52. This was almost my situation exactly.  Son #1 born in 2008, I let my husband decide, felt HORRIBLE as they took my son away.  Instead of protesting and saying no, I felt like I was probably being an “overprotective new mom” (oh, how wrong I was) and let it happen, thinking, well everyone else we know has done it to their son. And, same as you, it was the only thing we were waiting for before we could leave.  Luckily, we had no complications.  My second son was born at home in 2010 and is intact.  I told my husband I completely disagree with circing now and if he wanted it done, he’d have to do the legwork to find a urologist to do it.  He didn’t press the issue.  

    Sometimes, like you, I have these moments of guilt for my first son.  And sometimes, the wording of anti-circ messages can be very harsh.  Very harsh.  And sometimes, I can’t read them.  Especially the ones about what the newborn goes through during the procedure.  I was naive enough at the time to believe the nurses who said he “barely cried”.  However, I truly believe in the saying “when you know better, you do better”.  While I should have known better at the time, I didn’t.  I can’t change the past, but I knew better and did better with my second son.  And, I think as they get older, there will be a good mix of circed and intact boys, so hopefully it won’t matter in that respect.  

  53. I feelam for you mama! I knew the instant after our son was circumsised id made a mistake! I wanted him to look like daddy, but it just didn’t feel right. I pray we have a girl next time bc I know if its another boy I will have to put him through the same thing. I fear the problems that would arise from treating my children so differently would cause far greater damage.

  54. You were really brave to post this.  I really struggled with whether or not to circumcise my son.  I didn’t want to but my husband was adamant.  Ultimately I left it up to him (though I wish I would have fought harder).
    I can tell you one thing.  If we have another son he will be un-cut.  It was so awful.  They didn’t even warn me.  The doctor came in to ask if we wanted to and then my son was whisked away.  It was time for him to eat and he was screaming.  They told me I could feed him but only for a minute because they didn’t want his belly full.  So I sent him, still crying.  What was supposed to take 30 minutes took over 3 hours.  He sat in a room full of other babies waiting for the doctor to finish with several before him.  It looked horrible and I was terrified every time I changed his diaper.  My husband cried for days.

    We have moved on and I, honestly, don’t dwell on it at all.  But given a do-over we would have chosen different.  I hope your post helps anyone riding the fence.

  55. Oh man…

    lol I am a sympathetic crier, so yeah, bawling here:)

    Thank you for this, no judgements and no one should be passing any, since this is your life, child and family, and no one but you and your family pay your bills or live with your decisions for your family but y’all:)

    I went through the “should we or not??” stage as well, and like you, left it on my hubby to decide, I was agitated, crying, pacing, a mess really

    The one thing that actually let me go all the way through with it -my husbands choice be damned at that point- was the nurse coming in with a tube of cream and- I kid you not- a bottle nipple, she took down my sons diaper, filled the nipple with the cream, which turned out to be a numbing creme, stuck it over his lil bits and put his diaper back on

    45 minutes later, the doctor came into my room, she had been mine from the start of the pregnancy and the failed one before that ( I had 3 fails, this doctor saved my sons life so I could carry him, she is a doctor gawd in my eyes, for that, and for this), she asked how we were, I asked about the cream after explaining my near panic state and the tears lol

    She told me he didn’t need to be cut if we chose not to do so, she said no one should have surgery without some sort of local at the very least, and that she had never, ever done it without numbing the babies first, she gave me time, and i went ahead with it

    I stood outside the nursery, where all the windows were draw, just stood there shaking and crying, and listened

    Nervous wreck much??

    And heard not a single sound at all, the whole time (which lasted but a few moments) he was in  there being worked on, he was suckling away on a binky, and never once cried

    When she brought him back to me with another nurse, i scooped him up and just sobbed, lol he just looked at me, nuzzled in for some bewby time and fell asleep, he slept only till the next feeding, by the time the numb wore off, the shock pain was goneWill I ever make that decision again? I do not know, probably not, and like you, will go through the wonderings and what ifs

    But here is the thing

    Your son is here, and healthy, and has a special loving family, he may have a difference in some areas, but dont we all? Not everyone has the same look or feelings, and not all differences can be seen, love your boy, and remind yourself of all that he is and will be, not what he is missing, you will drive yourself batty for it

    The “mutilation” issue

    And yes, it is an issue, simply because people look for the hardest, ugliest, most controversial forms to describe something they dont agree with or are against as a form of forcing others to see their views, instead of agreeing to disagree, some people go as far overboard as they possibly can to make, force, or demand everyone else see it their way

    Including using “shock” terms, politicians have done it for ages, people do it to, again its a force the issue and make em see our way is the only way kind of thing, it’s not nice, its close minded, and its disrespectful of other peoples opinions quite frankly

    Anyway, rambling:)

    Thank you again for this blog, it really, really touched me

    Dammit, crying again lol

    Jaye

  56. Both my sons are intact and its a big deal to me that they and any future children I have are. God made them that way and thats the way they will stay. Personally, having had sexual partners both cut and intact… I think cut looks funny anyway.

  57. My boys are 15, 14, 6, and 11 months.  Oldest 3 are circed, youngest one is not.  I never gave it a second thought, I just had it done because that is all I knew, I had never known anyone who had been intact, and really I had no regrets at all about circing my boys.  But after my daughter’s home birth, 3 years ago, my thinking shifted a bit.  I secretly hoped #5 was another girl, because I knew hubby would fight me on keeping my perfect baby intact.  We were planning another home birth, so I knew it would have to happen in the ped’s office.  I tried to talk hubby into leaving him as he was, if he was a boy, and he would not budge.  I told him then it was up to him, he needed to make the appointment, and he would have to be there in the ped’s office, NOT me.  I would wait in the waiting room.  Well, #5 was born at the hospital, and he was a boy.  At his 3 day checkup I cried as I scheduled the 2 week checkup + circ.  He was born in December, and it was now January.  I told hubby it was up to him to call the insurance and see how much they would cover.  Well… because of the timing, it was a new year, which meant a new deductible, we would end up having to pay $250, and we did not have it in the checking account, just in the emergency fund.  Hubby decided it was not an “emergency” and therefor not worth the money for a procedure he admitted was 100% cosmetic.  The day before the 2 week checkup, hubby was still on the fence.  The nurse called to make sure we were still circing and hubby answered and said “no, it will just be a normal well baby”, she offered to tell him of a lower cost clinic in a bigger city and he said it would not be necessary.  I warned him, not now, not ever, we would NOT be circing him when we had the money to do so.  He agreed. 

    All my boys have seen the baby’s penis in the course of diaper changes, either solo changes, or assisting.  None of the kids have ever asked why it looks different, either they don’t notice, or don’t care.  Maybe they think he will “grow into” the skin, who knows.  When I have asked them if they noticed it looks different, they have either said no, or just that it is littler.  I figure we can talk about circumcision vs. being intact when they are older, or show interest.  Wow, I planned on this being short.  Anyways, kudos for you to have the courage to post this… and there is no reason to feel guilty, he is not going to hate you for it, and as parents, sometimes we have to live and make mistakes, to learn.

  58. Oh, and I did do research, didn’t watch videos, and have never seen anyone not cut

    The choice to cut or not cut was ours to make with knowledge available, much research and personal choice based decisions, and we made it, though I did leave it on my hubby for the most part, I did make the final choice

    Choosing not to do it a second time , if we ever have more, is based completely off of my personal feelings, and remembering that terror and guilt, yes I felt it all, I don’t want to do it again, and maybe be not so lucky and have one of those asshats who think babies can’t feel, so therefore do not decide to numb the babies bits

    I LOVED that you had the ovaries to post this, and I am so sharing it with everyone<3

  59. We just had our first son a month ago and I was torn at first about the circumcision as well.  Just the thought of the pain brought me to tears.  In the end we decided to circumcise.  My husband is circumcised and we didn’t want confusion in our household.  I’m curious how men would comment on this post (I didn’t go through them all to see if any had).  I wonder if there are any men out there that are upset that they were circumcised or if there are any that are upset that they were not.  I know there are both ways, but I wonder the percentages.  

    I don’t think there is any reason you should feel bad about what you decided upon with either of your boys.  It’s a decision that many parents make and we just hope we made the right one.  

    … I’d write more, but my little guy is calling me.

  60. I don’t usually post comments on things like this but you will get plenty of negative and I wanted to be one of the positive ones. I really appreciate what you’ve written and you were brave to post it. I hope one day you can be at peace with all of this. <3

  61. Thank you for posting this. This is how I feel about my first born son (who is circumcised) and my second son (who is not circumcised). I have to live with the guilt and regret everyday and it helps so much to know that someone else feels this way.

  62. I’m glad you posted this. I hope too that maybe it will save one more baby from being strapped to that table. I remember reading a poster in our hospital about the birthing stats for that hospital. They included boys vs. girls born, epidurals, c-sections, and circumcisions (and maybe more that I can’t recall). I remember thinking instead they should put how many UNmedicated births there were (instead of how many medicated) as well as how many intact boys vs. circumcised. I think esp. for circ. its just the way society is right now “do what everyone else is doing” and it’s sad that’s they way it is. Hopefully your post will at least encourage more parents to do their research before making such decisions (as well as following their gut).

  63. Kim, Thank you for letting us in on so much of your life and yourself. When we first found out we were having a son, I didn’t know anything about the male genitalia intact (my husband is circ’d).  At first we thought that our son should match his dad (but seriously when were they ever going to have their members out and comparing them? They would never look the same anyway i.e the size difference, the hair etc.).

    It was an article in Mothering Magazine (RIP) that showed how the procedure was done that got me researching. It was the first time I had ever picked up a MM and I am thankful. I checked out a book from the library about circumcision that day and read. Luckily I have  an open minded husband. When i told him that I didn’t want our son circ’d he asked me for reasons and I said “just watch one”. We decided to leave our son intact. My husband thinks that some issues that he has now are from his circumcision as a baby after researching it.

    We’ve had to defend our actions to our families including my husband’s grandmother who gave me a lecture about how no one will want to have sex with him because he isn’t circ’d. Ultimately it is his body and I’d like him to decide if he ever wants to have it done for himself. I feel the same way about piercing baby girls’ ears. I wouldn’t want to do anything that couldn’t be undone.

    Having said that… There are things in the body modification world and “medical” community that allow a man to “regrow” his foreskin. Just google “foreskin restoration”.

    ((Hugs))

  64. Beautifully written story.  I recently stumbled upon words of wisdom that I hope to share with as many women as possible: “The best choices are made from love, not fear.” and I think you’re story speaks volumes to that point.  You sound like an awesome mother, and when that time comes to explain; I’m sure you’ll find the words your boys need and all will be okay!

  65. Hugs to you. Nothing negative here. Just support. I applaud your courage.
    My 1st was a daughter and had she been a boy I would be right where you are. We all live and learn. Forgive yourself.

  66. What a brave and honest recount of what was obviously a very difficult experience for you. I appreciate that you shared your story, as it has clearly had the effect you hoped for (presumably). Only by debating issues and challenging our own perceived norms can we really come to a decision that we can live with. I’m fortunate that circumcision is rarely performed where I live (southern Ontario) and most men my age, including my partner, are intact, so there is no issue of “matching” within the immediate family. I’ve known for quite awhile that I would not be in favour of circumcising any future son I might have, but I’m lucky that this belief is supported by my partner, my mid-wife and my community. When my son is born in the spring, I have the luxury of not having to wrestle with the decision to cut or not to cut. I’m sorry that your experience was so much more difficult. But it only makes your later actions, all the more courageous. You are a wonderful mother because you learned from past experience and clearly always had your children’s best interest in mind. 

  67. I’m so sorry you are going through all this, guilt related to your children is such a hard thing to live with isn’t it. I think it’s wonderful you have shared your story, as it may help others to make an informed decision rather than just go along with what they think is normal. We didn’t circumcise our son, and I am thankful every day that it was never an option for us. But being doctor and NICU nurse we have seen a lot more than some others may have, so that helped us be clear in our minds. A family member recently had her son circumcised due to her husband wanting it (to match him), and it made me so sad. I actually started to get a bit more angry about it, how easily people just choose to get it done. I think it is so much better coming from someone like yourself though, who has been through it and has regrets about it. I take my hat off to you for being brave enough to post this. Thankyou so much for sharing your story, I really hope the pain and guilt you are feeling eases over time, I’m certain your sons will grow up well adjusted and will understand why you made the decisions you did. They are gorgeous boys! =)

  68. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and for having the bravery to make a different decision the second time around. That can’t have been easy.

    Having an intact penis is a wonderful thing, but so is having a caring and thoughtful mother like you. Both your sons will know how much you love them and how you’re trying to do the best you can as life goes along. I think acknowledging your mistakes and not justifying them but learning from them is a huge gift you’ll be giving them, too. I can learn a lot from your example.

  69. Kim- you are very brave to post this. It takes a lot of courage and you might have changed something for another precious baby out there who will get to go home intact.

    I would like to say this on guilt. It is a pro-social emotion, it encourages us to reflect and make amends, and to bring our behaviour back in line with our values. It is a very healthy thing.
    Your sons, (both of them), obviously have a very loving and caring mother and for that I am sure they will both be fine.

    If its any comfort, a close friend of mine who is not happy he was circ’ed as an infant does not blame his mother. He blames the doctor and the lack of information available at the time when he was born. He has become an intactivist, and puts his frustration at the medical system to good use.

  70. Judging by the number of comments (I haven’t read them all), I can tell that this is such a sensitive subject for a lot of people.  Even just discussing it with other parents, you get it all over the fence.  Some dads are concerned about their children not looking like them too, which is something my husband went through.  In the end I told him that it was his decision and he decided that it’s a lot easier to have something removed later than sewn back on (I don’t mean to sound vulgar or anything).  So my son (and his brother) aren’t/ won’t be circum. 

    The hospital never even brought it up.  The pediatrician never asked.  It’s never been a part of the discussion with family members either.  I guess because in our area it’s more common not to be circum.  Insurance, in a lot of cases, won’t cover it.  And in some instances because of the age or weight of the baby, you have to make an appointment with a urologist. 

    But there’s no shame either way.  Brother’s don’t always look alike anyway.  Some have different hair color and some favor other distant family members.  I have a cousin who looks nothing like the rest of the family (curly red hair) and is left handed. I would just look at it that way.  They are both different people and look differently in more ways than one.

  71. Hi Kim, thank you for posting this.  My heart goes out to you and I hope you find peace.  I’ve read about half the comments here, scrolled down and noticed that I didn’t see a guy chime in.  So….here’s a dad chiming in.

    About 2-3 years ago I considered having a circumcision, for myself.  I’m in my 30’s and at the time, wasn’t yet a father.  My reasons for considering it were basically hygiene and convenience.  I’ve lived my life intact and enjoyed it.  Over the previous few years I’d been to the doc a few times to take care of something that stemmed from a hygiene issue (I’d gotten yeast infections from girls).  The foreskin made for a good breeding environment.  I ended up not doing it, because the thought of someone slicing me open down there was too much.

    When I found out I was to be a father, my partner left the “to cut or not” question to me.  My initial reaction was, slice him clean.  Eventually, as his birthday neared, I researched the topic more and more.  Then I reflected on my personal situation. 

    I’d lived my life happily, with slight inconveniences, intact.  I realized that the circumcision could always be done at a later time, but that it would never grow back.  And my son was just starting out, there was no reason to introduce him into the world with that event.  His penis, his choice. 

    Just wanted to share a father’s point of view.

    Thanks again for posting.

    -Javier

  72. I’m so glad you posted it.  Yes, more women need to read this and understand why intactivists fight so hard on twitter and facebook to try to make stubborn new moms understand what they will do to their sons.  Yes, you feel guilt for what you did to your first son, but rejoice in the fact that you broke the cycle and spared your second!  🙂

  73. dont be so hard on yourself. if you worry about a normal procedure then your a darn good mom!! i couldnt do it either i may have but it was expensive for us and later on i was just glad i didnt for the same reasons you feel now. it just feels wrong and scary. i do have to say that a nurse is in there to hold the baby while the doctor works so he at least had human touch during it. if thats any comfort. 

  74. Kim, I really appreciate your realness.  My husband and I are passionate about keeping our boys exactly how God made them.  But, if God had given us a boy first I might have been writing this post!  I remember realizing near the end of my first pregnancy that we were going to have to face that decision if our child was a boy.  I was terrified!  When it was a girl I was so relieved.  By the time # 2 came along we were firm in our parenting decisions and all 3 of our sons are intact.

    I pray that you will one day reach a point where the guilt of a past decision no longer weighs you down.  (((((HUGS)))))

    You are such a great mom for educating yourself and doing what is best even if it means your sons don’t match!

  75. Thank you… I am so happy that more and more information like this is being made available. You are brave in sharing and little boys will be spared because of you 🙂 Thank you again! 

    For anyone who is interested I’m going to post links to a bunch of information- check it out, spend a couple hours, what can it hurt right? It’s a big decision and a really personal one that you might be making for someone else someday. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ceht-3xu84I

    For more information on infant circumcision the first link is to the Royal Dutch Medical Association’s policy against infant male circumcision. It is the first of their ‘Publications in English’ on the right hand side. The second link is to the College of Physician and Surgeons of British Columbia, also against infant male circumcision.

    http://knmg.artsennet.nl/Over-KNMG/about-knmg.htm

    https://www.cpsbc.ca/files/u6/Circumcision-Infant-Ma le.pdf

    Even the American Pediatric Association’s policy statement makes it clear that infant male circumcision is unnecessary when they state, “these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”

    Here is a British Journal of Urology article showing what is lost during circumcision, namely the most sensitive parts of the penis. 

    http://www.nocirc.org/touch-test/bju_6685.pdf

    And here is a link to Mothering Magazine’s pamphlet all about circumcision
    http://wisewomencare.com/downloadables/circ.pdf

    I would also suggest watching these videos…

    Penn and Teller Bullshit on Circumcision 
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=416_1218124584
    Brave Nurses
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbpQY6t3oIw

    And checking out these links to tons more information and intact care- wipe what it seen and leave the retraction to the boy and ONLY the boy…

    Peaceful Parenting- Are you fully informed?
    http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html

    The Whole Network
    http://www.thewholenetwork.org

    National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers- articles
    http://www.nocirc.org/articles/

  76. Thank you for pushing publish. Thank you for sharing these insights, your feelings, your experiences. They are priceless and much needed perspectives not just for “intactivists” but for anyone considering circumcision or feeling disempowered on the topic. I hope you find the healing and peace that will mend your motherly heart. Don’t be too hard on yourself. <3 

  77. I enjoyed reading your blog today. I felt it was completely honest and heartfelt and took a lot of courage or as you said ovaries to finally hit the post button. Everyone has an opinion on the subject whether it be good bad or indifferent but I believe they are just that opinions. I hope you don’t regret posting this blog because it was very insightful and just proves that a momma only wants what is best for their children. We as moms will make mistakes raising our kids but it is our job to teach our kids to learn from our mistakes and fears and teach them to do better and also to share our experiences with other moms and dads if for nothing else than just to share something and give others something to think about. I am very proud of you for sharing this with us and only wish that you didn’t feel guilty about it. You never know Fletcher may thank you one day for doing it and when he has children of his own he will be able to completely think outside the box on the subject if he has a son because he will know the facts about being cut vs not cut because he can talk with his brother about the flip side of things. Good luck and looking forward to the next post.

  78. Wow! I think it’s so good that you shared your story! What is done cannot be undone, the important is that you have educated yourself and have not repeated the same mistake. (((hugs)))

  79. Bravo for growing the ovaries to post this!
    As we say in the intactivist community KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!
    I am so sorry you are going through this. You cannot change the past, but you learned from the mistake of not trusting your gut. You knew cutting your first son was wrobg, but like so many others, ignored your own instincts or tried to find reasons why it is ‘ok’.
    Your cut son will be on. Just explain that you didn’t know better and trusted the Dr would be doing something positive. Let him read this blog post. Most of all, tell him you are sorry you took away that right from him. If he is interested in the future, lead him to foreskin restoration.
    For the time, apologize to yourself and love your kids! Everything will work out ok.
    I am fortunate that this was a non-issue for us, as my dh is intact and it was never an option for me, even before I knew what I now do.
    I hope you find peace with your past mistake!

  80. You are not the only momma who feels this way… i blame every possible blemish or problem that occurs in my son’s diaper on this horrible decision i made and try as I might to comfort myself with the notion that i made the decision i thought was best at the time… and that i can’t fault myself for that… I know if i had truly researched it more instead of going along with the “main” reason i was doing it it probably never would have been done… It helps that any future boys will be intact it almost feels like redemption somehow like here’s my way of making up for it but i still have to have the conversation with my son someday and hope he can forgive his momma. I try to broach the topic with every mom i know who’s having a boy also as my way of just trying to save one more and abolish the stupid practice altogether… When we know better we do better but its a small comfort at times.

  81. I’ve never had a boy so I don’t know that I really have much to offer.  Whether or not to circumcise is definitely a personal decision.  But if it makes you feel any better, there are studies that show that circumcision is actually a bit healthier because no germs can get trapped under the foreskins.  They’re circumcising boys in Africa to help stop the spread of AIDS and HIV.  Again, I’m not saying this everyone must do it or anything, but there are possible health benefits 😀

    1. Unfortunately, those are not fact. Circumcision increases risk of AIDS because the foreskin is not there preventing the microscopic tears sex can cause in the penis and vagina. This is especially true for the gay community.
      The foreskin also has natural immunological properties, the same found in breastmilk. Germs don’t get ‘trapped’ under the foreskin. You can get smegma, but contrary to popular belief, this is actually antibacterial and antiviral. Also, we women produce smegma. It looks gross, but everyone has makes it. It is a natural, healthy substance.

      There are no proven health benefits.

      1. Hmmm….that reply was not meant to be for you. Stupid phone must’ve put it wherever it fancied! Silly thing!

    2. If the foreskin is washed properly (shower daily) then that slightly higher risk of infection is non-existent. Also there is this fantastic way to prevent the spread of AIDS and HIV. Its called a condom, not a circumcision. Not to be rude, but the demographic of people that you are talking about do not have access to the same things as us (condoms, clean water). 

    3. I agree – it is a completely personal decision – that person being the owner of the penis – The parent won’t be using the child’s penis and should leave the decision over it’s appearance and function to the person that does get to use it.

  82. (((HUGS))) I’m a mother-baby nurse, and it makes me physically ill every time I’m required to assist with a circ. I won’t belabor the ugly facts– there’s no point.  When we know better, we do better. If one mom sees this and stops to think about her decision to circ, you’ve done an amazing thing. Thank you.

  83. Thank you so much for finding the courage to hit post and share your experience. Whenever I feel guilt over different choices I made with my first, I try to remind myself “when you know better you do better” and that I did the very best I could with the information I had. Thank you again for sharing this with all of the Internet.

  84. My boys are both intact, although their dad is cut. It wasn’t a big issue for us – I simply said “No way, it’s not gonna happen” and he went along with it.

    My heart really goes out to mothers and fathers who regret cutting their boys. It has to be heartaching.

    For those reading the post and the comments – DO NOT worry about dad and son matching!!! It is a NON-ISSUE!!!

    I can say that because my three year old (intact) son saw his dad in the shower the other day and really took notice for the first time. He looked up at his daddy and said “Wow, Daddy, you have a penis! Like me!”

    He never noticed the difference in appearance at all.

  85. :big hugs: Thank you! You are so brave for sharing your story with us. It is remarkably EXACTLY like my story. I now have a 5 year old who was circumcised, and a 1 year old boy who was not. It is okay that they don’t match. We do what we think is right, until we learn otherwise. I had a small insight that may help you, so I’m going to throw it out there for you. My stepfather was cut, his brother was not. My parents were attempting to use that as an argument FOR circumcising, because my uncle had to have it done as an adult, due to infection. I asked my stepfather, “Well, did you and him ever notice you were different down there?” They seemed shocked I would ask, but after blushing, “No, we never really inspected each other…” I said, “Okay, cool, so most likely my boys won’t either” My mom asked how I could handle it when they ask… I plan on telling them that mommies are not born knowing everything about being a mommy, and sometimes we do things that we learn are not best, so we try different things with our next child. Please try to forgive yourself. We have enough mom guilt about everything we do as mothers. I know it will always weigh on your mind, but please, try to share your story and stick up for those newborn infants all you can. Your words and story will prevent  circumcisions from moms that are on the fence with their decision. We need to remind people it IS OKAY TO SAY NO! It is NOT the society normal now! Rates are dropping rapidly.

  86. My sons don’t match either.  7yo was circumcised, 6 and 4yo are intact.  I recently talked with them about the difference and it was a relief to see that at this age, it was no big deal.  My 7yo asked to see a picture of himself as a baby before his circumcision, he said “so all babies are born with it covered?”  I wanted to make it clear that it was something that we believed was better for a baby boy at that time and then found out later it’s not necessary.  I also told him I was sorry that we didn’t leave the choice up to him and that I hope if he has baby boys some day, he will leave the choice to them.  He said “It’s ok mom, I like the way I am.”  At that moment, I realized, for now, this decision is hurting me far more than it’s hurting him.  Someday I’ll explain to him what he’s missing and give him information on restoring his foreskin. 

    There are no mistakes, only lessons learned.

    My story is here:
    http://www.drmomma.org/2011/10/circumcision-i-changed-my-mind.html

  87. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story! Always listen to your gut, it’s hardly ever wrong. I’m so sorry you have gone through this. Bless you and your family.

  88. Thank you, so much, for sharing this. I can only begin to imagine how much courage it took. I just wanted to let you know that the conversation with your sons if they ever notice the difference doesn’t have to be that hard. My amazing partner is intact and his older brother is not. He doesn’t remember when he noticed the difference, and his brother knows that his mother was simply doing what the doctor said was right. When you know better, you do better, and you obviously took that to heart and made sure that you could do better with your new knowledge <3

  89. Thanks for speaking out and leaving your second son intact.  Don’t beat yourself up about them not matching.  It’s done, and they’re not identical twins, so they’re going to be different anyway, even down there.

    You’re not the first mother to change her mind.  Marilyn Milos, one of the leading intactivists, has three adult sons, all of them circumcised.

  90. In regards to sleeping through the procedure… I have witnessed a little boy doing this. Completely possible and probable. If the kid has a binky they let him suck on it. They also usually give the kid a lollipop that the nurse hold during the procedure. Because of the young age of the child, that little bit of sugar gives a huge shot of dopamine masking the paid and making the babe very comfortable.

  91. Thank you for sharing a part of who you are and being brave enough to tell your story. 99.9% of parents set out to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child, although it may not always be the right decision. Your documentary explained this perfectly! It’s disappointing to see people being attacked in the posts below for feeling one way or the other. I know many people are passionate about this topic but as Moms we need to show each other humility and understanding. You did a great job of educating without criticizing or attacking. Thank you!

  92. Good for you! I’m crying too because I wish I would have done my research 3 1/2 years ago. There were signs for me too. My oldest son was so swollen from the chemicals in the disposable diapers that we had to wait until he had been in cloth diapers for a week before the doctor could do the circumcision. He didn’t heal well either and they had to push the skin back again.
    When we found out we were having another boy, I was more educated and I was really leaning towards not circumcising this time. I let my husband talk me into it because our sons wouldn’t be the same. He guilted me… “do *you* want to explain why they are different” and blah, blah, blah.
    Good for you for doing what you felt was right the second time around, even though your sons won’t match! I wish I had had the courage to do the same.

  93. OMG you brought tears to my eye’s.
    We make mistakes as first time parents and I am so sorry you had gone through this pain.
    My son is intact and at first we were going to circumcise but changed our minds.
    Oh blessed be, please don’t feel bad. You did what you thought was right. xo

  94. Thank you for writing about this!  You are changing so many people’s lives by writing about this so that they make the right choice for themselves (whether it is to cut or not to cut).  Over the past 6 months, I have been reading about this topic here and there.  If we have a boy, I know my personal decision will be to leave him intact.  The challenge will be convincing my husband because we have come to expect this as the “societal norm.”  My saving grace will be the fact that in Russian culture (I am Russian), boys are left intact, and lots praying to God!

  95. I enjoyed this post and reading your thoughts!

    Like vaccinations, circumcision is something I usually avoid unless face to face. However, I felt led to give you a tiny bit of personal feedback, for your research’s sake.

    I’m an RN who had a home birth and chose to have my son circumcised. We did so at 6 weeks, at a pediatric urologist’s office. My husband and I were both present, and I was allowed to nurse him should he cry. He did not even make a peep. He healed quickly without complication.

    I consider myself an attachment parent, but this is something we prayed into and felt a peace about. I have no regrets and would make the same decision again.

  96. I enjoyed this post and reading your thoughts!

    Like vaccinations, circumcision is something I usually avoid unless face to face. However, I felt led to give you a tiny bit of personal feedback, for your research’s sake.

    I’m an RN who had a home birth and chose to have my son circumcised. We did so at 6 weeks, at a pediatric urologist’s office. My husband and I were both present, and I was allowed to nurse him should he cry. He did not even make a peep. He healed quickly without complication.

    I consider myself an attachment parent, but this is something we prayed into and felt a peace about. I have no regrets and would make the same decision again.

  97. Thank you for sharing your story! I have a ten month old, and he was circumcised. We didn’t really think much of it, I just asked my DH if he wanted to circ and he said yes. We didn’t do any research. Now I am learning there are a lot of reasons to not do it, and that it isn’t needed. I think if I have another boy in the future he won’t be circumcised. 

  98. Thanks for your bravery and honesty, Kim! Clay is also intact. It is a tough subject that can be so divisive amongst moms. I have a hard time when I feel like we are in the minority amongst parent friends who have chosen circumcision for their sons, but I feel a lot of relief in the company of fellow “:crunchy moms” who share our choice. Our kids may be the minorty here in FM suburbia where everything is very mainstream, but you aren’t alone! 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks Sarah! It is strange to change diapers in public in FM. I wonder how we are perceived sometimes.
      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  99. I think it was very brave to post your story, and we certainly struggled with the decision for our sons.  My husband is circumcised, but he is also an M.D., and he saw some botched circumcisions and spoke to many medical professionals, most of whom did not circumcise their own sons because there is no legitimate medical reason to routinely circumcise, and we did a lot of research.  In the end, we concluded that our boys should stay as nature intended, and they know that they do not match Dad, but they have been told some of the valuable functions of the foreskin, and it has not been a big deal.  It really is a clean, healthy, functional body part and is not more prone to problems than any other body part.  I think so many Americans cling to the myths about the intact penis, and they can not see that baby boys should have the same right to genital integrity that girls do.  It is their body, their choice.

  100. Just to put your mind at ease, your baby very well could have slept through his circumcision…they are given a injection of lidocaine that numbs the penis and usually a pacifier dipped in a sucrose solution because that has been shown to relieve stress and pain. I totally understand your grief and pain. My ex husband insisted that he was not going to take our son home unless he was circumcised, and reluctantly I allowed it to happen. My boy also got adhesions and infections, even though I kept it super clean. Thankfully, everything finally resolved. And the wailing every time a diaper would touch his newly circumcised penis just broke my heart. When I became a nurse and had to assist in circumcisions I was just appalled at the whole procedure…even though the babies are not in pain, the procedure itself is just unbelievably brutal. Before cutting can even begin, the practitioner has to use a metal probe to pull the foreskin away from the glans (head) of the penis….this breaks up the natural adhesions. And the margin for error is huge….keep in mind that residents often do them after being up for 24 hours…once I became aware of how the procedure is carried out I felt even more guilty about what my boy went through. When I remarried and was pregnant with our first child I was worried when I found out we were having a boy…but my husband was totally supportive of leaving him intact. We now have two intact boys…my oldest is now 14 and he never asks why his brothers look different….and I am not sure what I would say. But bravo to you for your bravery in raising this issue

    1. Local anesthetic is not actually effective in circumcision. I’m sorry.
      http://www.cirp.org/library/pa
      http://cpj.sagepub.com/content
      Furthermore, even now, even in the US, anesthetic is sometimes not used at all in circumcision. In cases where it is used, the surgeon often does not wait for the anesthetic to take effect before they start cutting – it takes effect after the procedure is finished. The purpose of anesthetic usage in circumcision is not to eliminate the infant’s pain but to make them look drowsy and peaceful when they are brought back to the parents.

  101. Thanks for posting this.  I had a similar experience.  My OB/GYN told me repeatedly that the AAP doesn’t recommend circ’ing and that she wouldn’t perform them for personal reasons.  I did what, at the time, I truly believed to be in my son’s best interest.  Long story short…I regret it and if I have another boy, my boys won’t “match” either.  

  102. Thank you so much for sharing. I, too, feel exactly the same way you do about my (or, more accurately, my husband’s) decision. I want another baby so badly, but I don’t know what I’ll do if it’s a boy. I can’t stand by and let it happen again – not knowing what I know now. The only small thought that makes me feel better is that I really didn’t realize the magnitude of our choice…but I do now. I relate to every word of your post, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Again, thank you for sharing…and forgive yourself, at least a little. 

  103. My son suffers from hypospadias and NEEDS to be circumcised so his foreskin can be used to repair his penis.  Thank you for making me feel guilt over THAT!  I’m sorry, your post is rude and hurtful to those who have no choice BUT to circumcise our sons.   I will no longer read this blog.  I was in tears after reading your post and thinking of my son’s inevitable pain once he turns 6 months and can be put under anesthesia for the procedure! 

    1. Guilt over what I did (choosing a circ) and what you will have to do are totallydifferent and I did not intend to make other mothers guilty for their choices or circumstances. I’m sorry you will have to go through any surgery on your young son. No matter what the surgery is for that is difficult for all mothers.

    2. Hypospadias is a actually a contra-indication for circumcision. If he needs tissue for repair, it can easily be harvested on another part of the body. Please, for the sake of your little boy, find another physician- one who is not involved in this type of malpractice. I am is tears that someone has manged to talk you into this, if your daughter had the same medical problems would they be circumcising her? Please do more research on this!

      1. Please do not spread this kind of vile nonsense for the sake of your agenda.  I have been doing rersearch since my son’s birth on his genetic condition and I am just tired of the anti circ crowd’s vile propoganda.  No, I will not be “harvesting”  skin from my son’s feet or anywhere else when his foreskin can be used and will help the repairs along far better than any other skin.   If you had any idea how awful the degree of my son’s condition or any empathy you would not dare to suggest I put an already suffering child through any more surgery to harvest skin on top of his other surgeries to ensure he can urinate normally and hopefully, give me grandchildren some day.   His surgery will be performed by a pediatric urologist when he is six months of age due to the anesthesia used.  I urge you to stop making parents feel any more guilt than we already do from passing this on.   In my case, it was a total surprise as I had never known we carry this condition.  I only wish I had the presence of mind and strength to ask my male relatives during pregnancy if they had this condition, it would have saved me so much guilt and pain in that first week when I was in the hospital wondering why this happened to my son and what I had done to give this to him.

  104. Thank you for this. I have a daughter and hope to one day have a son. I know it’s easy for me to say, but please believe that you are a good parent song what you can, learning what you can, and loving those little boys. I believe medicsal professionals make it difficult for parents to have autonomy. I was coerced into an induction that led to an epidural and arduous labor. I try to remind myself I have a healthy, beautiful girl and that I can be stronger in the future.

  105. I have not read all the comments and I hope this is not disrespectful or offensive to anyone, but here is some information I posted in a differnt online community, as this topic comes up occasionally. It is an adoption community in which many children come home at a much older age, so some info may be relevant to adoption, but I wanted to share it here because education about this issue is something I am passionate about. Sometimes my paragraphs disappear on here so I am sorry if this is a jumbled mess.

    The decision to circumcise a biological or adopted son is a very personal decision. There are many different opinions on the matter. My suggestion is that every parent of a boy fully research and understand the circumcision process before making the decision. Many people who did not educate themselves before hand go on to have a lot of guilt about their decision either way. One good place to start is to watch a video of circumcision. Parents are never allowed in the room when their son has this procedure performed, so watching a video will allow you to see exactly how and what will be done. Here is a completely un bias, medical video demonstrating a circumcision. This video is used by medical professionals to train other physicians in doing this procedure. Video: neonatal circumcision – YouTube

    Reasons to Circumcise:

    1. To look like daddy and/or brother.  For some people it is very important to have everyone match. I have known plenty of people say that their un matching kids do not even notice the difference.  Is it really a big deal to have everyone match? Does this outweigh some of the cons to circumcision? If the answer is yes for you, then circumcision may be the right choice for your family.

    2. For religious reasons. Circumcision is a historically significant practice for Jews and Muslims. In many cases being a member of one of these religious communities is a very good reason to choose circumcision for your son.

    3. Legitimate medical reasons. Although it is rare, there are, in some cases, medical reasons to remove the foreskin. For children, the most common reason is frequent UTIs. Please note that Phimosis, or having a tight foreskin, is NOT a condition of infants or children. I have heard many American physicians diagnosis this condition in children that are much too young. The foreskin will not retract fully or at all until the child is of a much older age and he is able to do it himself. If your son’s foreskin is not retracting and he is young enough for you to know this, it probably should not be retracting at all. Forceable retraction of the foreskin can severely damage the penis and be very painful. Forceable retraction can actually cause Phimosis in teens and adults. You never need to retract the  foreskin of an infant or child for cleaning.

    Reasons not to Circumcise:

    1. The foreskin is a natural, healthy, functioning part of a man. It protects and lubricates the glans penis. It aids and sometimes can make sexual intercourse more comfortable for both partners. It has many, many sensitive nerves that can add to sexual pleasure. If you do choose to have your son circumcised, please make sure that the doctors do not also remove his frenulum. Sometimes this gets removed as well. The frenulum is one of the most sensitive parts of the penis.

    2. It can be a very painful, traumatic procedure and it is not usually medically necessary. Afterwards, some boys will be depressed as result of loosing this part of their body.

    3. Avoiding the care after the operation. Many boys have few if any problems. Some boys will be more high maintenance. If your child already has health issues or is a difficult child or having trouble with attachment, you may not want to add this to the mix. Although rare, there is the chance of infection or in extremely rare circumstances damage to the penis from the procedure.

    3. If your child will require full anesthesia, there are always risks to this and you should educate yourself about these risks and decide if the risks outweigh the reasons to circumcise.

    4. The biggest reason not to circumcise is to give your son the choice about what to do with his body. If you circumcise your son, there is really not much he can do if he decides he wants his foreskin. If you do not circumcise, he can choose to have his foreskin removed if he so wishes. In Korea, men are not circumcised at birth. They are much older when they have this procedure done.

    Myths about Circumcision:

    Myth: Most people are circumcised and I want my son to fit in. America is one of the only industrialized countries in the world (and in the minority full stop) that routinely circumcises it’s baby boys for non religious and non medical reasons. If your child travels outside of the United States, chances are he will be in the minority if he is circumcised. Furthermore, things are changing in America. Many children  more than ever before are being left intact. If locker room teasing is a concern for you, it most likely will not be an issue at all when your son is in high school. Not that people go around looking and judging other people’s uncircumcised penises anyway. Circumcised men are actually by far in the minority.

    Myth: Circumcision is a Christian practice. Circumcision has never been historically a Christian practice. The first Christians were gentiles and they were not circumcised. In the old testament it does talk about circumcision for Jewish people. One thing to note is that biblical circumcisions are very different from the circumcisions that are performed today. Back then only the tiny tip of the foreskin was removed and it was still able to function. Today, virtually all of the foreskin is removed. Furthermore, when Jesus came things changed. In the new testament of the bible it is very clear that circumcision is not necessary for one’s salvation, nor is it a sin.

    Myth: Uncircumcised penises are difficult to clean. Let’s not forget that men own this equipment. Do you really think God would give them something that was high maintenance and needed extensive cleaning? Okay, I am joking, but truly, being a woman is much more high maintenance than having a foreskin. Your son will become an expert at retracting his own foreskin. Trust me.

    Myth: My child will be at a greater risk for infections and disease if he is not circumcised. The supposed health benefits are so marginal and so statistically insignificant that it is ridiculous to sight this as a reason to circumcise. Sometimes medical insurance will not cover circumcision since it is considered a cosmetic procedure. There are plenty of men who are uncircumcised who have come into contact with infections and remained healthy. There are plenty of men who are circumcised who have come into contact with infections and contracted a disease.

    Myth: My child’s sexual partner will not find his penis attractive if he is not circumcised. Not only is this very shallow, but it is completely untrue. Many women prefer uncircumcised men, but most do not care in the slightest. This will hardly be a deal breaker and in fact most of the women in the world will be expecting an uncircumcised man. There is no shame or embarrassment of having a foreskin. It not gross or nasty. It is completely natural and healthy.

    Please know that there is no judgement from me with whatever decision you make for your son. Please, please just educate yourself so you can make the best decision for your family. Best wishes.

    1. ETA: I just want to point out that I am not personally a very religious person, so the references to religion were not intended to offend or make any kind of subtle implication. Also sorry that the link didn’t work.

      Thanks for your story, Kim. I hope none of my posts have been out of line and people are free to disagree with me.

      1. I am happy to have everyone express their opinion for other families making the decision. Though of course they should also do more research.
        Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

        1. Oh yes, of course. I didn’t mean to imply that people should not offer their opinions. My post itself was my opinion. Sorry if that was confusing.

  106. Hi, I wanted to thank you so much for writing your post, I will comment in that in a moment, but first I wanted to clear up a few misconceptions about FGM, that were tossed around in the comments (I didn’t read all of the comments, but I read most of them) and a couple of other things I feel really should be pointed out.
    In about 90% of FGM cases world-wide, the procedure is done in a hospital or home setting to infants. The procedure itself involves either the hood of the clitoris pricked with a needle to draw a drop of blood (symbolic for religious ceremonies), or in a hospital, the hood of the clitoris is cut off, exposing the clitoris. The most common reasons are hygiene, infection prevention, and aesthetics. As crazy as that sounds, there are just as many “studies” done in these other countries “proving” that FGM is cleaner and prevents infection, as there are for MGM, and parents believe in it (it is done to millions of infant girls a year). The propaganda in the U.S. involves high-lighting only the most radical forms of FGM, that accounts for roughly 10% of cases, (infibulation) which removes all external genitalia (the entire clitoris and labial folds, and sewing of vagina)-so that parents won’t make the obvious comparison with MGM.
    MGM, in contrast, is actually more severe in the amount of tissue removed, than the most common forms of FGM. It involves 50-80% of the penile skin removed (you can tell how much tissue has been removed by how far up the scar line is on the shaft) and commonly involves the entire removal of the frenulum (you can tell this was removed if there is only a thin scar on the back of the penis), the most sensitive area of the penis and the loss of which almost certainly causes some form of erectile dysfunction.
    I think in the U.S. there is a tendency by MGM moms to throw FGM moms under the bus- they love their circumcised daughters just as much as you love your sons, but it does not change the fact that their daughters have been mutilated. The common attitude I see is “I may have circumcised my son, but at least I didn’t do THAT to my daughter”, which FGM moms would find offensive. I really feel for them, they are just as much a victim to junk science, greedy doctors, and perverse religious officials as are many American mothers.
    Secondly, in response to a comment I saw on here written by a man who said he was thinking of circumcision for himself (I don’t have time to go find it right now), I’d like to point out that in many FGM countries, this is also an option that is given to adult women who have not been circumcised yet, touted as a “cure” for common (and easily remedied) issues, such as yeast or irritation. Any American woman would be appalled if her physician recommended removal of skin for something so minimal, especially when the benefits of having all your genitals far exceed the supposed “benefits” of cutting them off! In summary, the frequency in which a man would require genital cutting, is the same frequency in which a woman would require genital cutting- it is so rare in which it practically does not exist. Anyone claiming statistics otherwise, is just using scare tactics and has ulterior motives. Nearly 70% of U.S moms no longer buy into this nonsense and have chose to keep their sons intact.
    Lastly (wow, that was more than I meant to write!), I wanted to say a sincere thank you to the author of this blog. It is because of moms like you, stepping forward and exposing the truth on this subject, that is actually saving other moms from having to go through it. I do not judge you at all, for not having the knowledge ahead of time, but commend you on keeping your future sons intact (some moms are not brave enough to do so, fearing questions from their children and do resort to cutting all of them) so I am so glad you had the integrity to keep him intact and to share this experience with others.

  107. Thank you for posting this. I have been thinking about how
    to do this exact thing with our second boy. And we only have one son who is 2
    years old and I am not pregnant with our second. I went in ignorant and did not
    even ask about circumcision when we toured the hospital. Thank you for at least
    giving me something to think about (having one cut and one not) I had had it in
    my head that if you do one you need to do them all, even if you change your
    mind about it.

  108. Oh, boy.  My husband and I have discussed this in the past, but haven’t come to any sort of conclusion.  It’s a good thing we had a girl first.  Not looking forward to the continuation of the discussion, but the good (bad, really, but whatever) news is that a congenital deformity of the penis which requires reconstructive surgery (using the foreskin) runs in the family, so we may not have to deal with the prospect anyway.  Thank you for posting.

  109. This made me cry. Thank you for your courage. We left our little guy intact because I was lucky enough to have a midwife who strongly opposed it. She was the angel who saved my son because I would have probably made an irreversible mistake. Your story is very powerful and saving boys.

  110. Beautifully written, powerful, perfect. You are undoubtedly helping many people who are concerned about this issue.

  111. Here in Quebec, Canada, circumcision is no longer legal except for maybe religious reasons. I am glad that it is illegal because I really did not want to be faced with that decision when I was pregnant with my son. My husband is circumcised and he probably would have wanted it done but if we had researched it further I doubt either one of us would have been able to go through with it.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is a good lesson to all parents out there to  trust their guts when it comes to decisions about their own children.

  112. This post is so amazing.  Thank you so much for sharing your feelings and following your knot.  

    I have one son and he is intact.  When I chose to leave him that way, it was against the wishes of some and my support was small, but thank God for them.

    1. I wish I knew more then but at least one son was spared it. Good that you had support!
      Please excuse typos and brevity. Sent from my iPhone

  113. I’m curious about this skin that “wouldn’t pull back” on your son’s circumcised penis? WTF?
    What skin? They cut the skin off , no?

    “The decision to circumcise my son weighs on me every. single. day.”
    Really? After….years? Sounds like you need to see a therapist.
    There is now incontrovertible evidence that circumcision is probably one of the best things you can do for your son’s to prevent acquiring and transmitting the AIDS virus.
    Cool your disturbed conscience with that fact.

    “Over time many things changed in my life.  I learned more about parenting, babies, and pregnancy thanks to the internet.”
    Oh yes…well, it MUST be true if you learned it on the internet.
    Have you “learned” from the internet sites that preach against vaccinations that to vaccinate one’s children is, not only unnatural, but down right dangerous? BTW They can provide all the pseudo scientific research one  needs to backup their insane claims that there is no “natural” need to vaccinate your children against mumps, measles, small pox and whooping cough.
    (And no need to talk to my great-grandmother who buried 5 of her children in 3 weeks that just “naturally” succumbed to the effects of measles in the 1920’s)
    Get a grip, it’s better to clip!

    1. Far better for preventing AIDS transmission is simply using a condom.
      Preventing UTIs, you say? Girls get antibiotics instead of amputation.
      Hygiene, you say? Smegma, the substance that forms beneath the foreskin, also forms in equal or greater quantity in the folds of the female labia and under the female clitoral hood. But you don’t see any western doctors suggesting that the labia and clitoral hood of an infant girl should be removed.

      A person should have certain rights to their own body. A parent has responsibility for their child, yes, but not ownership of their child’s body. It is very sound medical and ethical principle to opt for the least invasive method of achieving an effect, not to skip straight to the most invasive and permanent method.

  114. I am SO glad I saw this! Thank you so much for writing this. We will find out if you newest little one (#3) is a boy or girl in a few more weeks.  We have two girls so far, so I have not had to make this decision, but everything I have read and seen lately is pointing me to ‘NO’. I have that same “gut feeling” but I kept pushing it away because ‘everyone does it though right?’ I mean ‘I don’t want my son to be there ‘different’ one in the locker room!’ I am so so glad I read this, because it just laid it out for me to listen to that voice. I may not even have to worry about this, but just in case, this was a really great thing for me to read. I am so sorry that you feel so badly about it, I know it’s so hard as a parent. We feel guilty about everything as it is anyway! Just know that you are raising a wonderful healthy smart baby boy, and in the words of Maya Angelou “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Thanks again for growing the ovaries (hehe) to write this!

  115. I feel the same way. Every time I bathe my baby, or change him I am haunted by what I did. I left that decision up to my husband & we didn’t even research it, but I was there holding my sweet baby’s hands when he was cut, and i spent the rest if the day with a screaming newborn, rigid with pain. I have seen the procedure done many times since I work in the hospital, and most babies handle it as if nothing happened, but a few are in tortured pain. I just thought my baby would be like most, but he was one of the unlucky few. I will never do this to another baby!

  116. Bravo for doing this.  I have 5 children – my 4th is a boy.  When I had him, there was never even a question about circumcision – it was just something you “did.”  I never gave a second’s thought to it.  I never discussed it with doctors, family, or even my husband.  Now, 6 years later, I kept seeing a friend post about being an intactivist, and finally got a little curious.  “What in the world is the excuse people were giving now as to why they WOULDN’T circumcise?”  I curiously pressed play on the video she had posted.  After 10 minutes of hearing this lady calmly give facts about the nerves in the foreskin being the same type of nerves as those in your fingertips – so sensitive they can feel a hair on your arm if you brush your fingers across it; the foreskin protecting the head of the penis so that it stays sensitive instead of becoming dry, rough, chaffed, and insensitive; the foreskin actually serving for BOTH partners during intercourse by stimulating the man while he remains CLOSE to his partner instead of pulling in & out quickly & roughly (which is NOT beneficial to the woman); etc., I, too, thought, “What in God’s name have I done?!?!”  Literally!  In God’s name.  I don’t know your stances on God, Jesus, or Christianity, but I believe the Bible – not some “religion” someone has come up with to suit their own needs.  Looking back at circumcision from a Biblical standpoint, yes, it was something done in the OLD TESTAMENT.  As with many other practices we now would look at as barbaric or strange.  When Jesus died he simply said, “It is FINISHED!”  That means that we don’t HAVE to do any of those strange or barbaric acts anymore!  Jesus took all that on for us through HIS blood sacrifice so that we wouldn’t HAVE to!  However, the damage had already been done to my son – foolishly & naively.  I was completely uneducated.  No doctor, no nurse, no body was there to give me any other option.  I love the excuse about “Well, we want him to look like his Daddy…”  Tell me now, how often do you plan for the two to be naked together looking at each other’s penises?  And if you use that excuse, if the baby is born with brown eyes and the father has blue eyes, are you going to make him get contacts to match?  What about hair color?  Are you going to change that, too?  Of course not!  That’s the lamest grasp at straws for justification I’ve ever heard of!  It would be HONORABLE for a father to look at his son if the question came up for being “different” to tell him that yes, they are different.  He chose to leave his son PERFECT, the way GOD made him!  And don’t even get me started on the “cleanliness” factor.  The people that circumcised for that reason only took a bath maybe once a week if they were lucky.  That would have a negative effect on ANYONE.  We’ve come so far, but yet refuse to accept it.  If a PARENT would act like a PARENT and SHOW their child how to pull the skin back & clean themselves (and rinse well), there is no more chance of any infections than if he were cut.  Now I didn’t mean to go on a rant here, nor did I mean to take your spotlight.  I agree with you wholeheartedly.  And if I had another son, knowing what I know now, there’s no chance in HELL that I’d have him circumcised.  I, too, would have one cut, and the other intact.  🙂 

  117. I love that u shared your story. I don’t think circumcision should be one of the items automatically chosen during the birth of a baby boy. There is no need to cut off any part of a newborns healthy body. I look forward to a more educated and human future for medicine when this is no longer a common procedure.

  118. Just wanted to say that our story is the same. My 2 boys don’t match either. I fear the day that conversation comes up also. Strangely, they are now 11 and 7 and they still haven’t questioned it at all….I’m afraid to point it out.

  119. Thank you for finding your voice. You are a brave loving mother. I am one of those intactivists. I prefer to educate/demonstrate against MGM and in support of the whole body in person, where I can talk with people face to face. I have asked these two questions many times and given the answers:
    Why does a mother circumcise her son? Because she loves him.
    What does a mother leave her son intact? Because she loves him.
    You were most likely misled by our culture and by the medical community – (all of them should have said NO). I am so proud of you for being willing, for actually learning, for making a different decision and most of all for speaking out. You will always validate your sons and you will explain that when you had your first, the culture and the medical community encouraged this, then you learned more and different info and made a different decision. Just be there for him and listen. The men I know who have no regard for their parents because of circumcision are men whose parents never validated their opinion and feelings and never owned their part in it. You will do that for your boys.

  120. Thank you for sharing that heartfelt story. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but it needs to be told. I hope that since publishing it the negative comments have been few and far between because it takes courage to admit to making a mistake. If my son had not been born with hypospadias, he too would have been circumcised. I thank God every day that he was spared and I was able to take him home whole and given the chance to actually research it. While I am thankful, I also feel great guilt over the thought that I was going to let it be done to him. I will never know the magnitude of what you feel, but I can somewhat imagine. My own guilt has fueled me to become one of those intactivists you speak about. It amazes me how easily we are all mislead. So again, thank you! Thank you for being able to set your own feelings aside and research it enough to spare your second son. And if it hasn’t already been said, I think the easiest way to explain it to your sons is to let them know that you did what you thought was best for them at the time. When your older son was born you thought that circumcision was the best choice and since then you have learned otherwise and spared your younger son from that harm. And then apologize. It takes a compassionate person to write something such as your post here, so I’m sure they already see how much you love them and by admitting your mistake, you should all be able to heal. I wish you the best of luck.

  121. You are strong woman & wonderful mother to admit that you made a mistake and are doing your best to learn from it and share your experience to hopefully save another mama & baby. Love to you & the family.

  122. Thank you so much for your story. I hope one day no mother has to share another one, but for now you brave women are some of our best testimonies & activists. Can’t imagine how hard it was to come to terms with this, or to write this…again, thank you. It can’t be said enough.

  123. I’m just new to this blog and a new fan, so I’m commenting very late to it. I too have two sons, slightly younger than yours. It was very awkward to ask us to cut or not to cut in the middle of a c-section, just when I was the one being cut. Maybe because of that, or because we couldn’t get anyone to perform it 2 weeks later, but I found a video that convinced us completely of not doing it. Both my kids are perfect, in any way, shape or form and I don’t feel guilty or even think about it. Was it a right decision to make? Hell yeah! But, for the record, my brother, father and nephew are all circumcised and they don’t seem to be traumatized by the experience. I know that if we had cut, that would have been right too, so don’t feel guilty. We only do the best we can as parents and your son won’t have to be that worried about hygiene.

  124. My younger brother was cut, without my mother being asked about it. I am intact. Our parents never spoke to this fact. My brother and I have never talked about it. My mother did not open up about my being intact until I raised the issue with her, after my father had died. She eventually revealed that my being intact required her to threaten my father with divorce. At the same time, my mother does not agree with my intactivism, because I have no issues involving sons or my marriage. Nor does she agree that circumcision can detract from sexual enjoyment.

  125. Thank you for sharing your story! I shared it with some people on Facebook at Saving Our Sons. I appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and honest so you can heal as well as others. 🙂 Your sons are lucky to have a loving mom… your love shines through.

  126. My best friend is the reason why I left my son intact. She confided in me that she regretted having her first son circumcised, and that she would never do it to any future sons. She is an amazing mom, so I knew if she felt that strongly about it, there had to be a good reason. A few months after I had my first son, she had her second son. Her boys do not “match”, but they are both perfect.

    Moms like you who speak out about their guilt and regret, in such an honest and heartfelt way, are an inspiration. I hope you can someday be at peace with the past. Your son will absolutely forgive you, and you are saving so many babies by posting blogs like this. Thank you!

  127. You are so brave and such a strong woman to not only admit your
    mistakes to yourself, but to the world. I hope that your post will serve
    as a warning to those considering circ’ing their sons… I left my
    first son intact because the knot in my stomach was more than I could
    take… The intactivist movement helped me learn more about the
    procedure and ultimately confirmed my inner instinct that it was wrong
    and I could not possibly do that to my son. And yet I know SO many
    people that continue to do this to their children. It makes me cry every
    single time a friend or acquaintance of mine has a son, leaves the
    “decision” up to their husband and then ends up taking home a mutilated
    little infant from the hospital. I will definitely share your post with
    anyone I know who is considering the procedure because your honest words
    and humility speak volumes.

  128. Thank you so much for this. I have tears rolling down my cheeks. We decided not to circumcise our son and although I don’t regret it- I am sometimes worried that he will be teased when he is older (boys locker rooms) or rejected when he starts dating. I know now without a doubt that we made the right choice. Thank you for showing your heart and exposing truths.

  129. Thank you for sharing your message. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and honesty to come to the realization you did, and that is to be commended.

  130. I felt the same way! Thankfully my son’s was not batched by if we ever have another son he will be intact.

  131. I’m so happy you’ve shared your story. It’s very moving. My son circumcision went well. My doc only cut a little off just so the head is showing. She said this way the skin wouldn’t pull tight when he gets an erection when he is older. He wasn’t in pain didn’t cry hell he didn’t even bleed longer then 5 mins. He is a happy healthy baby. It’s my choice and it does offend me that people would said I’ve ruined my son. It is very hurtful. I did my research and it worked for us. So I don’t want any negative feed back from anyone. I’m sorry you have this guilt and I know you’ll work thru it. Thank you for taking your time to write it. Much love to you

  132. I am so sorry about your own guilt & pain, but your post will help many others. We’re all trying to lessen suffering in the world. You’re doing a good job with that.

  133. It feels good to know I am not alone. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was in tears just thinking about it all, my anxiety and depression over what happened to our son, as I often do. He is 2. This post has really helped me be able to sleep tonight. Much love <3 bright

    1. I hope it gets easier for you. It hasn’t gone away for me but I’ve gotten some peace just knowing others have done the same. I wrote this a few years ago and so far none of the boys have asked about why they don’t match, though it has been weighing on me recently has they are both starting to explore more.

  134. I know this is an old post, but now I have reason to love you even more! Your story echoes mine in so many ways except that I don’t have another son yet. I hurts my heart to know that I will one day have to explain why my son is different than any future brothers. Why I didn’t do more research before I signed the so called “informed” consent. Why I chose to go along with it just because “that’s what everyone does, it’s normal”. So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for having the courage to share your story with those of us who are just coming to terms with our own story.
    <3 Shannon

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