Circumcision: The doctor told me he wouldn't feel a thing.

When my obstetrician was trying to convince me to circumcise my son, he told me that he wouldn’t feel a thing.  He told me that they numbed the area and it would be a pain-free experience. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know how pain-free my own son’s circumcision was. Yet, I was there before and after his circumcision. What I hadn’t considered was the pain that he would feel as a result of his circumcision. I hadn’t considered the aftermath.

Here is a photo of me holding my son before his circumcision:

COMPARINGHANDS

He was alert and calm. He was very relaxed and content. He would look at people’s faces. Even though he had been given the antibiotic goop in his eyes, he was still very visual and communicative that entire first day, when he wasn’t sleeping… Even with other people. Here is a photo of my dad holding him during that first day prior to his surgery. My son was watching my dad intently:

Copy of LEARNINGGRAMMPASFACE

 

Copy of LISTENINGTOGRAMMPA

 

The Aftermath

After his circumcision, he withdrew and was harder to please right away. His brows were furrowed almost always in that first week. I remember asking him several times at the end of our hospital stay, “Why so cranky Baby?” I hadn’t even considered it was from his circumcision at that time. I was a new mom and knew almost nothing.

Here he is being held by his aunt at the end of his hospital stay:

WITHAUNTBECCA

 

He was sleeping. Maybe he was having a bad dream. Maybe his aunt was holding him strange. Maybe.

Here he is with me. I remember people asking him, “Why so serious, little one?”:

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Same baby, same mother… one day later.  After his circumcision, he just maintained the concerned look, with furrowed brows, even while he slept. It could have been pain from where they drew blood. Maybe.

So, for the week that followed I changed his diaper while he screamed the whole time. His little penis was red and tinges of blood would get on his diaper, even though I was putting petroleum jelly on it just like they said to. It wasn’t a little red. It was an angry red. And still I wondered why he was so upset. I remember telling him, “Mama has to change your diaper, honey.” As though what bothered him was not being wrapped up tightly.  Maybe it was that. Maybe.

WITHAUNTANNIE

Then the Adhesions

No sooner did I get to exhale from the stress of cleaning and treating a circumcision wound being over, my son developed an adhesion. This is where the skin that is near the glans tries to reattach while it heals. The “fix” for an adhesion? The pediatrician pulled back the skin on the shaft of my son’s infant penis and forcefully pulled it apart. Screaming ensued, as you can imagine. Then, I was back to adding petroleum jelly to the diaper routine, and he was back to feeling pain on his penis. A couple months later, another adhesion was found on the other side of the shaft. Again, my son was put through excruciating pain and had to endure the discomfort of trying to heal. I was told if I had left the adhesions, his erections would cause him pain. I was also informed that adhesions are pretty common.

He Still Isn’t “Not Feeling a Thing.”

To this day, my son who is almost a teenager now, is still proving my old obstetrician wrong.

I was informed that my son would not feel a thing.

That might be one of the biggest lies I have ever fallen for.
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75 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that your son, and you, had to go through this. I can’t imagine a doctor who is so delusional that they tell you your child won’t feel a thing. It must have been financially driven for the doctor 🙁

    • Lesley

      How financially driven could the OB possibly be? I don’t know how much they get for a circumsion these days, but when my sons were born, in the 80’s, it was a whopping $50! Sorry your son had such a bad experience. I had three sons, and not one of them had any complications and were completely healed in less than a week.

  2. AliceKS

    Oh, Dawn, I am so soooo sorry that you & your son have gone through this, & I’m so grateful for you for sharing your story. Thank you for the courage to write this–& I am wishing healing of every kind for you both. I hope it’s okay if I share this on my “Alice in Mamaland” Facebook page. xo

  3. Jeff

    The doctors weren’t lying.

    It’s just that the “not feeling a thing” part comes later…

    He’ll first notice that the doctors were “correct” in his twenties when he tries to practice safe sex by using a condom. At that point, he won’t feel a thing.

    (He’ll give up on condoms at that point – hope he doesn’t catch anything.)

    Later, in his thirties, or if he’s lucky, his forties, he’ll notice that the doctors were again “correct” when he tries to have sex even without a condom. Again, he won’t feel a thing.

    Most of his pleasure nerves are gone now. He may be extra sensitive now, but that won’t last very long.

    Before he knows it, his ever less sensitive penis will prove that the doctors were correct. He won’t feel a thing.

    Oh, and just so you know. The only one “going through this” is HIM.

    And he’ll be “going through this” for the rest of his life…

    • Dawn

      Jeff,

      When a mother expresses remorse and comes forward in an attempt to help prevent the atrocities in the future, it does no good further shaming her.

      I appreciate the added facts, what to expect in the future. That was all good and imperative information to share. Your last two comments, however, felt as though they were intended to hurt me or at least to minimize the feelings of mothers who do feel pain because they realize that their child did.

      Evidently, you do not understand what a mother “goes through” when she realizes that she had a part in something that unnecessarily harmed her baby. The truth is, circumcision harms much more than just the child who was cut. It harms the mother who realizes her mistake to her very core. It harms the partner he will eventually choose. It harms our society in general. There are more victims than just the primary one. And all of these aspects should be discussed.

      Finally, it’s imperative for mothers to express their remorse. When they do, and they are shamed, it shows other women they should not speak up about their remorse.

      The truth is, I believe that it’s mother’s talking about their remorse that will ultimately end this practice.

      • Eric

        Well done for speaking out, it’s a difficult topic.

        You should make him aware of foreskin restoration at an early age, he can get on with it when he’s ready. It takes less time when you’re younger, I’ve read about people around the age of 15 managing to get full coverage after a much shorter average time than people later in life.

        • Dawn

          We’ve discussed it. I don’t want to go into detail about his future plans on that issue (if any) because I don’t think he’d like it, but I do think it’s important for moms and sons to know that when it’s done earlier, it is an easier process.

          Thank you for bringing that up.

          • Cindy

            Have you heard of a DTR. My husband is in the process of restoring himself. He is using a DTR. They are a little pricey but it is working really well.

            It’s a plastic device that cups thehead of the penis and encases the skin around the head and uses rubber bands for tension to stretch the skin. My husband has only had rare, minor, pain but removes it when it hurts.

            Also, I am enjoying sex more and it even hurts me less now that he is restoring himself.
            I noticed a difference in look about 5 weeks in.

            Speaking up on this is a wonderful thing. Good for you.

            If you would like more info on the DTR email me. My husband has the info in his email but he’s in the shower and it’s almost 2 am. But I remember only one guy makes them, they are 95 $ and made to order.

      • Jeff

        You may be right. It may very well be the voices of remorseful mothers that ultimately end this life-long nightmare visited upon defenseless boys and the men they become.

        If that is the result, I welcome it, gladly.

        Because the voices of men talking about their own suffering from forcible genital cutting isn’t working…or working fast enough.

        Too often, those same men are rebuked by women, and men, who use direct and unmistakeable shaming language.

        My own post was not intended to shame you or other mothers who carry the heavy burden of remorse. My last two comments quoted other commenters who implied, perhaps unintentionally, an equality of suffering by you and your son.

        While, I do not understand what a mother goes through, I can assure you that it is much less than what her son will have to endure over the course of his entire lifetime.

        Is he the only one who suffers? No. A remorseful mother suffers. Future partners suffer. Society in general suffers. As you say, there are other victims.

        But those other victims suffer less. Much less.

        That was the point of the last two remarks. And it is a point that will never be made to you by your own son. He loves you and he knows that you love him. Therefore, he will protect you from ever knowing the depth of his own suffering.

        Think about that. He will never be able to share with you how badly he is hurting, because he fears that the mere shadow of his own pain would be too much for you to bear.

        This is something that mothers and fathers ought to know – and ought to think about.

        I did not intend to shame you or other remorseful mothers. If it had been my intent to shame, my use of language would have been unmistakable. (Shaming an expecting mother who is set on cutting might be effective, although I haven’t found that to be the case.) But, as you say, shaming a regretful mother does no good.

        I do hope that mothers and fathers will soon decide to do their research and protect their sons from the industry of cutting.

        I share your hope that posts like this one will play a role in making that happen.

        Thank you for sharing it. Sincerely, Jeff

        • Jeff,

          We mothers who put our sons through this atrocity know in our hearts that there is nobody else to blame. We know and accept that the most terrible buck stops with us.

          Most nights before we fall asleep we tell ourselves that we were too weak to protect our baby, that when he relied on us to care for him we victimized him in a most terrible and irreversible way.

          Babies and children need all sorts of people to advocate with them- those with different styles and thoughts and backgrounds. I think Dawn’s words are important- not only the ones in her piece, but the reminder that we want to create an environment which encourages mothers to speak out.

          Those of us who have been doing it for a while know the importance of the message you were delivering. I also encourage you to be gentle with mothers- when we are first finding out there is a grief that though incomparable, no son will ever know.

          • Jeff

            This conversation was gentle.

            If I let just a cupful of the ocean of rage inside of me infect my post with just an ounce of the wrath that daily consumes me about this horrifying abuse come through…my post would have been deleted.

            Please don’t patronize me.

          • Dawn

            Please don’t underestimate what it feels like to be a mother lied to, who signed consent under manipulation only to realize what we allowed to happen.

    • Lesley

      My husband is circumcised, and he would beg to differ with you about “not feeling a thing”. He (we) have had a very fulfilling sex life for over 30 years. Perhaps you had a bad experience. Removing the foreskin has nothing to do with the nerves that are in the head (glans) of the penis. There are reasons for and against circumcision, and the decision should be individual – “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.

  4. Further evidence that boys – and the men they’re destined to become – are not the only victims of the business of circumcision. This mother was deceived by an unethical physician looking to make a quick buck with no regard for the consequences of his actions on others. Very sad.

  5. Lo

    Dawn, thank you so much for speaking out, we NEED mothers like you, who are willing to speak the truth. Those of us who are working hard to end genital cutting in this country are often thought of as crazy but it’s mothers like yourself who can help raise awareness to end this needless suffering of our precious newborns.
    Keep talking about it, you can help prevent this from happening to other babies and in doing so, will make your own child’s suffering to not have been in vain.
    The doctors who keep cutting our children are greedy sadists. Period.

  6. Pingback: Circumcision: The doctor told me he wouldn’t feel a thing | Circumcision Doctors Australia

  7. Thanks so much for speaking out on this very important but usually ignored subject. I know it is very difficult for you to do so. But by so doing you may well save numerous other boys the same fate. The pain your son feels at the circumcision scar line is probably caused by traumatic neuromas that formed when the nerves were cut. Such neuromas can be very pain or very pleasurable. The are discussed at some length in Christopher Cold’s article “The Prepuce” in BJU International. Unfortunately American physicians just close their eyes and ignore the facts, if they even bother to find them out. It may well be a defensive mechanism since most of them are circumcised. Thanks once again for sharing this compelling testimony.

  8. Pen15

    How could any reasonably intelligent person possibly believe that a boy having his prepuce (foreskin) ripped, clamped, crushed, and sliced would cause no pain??? : In infancy, the foreskin is FUSED to the glans (head) like the finger nail is to the finger. Circumcision of infants and children involves ripping the adhesion, crushing and clamping the foreskin, and slicing away the skin. In MOST cases anesthetic is not used. Most babies are simply given a sugar pacifier and baby Tylenol. They cannot be given a general anesthetic due to extreme risk of death. Babies’ nervous systems are at their peak in infancy, that is when they feel the most pain. Even the dorsal penile nerve block leaves the underside of the penis receptive to pain.

    If you fell for the lie, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    • Dawn

      I was actually informed of the procedure in a way different from how it actually happened.

      I’m certain I’m not the only one. I think it’s important for you to know what I was told, because I am a woman with above average intelligence. What I wasn’t, in 2001, was educated on circumcision. I didn’t even realize that it was a viable option. The doctor explained that it would be neglectful of me to not circumcise. He told me to grow up and be a mother and choose what is best for my child. He said all the things they say… about disease and infection. He said it was an evolutionary mishap, like the appendix. (Of course, I no longer view even the appendix in that way.)

      Here is exactly what I was told:

      I was told that there was a numbing cream that was probably unnecessary given how thin the skin actually is there. I was not told of nerve endings or anything like that. I was told it was a very thing layer of skin. I was not told it was fused. I was told that they would take a clamp and put it on the skin. That would make it almost fall away on its own, but for perfection, they would also cut it.

      I was told it was that simple, happens every day, has no risks unless the surgeon was highly unskilled and unsanitary. I was told there would be no pain. Why, would I not believe him? The only reason I didn’t want to was because well, I was scared of it… for no real good reason that I was aware of at the time.

      So, please, next time, consider just how twisted the lies built around this procedure have been before judging. Not all women nonchalantly allow cutting. Some of us are emotionally manipulated into it. It doesn’t make us stupid. It doesn’t make us uneducated in general. It means we come from a society that has deliberately encouraged a lack of education in this area and a medical community that often uses deception to control women while they are at a place when they feel vulnerable, hormonal, and they aren’t even capable of using all of their cognitive resources from pregnancy anyway, even if they DID know something fishy was up.

      The only thing I had on my side was my gut feeling, and I was told that was irresponsible fear caused by the grieving process from my pregnancy loss the year before.

      When you act as though I have no one to blame but myself, you are actually enabling those that have deliberately perpetuated this. Certainly, I also blame my naivety, but I don’t hold the blame for this alone.

      • Pen15

        I would like to know why you did not accompany your son to the procedure. Even if it WAS painless (which we both know is not true) a mother should be there for her newborn baby who is undergoing a medical procedure. Which questions did you ask the doctor?

        • Dawn

          My husband did.

          I had a very rough labor. My pushing lasted almost four hours and I was very damaged. It was over 24 hours before I was able to pee because I was so bruised and swollen. It was very difficult for me to walk at all during those initial hours. That is why.

          I asked what the risks were. I asked why it was so important. I asked why it couldn’t wait until later. I asked what was entailed in the surgery. I was lied to point by point.

          And I had NO reason in the world to think it would be painful since he said it wouldn’t be. He said that the skin could easily tear later down the road without it, and THAT would be painful if a tear got infected.

          I believed that if I did not do this, I would have been a neglectful mother who was being irrational given my previous stillbirth. It was not a quick discussion. It was a long discussion where I was delivered falsehoods by a medical professional.

          If I had known what was entailed… if I had not been lied to, there is zero chance that I would have allowed it to happen. I was working with false information. Many mothers were.

        • Harmed

          While I agree that parents should be forced to watch the torture they requested happen to their children, it’s sort of a silly question to ask why Dawn didn’t accompany him. If he had had to have heart surgery or abdominal surgery for an actual medical condition you would not expect her to be present for the surgery, nor would she be allowed.

  9. megan

    i just wanted to say thankyou for speaking out about this, my own boys arent circumcised and this is due to me believing things should stay as nature intended and being scared if something should have gone wrong or them developing infection and cleaning the poor thing while it hurts and bleeds , i was under a fair bit of pressure to circumsize my first born but im stubborn and after seeing what his cousin went through only months before from his circumsisian there is no way i was going to put him through that… i was labelled the selfish one, i was told he wouldnt be clean or have a great sex life when he is an adult etc etc…guilt guilt guilt, but now i know what i think i always knew deep down, but it confirms it so much when mothers like yourself stand up and speak out, so thankyou for the honesty you share and i hope that your son will one day find peace with the decisions made and continue to have a fulfillig life.

  10. Genevieve

    It makes me so so angry and sad that women are manipulated after their births, at a very sensitive and emotional and let’s be honest – tired time, by doctors who are unethical. I thank God I had a girl first and mourn that I told one of my best friends whose son was born a month before my daughter “Iff we have a boy of course we will circumcize!” And then encouraged her to do so when she said she thought it was what her husband wanted. I had no idea. If I could go back knowing what I know now, maybe her little boy would be whole. Never again!

  11. roger desmoulins

    Am I correct that your obgyn did not inject lidocaine (which was very seldom done last century)? If that was the case, any claim that your son’s RIC would be “pain-free” was a Big Lie. It is has been conclusively proven that RIC without lidocaine is very painful for the child. Much of your post was about post-op issues, which lidocaine cannot address. The only pain free experience is to forego RIC entirely.

    I am a baby boomer who grew up in the midwest, surrounded by circumcised boys and men. There was no talk 40-50 years ago about RIC being traumatic. Books for expectant parents asserted over and over, until about 1990, that newborns had little capacity to experience pain. In those days, a freshly delivered baby was taken from its mother and put in a nursery for 10 days. It was circumcised within 24 hours of birth, and parents were not allowed to witness it; not that any asked. During the next 8-10 days, the recovering child’s diaper was changed only by maternity ward nurses. By the time mother and son went home, the circumcision had sufficiently healed that changing his diaper did not dismay the mother.

    Nowadays, mothers interact a lot more with their babies during the days right after birth. Mothers and babies are discharged much sooner. Hence a mother has to care for the bloody postop penis. Mothers like you are appalled, and use social media to share their dismay. This is a major reason why RIC is doomed in North America. Another reason is young women free spirits using social media to share that they enjoy intact intercourse more.

    The real problems are that many circumcised American fathers are not comfortable raising intact sons. They do not want to be reminded, every time they change a diaper or give a bath, that they lack something intimate that their sons has. Most circumcised American doctors cannot see that circumcision is sexually weird and a form of sexual violence. Nearly all circumcised American medical school profs are blind to the need to investigate the consequences and complications of RIC.

    Dawn, thank you for doing your part to overthrow the Empire of the Bald Penis. Our sons deserve better than this slaughter of the foreskin.

    • Dawn

      I am not sure. I know he said that there would be a numbing cream. I had no reason to think it was anymore than a lidocaine cream and no reason to suspect that it wouldn’t work or that it would hurt.

      I had babies before my siblings and before my friends. I had never been exposed to the aftermath of a circumcision. I had no real reason to think anything I was being told was a lie.

      • Lesley

        Just a questionn – why didn’t you, during the 7 or 8 months that you awaited the birth of your son, ever read up on circumcision so that you could make an informed decision? I did this, way back in the “dark ages”, 1977. Even if you do not learn the sex of your child before birt, you know that there is a 50/50 chance you will have a boy. It is up to you, as an expectant mother, to educate yourself about having a baby.

        Also, FYI, by the 1970s mothers were being discharged when their babies were 2 days old, unless they had a cesarian, in which case they stayed in the hospital for a week.

        • Dawn

          Well, I guess there’s two responses. For starters, I had no real reason to doubt doctors at that point. None. I thought doctors did the right thing and were smarter and more aware. I was naive.

          Two. I wasn’t in a position to do much outside the box. I was scared out of my mind that I would mess up and my child would die because I was pregnant with my son less than three months after I delivered a stillborn daughter. While I was told her cause of death was outside of my control, with PPD and then pregnancy hormones, which I was very sensitive to, I was just always afraid. Always feeling scared that I wasn’t doing “everything right.” I tried SO hard to do everything perfectly right. I just didn’t realize what right was.

          I do understand, on the other side of this now, that it seems like a no brainer, but when you’re on the non-questioning side, and as the first in your family of cousins and siblings and the first among your friends to have children, it’s harder to even be aware that any questioning is ever even needed.

          I feel that this judgement, like where you say, “It’s up to you to educate yourself,” is completely ineffective. It was not presented to me like a choice. It was presented to me as what we do. I protested simply because I didn’t want to. I had no reason in my mind to believe there was any place to “educate myself” on this. I went to the doctor, and HE “educated me” when I asked him. The books I had read all acted like it was simply something that is done for the safety of the boy.

    • InfiniteSovereign

      As Roger pointed out, it is mothers who will end this practice. Most circumcised men have a subconscious desire to perpetuate the abuse that was perpetrated against them out of a psychological need to block out the trauma that was done to them, and a deep need not to feel lacking, especially as concerns their penis. It is mothers who apologize to their children that save their grandsons and set the stage for their sons’ healing. Circumcised men have to address their own trauma before they can possibly be expected to protect their sons.

      I’m am so so sorry that your doctor lied to you the way he did. It is very shocking. It’s not your fault what happened. In our culture we are taught that doctors are experts and trustworthy. We depend on them for informed consent. Unfortunately, informed consent has gone the way of the dodo and we have to inform ourselves. It takes a lot of guts to admit that you made a parenting mistake and open yourself up to the intense grief that inevitably comes from this realization. I admire your courage.

  12. AJ

    You saved my son’s winker. You are the only person who was brave enough or knowledgeable enough to even broach the subject with me. If you hadn’t, I’d have found out later the trauma and problems that sock practice causes, so you saved my sanity too. So thanks from both of us. <3

  13. kris

    I’ve been raising an intact son for 20 years. His father is cut but my own father was not.
    I’m very lucky that even though we were young parents, I knew in my gut ( and from my own family experience) that circumcision was totally unnecessary. Another way I “lucked out” was that my son’s father wasn’t possessive about his child’s genitals.

    Now, after working with newborns and parents in the prenatal and immediate post -partum era, what I witness every single day is very rarely discussed. Truly, I’ve never seen anyone adequately address
    the issue below:

    Moms make almost every decision during pregnancy. You can argue, but the majority of fathers go along with her choices the very same
    way as they generally do with wedding planning. My experience when couples disagree about circ is this odd fear the mother has that the father will reject his son or be ashamed of him; not take complete “ownership” and buy in if she doesn’t allow this.
    It becomes like their secret pact or ritual that they both have to endure and her concern or intervention adds up to her making the son “weak” and
    being overprotective.
    The cut fathers I observe allowing their sons another option in life are almost always dads who are directly involved in the entire birth and planning phase.

    I don’t know how to stop it or fix it
    I do try
    -every day and I see small drops in numbers of circs, but until we address those weird, deep psychological reasons this one is so self-perpetuating, I don’t think the idea of pain phases most people. We are ignoring some of the sick stuff: not just profit motives for doctors ( the docs I know would love to stop doing them but hate watching the fights that summer and taint the whole enjoyment of this new child when a father INSISTS it will be done and makes it the one thing he’s adamant about.
    lastly – this blog post and the subsequent debate has been the most encouraging and mature I have ever read! I’m encouraged.

  14. Mindy

    THANK YOU for sharing your story. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you, and your son. Hugs to you, and God bless you. These stories must be shared to make change, and I applaud you for stepping up and speaking out.

  15. Holly

    Thank you for writing this! I am going/went through the same thing. My son had two adhesions ripped apart during his first year (he’s 16 months now), now I apply Vaseline every day to prevent them and he cries when I do, so I know it hurts 🙁 I didn’t know better, but glad I do now!

      • CircEsAdreim

        I don’t even think you were given INFORMED consent. Not the way the procedure was explained to you. You were lied to and manipulated. That’s not informed consent. It’s fraud. Personally, I think parents in this situation would have every right to sue the doctors/hospitals themselves.

        Such a despicable practice, I hate it so much. Thank YOU for speaking out about this. Regretful mothers are one of the greatest driving forces behind the intactivist/anti-circ movement. People like you are awesome.

        • Dawn

          I think you’re right. It’s just that AT THE TIME, I thought I was informed. I asked a ton of questions. I thought I did a great job of it. I was naive and lied to.

  16. monica

    My cousin had 3 boys and them all circumcised. I recognize that look of furrowed brow. I always wondered why they never seem to smile or be happy. Now I understand. I have a two year old daughter. we are pregnant again. don’t know if it’s a boy or girl. But, we made the decision years ago that if we ever had a boy we would Not be circumcising him. Sorry you had to go through this experience.

  17. Pam

    I have been a baby nurse (well baby nursery and NICU) for over 16 years. I have assisted with and cared for countless baby boys after circs. I am so sorry your baby had so many troubles and complications. There are ways to prevent adhesions and I am sorry you were not taught how to do it. These complications are quite rare, at least where I work. The babies are given Tylenol 1 hour before the procedure, a lidocaine block, numbing cream and sucrose. Sucrose is an excellent pre-procedural analgesic and works on a neonate’s pain receptors like a narcotic works for an adult. The babies’ arms and upper body are swaddled in a blanket. About half cry during the procedure, half do not, and the technique the docs use minimizes bleeding and swelling (often there is none). They are generally a bit fussy with diaper changes for about 12 hours, then back to normal. Immediately after the procedure, the baby is comforted by being held and/or fed.

    My husband is circumcised, things are healthy and 100% functional down there, and believe me…. “sensitivity” is NOT lacking 🙂 Both my boys are have been circumcised and healed beautifully within days, no adhesions either. My OB and I discussed circumcision prenatally and the decision was made well before the baby was born. I was not pressured or persuaded in any direction by my doctors, and my pediatrician provided me with literature from both sides. It was totally our decision. Both me and my husband wanted our boys to look like him. I was well educated on the procedure and its risks/benefits and we agreed together that the benefits outweighed the non-benefits. We have no regrets. My boys are too young to know any differently, but if they question us about it when they are adults, then so be it. We will be honest in explaining our decision. I have met more and more people who have elected not to circumcise. As of 2013, my insurance company no longer pays for the procedure because it is considered “not medically necessary”. Would our decision have been different if my husband was not circumcised and we were having our first baby in a few months instead of 10 years ago? Perhaps yes.

    I am not here to persuade anyone in a particular direction, I have read literature supporting both sides. I just felt the need to let people know that there are complication-free circumcisions happening everywhere everyday, and that there are plenty of physicians out there who are respectful of the parent’s wishes no matter what they choose. Please stop assuming that circumcision is financially motivated or routinely “forced” upon us by medical professionals. And yes, despite our best efforts, It CAN be painful and have complications, anyone who claims otherwise is just arrogant and wrong. Again, I am truly sorry your child has had such troubles.

    • Dawn

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I do have a difficult time seeing circumcision as not financially motivated. There are enormous amounts of money in circumcisions. From the actual procedure to the sale of foreskin.

      I read the list of pain relievers that are given at your hospital for circumcisions. Is it not a concern to anyone, given the young age, that so much medication is used? Tylenol is so damaging, we don’t even use it at all anymore.

      And while there may be boys who go through this without problems, why, when my son had problems was it casually dismissed as a common thing? Civil rights aside- What is the point of putting so many boys at risk?

    • Devin

      Dear Pam:
      You are SO Wrong when you said: “I just felt the need to let people know that there are complication-free circumcisions happening everywhere everyday…”
      WHAT IS LOST TO CIRCUMCISION:
      About 50% of the penile skin: The double layered foreskin (prepuce), along with the rest of the shaft skin, is a mobile skin system and can freely move up and down the penile shaft, even during an erection.

      The Pleasurable Sensations of the “Ridged Bands”: The 1/2 inch wide bands of tissue near the tip of the foreskin is the most highly innervated and erogenous part of the penis containing thousands of nerve endings called Meissner’s Corpuscles. The loss of this tissue along with the adjacent sensitive frenulum, reduces a man’s pleasure and full range of sexual response.

      The foreskin’s Gliding action: This is the hallmark mechanical feature of the natural human penis. The non-abrasive gliding of the penis in and out of its own sheath of skin facilitates smooth, comfortable, pleasurable intercourse for both partners.

      The Comfort of a covered glans: The foreskin’s inner mucosal tissue provides a warm, moist, protective covering for the sensitive glans. The glans of the circumcised penis becomes dry and calloused from exposure to air and rubbing against clothing.

      Choice: A man who was circumcised as an infant has lost his right to an intact, normal, and whole penis and the right to control what happens to his own body.

      BOTTOM LINE: HIS PENIS, ONLY HIS CHOICE !
      Men (and women) who are allowed as children to keep their whole, intact, normal genitalia, DON’T choose to amputate parts as adults ! Please Protect ALL children’s genitals from unnecessary amputations.

    • CircEsAdreim

      There is no such thing as a ‘complication-free circumcision’

      ALL circs result in permanent damage to the male genitalia. Their penis will never have full functionality, as nature intended.

      The pro-cutting bias is strong within the medical community and doctors/nurses often DO use their position as influence to scare or intimidate parents into cutting babies.

      And there is a definite financial angle to this. Don’t seriously think for one moment that there isn’t. You’re only deceiving yourself if you do.

    • Lesley

      Thank you Pam for giving an informed view of circumsion. My 3 boys were circumcised and there were absolutely no complications, and after the first few diaper changes there was no discomfort during the changes. And my boys smiled both before AND after the procedure.

    • Chris

      As a circumcised male born in the 50s, I have never felt any detriments to the quality of my life in any sphere as a result. I am glad that my parents decided, after careful consideration, to do so because there are real health benefits to me and to my wife as regards infections etc. Data has clearly shown for years that spouses of circumcised men have a lower rate of cervical cancer because of bacteria that breed under the foreskin. And as a circumcised male, I think that I would rather be rubbing up against my wife than my foreskin.

  18. Holli

    I just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone! I’m not sure if you still keep up with these comments but here’s my bit anyways.
    My son was also circumcised and also developed adhesions. His weren’t discovered until his 3yr check up. After promising she wouldn’t hurt him, his doctor tore all the way around his glans. It was horrible. It got infected. The adhesions are back. One good thing, I learned better. I have a 13 month old intact son. It’s not okay what my older son has been through and may struggle with in the future but at least I know better now to educate others and protected my youngest.

    • Holli

      Also might I add that there absolutely was no pain relief for him. They gave him Tylenol and that was it. When it got infected after the adhesion tear at 3yrs I asked why she wanted to just tear it and she said we don’t numb babies for a full circumcision, why would we numb a 3yr old?!?!
      Sickening.

  19. Brad

    I don’t remember my circumcision. I know it was probably horribly traumatic, but I don’t remember it. And I’m not mad at my parents. I think they were stupid, but I don’t blame them.

    It sucks so much to look at that baby and see how evident it is that he has just been through hell.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like for a mother to realize what she allowed to happen.

    If it’s any consolation, I think I’d rather be a circumcised man than be a mother of a son who found out too late how harmful circumcision is.

    • Dawn

      It really does help. But at the same time, I try to be apologetic, but not let my son see how much it has traumatized me, because I don’t want him to feel like I think there is anything wrong with him and I also don’t want him to feel sorry for me for my pain if that makes sense. I try to be validating to him, but I don’t want him to feel involved with my pain either. He doesn’t need to carry that, and he would. He’s a sweet boy. When he’s older, if he asks, I will tell him though.

  20. Rose

    This post is so powerful. Thank you for your honesty! Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and often we moms are so hard on ourselves, even when we’ve done our very best. Please do not listen to angry male intactivists who would choose to use their valuable online energy belittling a mom who is helping others by sharing her difficult experience. I’ll bet they don’t save many babies with that attitude. 🙁

  21. Taryn

    Please sue! The only way we can get this awful procedure illegal! You were misinformed an lied to. Your son can sue bc his rights to his body were taken from him! This is a huge thing. Please lets have equal rights for boys and girls! Lets end genital cutiting!

  22. Pingback: Circumcision: the doctor told me he wouldn’t feel a thing | Circumcision Sydney

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