Thursday, August 27, 2015

Andy Richter, Jeff Goldblum on Circumcision with Conan


Andy Richter: I'm circumcised because I was born at a time when there was just no question about it…With my son, as I told the doctor, 'He was born perfect, why change him?' [Andy turns towards Jeff Goldblum] So what I'm saying is, you've mutilated your child.

Jeff Goldblum: I know the argument…I think you're probably right.

Full clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=94&v=A0WyGWDcC6E

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Circumcision Regret: Working Through and Rising Above Mistakes Made

By M. Merritt © 2015


I am a mother to three beautiful boys. When I was pregnant with my first son, I researched everything. Well, almost everything. The one topic I ignored was circumcision. Looking back, I wonder why more websites do not touch on the subject. For example, if a new or expecting mama is researching breastfeeding, there should be information pertaining to how much pain impacts feeding for a newborn, but not many sites focus on this,  for fear of upsetting their readers.

In my research, I didn’t look to any specific websites, I just did a lot of Googling. At the time, I was an aide at a local hospital in a U.S. city where circumcision was common, and proper intact care was almost unknown. My job was to watch over the patient who suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia to make sure they stayed in their beds and did not injure themselves. I witnessed many sponge baths. Many of the men were circumcised, but there were a few who were intact. I can remember one intact patient that was in a comatose-like state. He was unable to care for himself, so he relied heavily on the nursing staff to keep his body clean. At the time, he appeared to have a fungal infection in and around his penis. Every single nurse/doctor/nurses aide who cared for him remarked about his intact genitals. They would say that he was 'dirty' or that it was his own fault that he had infections because he was not circumcised. Because of experiences like these, mixed with the fact that nearly every other male I knew was circumcised, my husband and I decided to have our first son circumcised.

After a somewhat traumatic, induced labor and delivery, a couple doctors came in to my hospital room to ask me why I wanted to have the elective surgery performed on my baby. I feel like it didn’t really matter what I said, because after giving them my reasons, they simply nodded and were on their way. Looking back, I wish those two or three doctors had given me some information about what was going to happen to my son. If they had given me some facts or statistics, maybe I wouldn’t have allowed my baby to be cut...

Fast forward to when my baby was brought back into my room after being circumcised. The doctor (who was also my OB/GYN at the time) made a crude remark about having to use the bigger clamp on him. She said this with a huge grin and a giggle. At the time, I didn’t know what to feel. Was that supposed to make me feel proud? I don’t remember much from that day except that my baby was very unhappy. He did not latch well (if at all) after being cut, but breastfeeding was one of the things I was very adamant on. My baby boy seemed to not know what to do and when he did latch on, he would frantically suck until I began to bleed. It was awful. I would beg the nurses to help me latch him on correctly every hour, and they all said he was latching fine. They got very annoyed with me after a couple hours of this. I cried and cried, telling them I know something was wrong. Looking back, I have NO idea how I did not connect the dots. My baby boy was in pain!

When my son turned 3 weeks old, it was the first time I was able to finally latch him on properly. Up until then, I was pumping around the clock. Our first three weeks as a mother/child dyad were spent pumping, bottle feeding, and being very stressed out. All I wanted in the world was to cuddle and nurse my precious baby boy. My son was clearly upset most of the day and night post-circumcision, and still, I did not understand why.


After he healed (as best one could be after such a horrible surgery), breastfeeding got easier. Once he hit three months, I started 'liking' some parenting pages on Facebook. At first, I just 'liked' random pages, (still being new to the world of Facebook) and it was then that I was first introduced to a group of people who called themselves intactivists. I’m not sure who any of these particular people were at the time, but their comments and posts were absolutely terrifying to me. I witnessed attacking and name-calling, and after viewing many horrible photos posted for shock value, I dismissed the credibility of intactivists in general. From that moment on, I hid or clicked away from any and all information about circumcision. I went on like that, in a state of cognitive dissonance, until about a month later.

I began researching when it would be a wise time to start my baby on solid foods, and came across DrMomma.org, and eventually found the Peaceful Parenting Facebook page, too. Once there I noticed that a lot of the posts dealt with the topic of circumcision as well. The only difference was that the information was presented in a gentle, research-based way. The posts were factual and informative. I even noticed that the readers and commenters had a more approachable style with their words. I began to wonder if maybe I had been wrong all along…

I am not sure exactly which post I read that day, but I do know that the words in it were what ultimately got me to the point of wanting to learn about circumcision. Nothing I read made me feel threatened, or scared. It was straight facts and science-based information. I think I sat at my computer for hours that day researching circumcision for the first time. That was the day I had another label to add to my name: regret mom. From that moment, my eyes were opened, I regretted having my son circumcised with my whole heart.

I eventually needed to take a couple steps back, because it was all too painful for me at the time. I wronged my son, and the guilt from that seemed as though it might swallow me whole. One day I was reading the comments of a post about circumcision over at Peaceful Parenting, and I came across a comment from a mother exactly like myself. She found herself consumed with guilt and shame, and did not know where to turn. Someone responded to her, and her words encouraged me to keep on going. She told this mama that there are other people liker her, and that there were things she could do to help herself heal. Because of those words of encouragement, I was able to move forward.

Here is a list of the things I have done/am doing to help with the guilt that comes along with being a regret mama:

1) Apologize to your baby.

It sounded silly at first to me, but doing it felt great. I let out a good cry, and I believe it really helped start the healing.

2) Plan to apologize to your son when he is old enough to understand and process the apology.

This is a huge one. My son is just about 6 years old, and I know the time is quickly approaching. I have decided to wait to speak to him about it, because he is a very sensitive and emotional being. I need to wait until the right time. When that time is here, I will make sure my son knows how sorry I am. I will prepare myself for all the emotions he may have. Sometimes I wonder if he will be angry at me. I know my little boy, and I know how big his heart is. I am sure he will offer up his forgiveness, but it may take him a while. And that is okay. Anything he feels is the right feeling. After all, it was he who had almost half of his penis mindlessly cut off for no good reason at all. He deserves to be angry. But, no matter what, he WILL know that he is a hero to his younger brothers and the countless other baby boys we've been able to 'save' from routine infant circumcision as the result of this experience. It is my hope that he knows I understand how big a deal circumcision is. I will make sure to always be accepting of any feelings he may have regarding what was done to him.

3) Write.

This is something else I struggle with, but writing down my feelings about such a traumatic time has been therapeutic for me. It forces me to really face my fears and look the practice of male genital mutilation right in the eyes.

One thing I suggest to all the regret parents reading this is to never force yourself. Take your time and treat yourself gently. You deserve that, and pushing yourself too hard can actually be counter productive in your journey to healing.

4) Get the word out!

At first, I did not think I was capable to something like this because I am a very introverted person, but I had this nagging feeling that something had to be done, and I was perfectly capable of doing it! It is hard at first, but there are gentle ways to inform expecting mamas, raise awareness and take part in public education. For the most part, people welcome genital autonomy information happily when it is presented in a way that meets them where they are at. Today, I am Co-Director of Intact Rhode Island, our state chapter of Saving Our Sons, and take part in numerous educational expos, demonstrations and events each year.

5) Keep ALL future sons intact.

For me, this was a no brainer. After all the pain my son dealt with, there was no way I could put another child through such a barbaric procedure. My eldest son suffered, and still does suffer, in so many ways because of being circumcised. No child deserves to deal with that. I went on to have two more sons after my first, and keeping them intact has helped me on such a deep level.

Someday, when all of my sons are curious as to why their big brother looks different, I will tell them the truth. I will apologize to them as well. I wonder if they will be upset with me for allowing someone to hurt their brother. I will prepare myself for anger, which ever direction it may come from. Ultimately, I will tell my younger two sons that their big brother is a hero. He and his daddy are their heroes. They both survived male genital mutilation, and lived to save other boys from it. Someday I will make sure they realize how amazingly brave and strong their big brother is. And their daddy, he is the bravest of them all. Admitting he was violated as a baby was not easy for him, and because of his strength, two of his sons will never know that pain in childhood, or that loss in adulthood. That is a hero! ♥

If you're a regret parent, like myself and so many others, who are raising both circumcised and intact sons, you can connect with me at Keeping Future Sons Intact, or in the private KFSI group: FB.com/groups/FutureSons.



Further experiences from parents with circumcised sons who are keeping future sons (and grandsons) intact: DrMomma.org/2010/05/i-circumcised-my-son-healing-from.html

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Malawi HIV Infection Rate Doubles with Circumcision Push

Passing by a circumcision propaganda billboard. Further images in Africa:

allAfrica report:

Following up the reports that Malawi24 released on July 25, 2015, that circumcision does not help in the reduction of HIV, but exacerbates it, reports have emerged that have agreed with the facts that we had earlier established.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), one of the world's renowned NGOs working on public health, has released statistics showing that HIV infection rate in Malawi has doubled in recent years despite a range of interventions put in place to tackle the spread of the virus that have included relentless campaign on condomisation and circumcision.

According to the statistics by MSF, HIV rates have doubled in Malawi moving from 10% to 20% in 1 year. Strangely, this has been the same period that Malawians have been manipulated and forced to go through circumcision in masses with the promise that it reduces the contraction of HIV.

The results, which were published on BBC, and revealed that of every 5 people, 1 person is HIV positive and have pitted Malawi as the country worst hit by the HIV pandemic of all countries in the world.

Commenting on the development, some Malawians trashed the results claiming they were sensationalised and exaggerated for the sake of tarnishing the image of the country to the international world to achieve what they called MSF's own hidden agenda. Others faulted the BBC, saying it was one of the broadcasters' crusades against the African continent which they have tirelessly aimed to present in a negative light.


Related Reading:

HIV / AIDS and Circumcision Resource Page

AIDSCirc.org



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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Men Speak: When I see a circumcision video...


When I see a circumcision video, I see myself being strapped down to a cold board.  
When I hear a baby shrieking in pain, I imagine that I must have shrieked the same way while someone's hands ran a blade across my genitals.  
And each time, I am reminded that this was an intentional wound. A wound that was discussed, planned, bought, and sold.  
And yet I am forced to face the reality that there will never be justice for victims such as I. 
                                                                                -Jonathon Conte, Bay Area Intactivists

Graphic by David Bernstein

More Men Speakhttps://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.487363627949430.115346.166998263319303

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Do Not Retract Information Pack



If you or your loved one has found yourself subjected to the malpractice that is forced retraction, you may request that an information pack be sent to the retracting clinician here. Packs are sent by professionals in health care who volunteer time with Saving Our Sons and cost approximately $4 in printed materials and shipping. You may include a note with your donation toward this cost, or email SavingSons@gmail.com with details of what occurred. Please be sure to include the retracting physician or nurse's name, practice, and mailing address, whenever available.




If you are not able to cover the $4 cost, please email SavingSons@gmail.com with your request. To help in covering 'Don't Retract' packs that others request and are unable to fund, you may do so here or by mail to the address below: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=G6VLETWSGSR22 Our goal is to correspond directly with all physicians and nursing staff who are known to be forcibly retracting their young clients. However, SOS operates exclusively by volunteers and donation, and requests often exceed funding.

In the past we have received a number of responses from physicians and nursing staff, thanking us for this material, for its respectful delivery, and including notations that a change in their practice has been made. Often, retraction is occurring simply because this is what was taught in medical or nursing school, or because a health care professional picked up the practice from someone they were apprenticing under. It is typically a problem of training, not willful damage. 

Items in the clinician's packs include:

1) A cover letter encouraging the physician to review current protocol for the sake of his/her patients, and a note about the retraction epidemic.

2) The current American Academy of Pediatrics, Royal Children's Hospital (Australia), and Canadian Paediatric Society's statements on intact care.

3) Citations to practicing physicians' work - those who have composed further articles on the subject matter.

4) An oversized intact care card with bullet points for review.

5) An oversized medical organizations statement card with circumcision positions from around the world.

6) An invitation to join fellow clinicians at Medical Professionals for Genital Autonomy.

7) Contact information for local leaders, as well as Saving Our Sons, should there be questions, critique, or desire for further correspondence.

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All of these items are those that parents can obtain online or compose as well. If you are writing your own letter and would like to include the oversized cards listed above, they are available at the SOS materials page: SavingSons.org/p/info-cards.html

AAP statement on intact care: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/bathing-skin-care/Pages/Care-for-an-Uncircumcised-Penis.aspx

RCH statement on intact care: http://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Penis_and_foreskin_care

CPS statement on intact care: http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/circumcision

The AAP, RCH and CPS statements are also currently linked at SOS here: https://www.facebook.com/SavingOurSons/photos/a.1010719722280482.1073741845.166998263319303/998172123535242

Saving Our Sons
P.O. Box 1302
Virginia Beach, VA 23451


Forced Retraction? What to do now:
DrMomma.org/2009/12/forced-retraction-what-now.html

Do NOT Circumcise / Do NOT Retract 
Baby sized leg bands - $3 (includes US shipping)

These are soft, recycled silicone and stretchy - will fit a baby's leg throughout his first few years of life (thigh, calf, ankle depending on baby's size). They are *not* meant to be left on a baby when not being cared for/watched.
Baby bands are primarily designed for hospital and clinical visits.

Each baby band comes with an intact care card and sample of Calmoseptine (best ointment for redness or irritation of the genitals). This ointment will soothe and heal without interfering with normal pH or healthy microflora. 
You can purchase a tube of Calmoseptine upon request from your local pharmacist.



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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Circumcision and The United States Constitution: Forced Genital Cutting of Minors is Illegal


On this 4th of July we celebrate many freedoms protected and held dear in the United States. One such protection, however, has been failed to be recognized in this nation, and that is the equal right of baby boys and intersex persons to maintain their full and functioning genitals at birth. Taking a closer look at the U.S. Constitution and laws currently in place, we see that routine infant male circumcision is already illegal.

The Equal Protection Clause (8.6) of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits U.S. States from denying any person within their jurisdiction equal protection of the laws. Section 1 of this clause reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in December, 1948, by members of the United Nations declares in Articles 2 and 5:
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1995 (which was signed into law in 1996, and went into effect in March 1997, punishable as a felony under federal U.S. law) prohibits ANY genital cutting of any kind - including small pin pricks or nicks - to a minor child or baby under the age of 18, for any reason whatsoever (religious or otherwise) if this minor is deemed to be 'female.' The FGM law, in combination with the 14th Amendment Clause 8.6, makes all forms of forced genital cutting on minors a federal violation, regardless of sex. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights further supports this position.

Therefore, as of March 1997, all forms of medically unnecessary forced circumcision on infants of any sex, are most certainly illegal in the United States of America.

Photograph courtesy of Intact New Hampshire

Learn more:

Should I Circumcise My Son? The Pros and Cons of Infant Circumcisionhttp://www.drmomma.org/2014/12/should-i-circumcise-my-son-pros-and.html

Male and Female Genital Cuttinghttp://www.drmomma.org/2011/04/male-and-female-circumcision.html

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