Not 'Normal'

By Jenny M. © 2013

I never questioned it.

Well, I did bring it up once before you were born, "Are we going to circumcise...?" It really was a rhetorical question. Duh, of course we are. So you 'look like Daddy,' so you're 'normal' in the locker room, and because we're not hippies.

Fast forward to two days after you were born. You are perfect. We drive to the pediatrician's office. I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach -- an uncomfortable feeling. You are perfect and I don't want to hurt you. But I do it anyway. It's the right thing... the normal thing to do. And I am normal.

All the doctors are waiting. Daddy is waiting. Other patients are waiting. It's not a big deal, therefore this must be right.

They won't let me come with you and I cry while I'm waiting for you to come back. "Clearly, an emotional postpartum mother" they say.

I hate this. Why are we doing this? 

And you're back. I am nursing you the best I can to comfort you. You are so tiny - just two days old.

Then, suddenly, there is blood oozing out of your tiny diaper!

Apparently I ruptured the clot while holding you. "Oh, God, I am so sorry!"

The doctor just warns us to be careful next time. This must be normal.

Fast forward a couple weeks. I am bringing you back to the doctor's office because I know something's not right. You cry so much when I have to push back the remaining foreskin and, though I'm not an expert on penises, I think the ridge of the head of your penis should be more pronounced. Doctor says, naturally, "It's reattaching. Sometimes it tries to heal itself."

This is normal? 

The doctor then tells me to hold you down while he grips your penis and pushes back on the foreskin. Hard. You scream! I cry. You bleed. This is abhorrent.

"Yes, this is normal. This is how it's done."

Fast forward two weeks later. Your penis is trying to adhere again. This time I know. I also know you need anesthetic. Why didn't they give it to you the last time? So I ask, and he seems surprised, but he gives me a tube and sends us home, only to come back the next day after I've kept the numbing cream on you for a couple hours. The doctor would have actually cut into you again without anesthetic?!

This is not right.

This is not normal! 

Back again. The doctor uses an instrument similar to a scalpel to cut your adhering foreskin. You cry, it still hurts you, and you bleed.

I am crushed.
I am defeated.
I made the wrong choice.

I never meant to hurt you, over and over. I am the one who is supposed to protect you. I am the one who is supposed to make the right choices for you. I am your Mother. I am so sorry, my beautiful, perfect angel.

I didn't know.
I was ignorant.
I am sickened.

This marked the beginnings of changes in my many parenting perceptions and beliefs I had before you were born. I needed to write this in hopes of being able to forgive myself. You may not remember your circumcision, but I cannot forget it.

I love you so much.

❤ Mama

Note:  My son is now 21 months old and, I am proud to say his 1 month old brother is intact. I fought long, and I fought hard, to convince Daddy to keep our second baby whole. I just couldn't ignore my intuition and, after learning so much more, I couldn't ignore my conscience. Both my sons are perfect; but I worry more about my eldest son asking me why I did it than my youngest asking why I didn't.

Related Reading, Resources and Groups:

I Circumcised My Son: Healing From Regret



  1. You know... I've read a lot of similar stories to yours, but for some reason the way you expressed what happened to your son really got to me. I had tears streaming down my face. I can just *feel* the pain you endured with the realization that your beautiful baby, who you loved so much, was being hurt so badly without reason. I've wrestled with how to deal with this deep regret. It is like something I've never known before. Because there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it or make it better. Thank you for saying all the words I could say myself.

  2. I just had to hug my beautifull intact son, my heart hurt while reading it, i almost stoped reading , i am so sorry,

  3. When I was pregnant and brought it up to my husband, he said "Of course we are going to, that is what is normal. He should look like me and everyone else"! Knowing nothing at all about the purpose or procedure, I did a lot of research on the subject. I saw quite a few stories like yours. Those stories (and the fact that I came across NO medical benefits for doing it) are what made me fight long and hard to not mutilate my perfect newborn son. Best decision I've ever made. Thank you for sharing your story- because people have shared their stories publicly, I don't have to deal with the constant regret of making an uninformed mistake.

  4. My daughter wants to circumsise her newborn son, I have tried to talk to her but she will NOT even talk about it. I asked her to please do some research and she tells me she did research REALLY?? She talked to male friends she says many of them told her they wish they had been circumcised! She also spoke to several female friends and they told her they hated intact penises. When I bring up the subject she says this is her son and her decision and if I don't stop talking about it, I will not be allowed to see him. I am so saddened by this, she cannot afford to have the procedure done yet and he is already 9 weeks old. It saddens me to think she would do this to him. I am at a loss now as to what to do.

    1. Ask her if she would be happy if her prepuce had been removed shortly after birth and that she would consequently never have known what it is like to enjoy sex with the intact genitals that nature bestowed upon her. She can listen to a woman's experience of female circumcision here:

  5. I was 19 years old when I came to US and up till then I thought that circumcision was a Jewish religious practice. I was surprised to see that in US it was considered abnormal to be uncircumcised. But I never questioned it one way or another - it made no difference to me if the guy I was with was circumcised or not. It was not until my ex husband and I started talking about having a family that I raised the question of circumcision and even then it was not because I had a stance but just one of this things you discuss when planning to have a child. My ex was adamant about circumcision so I decided to research the subject as I knew nothing about it. First thing I came across was a video about simulated circumcision and although no real child was present in the video, the simulation alone made me gag, cry and incredibly angry!! I will NEVER do THAT to my child I don't care what ANYONE says and considering US is the only country that predominantly mutilates their boys in this manner, the rest of the world survived with their hygiene and sex-life fully intact and all the US women dream of steamy romances with a European stranger (who just happens to be uncircumcised).

  6. I really feel for you, and I understand the pressures that society, family, and the medical community still puts on vulnerable new parents to perfom this procedure. We had decided against it before our oldest son was born, but we were still badgered by every medical "professional" who came into the room asking when he would be circumcised. If we had not been certain, then maybe we would have been swayed by the constant nagging to have a healthy, normal body part removed. Thank you for sharing your story because it will help to prevent the harm of more innocent baby boys.


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