Example Letter for Friend / Relative

By Danelle Frisbie © 2014

When it comes to reaching out to expecting friends or relatives, it is typically best to get intact related materials directly into their hands as early as possible - even before their baby's sex is known. If you know this individual's address, or are able to see them in person, the ideal first move is to put physical materials in front of them. This means doing so without asking, "Can I give you something..." (which provides the opportunity for doors to close with a 'no thanks' reply).  Just give.  This can be in the form of info cards placed into a baby book, an expecting pack sent to them anonymously, or an info pack you share. In fact, there are six options for giving here, and many excellent book choices to include in a gift (with a card or two) inexpensively available on Amazon.

If you do not know someone's mailing address, and cannot otherwise get materials physically in front of them, the next best thing is to send a heartfelt message via email or Facebook message. Below is one example of a message that has been altered slightly to fit different situations, but has overwhelmingly positive results from my work in related fields over the past 22 years. It has been curtailed in recent years to send on Facebook in a two-part message, but can also be put together with two attached images in one email.

The reason it is in two parts is so that both key images and links show up directly with a message. It is important when providing items to expecting parents that things are not overwhelming (no more than 2 primary links that will lead to more), and that they spark curiosity.

When sending on Facebook, FIRST copy/paste into an email of your own, and alter text as needed, add links, etc. Be sure you have quality copies of the images downloaded and all editing is taken care of. THEN be sure to "Expand to Full Message" on Facebook before pasting text, re-reading it, and adding the first image. This will allow your image to be sent at the end of a PM instead of the beginning. Send. And then do the same with the second part of the message. The result will be a flawless message with 2 images that are easy to read, and flows well.

If you cannot send a message to someone for any reason, you also have the option of asking a leader with Saving Our Sons to write to this individual. They will receive a similar message (either by email or on Facebook, depending on your contact options). See the bottom of this page of options for doing so. The key is to reach out to every expecting individual you know in one positive way or another.

Remember: assuming the best is a good thing. Come at this with a pro-intact, positive attitude -- all babies come into this world intact, all are deserving of their full bodies, and all parents want what is best for their little ones. We merely need to direct friends/family to resources so they are able to see the benefits of keeping their child intact; and learn the functions of the foreskin - why their baby is born with all he needs to have in the first place - while myth busting along the way if/when questions arise. There are many reasons that intact care is presented in the first part of this message (something that applies to *all* parents when their son is born) and that the term 'circumcision' is only used one time throughout the entire two-part message. It boils down to an understanding in how the human brain typically flows when presented with new ideas and language in a certain fashion, especially information and language used with expecting mothers.

Example Letter

Part One
Fill in the blanks as appropriate to your friend's location and situation; alter the opening sentences as they apply to you. Keep things friendly, brief, and personal. Find local Chapters here to include specific to your friend's state: SavingSons.org/p/local-chapters.html The reason this is important is so that this individual knows they are not alone in their area - there are many families local to them who are keeping their sons intact too, and they have options to become connected (or merely snoop out of curiosity to see what is happening in their area). 

Hi _________,

Big congrats on your little one on the way! Boys are such bundles of fun and love. I always thought I wanted a few girls... and now can't imagine life without my two little guys. ♥

I wanted to drop you a note because one of the areas of my line of work (and passion for moms and their babies) is with clinicians and preventing the forced retraction of baby boys at birth and in childhood. I believe you may be birthing in ___(state)___ and we are frequently meeting with physicians there due to the higher than average rate for retraction in infancy. I thought these items may be useful to have before your little one arrives. If you'd like anything in hard copy (a 'don't retract' baby band; intact care cards; diaper tab stickers, etc.) I'm happy to send them to you.  :)

Intact care resource page: DrMomma.org/2009/06/how-to-care-for-intact-penis-protect.html

If printing items to take to the hospital, or have in a chart, there are several links to medical organization statements on intact care near the bottom of this page: SavingSons.org/2015/07/retracting-clinician-information-pack.html

There is also a local chapter (Intact ________) near you as well: FB.com/__________

Select your favorite shade of Intact Sticker to include at the end of Part One

Part Two 
Send part two immediately after (having this pre-edited in an email to copy/paste), so that both attached images come up with each individual message on Facebook one after another. In an email, they could be combined and both items attached. 

This resource list is also a fairly comprehensive place to investigate the topic further. The Georgetown University lecture by Dr. McAllister is especially good for research-based materials; and the College Humor video is a more light-hearted look at the subject.

Should I circumcise my son? The pros and cons of infant circumcision: SavingSons.org/2014/12/should-i-circumcise-pros-and-cons-of.html

I hope you are able to relish and soak in these last days/weeks, and have a beautiful babymoon when he arrives. If I can be of any help from afar, please don't hesitate to ask. My heartfelt passion is helping new parents more than anything.

♥ Much love,

________________

Attach the Expecting postcard in Part Two of your message.

To have this postcard (reverse side has intact and circumcision care)
plus one additional postcard sent via mail to your friend (or to you),
find them for $1 (which becomes 60-cents via PayPal to help with shipping)
here: SavingSons.org/p/info-pack.html 


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Extreme Ballooning in the Intact Child

By Natalie Cornish © 2014
Read more from Natalie at Confessions of a Crunchy Momma



When our son, Andrew, was approximately 12 months, he had such an extreme urinary tract infection that his urine became sort of like sludge. It would ooze out when he urinated, and appeared gritty. Our family doctor cleared it up with antibiotics, but after that experience his urine started becoming trapped inside of his foreskin after urination. The opening of the foreskin would be squeezed shut, and only a drop or two would exit. I don't know if this was related to the UTI in some way, but it only began after this time. I worried a lot because it seemed the entire contents of his bladder would be inside the foreskin, and I thought that maybe the urine would be forced back up the urethra, perhaps causing damage to the urinary tract, or result in more UTIs. This amount of urine would cause his foreskin to swell to the size of half a lemon (which is pretty big on a tiny little boy). THAT is what I considered outside of normal ballooning. My older son's foreskin (at age 5) also balloons when he urinates, but no where near this much.

I spent a lot of time on the internet searching for things like "trapped urine," "foreskin ballooning," and "small foreskin opening," but really wasn't able to find a lot of information outside of the diagnosis of phimosis. At such a young age, real phimosis is almost unheard of, though many U.S. physicians misdiagnose it in children because they are not well informed on normal male (intact) anatomy.

Everything I read online made it sound like what my son was experiencing was way outside of a normal range, and my concerns grew. By the time Andrew turned two, our family physician thought perhaps someone else should take a look. She didn't know what to do, and while she is intact-friendly, she unfortunately doesn't see many intact boys in our part of the state. She referred us to MSU Pediatric Urology where we saw Dr. Bartkowski. The first recommendation from him was to circumcise. I told him I wanted to avoid that, and that we should try anything less invasive first. He thought about it for a while and decided on a course of steroid cream, hoping to widen the prepuce. We used that for three weeks. The extreme ballooning was still happening, so we scheduled a follow up appointment. Dr. Bartkowski very reluctantly said to try for another three weeks, but told us using it any longer would "make Andrew's foreskin grow too big" and then we would be told to circumcise for that reason. If the second course of cream didn't fix the problem, then he again suggested circumcision.

We used the cream for three more weeks and still had the issue, so I just did not call or go back to Dr. Bartkowski. We started seeing the issue arise less and less, but Andrew became interested in potty learning and the ballooning was causing a problem because he would become frustrated that nothing was coming out, so I started searching for another physician.

There were several local intact-friendly pediatricians, but none of them would take us on a consult, and we did not wish to switch providers permanently. I had heard that University of Michigan Pediatric Urology was good, but they wouldn't take our insurance. Several months of calling around yielded nothing but frustration on my part. Then I heard about Dr. Van Howe, and that he was moving to Saginaw from Michigan's Upper Penninsula. This placed him within a two hour drive for me instead of eight or more hours.

When I called in his new office in August, his practice wasn't set up yet and they thought he might start taking patients in September, but the staff did not have a lot of information. I called again in September and his staff confirmed that they would take our insurance but they were not sure if they could take us as a consult. I had to call several more times and explain our full situation each time before I finally got an answer. I convinced them to see us in the beginning of January, and got our referral straightened out with our local family doctor.

Amazingly, none of his staff that I talked to knew that Dr. Van Howe was such a big name in the genital autonomy field and that he would know so much about the intact male body. But this was our golden ticket and I was determined to see him. We saw Dr. Van Howe on January 10th and he was so kind and patient. I explained Andrew's whole history and my concerns. He said that even this extreme amount of ballooning is normal - in fact, it is good because it demonstrates that everything is still nice and elastic as it should be. In some very rare cases, the prepuce tissue becomes hardened, like a callous, and is unable to expand.

He did an exam on our son and said that the opening of the prepuce is a good size, but that we could try to encourage it to open up a little more with another course of steroid cream. He suggested using this for 6-8 weeks straight. He was confident that the cream would resolve the issue, if time alone did not. If the cream (and time) still did not work and we continued to be concerned, we could attempt surgical correction in a procedure that makes three very small incisions, like pie wedges, then rotates the cuts to make one bigger opening in the prepuce. It is a common surgery in Europe (where virtually all boys and men are intact), but only about six physicians in the United States know how to perform the procedure. It would have to be done by a pediatric urologist who can do plastic surgery, and the closest one is in Boston (that he knew of). However, he did think that Andrew's situation is very normal, and that having the surgery would be extreme.

Finally, after all this time, my nerves are at rest. Andrew is normal, and I think the cream and time will do its work. I'm once again a happy mother.


Find further information pertaining to intact care at the Intact Care Resource Page or by clicking the tab at the top of Saving Our Sons: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/how-to-care-for-intact-penis-protect.html

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