Top 10 Most Read of 2016


We're saying so-long to 2016, and looking ahead with positive aspirations for a fresh, new 2017!

In case you are new to Saving Our Sons, or missed one of these much-appreciated items along the way, the following articles are the 10 most read at SavingSons.org this past year. It is our hope that you find something empowering or useful while you're here at SOS.


















A resource list for parents new to the topic


And the #1 most read item at Saving Our Sons this year is a piece put together by our friend and fellow baby-saver, the late Jonathon Conte. His passing in May 2016 was heartbreaking for so many people whose lives he touched, yet his influence and impact lives on. Note that U.S. hospitals are not required to keep data on newborn genital cutting, and this makes current year-to-year rates difficult to obtain.


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Connect locally and join in discussions: 



Circumcision Regret: The Hardest Conversation With My Son

By Alex Coper © 2016


Circumcision Regret: The Hardest Conversation With My Son


Tonight I had the hardest conversation ever.

My boys, ages 7 and 1, took a bath together (rare), and my oldest son told me that my toddler may have a rash because the end of his penis was pink (a normal shade, I wasn't concerned). He then asked me why his brother's penis 'looked different' from his.

I grimaced, but told him, "When you were a baby, Mommy and Daddy didn't know any better, and the doctor told us it was needed, so we got you circumcised, and I'm very sorry."

He asked what that was, and (not having time to pre-plan my response), I told him that there was 'extra skin' that was cut off his body. He asked why my toddler has this still, and I replied, "Because we found out it is better if you do have it. But it's okay now that you don't -- your penis is fine." [I panicked in this moment because I didn't want my son to think there is something wrong with him.]

He looked at my toddler's penis and said slowly, "That must have hurt..."

I replied, "It did, but the doctor told Mommy and Daddy that it didn't, and we didn't find out until later that he lied to us."

My son thought for a moment, "Daddy has the skin."

"I know," I said. [My husband was circumcised at birth, but has restored.]

"So why did you let the doctor cut mine?"

"I don't know son, we didn't research it, so I didn't know not to. We're very sorry. Now Mommy researches EVERYTHING."

"Did I cry?"

"Probably. I wasn't there, and neither was Daddy. They wouldn't let us see you."

"Did I bleed?"

"Yes..."

I let him think on it, and I could tell he was getting angry. (😢) Very angry.

"Momma, this is my penis. Why did you let them cut me?"

I broke down crying and just apologized over and over...

My son then bent down and gave me a hug, and said, "It's okay Momma. I know you and Daddy didn't know, but I hate that doctor. I want to punch him." I told him that honestly the doctor probably didn't know any better either, but now doctors are learning too. He asked if others had theirs cut, and I told him that many boys do -- as far as I know all of his friends were, because their parents didn't know any better either.

Then he asked if his baby cousin would be, and I said probably. "Mommy tried to talk with them, but they wouldn't listen."

Then it was my son who started crying and saying he wishes they would listen to me...

After I stopped us both (I started crying again too) he asked me if he could see my toddler's 'extra skin.' I told him no - that would pull and hurt him, and that he will pull it on his own when he's old enough. "We don't touch it except to wipe the outside like a finger when he needs it."

He asked what God said, and I told him, "God said to leave babies perfect, but Mommy hadn't read that part of the Bible when you were born." (Easiest way to explain that, I figured.) He asked if doctors had read those things, and I told him that I didn't know if his doctor had or not, but I would assume not.

Then he asked if he could see the 'circus-in-him' (circumcision). I very hesitantly said yes, there are videos of it being done to others... And he said he wanted to see.

So while he was getting ready for bed I dried off my toddler and found an educational video of how the procedure is performed online, and we watched it together.

He said, "It looks painful, but the baby didn't cry." I told him that it was just a demonstration, that I didn't want to hear a baby cry, and didn't think he should either. He said okay -- he just wanted to know how much it hurt him.

I asked him if he remembered when he slammed his fingers in the door (it took off skin), and he said yes. I told him that it hurt worse than that. He got quiet again, and then said he would never 'circus-in-him' his babies. GOOD, I said.

I apologized again, and we hugged. Later on he asked me if girls were cut, and I said no, and he concluded with, "That's not fair that they cut boys but not girls..." I said that's true -- and it is "one reason Mommy and so many others are telling people to not cut anyone." He said okay, and has not spoken about it again.

I wanted to share this experience from our day so that regret parents like me would know what I personally said when the topic came up with my older child, and some of the things he asked of me, to give a better idea of what may also come up in your family. Hopefully this will help in planning what you'd like to say to your own son, so you are more prepared than I was.


Read more from parents raising both intact and circumcised sons at: 
DrMomma.org/2010/05/i-circumcised-my-son-healing-from.html

Explore further information on the topic of genital autonomy and benefits of keeping your son intact:
SavingSons.org/2014/12/should-i-circumcise-pros-and-cons-of.html


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Happy Holidays! #i2


☃ Since Saving Our Sons began in 2008, our efforts have been led by a handful of volunteers and educators striving to empower parents, and make life better for babies (and the children and men they become). While the online SOS community has grown to 83,000+, and includes a wide and diverse number of people, there is still just a small number handling everything here at 'home base' -- and keeping the underlying foundation of SOS a positive, proactive and pro-intact one. It is testimony of the impact and ripple effect that merely a few can have with steadfast devotion, healthy action, and a pouring of hearts and personal resources into the cause.  

With this in mind, we *love* hearing from families who have found SOS over the years and had their lives positively impacted in one way or another. It is a blessing to correspond with you, to work in unison together in this global effort, as well as at the grassroots level, and we always look forward to hearing from you.

If you are sending greetings at this time of year, we would love to hear from you. ❤

Write if you wish to:

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

We will write back. :)

❄ Have a blessed holiday season. ❄

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To those who say, 'He is just fine!'

By Sierra Owen © 2016



Dear every person who says 'he was cut and he is just fine,'

-When he was a days old newborn, craving the warmth and smell of his mommy, taken and strapped arm and leg to a cold plastic board, no, he wasn't fine. He was afraid.

-While he lay there, strapped firmly in place, unable to see or hear or feel the safety of his mommy, when his whimpers and cries did not bring her, he wasn't fine. He was alone.

-When the cold metal probe was forced into the membrane between his penis and foreskin, he wasn't fine. He felt every rip and tear.

-When the physician used a scalpel and clamp to cut his sensitive genitals without adequate pain relief of any kind, he wasn't fine. He was in excruciating pain.

-When he was screaming and choking, gasping for air while feeling his genitals ripped, clamped, and cut from his body, he wasn't fine. He had a sugar coated binky shoved in his mouth to stifle his cries.

-When his tiny little body could not handle the pain anymore and went into shock, his screams silenced, but he wasn't fine. He was broken.

-When he was handed back to his beloved mommy, but could still feel the excruciating pain of a fresh open wound on his delicate genitals, bathed in urine with every wet diaper, caked in feces with every bowel movement, he wasn't fine. He was in pain, with no way to know why.

-When he was hungry, but hurting so much that he couldn't bring himself to eat, he wasn't fine. He was suffering.

-When his hungry, painful little body could take no more, he fell asleep, but he wasn't fine. He was depleted.

-With every diaper change, the air hurt his extremely sensitive glans without the protection of his foreskin. He cried, he wasn't fine. He spent months in constant pain.

-When every erection as a small child brought him more pain, with the tightening of scar tissue and the stretching of not enough skin, he wasn't fine. Normal things became painful experiences.

-When he begins having sex, and has no idea of the feelings robbed from him, he isn't fine, he is experiencing a beautiful event in black and white.

-When he finds out he is having a son, and insists his baby be forced to undergo the same cruel experience because 'he had it done and is just fine,' he isn't fine. He is confused, defensive, and in denial. He is angry because how dare anyone tell him that his penis isn't normal! He is angry because he cannot bear to think of himself as damaged. He is angry because his lifelong 'normal' is in question. So he repeats the cycle of pain with a new generation, because pride is too big a pill to swallow, and being different is a terrifying thing. No, he isn't fine. Break the cycle, protect their tiny little bodies. ♂


For additional information see: Should I Circumcise My Son? The Pros and Cons

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As the rate of boys who remain INTACT rises, what will you tell your son?


One day soon all boys will remain intact... what will we then tell our circumcised sons?

The rate at which baby boys have their genitals cut at birth for non-medical reasons in the United States is a statistic that varies from one study to the next. Even among advocates for genital autonomy, or from one CDC-organized study to the next, there is not a specific agreed-upon figure representing the rate at which American boys go home healthy and whole today. One thing is certain, however, and that is that with the continued spread of accurate information, the rise in research-based education, and the empowerment of parents (especially birthing mothers), there is also an annual rise in the number of young boys growing up intact.

Today's boys will know whether or not they have their full, functioning genitals, and it is statistically very likely that boys will grow up through the 2020s and beyond in many parts of the United States surrounded by intact peers. Those who are cut at birth are becoming a minority nationally, as they have long time been globally.

Statistics cited in this info graphic above are pulled from a CDC studies and reports, one of which (CDC 2010) was touted as the "most comprehensive" study conducted to date. Figures below were presented from this study by the CDC at the 2010 International AIDS Conference in Vienna.

Study findings as presented by the CDC at the International AIDS Conference, Vienna, 2010.

In our above graphic we rounded up to 40% cut (from 32.5%) in 2009 to allow for those boys circumcised in a manner that was not otherwise covered by insurance, or performed in a hospital setting. This was done in part because of the vehement outcry by some genital autonomy advocates in 2010 who were disgruntled at the "low" 32% rate.

Further reading on this figure:

Steep Drop Seen in Circumcisions in U.S. [New York Times]
NYTimes.com/2010/08/17/health/research/17circ.html

The Circumcision Reference Library (on this statistic and others):  CIRP.org/library/statistics/USA

32% of U.S. Baby Boys Circumcised in 2009: A Response to Critics Questioning the CDC Reported Rate: DrMomma.org/2011/09/32-of-us-baby-boys-circumcised-in-2009.html

This same CDC study did not address genital cutting rates of infants in 1999, so for this date's figure in the above graphic, we took the next "most comprehensive" studies, also put together by the CDC on U.S. hospital discharge rates of newborn circumcision, and looked at the 2009 figure. The rates found in these studies for 1999 range from 61.5% to 63.5% of baby boys cut. For the sake of counting whole bodies kept intact that year, we rounded to 6 out of 10 being cut, or 4 of 10 boys remaining intact.

SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Hospital Discharge Survey, 1979-2010.

Further reading on this figure:

Estimated number of male newborn infants discharged from short-stay hospitals, and percentage circumcised during birth hospitalization, by geographic region: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/circumcision_2013/circumcision_2013_table.pdf

Trends in In-Hospital Newborn Male Circumcision: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6034a4.htm

The Circumcision Reference Library (on this statistic and others):
http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA

Trends in In-Hospital Newborn Male Circumcision, CDC Weekly September 2, 2011/60(34);1167-1168

Regardless of the actual percentage of boys who go home intact today, one basic truth stands firm: there is no medical reason to amputate the prepuce from any healthy newborn baby, regardless of sex. And there is especially no medical justification to perform this damaging surgery in a routine act of practice.




Circumcised Men More Likely to Have Sexually Transmitted Infections



A common myth heard in North America is that "circumcision will prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)." However research time and again demonstrates otherwise.

A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that over a lifetime, intact men have fewer STIs, fewer cases of genital warts, and are less likely to contract HIV.

Source: Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2012 Nov; 9(11):2933-7.

ABSTRACT 

Introduction 
Circumcision among adult men has been widely promoted as a strategy to reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission risk. However, much of the available data derive from studies conducted in Africa, and there is as yet little research in the Caribbean region where sexual transmission is also a primary contributor to rapidly escalating HIV incidence.

Aim 
In an effort to fill the void of data from the Caribbean, the objective of this article is to compare history of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV diagnosis in relation to circumcision status in a clinic‐based sample of men in Puerto Rico.

Methods 
Data derive from an ongoing epidemiological study being conducted in a large STI/HIV prevention and treatment center in San Juan in which 660 men were randomly selected from the clinic's waiting room. 

Main Outcome Measures
We assessed the association between circumcision status and self‐reported history of STI/HIV infection using logistic regressions to explore whether circumcision conferred protective benefit.

Results 
Almost a third (32.4%) of the men were circumcised (CM). Compared with uncircumcised (UC) men, CM have accumulated larger numbers of STI in their lifetime (CM = 73.4% vs. UC = 65.7%; P = 0.048), have higher rates of previous diagnosis of warts (CM = 18.8% vs. UC = 12.2%; P = 0.024), and were more likely to have HIV infection (CM = 43.0% vs. UC = 33.9%; P = 0.023). Results indicate that being CM predicted the likelihood of HIV infection (P value = 0.027).

Conclusions 
These analyses represent the first assessment of the association between circumcision and STI/HIV among men in the Caribbean. While preliminary, the data indicate that in and of itself, circumcision did not confer significant protective benefit against STI/HIV infection. Findings suggest the need to apply caution in the use of circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy, particularly in settings where more effective combinations of interventions have yet to be fully implemented.

Rodriguez‐Diaz CE, Clatts MC, Jovet‐Toledo GG, Vargas‐Molina RL, Goldsamt LA, and García H. More than foreskin: Circumcision status, history of HIV/STI, and sexual risk in a clinic‐based sample of men in Puerto Rico. J Sex Med 2012;9:2933–2937.

Personalize your checks with a little intact love!



In today's day people do not tend to write many checks, but when we do, it may as well be with a little #i2 love! Intact Michigan Director, Erin, had her checks made at Artistic Checks with the rainbow leaves template below. You are welcome to borrow her design, or create something of your own. Should you wish to use the SOS logo with SavingSons.org, you are also invited to do so. Take from the image below, or email SavingSons@gmail.com and ask for the logo in any color that you need. Search around online for coupon codes before you order your custom checks - there are many to be found.

Thank you for planting seeds and saving babies!



Further ideas for seed-planting:


The following SOS logos are those you are welcome to use on personal items like checks, diapers, covers, longies, t-shirts, pens, and other custom seed-planting materials, provided the logo remains intact and is not used in an aggressive or attacking manner.








Circumstraint Patent and Origin

By Brian Brown © 2016


Is the Olympic Circumstraint a medieval torture device or piece of modern medical equipment? It is difficult to tell, but one thing is for certain: the horrors this board has witnessed pale in comparison to almost any other trauma unnecessarily inflicted upon the body of newborn babies in North America.

Pictured above is the original blueprint of the circumstraint - a retraining board used most often for forced genital cutting of infants. Although the design has changed since its inception in 1953, the intent has not - it is an effective way to immobilize a small infant. 

The patents reads (in part): 
An infant immobilizing device particularly suited to the performance of circumcision and other operations upon small infants for which general anesthesia is not necessary or advisable.  
...substantially complete immobility is achieved.  
[The size is ideal.] This is true since operations of this type are usually performed in the first two weeks of life but not until the infants weight has increased to about seven pounds. It is found, therefore, that a retaining depression 10b cupped approximately to fit an average eight-pound infant will do well for the majority of cases. 
While fairly close conformity of the depression walls to the body contour is desirable to minimize freedom of movement of the child, nevertheless a small amount of clearance from the infants body along the depression walls is not objectionable in that regard and is actually preferred to an excessively tight fit creating discomfiture for lack of air circulation around the skin. The walls of the depression should extend well up around the sides of the body members to furnish lateral restraint against physical movement, but should otherwise leave the body exposed as much as possible for access by the surgeon.

Interestingly, the patent makes no mention of the sex of the child that this device is appropriate for. In post-war America, it was perfectly legal to immobilize any infant for the purpose of cutting their genitals – male, female, or intersex. Females finally gained legal protection in 1997 from this medieval practice in the United States. Isn’t it time we extend the basic right of genital autonomy to all? 



Related reading: 

Author and genital cutting survivor, Patricia Robinett, speaks about her own forced circumcision: youtube.com/watch?v=50BaM7H2GLI 

An anonymous nurse describes the horror of genital cutting upon the circumstraint: SavingSons.org/2012/06/if-this-stained-circumstraint-could.html

FGM Bill of the United States: DrMomma.org/2016/03/female-genital-mutilation-fgm-bill-of.html

Olympic Circumstraint patent: google.com/patents/US2751268


Also by Brown: 





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Breastfeeding and Circumcision Resources



August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week and is the perfect opportunity for outreach with mothers who wish to nurse their babies to be born this year. Being honest, and fully disclosing the hazards that genital cutting often poses for a breastfeeding relationship is key to parents making informed decisions for the sake of their son. Here we highlight a variety of resources that relate to the intersecting topics, as well as showcase some images that have been used during past years for awareness-raising.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week! And thank you for saving our sons. ❤

Breastfeeding and Circumcision: DrMomma.org/2009/11/breastfeeding-circumcision.html

La Leche League: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding on Circumcision: DrMomma.org/2012/06/womanly-art-of-breastfeeding.html

The Effects of Circumcision on Breastfeeding: DrMomma.org/2009/12/effects-of-circumcision-on.html

Natural Mother Magazine publication: Circumcision Harms Breastfeeding (p. 103-107): https://issuu.com/naturalmothermagazine/docs/march_april_2015_issue



Informational cards available (above/below) for sharing with expecting and nursing mothers: DrMomma.org/2007/02/breastfeeding-info-cards-etc.html



Informational stickers available at: SavingSons.org/2016/02/intact-info-stickers.html





Breastfeeding awareness and advocacy t-shirts and onesies without mark-up at Made By Momma: MadeByMomma.spreadshirt.com/breastfeeding-C46979



International Breastfeeding Symbol (copyright free):
DrMomma.org/2011/06/international-breastfeeding-symbol-with.html

International Genital Autonomy Symbol (copyright free): 

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Forced Retraction of My Son: I Said NO!

By Shaina D. C. © 2016


To the health care "professionals" who forcibly retracted my 9 month olds foreskin: I said no.

I told you I did NOT want you to do that to my son.

I asked for an alternative way to collect a urine sample. I did not consent.

Yet you did it not just once, but twice. After you failed the first time, you sent in a man to do it. After he demanded, I let him, and he told me that my son should have been circumcised because now he is susceptible to getting UTIs.

You said I should be retracting his foreskin often to clean it. You lied to me and said, "When I was young it was mandatory." You are a paramedic. You are approximately 10 years older than me. Yet it seems that you know absoluetly nothing about the normal intact penis and foreskin.

I asked if you were circumcised. You said yes, of course.  I wasn't even surprised. You told me it wouldn't hurt my son. You said, "It's just a little bit."

You lied to me.

I sat there crying while my son screamed in pain, while you ripped his foreskin back, in order to shove a catheter inside him.

Even though I said no. More than once.

You laid on top if my son to prevent him from kicking and flailing from the pain. Did you even wear gloves while you assaulted my son? It was all for nothing... The urine analysis came back perfect. No issues at all.

You lied when you said it would not hurt. Six days later, and my son's penis is still red and inflamed.

He still smacks my hand away if I try to touch it to inspect it. He still screams during every poopy diaper change. You hurt my son. For nothing. Even though I said no. He felt it. He still feels it.

You preyed and targeted an emotional mother, because you didn't agree with her. You guilted her for leaving her son intact, because your pride tells you that your penis is what every penis should look like. You assisted in preforming an unnecessary procedure, without consent from an infant's parent.

You perpetuated the myths used to scare parents into mutilating their baby boys.

I am not posting this to start a debate. I am posting this to inform parents that not every health care professional knows the proper way to care for an infant with an intact penis. I am posting this because I know I am not alone. My son is not alone. This happens daily in hospitals, and many people, including myself, are too scared to speak up again or louder. I regret sitting there in fear while these health care workers hurt my baby. I betrayed my son and I couldn't protect him from the people many think they are safe with...

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Happy Father's Day! #DadsSavingSons



Have a special baby-saving dad in your life? Each year we celebrate dads who really make a difference in the lives of little ones around them (2013 / 2014 / 2015). This is your chance to celebrate a father and genital autonomy advocate you know and love ~ and maybe have him win a little something in the process.

Saving Our Sons invites you to share a picture and brief story of the father you know who stands up for the basic human right of genital autonomy. Email to SavingSons@gmail.com and we will add the son-saving dad in your life to the Real Men Save Babies album.

On Father's Day we will be drawing 10 winners from among submissions who will each win a "Thank you, Dad!" pack of advocacy items. Winners can select a favorite wristband, plus stickers or info cards to spread the #i2 love further in their communities.

Thank you to all the men and their loved ones this Father's Day who are making sure the next generation grows up with all they were born to have. ❤

If you would like to make a donation in honor of the special man in your life, we invite you to do so below or by sending via mail. We will ship "Thank you, Dad!" packs to everyone who donates on behalf of a dad (please feel free to specify wristband and stickers selection).

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

SOS operates exclusively on a grassroots volunteer and donation basis, and we work hard to be at every baby and maternity expo across the U.S. that we are able to fund; to meet with thousands of expecting parents each month; to host free classes for expecting families; to daily respond to letters, calls and email in regards to intact care and circumcision cases; to send professional materials to physicians and nursing staff who are known to be retracting babies and children; and to make a positive, pro-intact presence at every event and demonstration we're able to host, to ensure this topic stays at the forefront of discussion and social change. SOS needs typically outweigh donations, so yours is especially appreciated and will be immediately put to real-life baby-saving use! 

2016 Winners
(Drawn at Random.org on Father's Day / Check back to see winners!)

Read these father's stories and more in the Real Men Save Babies album.

Winners: Please email SavingSons@gmail.com with your choice of wristband or button, stickers or info cards to plant around town, and your name and address for mailing.













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