Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A letter from a friend

I feel strongly that I should post a letter I received from a friend last month. I had no idea that by my puttng information about circumcision on my blog last year would cause anyone to further investigate it and re-consider their opinions on the matter. It was a bit scary for me at the time because like I said in my original post, it was not meant to offend but to inform. I am even now scared that I will make friends of mine who have already made these decions feel bad or like I am judging them. I talked to my friend who wrote this letter and she felt good about me posting her letter here. she has a personal experience of having 2 sons and choosing differently for them. We do the best we can with what we know. When we know better, we choose better.
(The names have been changed in her email to me.)

Dear Sarah,

I have been meaning for a long time to thank you for posting about circumcision last year. I never felt right about Ben's circumcision, but Dave felt strongly about having it done (though not because he thought it was still a commandment, for he was aware it isn't, but for other reasons), and in my (inadequate) research, I didn't find any reasons why it should or shouldn't be done--just that it wasn't necessary, so I let Dave make the decision. After I saw the wound and the time it took to heal, I told Dave I didn't think I could handle any more of our sons being circumcised. After I read the article you posted and I realized how I had bought into some drastically false myths (e.g., that infants under 10 days do not feel much pain during circumcision), I became even more firm in my resolve not to circumcise any more of my sons. I shared the article with Dave, and though he isn't yet as opposed to circumcision as I have become, he supported me fully in my decision not to have Matt circumcised.

Thank you for being brave and posting that information. I only wish you had come across it sooner and shared it sooner, or that my own research had been more thorough. My mom was really concerned about my decision not to circumcise Matt for Matt's sake, since he would be different from his dad and brother. However, I couldn't justify putting Matt through the trauma of circumcision just so he would "look like everyone else." I am much more concerned for Ben's sake, that he might resent me for making that irrevocable decision for him, that he might feel like less of a man, and/or that he'll mistakenly think that I think he is less of a man because he was circumcised, knowing that I am against it now. What will I say to him when he asks why he and his brothers are different? When will I be able to ask his forgiveness? I don't have many regrets in life, but having Ben circumcised is one of them.

Feel free to share my experience, without using real names or identifying information, with those you teach. It may prevent someone else from making the same mistake I made. You are doing a great work, Sarah. Though I may not agree with all your opinions, I appreciate them.

Thank you,

Your Friend

Here is the link to my post last year



Mark Lyndon said...

Cool. I wish everyone would be prepared to reconsider. Some of the most active intactivists including Marilyn Milos had their sons circumcised btw.

It still staggers me that doctors used to say that newborns couldn't feel pain.

Becca said...

Thank you for sharing this, Sarah. It took guts and I admire you for it.