My name is Kelsey. On October 19th 2010 I gave birth to my first child, a boy. He surprised us all with his red hair, and his uncanny resemblance to my husband. He was perfect. I was thrilled to be his mother, and I knew it was my duty to do everything I could in my life to benefit him.
October 20th 2010, day two of his life, less than 48 hours old, the doctor came in to check on me, went down her routine list of questions, and then got to the question on whether I wanted him circumcised or not. I quickly replied yes, with confidence. My doctor almost did a double take, she told me “But you know that it’s purely for cosmetic reasons, right?” I replied in an annoyed tone “Thanks, I did my research I know what I’m doing, yes, please have it done.” – She made a mark on her clipboard, and prepped for the procedure.
Truth be told, I did not do any research, at least, any REAL research. I maybe jumped into circumcision debates, and found comfort in what the pro-circumcision people were saying, but that’s about it. I had no real basis for my belief that circumcision was necessary. It mostly came from whispers and seeing intact men without a care in the world, never having any problems. The whispers I heard were such things as “uncircumcised boys are dirty” “Uncircumcised men/boys get ridiculed immensely”(which was only fuelled by me witnessing such childish cruelty in my schooling), whispers of “it’s just something that all boys need done” , “its cleaner”, “intact penises look disgusting”, “if you don’t have it done now when they can’t remember it and DON’T feel pain, that you almost ALWAYS will have to get it done later in life, so circ him now to SAVE him later”…. All of which I have found to be completely false, presumptuous, propaganda as my wisdom has grown.
So, I was solidified in having this done to my son. I sent him off with the nurse who was effectively taking him into the butcher shop. They wheeled him off in his bassinet. About an hour passed, and they wheeled him back in. He was quiet and almost in a sleep like state. I asked the nurse “So how’d he do in there?” I’ll never forget what she said “Not good, not good at all, he screamed the whole time”, I could see the pain in her OWN face, because the patient is always right, she was obligated to do this to my son. He was probably screaming at the top of his tiny little lungs in agony, writhing around as he was strapped down to the circumcision table and she had to remove his foreskin with a steady hand and a heavy heart, because I knew she did not want to do it, she nonchalantly tried to talk me out of it to begin with.
What I saw then, and what I see now are virtually two different visions. As a new and naive mother with my newborn son, I saw a tuckered out baby boy after having a “medical procedure” done that was totally necessary in order to keep him healthy and happy. What I see now, looking back, is the horror that is my ultimate wrong decision as a mother, to have a healthy, vital, functional, purposeful part of his genitals cut off in a cruel and unusual way.
As odd as it is, right after they wheeled my son back into my room after his circumcision, the photography cart came right behind him and it was time for pictures. I see the pictures now, and see no life behind my son’s eyes, I see him frail and broken. I see the sugar water still dried around my son’s mouth, as if sucking on a sugar coated sponge did his poor self any good while his penis was being sliced, crushed and torn apart. I see the diaper with fresh blood stains on it, from a behind the scenes picture that my husband and I took during his photoshoot. Worst of all, I see the pictures from his first day of life, of his first bath, his pure and innocent facial expression as he slept. I see the pictures of when he first made his entrance in the world, seeing his miraculous, perfect and intact penis, which is nothing more than a painful memory for me now, full of regret and shame for taking that perfect penis from my son and putting him through so much trauma.
I will forever hold this tremendous guilt and sadness with me, and I will forever be apologizing to my son for the choice I made on him. I will speak out against this cruel and unnecessary procedure, and I will keep any future son’s intact. To all parents, do your research, make the right decision. Don’t harm your brand new baby, don’t make the choice that you will one day regret and can’t turn back from. Save yourself the grief, and save your son from all of the trauma, pain and lifelong hardships that come along with circumcision. Save your sons.