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I couldn't believe it when the nurse told us that, as a
practice, they did not recommend circumcision. It's been over six years since
that moment. I've learned so much since then, but that day in the hospital
I knew absolutely nothing. The nurse was prepared to take our son to be circumcised for us, if we wished, but she wanted to be sure that we knew we had the choice
to make. If I had just had time to do research, I might have learned how
horrifying the procedure was that I was about to let them do to my newborn
baby. But I didn't, and we told the doctors to go ahead.
It tears me up to think of the pain that we elected to put
our son through. It was completely unnecessary. And then, weeks later, as his
body tried to repair itself, a pediatrician would have to pull the healing skin
back again, essentially a second circumcision. I am literally in tears when I
consider the fact that infants feel pain just like we do, and even have a lower
pain threshold. God gave him to us perfect, and in our ignorance, we wounded
I wish someone had told me how much I would regret that decision. I wish someone would have told me how much pain my little baby would be in and the potential lasting effects of that pain.
Not only did we subject our perfect baby boy to excruciating
pain, twice, but now research is showing that too much pain in infants can have
lasting effects. A 2015
study indicated that "regardless of cultural background, circumcised boys
were more likely than intact boys to develop ASD before age 10." Research is
also indicating that when babies experienced pain in the first weeks of life,
they can become permanently
hypersensitive to physical pain and it can even affect immune function. For
example, circumcised boys have been shown to experience higher levels of pain
at their six-month routine
vaccinations than boys who had not been circumcised.
The more I read, the more I learn, the more deeply I believe
that I did a terrible, terrible thing to my son. Will he be "fine"? Sure.
I'm positive that he will grow up to be a well-adjusted and highly functioning
member of society. Is he traumatized? Probably not. But we took something from
him that day. Beside the fact that we took away a very sensitive part of him
that might have brought him pleasure later in life, we took a moment that
should have been one of trust and comfort, handed him to a stranger and asked
them to do something unspeakable to his body.
Maybe you are reading this and feeling defensive of your
decision to circumcise
your son, or maybe you are feeling guilty. I don't want to condemn anybody
or question their parenting decisions. I just feel the need to talk about this,
because I so badly wish I had known.
I wish someone had told me how much I
would regret that decision. I wish someone would have told me how much pain my
little baby would be in and the potential lasting effects of that pain. I wish
someone would have told me that leaving boys intact is becoming more and more
common. With the percentage of circumcised boys in the U.S. dropping to 55
percent in 2015, my son would not be the odd one out in the locker room if he
has been left intact.
But nobody told me.
So I'm telling you. Do what you
believe is best for your child, but please, please do the research and know
what's at stake with this very painful cosmetic surgery.