My Journey to Understanding the Truth About Circumcision

The birth of my first son, with my mom.

The birth of my first son, with my mom.

I was seventeen when I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I didn’t have much support locally but thought I understood enough of the basics of how to birth and care for a child. I knew it would be challenging and confusing at times but I also knew I loved the small human growing inside of me, with all my heart; I figured reading a ton of books and trusting my mama instincts would bring me along the rest of the way. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that a lot of what I would read in books were half-truths or simply misinformation, even the stuff my OBGYN would back up as fact. I didn’t yet understand that I had not been raised to trust my instincts either, so turning inward as a parent was going to be harder than I could have anticipated.

After a long and frightening hospital birth, exhausted and bruised from forced pushing, I allowed a nurse to take my perfect little boy to another part of the hospital to be circumcised. I had hardly spent a half an hour with him so when the nurse brought him back I thought nothing of his deep sleep. She told me he was tired and would be fine; the procedure went smoothly. I had read that circumcision would prevent infection; my doctor told me it was painless and totally safe. Most of the children born in my family during my generation were female, but everyone I talked to seemed to feel the surgery was a good idea. My little one recovered and his wound healed; I didn’t think much more about it till years later.

Shortly after my first born turned seven, I gave birth to another beautiful baby boy. This time I chose a birthing center, midwife and a doula. I had a water birth with limited intervention; the difference between my first experience and this one was life changing. I felt more informed and empowered. I thought I had learned from my first birth experience what I didn’t want, and made better choices for myself and my baby because of it. When the question about circumcision came up, it seemed natural to choose the same path again, that way they would look alike. I still believed it was harmless and last time my insurance covered the procedure. Things were different though, I had to pay out of pocket for the operation and the birthing center didn’t perform circumcision, so I would need to schedule it at a hospital weeks later.

The waterbirth of my second son.

The waterbirth of my second son.

I wasn’t able to listen to my gut for some reason; looking back, I think it was because addressing my concerns would have meant I made a mistake the first time – it would have meant that “medical professionals” may have lied or mislead me. I don’t think I was ready for that realization.

The day I sat in the waiting room, holding my healthy child, I felt sick. I felt like crying or leaving. I kept telling myself that the surgery was quick and painless, that soon we would be home and everything would be fine. The nurse took my child and disappeared down a long hallway without telling me anything about what was going to happen to my little one. It seemed like I waited forever.

When I finally got my baby back he was NOT okay. He was non-responsive and completely out of it. I couldn’t get him to make eye contact or latch onto my breast, his eyes were unfocused and glazed over; I know now he was in shock. I went up to the window where the nurses were and told them something was wrong with my baby, they said he was fine but tired and instructed me to sit down until the hour of recovery time was over, then we could go home. I sat down and tried again to wake my son from his strange disconnected state, but he would not come around. I was panicking at this point. I unwrapped him from his blanket to look over his little body and realized he was bleeding out; on the front of his freshly changed diaper was a blood spot that was quickly growing in size. I ran up to the nurse and yelled that he was bleeding out; she took my son and practically ran down the hall. I followed her to a door where she told me to go back and sit down. At this point I was hysterical and angry. I refused to leave; she said I could stand in the hallway and wait then. I stood there listening to my child scream at the top of his lungs over and over again, not knowing what they were doing to him. It was one of the most terrifying, heart-breaking and most powerless moments of my entire life.

It took a couple days for my son to act like himself again; his penis was grossly swollen and discolored. I was certain I must have ruined his penis. Thankfully it did eventually heal up and everything seemed to be normal (for a circumcised penis).

It took me several months before I was able to address what had happened to my son. As soon as I started researching, it became clear to me that I had been lied to. I cried for days. The emotional pain and regret I felt was so overwhelming I had to stop reading about circumcision for awhile. I turned to friends I knew had chosen not to circumcise for support. My sadness and regret eventually turned into motivation to share what I had uncovered; I continued to inform myself and became active in online parenting groups so that I could learn more and also help make the truth about circumcision accessible to people who wanted it.

I learned that around 100 babies die every year in the United States from this cosmetic procedure, that no medical organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision, and that my son could have very easily died from what had been done to him. This truth helped me to finally begin to deeply trust my instincts as a mother. I started to more clearly understand that it is my responsibility to question and investigate anything that could potentially harm my child emotionally or physically.

I have already apologized to my oldest son and informed him about what was done to him. I also let him know about foreskin restoration, even though it won’t give him back all the nerve endings he lost, restoration can help him get some of the sensitivity and natural function of his penis back.

Since becoming aware of the misinformation about circumcision, I have learned about other important issues that impact the well-being of our children and are widely misunderstood in our society. Things that I had somehow overlooked but now seem so frustratingly obvious, like the risks of using commercial formula because of all the toxic ingredients, the negative effects of detached or mainstream parenting because connection fosters security, and how interventions in birth lead to unnecessary complications for mother and baby.

I am so thankful I was able to open up to the truth, even though it was painful. When you know better you can do better. My husband and I are planning to try and conceive another baby this year; if we have a son, we will absolutely keep him intact. I hope that through sharing my story, I might be able to help other mothers decide to say no to routine infant circumcision.

My biological children, Rhyne and Liam

My biological children, Rhyne and Liam

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Categories: Nicole

Author:Nicole Donald

Hello MotherWise! My name is Nicole; I’m 30 and a Scorpio. I am a licensed hair stylist, photographer, prenatal Doula and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. My husband and I have 5 children; three of them are my step children. We are currently trying for a sixth child :) In our home we practice peaceful parenting and gentle discipline. My family and I do our best to only eat organic food and avoid GMOs. We have a raised bed, organic vegetable garden too! My husband and I brew our own kombucha and make kimchi regularly – we love fermented foods. We are a fairly natural household. I continue to do research and replace products with more “clean” and healthier alternatives all the time. I consider myself an Intactivist. I regret having had my two sons circumcised with all my heart; my youngest child almost died from the procedure because I was misinformed and mislead by medical professionals into giving consent. I know better now and do everything I can to help make the truth about circumcision available to other parents.

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73 Comments on “My Journey to Understanding the Truth About Circumcision”

  1. January 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    ((hug)) it is so wonderful what you are doing.

  2. Ali
    January 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. I regret circumcising my son but my family thinks it’s Normal so cannot share my thoughts with them.

    • April 17, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

      You absolutely can share your thoughts with them. First and foremost by educating them. I have. And no they don’t agree. Yes they think I’m a crazy hippie. But I stood up and took the time, and will for as long as I’m
      Alive, to spread awareness and factual information. Don’t let cultural brainwashing keep you from speaking your mind and saving babies.

  3. libertywmn214
    January 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so very much for sharing this.

  4. January 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Thank you for being so incredibly brave and transparent in telling your story. I know your story will impact other parents and will change the lives of future baby boys. Hugs and love to you.

  5. Renee
    January 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    Thanks for your honesty….

  6. Dana Smith
    January 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    wow that is scary

  7. S. Love
    January 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    @ Ali…you sure can share with your family. Let them know how barbaric it is. Maybe theyll change their views. If not,and they disagree…that really sucks…but dont let how they might think of you effect sharing important information like this! Its worth it to speak out!

  8. Diana
    February 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Thank You SO much for your deep love for your sons and your understanding and honesty. Your article has my partner adamantly against circumcising our son now! (he’s due in less than two weeks!). I had previously shared with him my feelings and did not want to bombard him with medical information. Time was getting short and I did not feel that I would get through to him in time. Your article helped me articulate the feelings and facts behind my desire to not circ our infant son. THANK YOU!!

    • Nicole Donald
      February 4, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      Diana, thank you for your reply. I’m so happy to hear that my post helped your family decide against circumcision! At least some good is coming out of what my little boys had to endure. When we know better – we can do better! <3

      • Amanda Tyson
        February 4, 2013 at 11:19 am #

        Diana, your post just brought me to tears! This is why mamas like NIcole & I speak up. My son endured the worst complications after circumcision. I too hope his story helps others. Thank you.

  9. Nicole Donald
    February 4, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    Thank you all for your kind and supportive comments.

  10. February 9, 2013 at 12:57 am #

    Nicole,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Perhaps one day you can help mothers like us by sharing how you explained circumcision to your son, and plan to keep the discussion open. While I regret allowing our son to be circumcised, I want him to know and believe always that every single piece of him, including his penis, is perfect and worthy of love and respect. He doesn’t need an unnecessary complex from his parents’ ignorance. I want him to always feel comfortable enough with us to ask all his questions about anything, including his circ if he has them. Your experience would be helpful.

    I wish I had all this info before he was born.

    Know better, do better.

    • Nicole Donald
      February 28, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      I just approached the conversation head-on. I told my son that I felt overwhelming regret about the fact that I allowed a doctor to circumcise him. I explained what was done to his body and how no one made the truth available to me at the time. I then told him about restoration and explained the benefits.

      My son was very receptive; he expressed anger toward the doctors who choose to perform circumcision and sadness for all the little boys that go through this every day. He told me that he wants to do restoration when he is older and also plans to speak out about circumcision so he can help to inform others.

      I hope that you can find a way to have this conversation with your son; our children deserve to know the truth about what was done to their bodies. I also feel it might be a little healing for our children to understand that we as parents didn’t realize how damaging the procedure was when we consented and that we would take it back if we could. Good luck mama! <3

  11. Kathy
    February 14, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Nicole, I’m sorry for your experience. I was in the Navy when I had my son. I was stationed in San Diego in the 1980’s. There was a big push at that time not to circumcise. We had to watch a video and learn the pros and cons. I decided at that time along with many other women not to have my sons circumcised. He has never felt uncomfortable about it and today has 3 children of his own. To me it is not necessary the infection issue is not true you teach your child how to bathe and its just another good habit you teach.

    • Skadi
      February 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      I wish I had been given ALL the info like you had been. While trying to get my OB on my side to not circumcise, she told me to let me husband make that decision instead, as he has a penis as well. I even asked the OB in the hospital what happens if the parents disagree … no one took the opportunity to help me protect my son. I just needed one person supporting me (or supporting my son). This is the one decision I deeply regret and I have to think about how I can tell my son when he is old enough, without blaming his father.

  12. Josephine
    February 15, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    Thanks for your story! It completely reaffirms my decision to leave my son intact. My mother and my uncle, the catholic priest, tried to convince me otherwise. I had read up on why not to circumcise. And why you should circumcise. It definitely helps that my hubby is intact as he should be and helped me stick to my decision even when it seemed I might be swayed. He’s my rock. :) If our second baby turns out to be a boy, we will most definitely be leaving him intact. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an uncircumcised penis. God made us in His image and we are perfect!!!

  13. Autumn
    February 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    It’s awesome that you’re opening up and sharing your story in the hopes of helping other parents.

  14. stacy h
    February 19, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Thank you for sharing. I’m constantly grateful that my son was my second born, it gave me the chance to learn so much and shake off those societal ‘norms'(including circumcision). My family thought it odd at first, but now that my son is 3 no one cares. Peace to you and your family.

  15. Kelsie Harris
    February 19, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story. We chose not to circumcise our now 2 year old son. It was a difficult decision because of conflicting information. The American Academy of Pediatrics was once neutral on the issue, but now supports circumcision. It’s hard to know who to trust when it comes to this and many other parenting issues. You believe your OB knows best. After all, they went to medical school. I didn’t. In the end, I think we looked at the risks and decided it wasn’t worth it and I also felt I didn’t really have the right to alter my child’s healthy, natural body without his consent. If he decides he wants the procedure, he can always do it when he’s an adult. I do believe issues with the procedure need to be brought to light so parents can really understand the risks and weigh the pros and cons with enough information to make an informed decision on what they feel is best for their sons.

    • Wendy
      July 10, 2013 at 5:45 am #

      Actually, the AAP doesn’t *not* support RIC. If you read their statement carefully, you’ll see that they said the benefits outweigh the risks, but they stop short of recommending RIC. Further reading will reveal a confession that they didn’t actually look into the risks. How much credence would a mathemetician be given if s/he said “I conclude that X>Y. I did no investigating to determine the value of Y.”? Strangely, when it’s a group like the AAP, whose members have financial interests in continuing the practice, that statement is unquestioned.

      • Lo
        July 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

        well, i know one thing: i certainly wouldn’t trust the people who are going to make money from performing the surgery they’re recomminding.

      • Nicole Donald
        July 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

        Wendy – If I remember correctly, didn’t the AAP recently change their stance on RIC? I thought there was a huge uproar about it several months back.

  16. Bobbie
    February 26, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    I too, have had the privledge of helping others understand about circumcision. I also had the misfortune of my own daughter choosing to circ her son even refusing to watch the video about it!! Needless to say I cried my eyes out! But I have also had the blessing of someone saying to me “thank you” for letting me know the facts about what, how and why not to do this!! I was 55 and taking a public speaking class at a local college. My topics for my speeches were: What the Hecks a Doula and Circumcision: The other child abuse. I got a lot of strange looks but I really didn’t care cause if I at least was part of one baby boy not having to go through this torture and loss…… I am a retired birth and pp doula and loved helping mothers and babies. Best to you and keep spreading the word……..

  17. Laura MacDonald
    February 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    I think you’re brave to share your story. One thing I wondered is: why not take legal action against the practice for circumcising your child without pain relief, as appears to have happened? This goes against recommendations from the AAP and all norms of medical practice in the civilised world. We know it’s a serious issue as leading edge neurological research done in England shows infliction of pain on newborns causes irreversible neural changes – this is a vulnerability which appears to be unique to newborns who have no method for damping down pain and who appear to experience it as overwhelming…

    America is such a litigious culture but no one ever sues a doc for failing to give a boy pain relief in the most agonising surgery he’ll likely ever experience. It does amaze me. In Britain docs do sometimes do circ without pain relief but if caught they can be brought before a medical mispractice panel – and could lose their license. The same must technically be the case in the US – it’s just that it’s never been enforced.

    If we can’t stop forced circumcision in the short term we must surely be able to stop it being done as a vivisection ….

  18. Michelle
    February 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Thank you, Nicole, for this honest and heartfelt story. I have two sons who are circumcised, and one who is not. I thought nothing of it when the first one was circed. But like you, I ignored my mama instincts with the second. I wanted to run away, but I thought that brothers’ penises should look the same (how ridiculous is that?). Praise God, he did not suffer unusual complications, like your son. But I immediately regretted it, and my third son is intact. It’s a tough subject to talk about, and I admire you for taking a public stand against circumcision.

  19. Cntrygalhall
    February 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    scary story for sure, but i believe that they just did it wrong…and was not qualified to do the procedure, weeks after birth, it needs to be done at birth, i have 2 boys both are circumcised and if i had another 100 they would be, i just think ur drs didn’t know what they were doing…

    • February 28, 2013 at 8:11 am #

      That’s unfortunate that you would continue to subject children to unnecessary genital cutting that could kill them. How someone can do that after reading a story like this is unfathomable. The doctors didn’t “do it wrong.” It IS wrong, period. Circumcision doesn’t have to be done incorrectly for a child to die or lose his penis. That risk is for absolutely nothing. Very sad. Doctors and parents who circumcise don’t know what they’re doing, period.

    • Nicole Donald
      February 28, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Cntryfalhall, whether or not you “believe” the doctor did it wrong is not based on fact. If you would take a moment to do some legitimate research, you would know that it’s a dangerous, unethical and unnecessary procedure. Circumcision removes a highly sensitive and functional part of the body; by removing the foreskin you significantly desensitize the penis forever.

      I would hope that you would at least take some time to research and question this procedure when someone tells you it might be seriously harmful and life changing to your children.

      By expressing your uninformed ideas about circumcision you are perpetuating misinformation that could result in the death of more baby boys – you may not be able to reverse what has been done to your children but you can help other parents avoid risking the lives of their babies by simply informing yourself. When we know better we can do better

      Here is a ton of information on the truth about circumcision; I sincerely hope you take the time to check it out with an open mind: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html

      All children deserve the right to genital integrity; they are born perfect and should be left intact.

    • cosmopolite
      July 30, 2013 at 3:12 am #

      There is no way of assuring that a doctor is competent. Even competent doctors make occasional mistakes. I know a woman who carefully lined up what she thought was a competent circumciser. When she gave birth, she handed her boy to the nurse, to take to get circumcised. The boy returned a crying bloody mess. The doctor in question had taken the day off, and the circumcision was performed by a resident! Given that there is no natural way of determining the date that labour begins, there is no way of preventing what I describe here.

    • Lo
      July 30, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      parents like you would rather be right then truthful. you’d allow another 100 boys to be cut up just because you’re unable to admit that was done to your children was a mistake. you are lucky your children did not bleed out and hemmorrage, because that’s what happens to many babies. what a horrendous and tragic way to welcome your precious babies into the world, by forcing them to undergo the traumatic assault of the knife.

    • lauren
      January 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

      Unfortunately there is very little training to doctors for performing circumcisions. The only way to get someone truly trained is to go to a urologist, and most parents do not. It is also impossible to know on an infant penis how much of the foreskin to remove and you won’t know if it was accurate until puberty.

      • Lo
        January 8, 2014 at 11:02 am #

        That’s why it’s to be left alone and NONE of the foreskin is to be removed, so that these children don’t have to wind up at the urologist’s office later on in life for complications. LEAVE IT ALONE!!

  20. Lo
    February 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Nicole, thank you telling your story and having the courage to speak the truth about this barbaric assault on our babies that continues in this country. It is through listening to women like yourself, who have gone through this, will mothers learn the truth about genital cutting and gain the knowledge which will lead them to the realization that their precious newborns should be allowed to remain whole and intact, as nature intended.

  21. Samantha
    March 1, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    You and I are so similar in the aspect of your first son it’s unreal I felt the same way and still do as hard as it was to admit I mutilated my son I now know A LOT better <3

  22. Reyni
    March 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    Nicole: You are very wise for one so young. Your story is honest and heart felt and your sons are very lucky to have you as a mother. We are Jewish, and originally I had agreed (due to pressure from my spouse) to circumcise our sons. However, when the twins were born I took one look at their tiny bodies and knew I could never hurt them. I was willing to sacrifice everything to keep them in tact. It was one of the most painful times of my life, emotionally, with my spouse, but I will never regret standing up for their right to wholeness. thanis you for sharing your story.

    • Lo
      March 3, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      21 years ago, i too, left my jewish son intact; every day i thank god (who created him with a foreskin!) about the decision i made….

      • March 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

        Nicole, Thank you for your story …no doubt your sons are lucky to have you and other parents and sons will benefit greatly from your sharing. Thanks for your bravery. And…LO…I’d be curious how your son feels about this decision, we too left our Jewish son intact.

      • Lo
        March 8, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

        K: well, circumcision was never even a topic that was discussed while my son was growing up. i was a single mom when my son was born so the decision rested solely on me and my family wasn’t particularly religious even though his father is cut. my son and i never discussed genital cutting because there wasn’t anything to discuss, i.e., not having to talk about why a normal body IS there. it’s only when it’s missing that the questions begin to arise. it would be like discussing why he had other body parts that he was born with, it’s just a no thing. ya know? many people think that intact children suffer all these crazy consequences and problems, but that couldn’t be further from the truth so there wasn’t a need to even talk about it, ever! it wasn’t until years later when i became a doula and lactation counselor and he heard me educating parents about genital cutting, did the subject cut up. he was in his early teens at the time and his reaction was “whaa? they do what?! WTF?!” i can tell you this: my son feels GRATEFUL that he was not subjected to genital cutting and like the majority of intact men, is wonderfully happy that he has all his perfect intact genitalia.

      • cosmopolite
        October 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

        I warmly praise your courage for defying 25+ centuries of Jewish tradition, and leaving your son’s intimate body alone. He remains completely free to be a frum Jew. No rabbi will demand to inspect his penis before allowing him to join a congregation. Most of all, your son can have a bris if he so desires.

        In USA and Canadian Jewish circles, it is commonly believed that “uncircumcised Jew” is an oxymoron, if not a betrayal and evidence of cowardice. During the past 100 odd years, quite a few European and Latin American Jewish families have quietly stopped doing bris, but do not wear that fact on their sleeves. Intactivism has a foothold in Israel, where many families are very secular, and where progressive ideas about human sexuality and childrearing have a sympathetic audience.

      • lo
        October 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

        trust me, my son will not be opting for a bris, as he has no reason or desire to cut off a part of his genitals and neither one of us has a need or want to join any group that would advocate such violence against children.

  23. Kari
    March 8, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    I have 2 boys, 7 & 6. My oldest was 2 months premature so they didn’t circumcise him because he was only 3 lbs 14 oz. Doctors told us that we would have to schedule the surgery and he would have to be put under sedation because the time to do it without had passed… Our second was born at a healthy weight and only a couple weeks early, so “because that’s what people do”… we had him circumcised… That was the worst thing I have ever witnessed!!! The tools looked like they were from the mid-evil times!! He screamed like crazy and both my husband and I cried as they did it… He healed up just fine, but I then decided that we would for sure not be getting our older son circumcised… I felt that it was unnecessary pain and he hasn’t had any health issues from not! We have discussed with them why they look different from each other and they are fine with it. I’m glad you are telling people your story. I too share with my friends our experience, which was nothing compared to yours, but unnecessary all the same.

    • Lo
      March 8, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

      Its just horrific that doctors, the so called “professionals” actually think that there’s EVER an appropriate time to cut a baby WITHOUT using sedation, whether the baby is a day old, 2 weeks or 2 months old. That is just cruel and inhumane.

  24. April 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    oh boy, how I can relate to when we know better we do better….I didnt know better when I gave my son vaccines, unecessary antibioitics and GMO formula,…my son got autism. However I did choose to not circumcise him. a small consolation. but one i hold onto…and we go from this day foward.

  25. Shayne
    April 18, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    We circ’d both of our boys. It wasn’t until we had complications with our second that I even watched a YouTube video to see what was done because I had no idea. It’s taken months to start to heal and it still isn’t healed. I have to pull the skin to unstick the skin (the pediatrician isn’t sure if leaving it alone will cause the skin to scar and need revision later). It’s awful and he cries. I hate doing it but if I leave it alone the skin sticks again worse (I left it alone for a month), I’ve tried lansinoh and now am just using petroleum. For the first few months the whole thing would bury itself. I was told its just because he is chunky but I don’t know. The dr says its not “buried” but its only recently started not retracting in on itself during baths- literally looks like he has a belly button and our first born was chunky from breastfeeding and his didnt do this. My spouse thinks it was a necessary procedure but I have my doubts. I do wish I would’ve researched not just assumed it was necessary. I’m not happy about the circ. I feel bad when I have to pull the skin apart and he cries after his bath because he knows. If anyone knows of a cream I can use please let me know. It’s bs that no real info is provided before this procedure. I would’ve reconsidered if I was told it is not necessary for health. Also I read the gyn’s are doing the procedures now and that is why there are more complications. Either way I’m sad I didn’t read about this procedure before hand. Just like vaccines, we are told it is safe and necessary for health.

    • Nicole Donald
      April 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      So sorry to hear that your little boy is going through this; it does sound like it might be Buried or Concealed Penis which can be a complication from his circumcision. I have read that sometimes it heals on it’s own and other times more surgery is needed to correct the issue. My son gets irritation and small tears around the base of his penis constantly; I apply almond oil and it helps to some degree. I think it is because the skin on the shaft of his penis is now too tight because of how much they removed during the procedure. It hurts to know that I was mislead and lied to and now my son will continue to suffer for it. Thankfully restoration may help him when he is older. I don’t know if coconut oil will do any good for your son or not but I would definitely look into natural remedies for Buried Penis to see if there is anything other mothers are doing before turning to more surgery. We do the best we can with what we know and when we know better we can do better. Sending you love and healing vibes mama. <3

      • Shayne
        July 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

        The hydrocortisone cream worked! Thank goodness! It kept the area thin enough to prevent it from re-sticking. (I read about it in a Pediatrics Journal) The Dr said just to put the cream around the scar until it healed. I wouldn’t ever recommend circumcision if not absolutely medically necessary after what we have gone through.

    • Andrea
      June 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      Our pediatrician told us to leave the skin alone and that it would separate on it’s own….and it did. Ripping it over and over again seems like pure torture. I too, deeply regret circumsing my son. It is my single biggest regret EVER. A

  26. RE
    April 18, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    Hi Nicole.
    Thanks fot sharing this.
    I have 2 boys and none is circumsized.
    We tend to trust doctors too much, I think. My husband is a biologist and does medical research, and he makes most decisions concerning the kids health. And a few times it is the opposite of what doctors recomend. When I was pregnant the doctors wanted me to take the flu shot right away, and my husband did his research and told the doctor I shouldn’t get the shot until de 2nd trimester. When our son was born he refused the hepB shot since giving babies shots that early is not going to create imunity, because their body is still too imature. So, when you don’t trust a doctor’s decision, make your own research,. If you think you are not capable to make an informed decision (because we are not doctors!) at least ask a second opinion from a different doctor.

    • Lo
      April 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      and how could we, why should we, trust doctors when they are the ones who are cutting and hurting our children!! why would we trust someone who is making money from hurting our chi ldren, indeed, whose pocket full of money depends on him or her remaining ignorant.

      • RE
        April 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

        That is totally true! That is why I am so glad my husband is able to do his research and actually understand the prons and cons of some of the health issues we have with the kids!

      • Lo
        April 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

        and let’s not forget motherly instincts, a mother’s intuition is one of our best resources because the research can provide different facts, depending on who it benefits, especially financially. my son is almost 22 years old, born before the internet and when most boys were still being cut. AND i’m jewish, a culture that routinely practices genital cutting and i still said NO. had i relied on just the research that was available 22 years ago, today my son would be missing his foreskin. i relied on my gut. we new mothers are hard wired to protect our babies and when we go against that instinct because we’re told it’s wrong, it gets to the very core of our mothering abilities.

      • cosmopolite
        October 13, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

        “we new mothers are hard wired to protect our babies and when we go against that instinct because we’re told it’s wrong [not to do bris or RIC], it gets to the very core of our mothering abilities.”

        The first time I read the argument you are making here, was in an essay Miriam Pollack wrote around 20 years ago. A feminist, Conservative Jew, strong Zionist, the mother of two circumcised sons, and a bitter bitter enemy of infant circumcision. 5 years ago I heard her say in Youtube: “doctors lie, models lie, rabbis lie. Circumcision removes parts that are very valuable sexually.” To hear a very Jewish woman talk that way thoroughly shook me up. Her great courage and defiance of titled authority has been a shining example to male yours truly.

      • lo
        October 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

        i’ve met mirriam pollack, she’s a helluva woman and needless to say, one of my heroes in the fight against genital cutting, especially among jews.

  27. June 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    When I was 16, I delivered, by c-section, a boy. We had to wait for a couple of months to get him circumcised because he was preterm. When I heard my boy SCREAMING from the back of the office, I started sobbing. They were hurting my baby and I was letting them! I felt so horrible that, when I delivered my second son 16 years later and was asked if I wanted him cut, I said no, they WEREN’T going to hurt my baby! I was a single mom then.

    Three years later, I delivered a third son and my husband, without my consent or consult, had him cut. I was FURIOUS! I still have issue with my husband about it ten years later.

    I honestly don’t understand why, in this day and age, men feel it necessary to mutilate their sons genitalia like that. Is it a vanity thing??

    • cosmopolite
      October 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      “I honestly don’t understand why, in this day and age, men feel it necessary to mutilate their sons genitalia like that. Is it a vanity thing??”
      Your question is a very fair one. And one relevant to my life journey. When I was born in 1949, my father and his mother obsessed with getting me circumcised. To end the nagging, my mother had to threaten divorce. I did not learn this until my mother was 85 and my father long dead.

      Women are less likely to think that the human intimate parts should all be one way, and that all other ways are distasteful. For starters, no two women have identical breasts! Men can, sadly, lack this common sense. Specifically, millions of American men cut last century hold the natural penis in contempt. They do not want to be reminded of foreskin every time they give Son a bath or change his diaper. They fear that an intact son will be bullied in the locker room. Rejected as a date. That no woman will ever perform oral sex. In short, the long sleeve on the short arm dooms a man to an Epic Fail personal life. The great Jewish scientist George Wald wrote in the 1970s that he wondered if some cultures hate the foreskin because it was seen as feminine. It is a raw fact that the American movement against RIC is mostly made up of concerned mothers. Hence the irony that women find it easier to emphasise with the penis than men do. I predict that it is angry women who will end RIC in the USA.

      Perhaps the greatest evil of infant circumcision is the damage it does to some (not all!!) men’s sexual feelings and moral sense.

  28. Jenni
    June 5, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    I have not yet had a child (even though I am I in my 20s) and this is a topic my boyfriend and I have discussed before. As someone who doesn’t have a child, but wants one (hopefully two!), this was something I was really glad to read. Your story definitely made me want to research the topic more and I think I know what decision I will make if I am blessed enough to have a little boy someday.

    My boyfriend did not actually go through the procedure himself, but I will admit that this topic has given him a lot of grief among all his friends who have. It is definitely something that both men and women try to push and it was a procedure I never fully understood. Thank you for your touching story! If you were trying to help people who haven’t had children yet, but might become future mothers…you definitely helped me.

  29. VeronicaS
    June 6, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    I only have one child, a girl, but my husband and I have talked about whether or not we would circumcised. Both of our families lean very much toward. Mine uses the excuse that one of my uncles isn’t and he wishes all the time he was. My husbands family has already tried to use the excuse that a certain man’s extreme promiscuity was because he was uncircumcised, so we should circumcise. We are leaning more toward UN – and this has just helped cement that decision.

  30. Luann
    June 6, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    I haven’t had time to read all the comments and haven’t done any research. But I’d like to know the “truth”. My husband was uncircumcised and in his late teens had a serious health issue and infection. He got circumcised then and said it was awful. He is resentful that his parents DIDN’T do it when he was born. I’m not sure of the details, but he was told things like he might have been “bigger” if he had been circumcised as an infant. That sounded weird to me but what do I know? Now, however, we are going to have to discuss this seriously if we have a boy.

    • Lo
      June 6, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      how is it that the majority of the world’s male population are intact and they’re not suffering from all these foreskin problems later on in life? why are they just fine? is there something inherently wrong with american penises that they need to be surgically corrected at birth or later on in life? no. what’s happening is that we live in a profit-driven, uneducated culture, where doctors are completely misinformed about the nature of a NORMAL intact penis and they see problems where none exist and then recommend genital cutting. for example, a foreskin will often NOT retract, pull back, until a male is 18 or older, that is completely normal but doctors see this as a problem and want to cut. also, many male adults have problems, infections, because their mothers were told to retract their foreskin when they were babies which leads to many problems with the penis later on in life.

      my 22 year old son is intact and he has NEVER had a problem with his normal, healthy, functioning, multi-purposeful foreskin because we left it alone! if you want the TRUTH about genital cutting, download an actual circumcision from the internet and you will get every answer about genital cutting and then some. most people have no idea what actually happens during this surgery and are shocked, horrified, sickened and saddened to see what we are doing to newborns in this country. and i say again, THIS country because this does not happen around the world, except for jews and muslims and even that is changing, as i am jewish and my jewish son is intact, as nature intended.

      genital cutting continues in this country because it is BIG business and generates a healthy profit for the cutters, who make money not only from the surgery itself, but also from the sale of foreskins, which are sold and used in many products. which begs the question, if the foreskin is such a problematic, disease causing organ, why is it used in so many products? perspective mothers today have the internet and can see exactly what genital cutting is all about, so that they don’t have to be one of the increasing numbers of mothers who are now speaking out and telling the truth about what’s happened to their newborns. mothers who are filled with guilt, remorse and regret because they were lied to, just like the author of this original post.

      now with the internet where you can see for yourself, there is NO excuse to not fully understand the violence that your son will undergo, as he goes under the KNIFE, often WITHOUT anesthesia, which is cruel and inhumane. would YOU want to have a body part cut off without anesthesia. ALL human beings, male and female, indeed all mammals are born with foreskins and we wouldn’t dream of cutting our baby girls. americans are outraged over female circumcision in other countries but are blind and in denial about the fact that genital cutting continues in this country.

      over 100 babies die each year from genital cutting and many are left with life long complications. watch a video, you owe it to yourself and your future child. genital cutting is all about profit, follow the money.

    • Lo
      June 6, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      and even if your husband really did have a medical issue, it’s still not a valid reason to amputate a healthy body part from a newborn. we don’t cut off the breasts of our baby girls to prevent breast cancer, or the prostate of baby boys to prevent postate cancer. we don’t cut off our childrens’ ears to prevent ear infections, etc. etc.

    • Nicole Donald
      July 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      I strongly suggest you do some of your own research Luann. The biggest reason is that your baby could die from this procedure; over 100 babies die every year in the US – I promise you that is fact. I put together a note on our Motherwise Facebook page that is full of tons and tons of informative links to make it easier for people who are interested to thoroughly research and find the truth.

      So glad you are asking these questions! That is more than a lot of people do. Good luck to you in finding a way to communicate the facts to your husband; I know it can be very difficult for some men to open up to the truth when they have been negatively impacted by this life-changing surgery.

      If you are centered in the idea that you want to do what is absolutely best for your baby, you will find the strength to stand up for their right to genital integrity. When we know better we can truly do better and being armed with facts makes a huge difference in the face of adversity. <3 Good luck mama!

      • Lo
        July 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

        i’d be curious to know exactly what those health issue were and as far as infection? we women get far more infections and we don’t cut our foreskin off (we also have one by the way); we use antibiotics.

      • Nicole Donald
        July 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

        I would be interested in hearing about that as well. I know many times young boys will get infections when doctors, who are not aware of how to deal with an intact penis, will forcibly retract the foreskin. The foreskin is fused to the head of the penis until puberty for most boys, so forcing retraction actually tears the foreskin away from the glans creating a wound that can become inflamed and infected. I don’t know if that happened to your husband or not Luann, but it may be a possibility. Unfortunately, doctors who are not informed about this will encourage parents to continue to retract it causing more harm than good. I do agree, cutting off the foreskin is not a solution for an infection either way though.

      • Luann
        July 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

        I’ll find out, but it is a delicate topic you can imagine. He is from Brazil and this would have been 25 years ago so a different time and place. But It brings up much. With what Inave read, I wouldn’t do it if it were only my decision, but I foresee a heated discussion if I form a strong opinion. It may not matter. We have a girl and want one more child. 50/50 chance we even have to deal with it.

  31. cosmopolite
    July 30, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    100+ deaths per year is not a fact, but an estimate calculated by Dan Bollinger, using a method about whose merits I remain agnostic. The problem is that medical examiners code death certificates in ways that conceal the fact that RIC was the true cause of death. When a circumcision results in fatal bleeding, the death certificate blames the bleeding and glosses as much as possible over the fact that a circumcision triggered the bleeding. Doctors, hospitals and medical examiners do this to reduce the probability that the operating obgyn, and the hospital he works in, will be sued in tort. To attribute the death of a child to his circumcision points a finger of blame at the parents who authorised the circumcision.

    Data from Brazil, where some boys are circumcised during childhood and the teens and where action at law for malpractice is rare, yields a death rate of about 1 in 8000.

  32. Elizabeth
    January 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    this is a beautiful article I am so proud of this momma for not only sharing her fears but also the raw truth…. let this be a lesson to ALL MOTHERS TO TRUST YOUR GUT NOT WHAT EVERYONE ELSE TELLS YOU!!!!!
    You are a beautiful inspiration and the fact you have shared with your boys what happened is even more beautiful. You made a mistake and you are not using it to hold you or your family back. You are using it to uplift yourself your family and everyone else that reads this. To me you are a hero. I have a daughter. No sons. I am sorry mothers of sons have to even go through any of this at all.
    Thank you so much for this. Keep on keeping on and lighting the path so bright that others have no other choice but to follow!!!!! <3 one love <3

  33. lauren
    January 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    Thank you Nicole for this post. It was very moving to me…It is very hard for me to hear what a mother goes through in discovering the truth about circumcision. I feel for you, but I SO appreciate you sharing your story. Each story told is a chance to help another mother or father make the right choice for their sons. God bless you and your family.

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