Sunday, February 13, 2011

Confessions of a Mom who Circumcised

Lauren Stone © 2011

“A Letter To My Son”

My Beloved Son, 

Before you were born I was already planning all the best things I knew I could do for you. I would try and ensure that you had a gentle birth. I would give you the milk from my breasts although I had no support from my family, because I knew this was best. I would love you with all my heart and protect you from harm.

I read every book I could find on pregnancy and natural childcare. I soaked it all in like a sponge. The one thing that I could not find was accurate information on circumcision. My public library hadn’t a single book that mentioned anything negative about it. So I asked men that I knew what they thought was best. I asked both circumcised and intact men. Some said it was good that I was asking questions; some thought I was silly, but answered nonetheless. Surprisingly they ALL said that it was probably the best way to go, even my own intact father. My brother had been circumcised. I talked with my doctor who explained that is was a quick, simple, painless procedure and was nothing to worry about. It was just ‘routine.’ I believed at that point that I was “informed.” I was not. 

When you were taken from me at the hospital and carried down the hallway to a “sound proof room” something inside me started to panic. A million thoughts were swirling through my head all at once. And then I heard you scream. It was a sound unlike anything I had ever heard in my life. 

The hair stood up on the back of my neck and my knees buckled. It felt like my heart was no longer beating and I could feel my face flush and tears start to fall down my cheeks. There was a knot in my gut and I wanted to vomit. I was shaking and I muttered “Oh God what have I done?” A nurse, almost laughing, said to me, “Oh he’s okay honey, he’ll be just fine and he won’t remember a thing.” I grasped at that delusion for a moment, but I knew that I would never forget it. I would never be the same person again. 

When they handed you back to me I could hardly breath. The look on your face was that of shock, pain and betrayal. I held you close to me and whispered through my tears, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry….” 

All the sparkle was gone from your eyes and I knew that I had been lied to. I felt so betrayed and confused. I felt such guilt for having hurt you this way. How could I have not instinctually known that this was wrong? How could everyone in my country, in the world, not instinctually know that this was wrong? Why didn’t even a single person ever say to me that you were perfect as you were and this pain was unnecessary? Or even mention pain at all? I was so full of hatred towards the doctors. They knew what they were doing and they lied to me. They hurt you and thought nothing of it. I was so full of hatred toward myself for letting those bastards hurt you that way. 

I made a choice that wasn't mine to make, one that I wasn't equipped to make, that I should never have been allowed to make. 
Every time I bathed you, changed your diaper or let your run free I was reminded of my own guilt, of my own culpability for your suffering. I felt so ashamed, so stupid, so gullible for having believed it was nothing serious. 

I close my eyes and I still see the dazed look of confusion in your face. The sounds of your screams are seared into my brain. Not a single day has gone by that my heart doesn’t hurt. I am scarred too. But the scars I bear are in my soul. 

The more I learned, the angrier and more deeply hurt I became. Especially when I realized the extent of what was taken from you and that it would affect you for the rest of your life. That it would affect your sexuality and your relationships. 

I started to tell other moms what it was like, what I had learned and not to let this happen to their babies. I didn’t want any other babies to be hurt or any other mother to ever feel the way I feel. My pain is what drives me to do something to stop this insanity. 

Now, 28 years later, I am still talking to moms and dads, to grandparents, to anyone who will listen. I don’t ever want another mother to say they didn’t know or ask why no one told them the truth before it was too late. I think one of the hardest realities a parent can ever face is knowing that their own ignorance caused their child harm. 

I saved your brother from the suffering I put you through. He is whole and safe and happy. I protected him because I learned the ugly truth the hard way, at your expense. He is very grateful that I learned to do better. 

There is nothing I wouldn’t give to go back and change things. But that isn’t possible, so I work hard to try and save other baby boys from suffering needlessly. I talk and talk and talk so that no other boy with be robbed of his right to a whole body. 

So my darling son, I say this to you, I love you now as I have loved you always. I hope you can forgive me for what I didn’t know. 


Lauren Stone © 2011 Republished with permission.

Did you circumcise your son but have now committed to keeping future sons whole? Join the 2nd son, 2nd chance group for nonjudgmental networking:


  1. Thank you for publishing this. When we don't have all the facts it can hurt us and our children. When you know better, you do better.
    Get the facts. Leave your son intact. Perfect, normal, healthy, just as he is supposed to be.

  2. This brought tears to my eyes, I couldn't face the idea of circumsizing my son, for which I am glad, this letter should be read by every mom to be!

  3. Good for you writing this and letting it be in the wide world... hoping it's circulated lots.