Sunday, April 17, 2011

Confessions of a Circumcised Baby

“You love me. I know you do because I've heard you say it through the muffled walls of your uterus for months now. You took your vitamins, got as much rest and exercise as you could manage, and did everything with my well-being in mind. For as long as I have been aware, you have fed me nothing but the best, and every time I told you I wanted something special, like ice cream or jalapenos--you delivered, because you are the best mom.

I made my journey out of your womb and when I opened my eyes and saw the light I was frightened. The world was cold compared to the warmth of your body. But moments after that fear entered me the familiar warmth of your skin comforted me. It felt sright to be in your arms, looking into your eyes. Your eyes, the only thing I could focus on, were the most beautiful sight to me. They were emanating with the same love I felt within my own tiny body. I listened contentedly as I nursed while you oohed and ahhed over me, calling me perfect.

You counted my toes, my fingers, marveled at my size, and talked with daddy about who I looked most like. The whole time I was listening, hearing every word and I had not a care in the world. I drifted in and out of peaceful sleep, waking momentarily to meet my new family, and although I couldn’t express it, I was the happiest I had ever been. I thought nothing could be better than the soft, quiet solitude of your body, but I was wrong. The kisses, caresses, and voices I heard more clearly than ever before were so wonderful, I can’t imagine anything better than this, and I can’t imagine anything being wrong with this world. 

At some point I heard an unfamiliar voice, slightly harsher and colder than those of my new family. I had no idea what the words mean, but the voice said, “Are you ready to have your baby circumcised?” The source of the voice passed you and daddy a paper to sign, you did, and the person took me from your warm embrace with a final kiss on the forehead from you. 

While you waited they took me away, and you may never know what happened after that. They took me into a cold room and strapped me down to a table. Being used to the close, soft feel of a blanket wrapped around me and the warmth of your arms, this scared me. I wanted to curl into the position I have found so comfortable for all of my short life, I wanted to pull my knees into my chest and curl my tiny fist and suck on my thumb. I couldn’t, so I cried. I cried hard, mommy, but no one would listen to me.

Instead, one person removed my diaper while the other put a rubber paci in my mouth that was covered in a sweet substance. I admit the sweetness was momentarily nice and I stopped to suckle at it for a moment. My unfocused eyes shifted back and forth to the best of my ability while I tried to make sense of what was going on around me. I was still very scared. I did not yet have the ability to push the paci from my mouth so when they started to put liquid where my diaper used to be I wanted to cry out again but couldn’t. Instead I suckled harder at the paci, my eyes wide in fear. “I don’t know what's happening, this isn’t right!” I thought to myself, “I want to be back in my mother's warm and cozy arms, and taste the subtle sweetness of her milk, not this awful sugar.” I let out another muffled cry, and a nurse patted me on the head and told me to “Buck up” and “It'll be alright, honey.”

But it wasn’t alright! I didn’t think it could get any worse than this, and then I felt a sharp, stabbing pain that jolted through my entire body, followed by movement in my diaper area. I heard the clanging of metal, and searing hot pain radiating for what seemed like hours. I gasped through the pain, not knowing what else to do with my limited experience and began to scream, the sugarcoated pacifier falling by the wayside. I screamed louder. Feeling the doctor tear my foreskin from the glans was indescribable; my body began to shudder violently as I cried.

©The Saturday Evening Post
The nurse was there, rubbing my head and talking softly but her words were drowned out by my cries. My chest heaved and my tiny voice shook with the intensity of my cries. I took another deep breath, preparing for another protest to the excruciating pain surrounding my penis, but I couldn't muster up enough breath or strength to emit so much as a squeak.

The doctor was now cutting my foreskin away with a scalpel and I could no longer cry. I couldn't breathe softly as I had for my entire life. I could barely breathe at all. I was left gasping for air, unable to make a sound. The nurse said “Now, there's a tough boy, that isn’t so bad is it?” But it was that bad. I just couldn’t express myself and I could no longer control my body. My brain, in an effort to suppress the pain, told my body to shut down.

©The Saturday Evening Post
The nurses, doctors, and even you might have mistaken this to be a peaceful slumber, but don’t be fooled, it was a last resort, a final attempt to preserve my well-being. I no longer had control of my actions and my entire body went into a shock, my eyes focusing on the ceiling in a trance while a single tear trickled down my cheek.

When I came-to again, I was back in your comforting arms, and everything had returned to normal again, or as normal as it could be, anyway. There was still pain radiating in my diaper, peaking with every movement I made. Because my experience in this world was limited to mere hours, I had no idea what was going on, what had just happened, or where to begin to express to you the way I felt. The comfortable world I thought I knew had just shattered into a million pieces, and my trust for the big people around me was hesitant at best. I knew something terrible had just happened, and my body was still fighting the shock away.

I didn’t want to nurse anymore. I didn’t want to feel the burning in my diaper. I wanted to return to the place where nothing had ever hurt me before, a time when I didn't know pain. I wanted to go back to the place where literally every fiber of my being was created, including my fragile foreskin. I vaguely recall the moment you first held me and counted my fingers and toes. You told me I was perfect and beautiful. Why did you change me? YOU created every inch of me, every cell in my body. You didn't make me wrong, mommy. You did make me perfect, you were right all along. 

While my mind may never be able to reflect clearly on the surgery, somewhere within my memories it exists. It's too pivotal not to remain. The surgery was the first bad thing that happened in my life, the first time I felt a massive amount of pain, the first moment I was not comfortable and content. And it was unnecessary, because you created me perfectly inside you. There were no alterations needed.”

©The Saturday Evening Post


© Summer Davis. Summer is a 24-year-old intactivist who lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, son and five dogs. She is currently working on her Master’s in Administration of Justice and Security.

Summer was introduced to intactivism through the efforts of her now best friend, Katie. They met through an online baby forum during their pregnancies. Summer was shocked that Katie was going to keep her son whole. Summer ended up having a girl, but continued to learn about routine circumcision over the next 3 years. In 2009, Summer conceived a boy and at that point resolved to keep him whole and to share information with other mothers on the issue.


19 comments:

  1. Wow, this brought tears to me eyes. We're never having this done to our boys. If they want it someday, fine by me. But never as a baby! Thanks for sharing. I am loving your blog.

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  2. Incredibly well written. So sad. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Awesome - absolutely amazing, Summer! What a wonderful way to share your story, thank you for doing so. :)

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  4. Thank you both :) I was happy to submit it to Guggie. She does such a great job circulating information to parents.

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  5. Thank you for posting this! I shared it on FB and told my "friends" that I'd be willing to talk to anyone and share information with those who are considering circumcision!

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  6. Way to over dramatize you complete fucking idiot. A few hours of pain that he won't even have a single memory of to save years of insecurity in his adolescence and adult years? It's a simple medical procedure, not Nazi Germany. Grow up. I'm glad you're not my mother...

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  7. On the contrary, Jay, the procedure typically lasts only 15 minutes or so, not a few hours. Post-operative healing takes 3-7 days, and sometimes longer if additional complications are present. So the pain after the operation lasts much longer than a few hours and cannot be addressed or prevented with anything other than Tylenol.

    (And Tylenol presents its own risks, besides being largely ineffective for post-operative surgery. Adults have access to stronger, prescription painkillers.)

    Science has already shown us that infants feel and remember pain:

    http://www.sickkids.ca/AboutSickKids/Newsroom/Past-News/1997/Study-shows-that-infants-feel-and-remember-circumcision-pain.html

    And even if an infant did not retain an actual vivid memory of the surgery, science shows us that traumatic experiences still impact us physically, especially neurologically by altering our brain chemistry.

    Babies are people, too. If you truly believed an infant wouldn't remember being tied down and having his penis reduced surgically, then why even bother holding them and treating them gently? Why bother cuddling, cooing, smiling and touching? Just put them in a closet until they hit your arbitrary age of memory/personhood.

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  8. jay, doez david beckam leonardo di caprio will smith keanu reeves and mario lopez seem insecure to you? they arent circumcized. im glad youre not my parent

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  9. The way you express your obviouse >imposed psychopathic BLINDNESS on the matter< to someone of US, is absolutly way out of [In]Tact! ... we will not have any of your low of the low terminology. Sanity stands with and for the Well-Being of the Child. So wise also you up, Jay my dear. Act Normal. I know you can. amen

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  10. Jay, would you give your daughter a boob job if your partner was worried about the possibility of the child being teased like she was as a teenager? If your child were overweight would you give him/her liposuction to avoid being teased in school? The fact of the matter is as parents we have an obligation to make our children feel loved and accepted for who they are. We teach them to love and respect their bodies. Maybe even give them a few 'comebacks' to throw out if someone else ever made them feel bad about themselves. Did you know over 80% of the world is intact? Not all women hate foreskins. And any son today would be in good company during school, circumcision has dropped dramatically and is now down to nearly 69% of parents taking their WHOLE baby home in the United States. Summer did a fantastic job on this. Babies want to feel loved and cuddled, 100% of them oppose circumcision.

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  11. Wow Jay, that was completely uncalled for. Put your baby under the knife to prevent some insecurities that may or may not happen? Why so hateful? The majority of boys now are NOT circumcised, so your point is moot.

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  12. Jay, go troll some where else... And mutilate yourself, be strapped to a board against your will, and your genitals wacked off with no pain meds... Hmm or you could "grow a heart"...

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  13. What is this reasoning, Jay, that we should mutilate body parts to protect from "years of insecurity?" Is this not the same self-loathing illogic behind suicide?

    Perhaps surprisingly for you, I am a cut male and I loathe what that bastard did to me as an initiation into this existence. It is, indeed, the only part of my body regarding which I am still somewhat insecure, thanks to the scars, the suture marks, the tag on my glans, and the bridge from improper healing. It really did wonderful things for me...NOT.

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  14. People seriously cannot recognize trauma when they see it, Jay. It´s so sad.

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  15. read this Jay:

    http://www.nospank.net/fleiss1.htm

    and watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAGNnqyNidY&feature=player_embedded

    and learn to do your research before you open your goddamn mouth to spew ignorant drivel.

    -Tom

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  16. Jay, just read my summary post here: intactipedia.org

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  17. Ms Davis,
    I truly appreciate your well-written article. As others have also reported, it brought tears to my eyes. I think that most genital mutilation in the USA is caused by ignorance, and you are doing your part to educate the ignorant and preserve the rights and body integrity of our newborns. In sincere appreciation, we are indebted to you.

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  18. Thank you for writing this up, I think I may repost this in a thread I was debating with a few others earlier today. I was the ONLY one standing up for our baby boys out of several people who attacked me and said I was living in some fantasy world and should educate myself.

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  19. this is a bit dramatic. i'm pro choice when it comes to circumsizing, but it seems the moms who are anti-circ are extremist when they try to pass their point of view to other moms.

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