Parents who regret circumcising
First-person accounts from mothers and fathers
"It was [in May 1989] that, as a nursing student, I first witnessed a circumcision. I will go to my grave hearing the screams of that tormented baby in my ears. As I watched in disbelief, I began to cry. The doctor looked up at me and said, 'There is no medical reason for doing this.'
"Within a year, I'd done enough research to know that the doctor was right, and I began telling everyone what I had learned only to realize that I was talking about 'down there' to people who didn't want to admit they had a 'down there' much less hear about the harm and horror of circumcision.
"As a nurse, I told parents what I wished someone had told me before my sons were circumcised. I thought every parent had a right and an obligation to be fully informed. I was told to keep my mouth shut. So, I made a video of a circumcision for parents. I was told it was too much for parents to see. I said, 'Perhaps, then, it's too much for a baby to endure!' The video was censored, and, in 1985, I got the ultimate censorship I was fired.
- Marilyn Fayre Milos, May 11, 2001
As an American middle class woman I had always thought penises were supposed to look a certain way with the exposed rounded “head” at the end. It never occurred to me that anything had been changed or cut off to make them appear that way. As far as I knew males were born with penises that looked like that. ...
When the baby and I came home and I first began changing his diapers, I found that he too had a penis in the style and shape to which I was culturally accustomed, with the rounded glans exposed. The end of the baby’s penis was bright red for the first few days, but soon healed. The baby screamed every time his diaper was changed. Being a naive new mother, I had no idea why diaper changing upset him so much. Perhaps all babies did that. I never gave the appearance of my baby’s penis any concern.
Two and a half years later, in 1974, our second son was born in another hospital, again by the Lamaze method. This birth experience included several progressive practices such as rooming in. I was also more aware of the baby undergoing circumcision. The morning following his birth the doctor came by, took the baby to another room where he cut off his foreskin and brought him back to me about 15 minutes later. Although I expected that the procedure would be painful for the baby it never occurred to me not to have it done. This baby also now had a penis in the style which seemed normal to me. The new baby’s penis healed within a few days and I forgot about it.
Two years later after our second son’s birth I again became pregnant. ...
The idea occurred to me that if our new baby was a boy, perhaps he should not be circumcised. However, I knew practically nothing about it. None of our doctors ever gave us any information about the operation – pros, cons, why or how it was done. Although mothers regularly discuss at length all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and infant care, I had rarely heard anyone else talk about circumcision. While I regularly discussed in detail such things as nutrition, breastfeeding, exercises, breathing techniques, and postpartum care in my Lamaze classes, it never occurred to me to discuss circumcision. Despite my extensive knowledge in many other areas, and my wholehearted desire to do the very best for my children, my awareness of circumcision consisted of nothing more than a basic concept that that was the way that penises were supposed to look and a vague idea that it was somehow supposed to be cleaner.
Early one morning in April of 1977, our third little son came into the world in the peace and comfort of our home. ... During the next few days our new son nursed contentedly, slept peacefully, and rarely cried. He had a peacefulness and serenity that I had never known with my first two babies – something very special and rare.Another thing that was different about this baby was that he had a penis that was straight and long, coming to a point at the end. While I had always thought that intact penises looked “strange”, this baby’s penis seemed normal and natural the way it was. The first few days of our new baby’s life were peaceful and joyous and our new little son was whole and perfect.
What incomprehensible force brought me from this beautiful, untraumatized birth at home to a strange doctor’s office one week later – sitting there frightened and reluctant, holding my sleeping, peacefully trusting newborn infant? “He shouldn’t be different from his brothers or father.” “I’m afraid he’ll have problems.” “Our relatives would object if we didn’t have it done.” All these thoughts went through my head, while all the while I wanted so much to protect my baby from any harm .
My husband and I found ourselves relinquishing our baby and leaving the building. When we returned about 15 minutes later the office was filled with our baby’s screams! I found our precious baby on the doctor’s operating table with a penis that was cut, raw and bright red! I remembered his brothers’ penises looking that way, but while they, to me, seemed to have been born that way, this baby had definitely been injured, damaged, and traumatized! My maternal protective instincts had been violated! I immediately held and nursed him, trying to relieve his pitiful screams. Soon he mercifully fell asleep and I took him home. I felt like I had brought home a different baby. His tense, agonized little body reminded me of the way his brothers had been as newborns. Within a few days the redness around the end of his penis healed. But this time I was not about to forget! The trauma and torture that was inflicted upon this tiny, helpless little being was to come back and haunt me again and again. From this sprang my quest to do extensive research for my book Circumcision: The Painful Dilemma which was published in 1985 by Bergin & Garvey, S. Hadley, MA. (Now online)
- Rosemary Romberg, from her website, "Peaceful Beginnings"
... My first son was circumsised because I never reseached it and let it up to my husband. After I saw his raw wound, I knew I did something wrong. It looked horrible and he was in so much pain. Please leave him intact.
- Jenn Bane, March 24, 2014
I had my son circumcised due to his father. I wished i didn't it was harder keeping he clean right after the circumcision and there really is no point other than cosmetics. Teach your son how to wear condoms and clean themselves then the reasons to have a circumcision is moot. ... If I have another son i wouldn't go that route again.
- Mrscjones, March 25, 2014
Facebook, April 5, 2014
Facebook, April 5, 2014
Facebook, April 5, 2014
Facebook, April 8, 2014
Facebook, April 8, 2014
"I'm so upset. I know when my son was done they screwed him up. It does not look right even today. They just sent him back to me like nothing ever happened, with a completely messed up penis that's barely there!! I'm so heartbroken" she said with tears in her eyes. Before I could even say anything, she continued, "and now I see that I did not even have to do it. It had 16 functions; that baby on that cutting board was my own son!"
- A mother speaking to Shelley Wright at a solo protest, April 14, 2014
- Written to a mother who was "feeling guilty" about circumcising her son.
- Comment on a video about Russell Crowe
I am a circumcision-regret mother. It was only after my son was circumcised that I learned it was not necessary, excruciatingly painful, and that all the things I was told about circumcision were myths. I learned that I circumcised him to prevent future problems, but the risks of circumcision actually outweigh any so called benefits. I chose to leave my second son intact. Intact boys are easy to clean! Unfortunately that myth intact boys are hard to clean is a pretty strong driving force for many people to continue to do it to boys, but that is all it is: a MYTH. I hope through education and speaking out, more and more parents will learn the real truth and protect their boys from such unnecessary harm, and protect themselves from guilt upon learning the truth too late like I did. Please spare any future sons from the unnecessary harm and torture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ceht-3xu84I
- Tessa Tewksbury on Facebook, April 20, 2014
- Facebok, April 27, 2014
... Some of the more open minded MEN non practicing or reformed ages 20- 65 that I've spoken to have told me they regret being circumcised and wish their parents would have named them without cutting them. My 32 yr old son is one of those men and I am one of those parents. I regretted being bullied into it by my family the second I heard that baby scream. I was so furious at myself and everyone there for clapping and laughing that I threw them all out of my house that instant including the rabbi and mohel, who wouldn't leave without getting paid. I didn't pay him and have no idea who did. My son grew up wanting to be intact like his step dad. I am in these groups because the sound of that baby's shriek will be in my head forever. Everytime I hear a baby will be cut I feel sick to my stomach and try to change the parents minds.
- Roni Silk Jones (friend of Brother K) on Facebook, May 3, 2014
I cut my son because of pressure from my father and grandma, you know, to continue the tradition. I regret it every day. I told my son not to circumcise his son, my grandson. I mean you’re born with it, right? As soon as I let it happen I knew it was wrong.
- A Jewish father to Brian Herrity, Walnut Creek, May 12, 2014
- Hellobee, May 19, 2014
- Hellobee, May 19, 2014
- Facebook, June 4, 2014
- Facebook, June 7, 2014
- Facebook, June 20, 2014
- Facebook, June 30, 2014
(22 regretful parents)
On other sites:
Contributions to this page are welcome.
Back to the Intactivism index page.