Thursday, October 7, 2010

When I Met You

When first we met,

I was surprised by your eyes

Not blue, as expected

But brown, like wished upon pennies

When we first met,

and They passed you to me

Your fingers, thin as telephone wire,

stretched just to curl 'round my pinky

When we first met,

the world dropped away,

lost importance, paling in contrast

to the inconcievable smallness of your nose

When we first met,

your mouth searched against my chest,

your hair, silky as spiderwebs,

floating across my neck

When we first met,

your Being stole my heart,

stopped my breath,

changed my world

But. . .

After we first met, 

I didn't know

I believed the wrong people

I let them cut you

After we first met,

I was ignorant of the facts,

blinded my own good intentions

and misled by Those I Trusted

After we first met,

I never knew the scope of the apology I'd owe you,

the risks I exposed you to,

or what I was taking away

After we first met,

I made a mistake

and let you pay the balance

Without meaning to

And. . .

Since then when I met you,

I've kept you from harm,

I've celebrated your laughter

And comforted your little hurts

Since then when I met you,

You've never again cried without comfort,

been left tearfully lurching for an absent protection

you instinctively knew should have been there

Since then when I met you,

I've never again failed you so gravely,

never again cost you so dearly,

would never again let anyone cut you in any way

If. . .

I could go back to when I met you,

I'd protect every part of your Being

I'd erase the one time you were violated

I'd steal you away from Them

I'd grab myself by the shoulders

and not shy away from the apprehension

I let be silenced by Those I Trusted

I'd keep you close instead

I'd hold you at my heart where you belonged

I'd keep all of the joy and forego your pain

and the pain I'd carry later

and the scars I allowed us both to obtain

You've always been nothing but a light in my world

and I am so forever sorry I let some darkness into part of yours


  1. *Note: I never knew a man who was left intact and when my first son was born, I didn't even have the internet to research anything (not that it would have occured to me to research circumcision because all I heard from family and friends was that it was something everyone had done and it was no big deal). I trusted the doctors and the nurses who pushed the procedure enthusiastically. They told me that they numbed the baby, that there was no pain, that it was dangerous health-wise not to do it, that if I waited he'd have to have it done eventually and it'd be worse as he grew older, and that it was a completely unnecessary body part that was as simple to remove as "snipping an outgrown toenail". So I consented. My husband was circumcized and knew no better, and neither did I. I felt anxious that I couldn't be with him, but I felt like I was making the right and the most responsible choice for him.

    Years later, I started learning the truth about infant circumcision and I truly felt my heart crack open. I wrote this for my son and although he has never had any of the complications many little boys endure as a result, I have taken accountability for what I let be done to him-- and it hurts. I don't think it will ever stop hurting. I can't sit and live in a coffin of self-flagellation over it and I cannot turn back time, but I can apologize, and I can try to spread awareness and save other little boys where I wasn't successful in saving my own sons. It will always hurt my heart so much; and I wonder how many other mothers out there were misinformed and share the pain, the guilt and the regret of having this done to our sons, as well as the resolution to help save as many little ones as we can?

  2. This is beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

  3. I'm in tears, thank you for your beautiful post, as it applies to me and my beautiful now 6 year old son, as well.

  4. You are a very strong Momma, to admit you are wrong and apologize is a very strong thing to do. Much love to you and your family, they are lucky to have you.

  5. I am researching foreskin restoration so when i apologize to my first son i can present him with options too. this was beautiful and i want to say thank you for your vulnerability.

  6. Oh how precious and sweet and sad. *hugs*

  7. Thoughtful mothers of circumcised boys, do not be too hard on yourselves.

    I blame American medicine and sex research. I blame a medical culture that has happily circumcised since the 1880s without doing any thoughtful research about the possible complications.

    Routine neonatal circumcision began at a time when there were no local anesthetics, and general anesthesia was a lot more dangerous than now. Thus began the practice of doing it without any pain reduction at all.

    The Circumstraint board was invented only in the 1950s. Before then, a nurse had to restrain the screaming baby with her hands. Before the Gomco clamp was invented in 1935, all baby circs were done freehand. There had to have been a fair number of botched circs.

    Circ results in a raw wound in the diaper area. Before antibiotics, circed babies sometimes died from runaway infections (Gairdner 1949 documented this fact in the UK).

    Given the above, to circumcise babies was medically irresponsible, and suggests that there were powerful sexual obsessions at work. Obsessions such as a deep disgust with boyhood masturbation. Mothers so prudish that they did not want to think about a son's penis and its hygiene. A belief that men are too randy and that circumcision makes men less randy.

    Medicine has moved on, and we have all grown far more tolerant about sexual acts and pleasure. But the obsessive desire to remove the most intensely sexual parts of the male body persists, mainly because of a fear that intact boys will be ridiculed. Doctors, with their immense prestige and authority, should lead here, but few have.

  8. This is beautiful. Reminds me of the things I'd have done differently in the beginning when my son was born, because even though he's intact...they put him in the nursery and force fed him and did things that will always haunt me.