An Appeal to Fathers

AN APPEAL TO FATHERS:

Mothers and Fathers sometimes painfully disagree over whether or
not to have their new baby boy circumcised.


When our generation was born, many things were different than
they are today:

*    Mothers were often heavily medicated during labor and birth. 
Therefore, many of us were born heavily drugged.  Today it is
known that this is not good for babies.  Most mothers today would
rather be conscious and aware during birth.  Therefore, today
most mothers give birth with little or no medication.

*    Little regard was given to the family unit during birth. 
Our fathers probably "paced the waiting room", while our mothers
had only impersonal doctors and nurses present when we were born. 
Most of us were taken away to a central nursery while our mothers
were tended to separately after birth.  Today most people believe
that it is much better from a "human" standpoint for birth to be
a special, joyous, family-centered event.  Most mothers and
fathers today want to be together during birth and to hold and be
with their babies right away.

*    Most of us were bottlefed.  Often doctors and nurses
actively discouraged mothers from breastfeeding because they had
little understanding of the process.  Today it is well
established that breastmilk has many nutritional advantages over
formula, and that breastfeeding can be a warm, loving,
wonderfully special experience for most mothers and their babies.

*    Most of us had our tonsils out as children.  At that time
the medical profession believed that tonsils were the cause of
many diseases such as chronic sore throats, colds, and ear
infections.  But over the years the medical profession has slowly
learned that normally occurring body structures do have a purpose
in the natural health of the body.  It is now known that tonsils
do serve a purpose in fending off the diseases that they were
once believed to have caused.  Today tonsillectomy is much less
common than it was when we were children.  Most of today's
children are growing up with their tonsils.

*    People used to think that smoking tobacco was harmless. 
Today, many well established medical studies have confirmed that
smoking tobacco products causes many dangerous health problems. 
This information is now printed on cigarette packages.  Many
doctors today actively attempt to discourage their patients from
smoking.

*    People once thought that eating large amounts of red meat
and rich dairy foods was healthy.  Today it is a well established
fact that such foods are high in cholesterol which can contribute
to hardening of the arteries and heart attacks.  Today, people
are frequently admonished to modify their diets and be cautious
about eating cholesterol rich foods.

*    The medical profession believed that cutting off the
foreskin (circumcision) offered many health benefits such as
prevention of cancer, infections, and venereal disease.  Today,
more recent findings have proven that the earlier studies were
wrong, or at best, risks such as cancer of the penis are too rare
to be considered valid reasons for doing the operation.  We also
know now that virtually all of the purported "problems"
associated with the foreskin, such as infections under the
foreskin or in the urinary tract, or abnormal tightness of the
foreskin are totally preventable as long as the foreskin is left
entirely alone.  Today it is also known that the foreskin offers
many advantages in protecting the more delicate glans of the
penis from urine in diapers and outside abrasions from clothing. 
Most doctors today will advise that the operation is not
medically necessary.

If you were circumcised as an infant or young child, your parents
probably believed that they were doing something that was
medically necessary and healthy.  They probably had very little
information about it.  The operation may have been done to you
when you were separated from your mother in the hospital nursery. 
Even though you probably have no conscious recollection of the
event, you did undergo a painful, traumatic experience which many
people believe may have left "forgotten imprints."  Undoubtedly
your parents had little or no awareness of what you went through.

When our parents were young, most people did not question medical
authority or make choices about such procedures the way we are
encouraged to today.  Their's was a more naive, trusting way of
thinking which has often been difficult for members of our
generation to relate to.

Our parents did the best for us with what they knew at the time. 
Our generation has "survived"--but we have hardly been peaceful
or problem free!  Although carefully controlled, scientific
studies would be extremely difficult to carry out, many people
speculate that some of our generation's greatest problems may be
related to how we were treated as infants and young children. 
For example, our generation's extensive difficulties with drug
abuse may have its roots in our heavily drugged beginnings at
birth.  Many have suggested that our society's abnormal obsession
with breasts as sexual objects may stem from our having been
deprived of nourishment from our own mothers' breasts during
infancy.  Our generation's tendency towards alienation from our
parents may stem from our initial separation from our parents
when we desperately needed them immediately after birth.  And
many people have speculated that some men's sexual difficulties
or tendencies toward violence or callousness may have begun when
a painful operation was performed on their penises during
infancy.

Whether or not any of this is true, most of us as new parents do
want much, much better for our own children.  So please think
about circumcision for the baby in this context:

Your son is not a carbon copy of you!  Right now you are very
much proud to have a new son.  You will have wonderful
experiences being his father.  But whether he is circumcised or
not, he will almost certainly turn out to be very much different
from you.  He is his own person.  He may look different from you. 
His personality may be different from yours.  He may develop very
much different skills and interests from your own.  (Are you
exactly like your father?  Or would you want to be, as much as
you may admire him?)

Your son will love and respect you as his father.  Being a
loving, supportive, understanding "Dad" is the very most
important thing you can ever do for your child.  A child is more
likely to become alienated and resentful of his parents if he is
pushed or forced into patterns based on his parent's ideas that
"aren't him."  This is true for all facets of life--not only
circumcision.  If you leave your son intact and raise him with a
healthy attitude about his body, he will easily understand that
you had that piece of skin cut off long ago, but he did not.  He
may grow up to be very happy and proud to have a body "as nature
made it."  Or he may grow up and decide at that time that he
would rather be circumcised.  If so, this is fine too as it is
his body and he will have made that decision for himself, rather
than having had it forced on him.

Maternal protective instincts are sensitive and powerful!  Your
wife/partner has carried this baby inside of her body for the
past nine months.  As he grew larger she felt his every movement. 
Her entire body has been completely involved in his growth,
development, and birth.  Her life has been filled with plans and
dreams for this baby.  Now that he is born, she is very much
bonded to this tiny, helpless, new little being.  The natural
hormones that are at work in her system right now produce
overwhelming maternal protective feelings.  She intensely does
not want this baby hurt in any way!!  We are undoubtedly
purposely designed this way to insure the survival of the human
race.

As a man, these feelings may be difficult for you to understand. 
Although you are happy to have a new baby, it may be months
before you develop a similarly strong bond to your baby.  But as
a caring, concerned husband/partner, please make every attempt
that you can to respect these powerful, exquisitely sensitive
maternal protective feelings that she has.

Although a father may be able to shrug his shoulders and quickly
forget about his baby undergoing a painful operation, a mother's
heart may be torn to shreds if her baby is taken away from her
and put through a painful, traumatic procedure.  Most mothers, if
made aware of the facts about circumcision, and if allowed to
bond with their babies, will choose against circumcising the baby
simply because of these natural, maternal protective feelings. 
Many such mothers will end up agreeing to circumcision if their
husbands or partners insist upon it.  But his can cause
resentment and alienation on her part towards her husband or
partner, even in an otherwise good relationship.

Although, like you, the baby may have no conscious memory of
undergoing circumcision, many mothers of circumcised babies do
have painful, heartrending memories of the event.  Feelings of
guilt, anger, alienation from the baby, and difficulty in
relating to her husband or partner can result if she feels that
he maternal protective instincts towards her baby were cruelly
violated.  If for no other reasons than this, please seriously
consider leaving your son intact for the sake of respecting her
natural, maternal protective feelings.

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Courtesy:
Rosemary Romberg
President, Peaceful Beginnings
13020 Homestead Ct.
Anchorage, Alaska
99516


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