Friday, October 15, 2010
When I first saw this word, I had a little chuckle, mostly because I thought it was extremism and emotionally charged. I know now how emotionally charged it is, because all those emotions overcome me on a pretty regular basis.
Many years before I had my child, I did not really think twice about circumcision, it was something that you just did or the child would be dirty and have possible problems down the line and after all it was medically necessary, and at the time the virgin in me thought about how disgusting it would be to have sex with an uncircumcised man!
I mean after all, I am an American and American culture is nothing if it isn't completely sex oriented. Breasts are for sexual pleasure, mothers who don't cover up when breastfeeding are considered exhibitionists, the penis, testicles, and breast have hundreds of names associated with them to avoid saying the real word while elbow is never heard as anything but well... elbow. Any pictures of a penis I saw were circumcised.
But somewhere along the way, circumcision came up again in my study of child development and this time it did not make any sense to me. Something felt wrong. I could not picture any baby going through such a horrid ordeal (with or without anesthesia) only days or even moments after coming into this world.
This is not a place where I want to discuss all the reasons that are out there for keeping your child intact (although there are many), but instead to talk about the hurt it causes me.
I cannot hear about a baby boy coming into this world without praying for it to be left alone. When I know a parent plans to circumcise it is almost impossible for me not to send out information in an effort to beg them to reconsider, and when I have read stories about parents who had wished they known more beforehand, I ache for what that must feel like.
I am eternally grateful for the crazy amount of research I do on all things child development, because if for no other reason, it saved my son from a senseless, shocking procedure.
Even if you take the infant genital cosmetic surgery (as I like to refer to it) out of the picture, even the act of strapping a newborn to a table to me seems like the cruelest thing one could do to a baby who has just emerged from the warm, dark, and quiet space of the womb.
So I am proud to say I am an intactivist. What has happened to us as a species that we can still allow this? Please let it end!