Tuesday, September 21, 2010

INTACTIVIST

Anyone who knows me knows that I believe in keeping our baby boys WHOLE when they are born. That means to NOT circumcising them! It took a little bit of convincing and a lot of research to get Nick on my side, but 9 years ago-when we had our son, Christian, he agreed that we'd keep him intact. Christian was stillborn so we didn't have to worry about it, but when we had Preston 4 years ago, there wasn't even a discussion about it. We both just knew that he would stay intact. Since then, I have tried to voice my "opinion" about keeping our boys intact! I proudly call myself an Intactivist now. I find good articles, good opinions, good research and share it with anyone and everyone I can so they can be educated and completely informed before making a decision for or against circumcision!


In my opinion--babies can not speak for themselves, so someone else needs to speak for them! Parents should NOT be allowed to permanently alter their babies bodies with out their consent! It should be illegal! If you've ever seen a video, or in person, of a baby being circumcised, it is completely and utterly child abuse. It is torture. It is violent. It is unnecessary and is frankly one of the meanest things you can ever do to your baby! I believe that all human beings deserve their basic right to bodily integrity!!!



The FACTS are these:


Only 32% of baby boys in the U.S. are routinely being circumcised today. It is no longer "the norm". It is no longer "tradition".


The American Academy of Pediatrics does NOT recommend routine circumcision.

In fact, Prepuce amputation (circumcision) of infants is NOT recommended by ANY medical or health organization in the entire world.


The bible clearly says NOT to circumcise--

New Testament (Law of Christ)

Acts 15:1-35

Galatians 5:6
1 Corinthians 7:19

Galatians 6:15
Phil 3:2-3


The Book of Mormon clearly says NOT to circumcise--

Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants

3 Nephi 15:4-5

D&C 74
Moroni 8:8


The LDS church put out an article in the Ensign called "A Crisis, a Council, and Inspired Leadership" which states:


“There is no doubt that Peter and the other Brethren knew that the law of Moses was fulfilled. Latter‐day revelation also makes it plain that the law of Moses was fulfilled in Christ...Obedience to the law of Moses was no longer a requirement for salvation since Jesus had completed his atonement.
In like manner today [regarding any conflict between traditional practices like circumcision and doctrine], there may be questions on which the doctrinal foundation is clear but on which tradition or custom are so strong that the Brethren are impressed not to take a firmer stand against them, trusting, as did Church leaders in New Testament times, that if the basic revealed principles are known, the Holy Ghost will eventually lead the adherents to forsake their social tradition, or academic popularity, or peer pressure, in favor of the word of God."

Which means, there is NO need to circumcise anymore!!!



In biblical times--circumcision was done completely different than it is now--
Hebrews and early Jews made this very small slit in the tip of the prepuce to allow the few drops of blood to be shed as the blood sacrifice of the covenant. The Hebrew words used for the practice are "namal" and "muwl". In Hebrew, namal means 'to clip' - like one would clip the ends of our fingernails. Muwl means 'to curtail, to blunt.' Neither of these words mean "to cut" "to amputate" "to remove" "to cut off," etc. There were very different words in Hebrew to represent 'the cutting off' or 'the removal of.' The difference was obviously clear to people at the time.


Jesus was, of course, born to Jewish parents and would have been subject to the 'namal' on his 8th day of life. Again, this means a tiny slit would have been made in the end of his prepuce to allow for the shedding drops of blood as a part of the covenant his parents had with YHVH [Yahweh]. But if we (with our modern Western eyes) pour over these paintings of a naked baby Jesus, we would think that he was
intact. Why? Because the prepuce was not removed! It was not amputated. It was never 'cut off.'


Circumcision was changed to how it is done today all because of 2 men; Kellogg and Graham -- two of the big proponents of the 'new circumcision' methods. They knew that if you amputated the entire prepuce organ, it would remove a great deal of a man's normal sexuality and
forever change his sexual experience (and greatly reduce pleasure). Somehow over the decades their technique continued, but parents who choose to do this to their sons are grossly unaware of where this prepuce amputation originated, or why.

Whether you are for or against masturbation, if boys/men are going to do it, they will do it whether or not they have a foreskin!


In today's world, there is a 1-in-3 rate of complications associated with prepuce amputation and approximately 200 deaths per year (in the U.S. alone) due to circumcision surgery. We have banned all forms of genital cutting of baby girls in the United States since 1996 with our FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill. This includes any genital cutting done for religious reasons on a non-consenting person. Don't baby boys deserve the same protection?


One of my favorite pregnancy/baby authors-Dr.Sears-who is a VERY known and prominent doctor wrote this:
DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO CIRCUMCISE YOUR BABY BOY

This is a decision that many parents face. There are many misconceptions and out-of-date information that parents may read. Here is a summary of the pertinent issues that you should consider when making this decision.

  1. Medical benefits - THERE ARE NONE! Do not circumcise your baby because you think there are some medical benefits. A recent review by the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at all the data from the past decades to see if there truly were any medical benefits. Their conclusion - NO. There are no significant medical benefits that make circumcision worth doing. Here are a few benefits that we used to think were true, and now know are not.
    • Cleanliness - although it is true, a circumcised penis does not collect any white stuff underneath the foreskin like an intact penis does, THIS IS NOT A MEDICAL BENEFIT. It is really just one less area to wash in the shower.
    • Decreased risk of STD's - this was a myth that we now know is not true.
    • Decreased risk of penile cancer - it used to be thought that circumcised men had a much lower chance of cancer of the penis. We now know that this benefit is much smaller than previously thought. The AAP determined that this benefit is so tiny, it is not worth circumcising for this reason.
    • Avoiding infections in the foreskin - it is true, occasionally intact foreskins get irritated. This is easily treated with warms soaks and washing. Rarely, the irritated foreskin becomes infected. This requires antibiotics to clear up, but is easily treatable. Even if this does happen once or twice in a person's life, it is not a reason to circumcise at birth.
    • Avoiding the need to do it later on - very rarely, someone has a problem with recurrent infections in the foreskin that need antibiotic treatment. Some of these men then need to be circumcised in an operating room under general anesthesia. This is extremely rare, however, and is not a reason to circumcise everyone at birth.
    • Avoiding bladder infections - it used to thought that circumcised boys and men had a much lower chance of bladder infections. The AAP now knows that this benefit is very small, and is only true for the first few years of life. After that, there is no difference in the number of bladder infections. Again, not a reason to circumcise.

    THEREFORE, IF YOU DECIDE TO CIRCUMCISE YOUR CHILD, DO NOT DO SO BECAUSE YOU THINK THERE IS ANY MEDICAL BENEFIT.

  2. Religious reasons - some people choose to circumcise for religious or cultural reasons. This is a personal decision.
  3. Don't want to be teased - while this may have been true in the U.S. decades ago, the truth is that your uncircumcised kids will be in good company in the locker room when they are teenagers. Less and less people in the U.S. are now circumcising their boys.
  4. Too much trouble to take care of - some people think that an intact penis is too much trouble to pull back and clean, especially during childhood. Well, the truth is, you are not even supposed to pull back the foreskin until it naturally comes back on its own between age 5 years and adolescence. So there really isn't anything to even take care of until then.
  5. Want your boy to look like dad - the main difference that your child will notice between him and dad is the hair. He won't even notice any difference in the penis until he is old enough that you can then explain to him the difference.

So, what are the reasons TO circumcise? Here is the list:

Religious reasons - as discussed above. That is all. There really is no good reason to circumcise other that personal preference and religious reasons.

Are there any reasons NOT to circumcise? Consider these:

  1. Leave nature alone - whether you believe God created men with a foreskin, or nature simply evolved this way, there must be some reason men have foreskins. Why change something that God/nature has created?
  2. Sensation and sexual pleasure - the foreskin is filled with nerves, and is therefore extremely sensitive to touch. This enhances sexual pleasure.
  3. Protects the glans (head) of the penis - the glans is another highly sensitive area. The foreskin protects the glans from constant rubbing and chaffing against clothing that can desensitize it over the years. This preserves sexual pleasure.
  4. Ethical issues - there are groups of people worldwide, including medical societies, that oppose routine circumcision because they feel it is unethical for a parent to decide to alter the penis of their child without the child's consent. Parents who are deciding whether or not to circumcise their son may wish to consider the impact this may have in the future if the child decides they wish they were not circumcised.

So, when making this decision, the first thing to ask yourself is this - "Do I have any good reason to circumcise my baby?" If your answer is for religious reasons, then follow your faith. If not, and you can't think of any other significant reason other than just "because", then consider the above information as you make your decision.


One of my favorite websites is: http://circumcisiondecisionmaker.com/


The reason I hear most often that parents choose to circumcise is that it is CLEANER than leaving them intact...


First of all, does anyone out there think that it's "easy" to clean or teach a girl how to keep her vagina clean? The fact is--the vulva has many folds, crevices and layers and is "hard" to keep clean, unless the girl is taught how to clean it properly. If teaching your daughter how to keep her vagina clean seems like a daunting task, do you think then that we should remove her inner and outer labia? Her clitoral hood? Stitch her vagina closed so it can't get dirty?

No?

Why not?

Cleaning an intact baby boy is SO much easier to clean--it's simple, DONT TOUCH IT!!


Never forcibly retract the foreskin! It is painful, and can lead to infections and adhesions. Your son should be the first and the only person to retract his foreskin. When his foreskin does finally detach from the head of the penis--between ages 5 and puberty-he simply and gently retract his foreskin, uses his fingers to rinse the glans and inner lining with clear water, and return it to its normal position as part of his washing routine. THAT'S IT!!! Pretty simple, huh? There is NO extra care involved with infant boys. The most important thing to always remember is to NEVER FORCIBLY RETRACT THE FORESKIN! EVER!!!



There is a blog I follow--this girl named Ashley, got pregnant and had her baby while still in her teens. She researched, battled her Jewish family, and chose to keep her son intact... She wrote a very moving letter to her son. It reads:

Letter to my intact son: Why I kept you whole

I started to write this on paper, but decided to save some trees.
A letter to my intact son: Why I kept you whole in the United States.

Dear Diego. Sept 9 2010

As you know, you are my first born. You are the child that taught me how to be in tune with natural living. You have erased much of my ignorance and made me grow up before necessary. I owe it to you to give you the best and try everything I can to keep you innocent and out of harms way. I love you more than I love living. This is a letter to you, my beautiful boy, explaining why I chose to keep you intact when the rest of the country is cutting.



You will probably be reading this when you are old enough to understand statistics, emotional reasoning, human rights and what circumcision is (that is, if I taught you correctly). So I will start with the emotional stuff you might have already heard from me while growing up. Its a no brainier that I am of Jewish descendant, brought up in the hands of the Judaic Religion. We attended temple, your eldest uncle and 2nd cousins had a bar/bat mitzvah and much of your distant family speaks Yiddish and Hebrew. We followed all the holidays and the children were taught the history of our people, but the males of the family were special in the way of becoming Jewish. On the 8th day of life, a newborn male is given a Brit Milah. The Brit Milah is the ceremony to welcome the newborn into Judaism by giving him a Hebrew name and a circumcision. A female newborn is just given the Hebrew name. I never wondered why until I learned the little soccer player in my tummy was blessed with an anteater between his legs.



I always wished for a boy as my first born. I was terrified to have a daughter (an irrational fear that I have overcome)and cried tears of joy when I knew I was having a son. Your father couldn't have smiled brighter and your grandmother cried. Why she cried is something I still do not know of that this time. I never asked and just assumed it was because she knew I would go through hell over the circumcision idea (we had discussed circumcision once or twice before finding out your gender and they knew I was basing the decision on your dad, whom is intact).



You probably already know what I went through with your grandparents, uncles and great-grandmother over circumcision and if you don't, I will have no problem discussing this after you have read the letter, but this letter is not for me to vent, it for me to express my love for you, all of you.



Since my family had gone through so much trouble trying to convince me to circumcise you, my brother even going so far as printing out pro-circumcision information and placing it on my desk with a note, I wanted to know what it was about. Growing up, I always asked why. I didn't want to do something if I didn't know why and how it was done.


I have always been natural minded, not wanting to litter, waste or go beyond human ability, so to hear that something you are born with is bad made me curious. Why would nature have every single male grow this skin when its harmful?
So I turned to my computer and your father. Surely since he is intact, others must be too! I thought circumcision was something that happened to every boy and only a few were kept whole.


I was 15, ignorant to everything but the things I were taught growing up. I had probably spent a total of days using Google. I came to the conclusion that I had been lied to. Circumcision was done to few and keeping a boy intact was decided for many. Europe considered it a barbaric act and many people equaled it to Female Circumcision. There were activists called INTACTavists, solely fighting for the rights to genital equality. I saw pictures of botched circumcisions, scars and videos of poor babies screaming while the doctor explains to that he is only crying because he is strapped down and not because he is slicing open his penis. I became angered and my motherly instincts kicked in to fight for you, again.



I would have been angered if someone cut me when I was a baby (since female circumcision wasn't illegal until I was 5 years old) so I had to assume you would be angered if someone cut you without you consenting. What if you wanted your foreskin, even if the risk was infection? And I had taken it away, for you to never get back. That didn't set right in my mind.


Circumcision is permanent. I wouldn't tattoo you without you wanting it. I wouldn't force food down your throat if you pushed away because that's not my choice to make. Your penis wasn't mine. It wasn't anyone's but yours. You felt the pleasure/pain when it is messed with. You are the one its attached to, so shouldn't you decide if you want a part of it to stay with you? The answer is simple, yes. I wanted you to tell me if you want your foreskin, but you couldn't. But you can when you are older and then you know how it feels to have a foreskin and I feel no guilt. If you don't want your foreskin as you grow, still no guilt because you can remove it on your own terms, but for me to say "my son, I know you will hate this foreskin as you grow, let me get rid of it now" seemed strange in my mind. How would I know? The case is easy, I didn't know.



I had read that circumcision interferes with breastfeeding and I was so determined to breastfeed you without problems that this hit me the hardest. What if I did decide to cut you and you didn't latch and needed a bottle of formula? My ultimate goal/dream was to nurse you, if I was to fail I would take it to the heart and never get over it. Little did I know how much I would go through with your short tongue and allergies, so I bet if you had gotten cut, I would have failed like I predicted. I would have a hurting baby boy, hurting breasts full of milk that I cant get rid of and a baby trying to get comfort out of something made in a factory/lab. I wanted to be your comfort, for that warmth to be human and not from the stove. I needed you close by me and selfishly, I needed you to reduce my risk for breast cancer as my mother was a breast cancer survivor and I never wanted to go through what she did. I left you intact and you nursed whenever you wanted it, not needing the comfort to settle a pain that didn't exist but none the less wanting it anyway.



I wasn't afraid of you being made fun of. Children are cruel and will make fun of you for being beautiful, kind and generous. Not much you can't do that children won't make fun of you for so when I was given that argument, I blew it off. What I was afraid of was infections. I was told over and over again that no matter what, you WILL get an infection and it can only be treated by circumcision. I turned to the internet once a again, that it being the only place I could go. I talked to many grown men who have never had an infection or have only had one and it was treated with medicine. Non-painful medicine. I was content with that. That even if you did get an infection, you would just get medicine like you would if you got a sore throat or the flu. No different except in the area that it is in. I have gotten a few UTI's and yeast infections, they aren't a big deal and I knew if you got one too, you would be fine and not die. It would be another experience to learn from about the human body and the world around us.
We live in a house with running water and we always will. Keeping you clean as you grew older and your foreskin became retractable wasn't something I would be worried about. I know you could just wash it like you do the rest of your body. You may not want to hear this but I have taken showers with your father, I have seen how easy it is to clean and that it takes no extra time or effort. I wasn't worried cleaning your foreskin would be a chore.


Little did I know when I was pregnant with you that the year you would be born that the circumcision rate would drop from 50% to 33% and its predicted to keep dropping. Hopefully that was right and you are the majority instead of the minority. We may not even be living in the US by the time you are reading this, therefore you definitely wouldn't be the odd man out!


I hope you grew up loving your body for what it is and how it was created. I hope you appreciate the decision I made for you and decide the same for your sons. I love you and am lucky to have such a great son to teach me the facts of life, human anatomy and the ways of natural, healthy living.



Love unconditionally,

Your mommy!


This about sums it up for me....There are few things that I am Passionately FOR or AGAINST and will proudly stand up and speak my mind if it means that innocent babies, children, etc are protected!

The only thing I ask is: Study! Research! Watch videos! Read books and blogs! Find out for yourself. And then, in the end, if you still decide to circumcise your son--BE THERE WITH HIM when it gets done. Hold his hand. Comfort him. Don't let him go through that torment and pain all alone! At least then, I'll have respect for you!



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Preston!!!

Way back in July, Nick and I thought it would be nice to throw Preston a friend party for his birthday this year. Then I decided I am not up to handling a lot of little kids at one time, so we scratched that idea and came up with a new plan. We were going to have a family party over the weekend and then invite Cooper over to share in some fun activities with Preston on his actual birthday. Well, that didn't happen either. In my earlier post I wrote about my parents taking Preston out to get his b-day present and go on a birthday date. Well, the next morning, Preston was pretty sick--cold/flu, fever, runny nose, and cough. It came on really suddenly! Monday night, he was doing obviously better, but not well enough where I felt comfortable sending him to preschool or having Cooper over...just in case. So, Preston spent this morning with Daddy while Ashleigh was at school and I was at work. When I got home, Nick and I let Preston open some of his gifts.....

It's a train whistle

What's next???

It's a Thomas the Train plate!

A new shirt...you may roll your eyes, but I am proud of it!! I did ALL those things and that makes Preston a VERY lucky boy! :-)

Next is....


It's a Thomas the Train lunch box....are we seeing a theme here??? ;-)
Then Nick had to go to work and I had to go get Ash from school. When we got home, Ashleigh took the gifts I bought for her to give to Preston--and hid them. Then Preston came out of his room and we played "hot and cold" to find his gifts...here are videos.



video

Toby the "very useful engine"


video

"Henry"

The kids played with the trains a bit and then we had cake.... (all along, Preston's been asking for "the chocolate cake that you had at your birthday, mom"....then he said he wanted a train cake... in the end he chose an orange marble cake. Such a strange boy!)
--Video of us singing happy birthday--minus daddy. :-(

video

Blowing out his candles

Yay, he's officially 4 years old once he blows out his candles. ;-)

Preston wanted to eat his own name....
but then gave it to Ashleigh to eat and instead ate the word "HAPPY"


Wow....my kids sure do look alike!!
those are some BIG smiles! ;-)


Later in the evening Nick's parents came over and gave Preston his gifts. Grandpa tried to tease him and say that the present was for him--which Preston didn't like at all--so grandpa gave the present to Preston. ;-)
The card

The gifts...
Thomas the Train Take along trains and tracks!

Preston insisted on opening the train package himself!
He struggled for a bit and then grandpa opened it for him



Isn't it cute?!?! Preston loves it!!!
The trains go around and around thru a tunnel

And then it folds up with the trains inside and you can carry it around with you!
Pretty cool, huh? :-)

He played, we visited, and then Grandma gave Preston his 4 spankings. ;-)
lol, Preston's laugh is so cute!


He also got some Thomas underwear!
He wasn't too thrilled with this gift, but I know once they're in his drawer, he'll be excited to wear them! ;-)

Then grandma and grandpa Call left and it was time to get the kids to bed. (Preston putting his bike away) My sweet baby boy is 4 years old now! I can hardly believe it!!! He is truly my love, my pal, and completely Sweet-N-Sour. Sweet and loving one minute, and a royal pain in the rear the next. ;-) I love him more than I ever thought a mom could love her son.

HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY, PRESTON!
WE LOVE YOU!!!

Stats: Preston is 3 ft 3 3/4" tall (or 39 3/4"). He is 1/4" shorter than Ashleigh was at age 4. He grew 2 3/4" in a year...impressive since he doesn't eat much! ;-) I'll get his weight tomorrow...update to add soon!

Golfing with daddy

We have this HUGE field in our back yard so Nick goes out there occasionally to hit some golf balls. Preston wanted to go and play too....here are some pictures! ;-)













Bubbles

We had a great rain storm a couple weeks ago (yes, just now got around to blogging about it) so of course, the kids and I went out to enjoy it.

Ashleigh's ear drum-a couple days prior-burst so she put a cotton ball in her ear to protect it so she could go out and play in the pouring rain!
Gma Call came over with some bubbles...I don't know if she intended on leaving them here, but the kids have had lots of fun with them since then.




And then we all watched the rain...

I wanted pictures of me with the kids, but Preston wouldn't cooperate. Ashleigh happily joined me in a picture! She's so beautiful!!!

Then I asked Preston to come here, then I pointed to an imaginary something and said--what's that? He looked and I took a picture! Pretty sneaky, huh? ;-)