Labor Repose

Labor Repose
LaborPayne during her 6th homebirth (9th baby) at age 44

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Circ Alert


I read this on Sarah the Doulas blog:


"Although I skip it as often as I watch it (because sometimes the cesareans and procedures are just too maddening), on "A Baby Story" yesterday, these exact words came out of the mouth of a man about to do a circumcision on a newborn:"Up to six months he didn't develop any nerve endings. He has no pain. So I don't want you to really think "Why, he's crying because he's in pain."My jaw dropped. And not in a good way."



Wow! I can't believe somebody out there is still pulling the old 'babies don't feel pain' crap. In my last class of RN students- we went round and round on the circumcision issue. The students actually had some very dynamic dialog on the issue. I always show a video of an actual circ before we get into our discussion on it-but some students saw some in clincals at the hospital first. Boy were they shocked! Here are some exerpts from their online discussion about it:


"Today I was on the labor and delivery floor. There wasn't much action so I hung out and waited for any procedure or experience. I did get to see a circumcision. I always believed that circumcision was important for every boy. I thought he might embarassed or made fun of if he was different than other boys. I knew there was no mandatory medical reason for a circumcision but never questioned the practice. After seeing the procedure done today I am torn about the practice. How is this any different than the genital mutilation we hear about in other countries? I know in other countries it is done to woman and to prevent pleasure but both are done for cultural reasons. I couldn't help but think that in the future the instruments used in this procedure would be in a museum and people would be horrified by the practice that we see as normal and "mandatory"."


Followed by:


"Actually my friends, I believe they have proven the circumcision helps to prevent infections...including STI's and UTI's. As most of us have worked in LTC, we have come across an uncircumcised male and have seen how staff do not pull back that foreskin to wash...YUCK! I know it looks barbaric when you watch it done on an infant, but I always thought, well, better now then when he is older! Still....you are right. It is, and probably will always be a controversial issue."


Another student weighed in with:


"On the American Academy of Peds website a recent survey showed that only 34% of dr in the survey thought the benefits outweighed the risks. I think circumcision is different than mutilation in other countries because in the other countries this is done to women to remove sexual plessure. The procedure has no medical indication"


Another countered with:


"I understand that it can reduce the incidence of infection however, this does not make it mandatory. If we could reduce the amounts of yeast infections in women by removing some of their genitalia would we all agree to that practice?"


Our only male student in the class concluded this:

"Being the only guy in class, I decided it would be most appropriate to comment on a circumcision. Lol. Actually, I witnessed this disgusting act of brutality on the baby boy as well. I could only stand to the side and watch in horror. I thought I knew what they did for a circumcision, but I didn't know to the full extent of what actually takes place.With that being said, I'm absolutely glad my mother/father signed that consent form. I wouldn't want it any other way. When/If I ever have kids, more specifically a boy, I would want him to be circumcised, even knowing what he will have to go through."


The conversation went on over several weeks actually. I was so proud of the students for really grappling with this issue and having an honest discussion about it. In the end some students maintained that they would still circumcize their male children while others were adamant that they would not. My proudest moment came in knowing whatever they concluded, from this point on they would all have a better understanding of the hows and whys of the procedure and not just a knee-jerk socio-culturally-based position.


2 comments:

Rational Thinker said...

My proudest moment came in knowing whatever they concluded, from this point on they would all have a better understanding of the hows and whysNo. Fuck You.

There are real people having to undergo this incredibly painful, irreversible, and completely barbaric ritual.

This is not some stupid little game.

Laborpayne said...

I agree, it's not a game. But I've done my job in giving them the unglorified truth- I can't force my conclusions on them.