Category Archives: Circumcision

Have you tried Swagbucks yet?

Search & Win

I know a lot of you have tried the “Do Surveys for Money!” and “Submit for a free sample of blah!” gimmicks out there. If you’re like me, you haven’t had a lot of success with actually getting money or free samples from these sites.

Well here’s one that actually works.

I get the most Swagbucks from my searches. When I’ve got a lot to search the web for, I head straight for Swagbucks’ search engine. (It’s powered by Google but you have to look below the link to see if it’s a sponsored ad or not.) You get awarded Swagbucks at random for searching. I even use my Swagbucks search engine when I’m going to familiar websites like WordPress, Facebook, and Yahoo. I just type that into the search bar and then go to the site from there.

You can also do surveys on the site, take a daily poll, do tasks, things like that. And you’re actually awarded Swagbucks, unlike those other survey sites that say “Hey, we’ll give you a dollar!” and then, twenty minutes later, you find out you haven’t qualified for their survey.

Ahem.

Back to the point, just give Swagbucks a shot. Click here and go look around. I’ve already redeemed some of my Swagbucks for music prizes, and I’ve got a lot of other things from the Swagbucks store on my wishlist – things like a Wii, a Keurig Single-cup Coffee Maker, and a Dali poster.

This site really works! Try it out! (And if you join from these links, I’ll get a referral bonus when you use the search!)
Search & Win

Struggling with Advocacy

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

I’m still struggling to find my place within advocacy.

I’ve cared about issues before, but I’ve never been this passionate about them. I feel as though my eyes weren’t opened to the truly important things until I got pregnant with my daughter. (It may be because before the birth of my daughter, I was more than just a little selfish!) Just as soon as I saw her – small, beautiful, and perfect – I knew that I had to be her advocate. She had not the voice to be her own. Suddenly a fire was lit beneath me.

Breastfeeding Symbol

Breastfeeding Symbol

The two issues about which I’m most passionate are breastfeeding and anti-circumcision (yes, even though I had a daughter). My mother breastfed me for 18 months and told me many stories as I was growing up, so I was raised thinking of breastfeeding as normal, natural, and a perfect time for bonding. My passion for anti-circumcision has much younger roots; when I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband said he didn’t have the choice to be circumcised. He wishes the choice was his own. His statement led me to do my research. I found out that the “pros” people list as pros are either a really long stretch to believe or they have no scientific reasoning behind them. They are merely aesthetic.

That being said, I still don’t know exactly how to advocate for these causes. It helps if you know a little bit about my personality. I’ve gone from the younger version of April that used to talk constantly and never censored a word that came out of my mouth to a new April who listens twice as much as she talks, would rather not hurt anyone’s feelings, and who would certainly not ever want to be involved in confrontation if not absolutely necessary.

Whenever I advocate for breastfeeding I don’t want to hurt the feelings of anyone who made an educated decision not to breastfeed and I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone who tried but was unable. When I advocate for the end of circumcision, I don’t want to offend people who have done their homework and still made that choice for their sons.

In short, I don’t want to tell anyone “You’re wrong for doing that! You were given breasts to please your husband, and then feed the baby that results from that pleasure! And while we’re at it, foreskin is not a birth defect, so why are you giving your son cosmetic surgery?!” I believe that even though I happen to think that breastfeeding is the primo way to go and circumcision doesn’t have any medical benefit, what I think may be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. Why couldn’t it happen again? How do I have any room to judge? I know I make plenty of parenting decisions that 100% crunchy moms wouldn’t agree with, but I still do these things because I’m positive that my child will not be harmed. I’m sure that the parents who do not breastfeed and the parents that do circumcise their sons feel the same way.

Preserving Genital Integrity

Preserving Genital Integrity

Because I want to step so softly, how do I advocate these days?

I write. I write in a public forum where everyone and their mother can see the thoughts going through my mind. I write stories about the reasons I’ve chosen to do things, rather than the reasons you should not choose the roads I have decided not to take. I try to give useful information in my blog and post information on my Facebook page that will facilitate a mother’s ability to breastfeed if she wants, and I try to provide information that lets people know how I came to the conclusion, with my husband, to not circumcise our son if we had a boy. I let mothers-to-be know “If you’re interested in breastfeeding and you want more information on circumcision, let me know!” and leave it at that. Honestly, I’d rather just plant the seed and allow the mother to come to her decision on her own rather than beating someone over the head with information until they’ve decided they’d rather avoid me than have to listen to my ideals.

Overall, my intent is to provide information about these issues in a loving, informative, and non-judgmental way. I hope that in doing this I can be a voice for those who are too small to speak their own minds. I hope I’m being a strong advocate for my daughter; not only for right now while she can’t speak, but also so that she knows she can grow a voice of her own later. And I hope that in the meantime I’m not being unreasonable or condescending in my tactics.

To be honest, I’m still not sure if I’m doing this right or not. I’m not sure that I shouldn’t be picketing. I’m not sure that I shouldn’t be shouting from the rooftops and via all the electronic media we’ve been given today. I’m not sure that my advocacy is strong enough. At the times when my voice is weak. . . I hope the life I lead tells my story for me.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don’t share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don’t parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That’s The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she’s learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the “good news” of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people’s children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter’s senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the “great divide” through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R’s of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how “The Three R’s” can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she’s been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she’s doing — and it’s a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on “holistic” — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We’re great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by “just doing her thing,” she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I’m not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don’t tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

Un-cut. Un-circumcised. WHOLE.

Here’s a controversial one for you.

When I had just become pregnant with our darling daughter, Josh and I started discussing all sorts of parenting-related things (as you can imagine). We were on the same page about a lot of issues, but there was one statement Josh made that really made me furrow my brow.

“If we have a little boy he’s not getting circumcised.”

I was confused, curious, and honestly a bit disgusted. I asked him why he said that, and he responded simply: “Because I wasn’t asked to have this procedure done. I didn’t give my permission. If he grows up and decides he wants to be circumcised, I won’t have any problems with it. But I don’t think it’s fair that I didn’t have the choice.”

I could understand that much of his argument but I frankly wondered if that was the best decision to make. After all, I hadn’t much experience with uncircumcised penises – but with the experiences I did have, I knew *I* certainly liked them more circumcised. Also, circumcision exists for a reason outside religious beliefs – it helps keep the area cleaner.

Folks who know me will know that it was time for me to do some research and soul-searching. Through that research I have changed my mind about circumcision and, at this point, whole-heartedly agree with Josh. If we have a little boy, he will absolutely *not* be circumcised (at least until he reaches an age where he can make that decision for himself if he so chooses). Why the change?

The first analogy I reached hit me like a ton of bricks. The question was posed, “How do you feel about female genital mutilation?” I was instantly enraged. How could you compare female genital mutilation (FGM) with circumcision? FGM has no medical reason to exist. It’s the act cutting parts of a baby girl’s (and sometimes older girl’s) genital area resulting in less physical enjoyment during sexual intercourse, sometimes performed so that the area looks “neater” and cleaner”.

Oh, wait. After discovering that there is no medical reason to circumcise, and that removing the foreskin from the penis results in a lowered number of nerve endings and, therefore, less physical enjoyment during sex, I made the connection myself.

Take just a moment and let this idea sink into your mind.

- FGM = done for cosmetic purposes, has no medical advantages, and sometimes done to reduce a woman’s enjoyment of sexual activity.
– Circumcision = done for cosmetic purposes, sometimes done for religious purposes, has no medical advantages, and results in reduced enjoyment of sexual activity.

These two issues are the same, yet in our culture we fight *against* FGM and we continue to circumcise our boys. How’s that for a double-standard?

That information alone was enough to make me change my mind about circumcision. I don’t want to take a part of my boy’s genitals without his permission. I don’t want to cause him pain as a tiny infant for aesthetic purposes. I don’t want to take part of his body without his permission. I don’t want to limit his sexual enjoyment later in life for a ritual within a religion of which I do not subscribe. My mind is made up.

But now as I learn more and more information about the topic, I’m becoming more passionate about it. Not only is circumcision not necessary and not medically helpful, but it can be dangerous as well. I was a bit skeptical when I found out this information. How can a circumcision, a tiny cut, result in the death of an infant? More so – if it’s such a dangerous practice, why haven’t we heard about this before?

If just one ounce of blood is lost, a baby will critically hemorrhage and result in hypovolemic shock and death. Once ounce. If 2.3 ounces are lost, death is imminent. 

I know that there are some out there who don’t understand how little fluid is one ounce, much less 2.3. Just to give you an example, one fluid ounce is equal to two tablespoons of fluid. That means that after losing roughly four and a half tablespoons of blood, your infant can be gone. Why am I trying to emphasize that so much? Because the penis is an extremely vascular area and one can reach the conclusion that if the knife slips, much bleeding can occur.

At that point I was becoming less skeptical, but I still wondered why we have yet to hear about this problem if it is such a potential problem. As it stands, hospitals are not required to report deaths caused by circumcision, so a newly-circumcised infant’s death is often incorrectly entered as SIDS, heart-failure, or seizure. How *can* we know as a people that circumcisions are harmful if they are subject to such a huge misnomer?

What I’m attempting to say here is that I thought it bad enough that circumcision is an invasive procedure that we do to our boys without their permission . . . it’s even worse to know that deaths could be prevented by skipping the unnecessary procedure.

I know that we humans tend to be creatures of habit. I realize that for generations the majority of the residents of the USofA have been cut. And I know that there are some parents getting their children circumcised simply because they want their little boy to “look like Daddy”.

Would that be the case if we all knew the dangers associated with it? And if we all realized that genital mutilation is genital mutilation – regardless of whether it occurs on female or male genitalia?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers

%d bloggers like this: