Circumcision is, to a large degree, a social/cosmetic procedure and because of this many parents choose it for cultural (rather than medical) reasons. Often times, it's simply a matter of what dad wants, and dad insists on 'matching'.
Because of this, it may not be until after a parent has chosen circumcision-sometimes, long after-that they begin to explore the controversy and are exposed to information about the foreskin's anatomy and functions and the risks and losses circumcision causes.
These parents love their sons. They certainly meant well and made the best decision they could with the information available or presented to them at the time. True, informed consent with regard to circumcision is virtually never given by physicians whose income at least partially depends on parents continuing to circumcise their sons, thus further perpetuating the practice.
In a few threads, I've shared this quote from Maya Angelou:
Even if you come to view circumcising as a mistake, it doesn't make you a 'bad parent', it makes you human. I think it's one of the greatest signs of character to have the courage to be able to look back on a past decision honestly and objectively. That being said, I also acknowledge that the reasons parents choose circumcision are varied and not all will experience grief & remorse.“I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”
There's an ongoing 15-page thread on a different site with story after story of parents who regret circumcising sharing their experiences, their rationale, explaining what they didn't know and what they've learned and how it's changed them. Many of these parents (mostly mothers) are processing grief, and find it helpful to share their feelings in a supportive environment. I'm hoping this could be such a thread, here on BubHub. It may also serve to help lurkers-especially those who are feeling very torn about this issue and may be being pressured to circumcise by someone close to them-to avoid the same pitfalls.
Anyone who chooses to share here has nothing but my support and admiration.
"Our grief always brings a gift.
It's the gift of greater sensitivity and compassion for others.
We learn to rise above our own grief by reaching out
and lessening the grief of others."