Friday, November 15, 2013

A Letter To My Son

Dear sweet boy,
I had you inside my belly for 37 weeks and 5 days. I loved you since the moment I found out about you. I may have been young but since the beginning, I've always wanted you and you have been my everything. 

 I tried to eat healthy, I gave in to cravings and I made sure that I drank those four gallons of milk a month so you would be born healthy. I felt your kicks and your turns. You sometimes refused to let me sleep. I talked to you daily and let you know how much I loved you. I even read to you while you were in my stomach. I made sure to gather clothes and your crib and everything you needed. I kept up with baby center and to see what was going on with you every single week, according to the website. 

 But one thing I failed to do. And that thing is to research something that would change your life and mine forever. And I will never be done telling you how sorry I am. 

I want you to know it was the worst mistake of my life. You see, I was 18 and your dad was 19. He was circumcised and at the time, I thought it was a normal thing to do and I didn't question it much. I just thought it was normal... well, I was wrong. 

I was in labor for 17 hours and pushed for 2 and a half. I ended up having a c section. I fell asleep from exhaustion and I completely missed your birth. I met you about 30 minutes later. You were the most gorgeous baby. I just loved you so much. 

I nursed you. I had been looking forward to it my whole pregnancy. I was so excited to be able to give my child what was best for him. I got to nurse about 3 times before the doctor asked if we wanted to circumcise you. 

I immediately said yes. I'm so ashamed of how quick I was about saying yes and not asking questions. Young and dumb. Doctor said it is an easy, fast procedure. Nothing to worry about. I believed him. 

We asked if your daddy could be in the room. And so, he was there and he watched the whole thing while I was sitting in my hospital room. I was thinking about you the whole time. 

And then I heard your loud wailing. It hurt my heart that you were in pain. And yet, I still thought it was necessary. The doctor didn't tell me it wasn't. What had I done? I hurt my baby... 

They brought you back and you looked so sad. It just didn't click in my mind exactly what had happened. They told me you did great. The line that they give to the ignorant parents who will believe everything the doctor tells them. That USED to be me. Never again. I was told you only cried because you were unwrapped. That was a big fat lie. 

When I saw your penis while changing your diaper... wow... I cringed. It made me feel so bad. It hurt me to see you in so much pain. It was bloody. It looked so unnatural. Because it truly was. 

I tried to care for it. And it still adhered. We took you to the doctor and he pulled it so far down, yet again you wailed in pain and I just sat back and let him do it. I just wanted to break down and cry. Since then, your skin has ripped apart on it's own when I have tried to change you. 

The look in your eyes when that happened. No words for it. The pain I felt inside my own heart was unbearable. I tried not to cry every single time. I started noticing how I was not okay with it. I've hated diaper changes for the reason that I have to see what I did. I struggle with myself everyday. I hate myself for the decision I made. I remember every time I change your diaper, when I give you a bath and when you run around naked. I try to ignore the thoughts, but I still remember. And I will never forget the way you cried the day of your circumcision. 

Son, I'm extremely sorry. There are not enough "sorry"s in the world. All I am hoping is that you do not grow up to hate me. But I would understand if you do. 

Months after, I became friends with someone on facebook named Amy. She always shared links and pictures of circumcision. I thought it was kind of silly and dumb at first. But I saw her posts every single time. And then, one day, she posted a picture of an infant crying. I don't quite remember what it said but it got to me. And I cried. And that was the moment when I reflected nonstop on what had happened to you. And I cried harder and harder and held you close. 

I felt betrayed. I thought doctors always told patients the truth. I was so angry that no one told me why not to do it. Only one person told me not to. And I never bring this up because it makes me feel guilty that I ignored it. Your grandma told me not to do it. I told her it was normal here. And that should have tipped me off since the beginning. Only Americans circumcise newborn boys routinely. Why didn't I listen to her? 

You didn't nurse again. I only got to nurse you those 3 times. 75 out of 100 boys don't readily breast feed after the operation. You were one of them and it hurt. So bad. It still does. I see a breast feeding mom and think about what it would have been like. How jealous I am. All because I made you go through cosmetic surgery unwillingly. 

And son, I deeply regret it. I love you with all my heart and that didn't happen to you in vain. I now fight for other little boys for bodily integrity. I have saved a handful from having it done. I will never stop fighting for babies who do not have a choice. 

And Amy? She will forever be a part of my life. And I will always love her for what she has done for us. To me, she is a hero. She is my hero. 

I'm telling you this so you know what happened to you. I love you, I've loved you, and will always love you. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for something I did, in which I had no knowledge on, because I can't forgive myself. 

Love, mom.


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