Imagine you have made a mistake. I’m sure everyone of us has made a mistake at some point, right? We can’t all be perfect paragons of parenting, so I’m sure we all have at least one or two regrets.
Anyway- so imagine you have made a horrible, uncorrectable mistake.
And now you know better, are horrified by what you have done, and you tell people about it because you don’t want them to make the same choices. And no matter what you do or say, you are judged for that mistake.
This morning I was scrolling through my facebook feed and saw a post on an intactivist page that caught my eye.
“I live with the deep regret of circing my son, almost 3yr old now. I didn’t want to but felt pressured. I had done some research but not enough. If I knew then what I know now he would be whole. I’m a very strong intactivist now and am always informing when I can. I get so sad when I read stories of moms who studied and changed their minds and fought for their baby (sad for my baby that I didn’t). I’ve been thinking a lot about the future and if he will forgive me and still love me. He will see me fighting so hard for other babies–he may resent me for not keeping him safe. My question is to the cut guys here. If your mom was truely heartbroken over what she did to you and she had spent much of her life fighting this, how would you feel toward her?”
I totally understand how this mom feels, because I’m wondering the same thing. So I scrolled through the responses. Most were kind, telling the OP to forgive herself, her son will know she loves him, etc. But the second one down questioned why if she was so “AP” she would cut her son. And that rankled. The poster went on to correct her statement in a later status, and the rest of the thread is supportive, but it got me thinking.
I have mentioned before that I don’t like to talk about intactivism on my blog. I don’t talk about it because 1.) I don’t really care to discuss the state of my children’s penises with the world at large. 2.) I am deeply ashamed that I wasn’t better informed and my poor babies suffered for it. And 3.) I am a coward and afraid to stir up the judgy pot. I never brought this subject up until this past spring (when I was accused of being a hypocrite by someone who knew someone that met me) because I felt like I would be condemned and labeled unqualified to support or write about attachment parenting with sons that have been cut. I felt that I was unworthy to support the cause, or that my support would be unpalatable to the intactivists. Which sort of happened. I was called out publicly and privately for it. Whether or not I am “AP” enough was put into question.
Sometimes I read the comments on intactivist pages and the pure nastiness takes my breath away. I am amazed at how harshly mothers are judged when they freely admit it WAS a mistake that they would never make again. I mean, if someone were to waltz on to one of those pages and stomp all over the place posting pro-circ shit then I could understand it. But to be labeled as a child abuser, a molester, a horrible person, a bad mother, evil, uncaring, etc… When obviously you DO care and suffer immensely for it… I don’t understand that at all.
We all make bad decisions.
Thankfully, not every stupid choice we make has such long lasting repercussions. But everyone of us, no matter how good our intentions, makes mistakes. And no matter how “crunchy” or “AP” we are (or strive to be) it is impossible for every single person to embark on this parenting journey fully informed and educated. I wish that there was more compassion to pass around for those of us who stumble.
My two sons. I should have known that they were perfect from the moment they were born.