I asked some fellow intactivists for a place to give these parents to turn to for better support and empathy than I can rightfully offer.
The following was written by the mother of a young boy, who's botched circumcision story can be read here on Peaceful Parenting. I recommend that you read his story first to fully understand from where Brooke is coming.
Guilt is something most feel because they cheat on a test or say something means that hurts someone else; it’s not really a word that’s normally associated with circumcision. But it should be.
I feel this horrific guilt everyday because of circumcision, because of a choice I made for my son out of pressure and weakness that I now know hurt him more than anything in his tiny life. As a mother I’m made to protect my child, to keep them safe and happy. And I did the exact opposite of that and because of my huge mistake I carry this overtaking guilt that only a mother that’s done the same could possibly understand. At first I was just upset about the complications that happened to my son because of his circumcision after he was “ok” and I could really sit back and breathe, I realized I caused this, and that’s when the guilt over took me and pulled me into a world of hurt.
I’d stay up and watch my baby sleep, how peaceful and perfect. And I’d cry. Every night I’d cry. I didn’t say much to family and friends for a long time. Nobody could ever understand how I felt; they didn’t do it I did. So I kept it all inside. I noticed I felt like I owed him a lot, I gave him more hugs more kisses and more toys... at that point that’s all I could do to make it up to him. Then I felt the need to fight, I had this urge to get revenge so I did. I sued. And as that long process went on and on it made me feel better the guilt wasn’t overtaking like it had been, I felt like I was doing something. Like I was fixing it. But after the 3 years of battling his butcherer it ended and I was done “fighting”. And then the fear of the unknown future for my son made the guilt even worse than before. I have no control over what happens to him in his future, I have no idea if he will have problems, or more surgeries. He may hate me or blame me and that’s something I just can’t handle. So once again I was back where I started, but this time was different there was nothing else I could do to make it up to him, and that scared me.
After years of holding it all in one night my husband came home from work around four in the morning to find me doing my nightly cry lying beside our sleeping son. He wanted to know why I was crying, what was wrong… All I could do was tell him I hurt our son. I told him he could never understand, that he didn’t see our baby like I did, that it hurt. He tried to tell me he was fine and everything in the future would be to and for some reason this pissed me off and out came the truth. I told him I blamed him, my father and his. That they were the reason I did this. That it was their fault that I and our son had to live with forever. It hurt him. I could tell, but I didn’t care it was something I hadn’t even realized myself, it came out like word vomit with such power it was clear I’d been holding it in for years. That night he slept on the couch and we’ve never talked about it again. But something happened that night it finally hit me that it wasn’t my fault, I hadn’t done it. I was pressured and told so many lies from so many people, even that if I didn’t “he’d cuss me for the rest of his life”. Some of the guilt was gone after I realized that.
I still feel guilty; I still have my days and my moments where I break down. But instead of lying beside my baby at night and crying I snuggle with him. I think I’ll always carry this feeling of hurt and guilt with me, nothing anyone says or does will change that but instead of thinking of all the wrong things I’ve done for my son I think of all the great things I’ve done that hopefully he will be proud of one day, that’s why I’m a intactivist now. One day I’m going to be able to tell him “we saved so many baby boys”. Just remember you know better you do better? It wasn’t your fault and as long as you love your baby and make his childhood happy, those will be the memories he will have when he thinks back.