Talk to Your Children About Genital Autonomy (Jen Williams, Founder, Your Whole Baby)
”Just like the many other values you will instill in your children, genital autonomy is a value that you should feel comfortable and proud discussing with your little ones. For some people, this topic can be more difficult to talk about because it centers around the genitals, but if we want to ensure this and future generations are protected from genital cutting, this topic needs to be discussed early and often.”
I Am Not a Doctor (Jen Williams, Founder, Your Whole Baby)
"I recently had a friend ask if she could send me a picture of her son’s genitals, in hopes that I could identify the issue he was experiencing. The child’s pediatrician had told her that the boy had phimosis. According to this doctor, if the phimosis didn't respond to medication, the boy would need to see a urologist for a possible circumcision. (At Your Whole Baby, we hear stories similar to this on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. This was not an isolated incident.)
Two Moms, One Decision (Melissa, YWB Director)
". . . my wife and I were expecting our second and final child. Our first child — a daughter — was just under 2 years old. We were okay with raising a daughter because, well, we were two women. . . but a boy would be much different. We suspected this little one was a boy, so the thought of circumcision had crossed our minds, but we hadn't yet made a decision."
I Am Your Husband (Tracy Wicklund, Regret Father)
"I know it’s hard to take advice from people you don’t know, but I am different. Although we have never met, I am your husband. I am him in 18 months because 18 months ago, I was where he is now. Don’t believe me? I can prove it."
I Stopped Hiding
"I bullied and convinced my wife to cut our oldest child without any factual reasons. As soon as I witnessed my oldest get cut, I immediately knew I had made a bad decision."
“'Meatal Stenosis.' What’s that? Does your son have it? Do you know what it is? I didn't know what it was, six years ago. I'd never heard of it until I started learning about the harms of infant circumcision — far too late, I might add, to protect my son."
Something Like a Man
"In my senior year of high school, I sat with my friend in engineering class. We talked about our dicks. He said his parents didn’t circumcise him. He immediately disgusted me a bit. I didn’t know what foreskin was, but I knew it was dirty and gross. I asked him why they didn’t circumcise him. He said, 'They just didn’t.'"
From a Circumcised Son
"If you are reading this, odds are you had your son circumcised, and later found out how terrible and damaging the procedure truly is. Unfortunately, the harm does not end when the surgical procedure is over. Circumcision continues to harm people their entire lives. While there is no way to take back the damage done, there are ways to help decrease future damage, both physically and mentally."
A Human Rights Issue (Dr. Kenneth Zatz, Pediatrician)
"There are a lot of medical arguments attempting to justify circumcising our newborn boys. There are many statistics touting the benefits for urinary infections, HIV transmission, penile cancer, and other entities. These benefits are often marginal, debatable, or irrelevant to an infant. Websites, such as that of the American Academy of Pediatrics, can provide the most positive view of this procedure.'
My Promise (Chrisann Palmer, RN)
"I was over-the-moon in love with my twin boys way before they were born. We found out early that they were boys and that’s exactly what I wanted! I made them check at each appointment that the last ultrasound tech wasn’t wrong. I researched their nursery, car seats, pediatricians, all the usual baby topics. The subject of circumcision came up. My husband was circumcised as an infant and insisted that they would be just fine if they were circumcised too."
On Speaking up for Genital Autonomy (Tori Caswell, YWB Director)
My heart races, my face flushes. I can feel the adrenaline pouring into my system, typing into my phone the words, 'You don’t have to do it.' My shoulders are tense and my thumbs poised, waiting for the reply..."
"I am a 32 year old woman from Finland, which has a neonatal circumcision rate of zero (1). I have been following Your Whole Baby for several months now and would like to tell you why. Last summer something happened for the first time in my life: I saw a circumcised penis."
They Gave Their Consent
"I’m sitting, unable to sleep, in a darkened room at three in the morning wondering how I am going to write about this subject. You know the one. It’s that subject nobody talks about, mentioned occasionally in hushed tones while parents’ faces glow with excitement for the new life that is about to see this world for the very first time."
Balance Bias (Katie Ward, YWB Director)
"People in the U.S. approaching the topic of infant circumcision for the first time are often looking for unbiased resources — materials that don't seem fanatical and do clearly lay out both the risks and benefits of the procedure. Armed with such resources, expectant parents believe they can make an informed choice and feel confident about it, regardless whether they decide to leave their child intact or have him circumcised."
Without His Foreskin
"It wasn't until I had my second son in my late 20s that I started to look into the effects of circumcision and began to realize why I was having so many issues."
A Fractured Soul (Max Fairshield, 19 years old)
"Since I have begun researching and speaking out about a topic of importance, I have heard many people say so many horrible, insensitive things. I have heard parents speak sentences that no caring, sane parent should utter."
Almost a Regret Mom (Trish, Development Director, Your Whole Baby)
"In January 2015 my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. The first thing I said to my husband is if it was a boy I didn't want him circumcised and if it was a girl she couldn't get her ears pierced until she asks for them after she starts elementary school. My husband was fine with the ear piercing but thought if we had a son he should be circumcised. His reasoning was primarily that since he was, so should his son be, and because he felt he would get made fun of if he stayed whole."
Why "Retraction" is a Bad Word (Jen Williams, Founder, Your Whole Baby)
Find out why "retraction" is a bad word and learn how to keep your son protected.
Animal Rights for Human Babies (Jen Williams, Founder, Your Whole Baby)
"Within days of his birth, he is taken from the comfort and security of his mother, he is strapped down against his will and part of his tiny body is cut off with limited to no pain relief. He thrashes in a desperate attempt to free himself and he cries, a devastating cry of distress, a heartbreaking plea for help, but no one responds and the cutting continues. Is this a day at a factory farm or a day in an American hospital’s maternity ward?"
Are You Fully Informed? (James Ketter, Activist)
"Below you will find the twenty-three page consent form that all parents should be given before they make the decision to permanently modify their son's genitals. Sadly, American parents are only given a page or two with minimal information and it's often mixed in with a stack of other documents parents are meant to sign without truly reading. Please do not make a body altering, life changing decision for your perfect newborn without reading this consent form first."
Circumcision: The Untold Story (Max Fairshield, 19 years old)
"Circumcision is a rather taboo topic in most of American society. It’s like America's dirty secret that everyone knows about but ignores. For a country that seems so obsessed with the human body, freedom, and sex, you’d think people would be more open."
Five Issues YOU Might Have to Overcome Before Choosing Not to Circumcise Your Son...
"Let’s be honest, it can be hard to go against the grain. There are evolutionary reasons why people are drawn to following the herd and not standing out. But, as humans, there are also plenty of benefits to being the odd (wo)man out and speaking up about things that are wrong."
I Want Him Back
"It was three years ago when my husband and I found out we were having a boy during my anatomy ultrasound. There was no question in either of our minds as to whether he would be circumcised. We happily checked "yes" to circumcision on our birth plan without a second thought. It was the normal thing to do."
It's Time to Understand (Greyson Murphy)
"Hi Mom and Dad! It’s your 21-year-old son! The son you cried over when you first saw him exposed to the light of the world. The son you lovingly cared for as he grew out of infancy, watching him gain independence, make mature decisions, and turn into the handsome man you see when you close your eyes and picture him smiling."
Meet James Ketter
"When I say I was damaged by infant circumcision, I should be specific. There wasn't anything immediately wrong with the genital cutting I was subjected to. My parents and the doctor were quite happy with the immediate result, and frankly, other than a few hurtful comments on how short my penis appeared, I didn't know any different as a child. Puberty changed everything."
One Man's Letter
"To the Doctor Who Cut Me Without My Consent, I doubt you will remember me but when I was an infant you violated my rights and mutilated my body. I am writing you this letter to make you fully aware of the atrocities that you have committed and my feelings about them. When I was a newborn infant you held me down and cut my foreskin off of my penis."
One Mom's Letter
"To Whom It May Concern: I am writing to you on the behalf of my three year old son. He is an amazing child. He is full of energy and life. He has always been a blessing to my husband and me."
Regret Moms Remember
"A compilation of memories from moms who regret having their sons circumcised."
The Wedge (Joe, Little Images, Board of Directors)
"You and your wife get along pretty well. I mean, you wouldn't have married her in the first place if that weren't the case, right? But there's one topic here in America that seems to drive a wedge between husband and wife that rocks at least one of you to the core. That wedge? Circumcision."
They Lied to Me (Chelsea Fields, YWB State Director)
"I am in tears as I write this. This is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I think it is necessary. Nearly 7 years and 2 months ago I was sitting in a bed listening to the music of the hospital: The humming of the blood pressure monitor, the tweeting of the machines, and the shuffling of nurses' feet. I was terrified and excited. I would soon be bringing my first child into this world."
The Nose Job: A Modern Fable
"I took my newborn in for a nose job . . . and his pediatrician flipped out on me. Can you believe it?! I told her that his nose looked different than my husband’s, and I’d like them to look the same. This should avoid any awkward questions when he’s older."
This IS Genital Mutilation
"I want you to understand exactly what you did to me. You're a doctor, and you've literally amputated parts from my genitals, so I am going to assume that you don't need to be spared any details. You took too much. You didn't leave me with enough skin to cover my penile shaft. The result was that my earliest memories of experiencing erections as a child are memories of severe, prolonged pain."
Time Ran Out
"I fell pregnant with my first child in late 2008. I was 19 years old. My mother was not shy or private on the matter of circumcision growing up. I often heard her use crude terms about intact penises and other derogatory descriptions we are used to hearing in our society: “turtle neck,” “pencil dick,” “gross,” “dirty,” “ugly,” and “smelly.”
Dad Wants to Cut. Mom's Not so Sure: The Impact of a Mother’s Role in the Circumcision Decision (Katie Ward, YWB State Director)
Let’s say, because it’s a scenario we encounter frequently, that you're one of the millions of American women with a partner who wants to have your baby boy circumcised. Perhaps you aren’t too keen on the idea of cutting your baby. Or you might not be terribly interested in playing a part in the decision . . . it feels too complicated. So you’re thinking of passing it off your partner, who happens to have a penis (usually circumcised), and a stronger desire to cut.
Circumcision: An Italian Perspective
If I ever have a son I would never consider circumcision and here’s why: it is not ethical — my son’s body belongs to him. I would do nothing unless he required medication or surgery. Routine circumcision is useless. And if there are no medical reasons, you don’t have any choice, it’s just not done here.
An Analysis of the Mayo Clinic's "Benefits" of Circumcision
“What are the pros of circumcision?” This is a question many American parents type into search engines when they find out their new addition will be a boy. Featured prominently among the returned results is an article from Mayo Clinic entitled “Why it’s done.” Here, they provide a variety of reasons why the procedure is performed, including a supposed decreased risk of urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer. Well-meaning parents may take these claims at face value and base their decision to circumcise their son on the small amount of information presented, but does this list of alleged benefits tell the whole story?
The Doctor Says My Son has Phimosis
"Perhaps you’ve taken your intact son to a well-checkup and heard the doctor use the term “phimosis” in regards to his foreskin. Before you entertain all the alarm bells in your head, we are here to help you parse out the conflicting information on phimosis, since it’s likely your son doesn’t have a problem at all!
My Son Needs to be Re-Circumcised? (YWB update of article from The Whole Network)
"A circumcision revision surgery, or “re-circumcision,” has been recommended. As a parent, you love your son and you just want what’s best for him, which is why you may be asking yourself, “Is this surgery really necessary?”
Common Questions About Loose Circumcisions (YWB update of article from The Whole Network)
"Here, find answers to common concerns from parents whose sons were circumcised "loosely," with some degree of foreskin remaining."
But Shouldn't They Match?
Let’s set the scene. You have one or more sons who were circumcised before you questioned the procedure. Maybe you regret putting them through that pain and/or have started to feel badly about doing it at all. You’re jumping in feet first to learn more and arm yourself with information. Now you’re pregnant with another boy. Yay! Another boy! Suddenly, a question creeps into your inner dialog from the recesses of your mind: Won’t he feel left out?
An Interview with Dr. V
"Dr. Valgardsdottir studied medicine at the University of Iceland and then moved to Sweden where she specialized in family medicine. In 2005, she moved back to Iceland and has worked in HSU Selfoss for twelve years. Dr. Valgardsdottir serves on the Your Whole Baby Advisory Board."
Ballooning (Confessions of a Crunchy Mama)
"When my second son Andrew was approximately 12 months old, he had a urinary tract infection so bad his urine became sort of like sludge. It would ooze out when he urinated, and appeared gritty. Our family doctor cleared it up with antibiotics, but after that his urine started becoming trapped inside of his foreskin after he urinated, the opening of the foreskin would be squeezed shut, and only a drop or two would exit. I don't know if this was related to the UTI in some way, but the trapped urine happened after the UTI."
Hands Off My Foreskin!
Dr. Winckler discusses the harms of forced retraction.
Catheters & Urine Samples
"In theory, a catheter is no more invasive for an intact child than it is for a circumcised child. The issue lies with the lack of education that many American healthcare providers have about the foreskin of children — specifically, that the foreskin is typically fused to the glans (head of the penis) until 10 years of age on average."
So Your Son has Hypospadias
So your son has hypospadias. I am here with wonderful news to share with you. Are you ready? Your son does not need surgery! I know what I’m saying flies in the face of what doctors have told you. It’s an entirely different reality from the one you’ve come to terms with as a family.
"Your Whole Baby has begun reaching out to authors and publishers in an effort to improve the quality of medical textbooks. We will be rating textbooks using a five-star system, based on the thoroughness and accuracy of the information they provide on the foreskin and care of the intact penis at all stages of life. "
Circumcision for the Child at Risk of UTIs (Dr. Adrienne Carmack, Board-Certified Urologist)
"What about non-"routine" "preventive" male infant circumcision? Should I circumcise my child whose medical condition puts him at risk from UTIs?"
Don't Fear the Foreskin
"You need to know that leaving your son’s body whole is not a scary, radical decision. The foreskin is not a ticking time bomb, and you do not have to live in fear of it causing problems. It is a normal, functional part of the body. Just as you were not worried about letting your daughter keep her whole genitals at birth, you do not need to worry about your son keeping his."
"Many people in the United States still believe that parents rarely keep their sons intact and that doing so will lead to many complications. Your Whole Baby has the privilege of interacting with many families who have intact sons, adults who have intact partners, and intact men. This normalizes intact for us, and we are lucky enough to see that intact is awesome."
Premature Foreskin Retraction, Dr. Adrienne Carmack, Board Certified Urological Surgeon
"As a urologist, I have had to do circumcisions on young boys because of scarring and infections that developed as a result of either doctors forcibly retracting their foreskins or parents doing it on doctor's advice... Parent's are routinely taught that this important. It's not.... it is of utmost importance that no one but the child messes with his foreskin... Their foreskin will separate with their own tugging and manipulation..."
"Male circumcision is harmful in a number of ways, and some of the damage can not be reversed. The loss of the thousands of nerve endings cannot be undone, and the erogenous tissue of the foreskin is permanently gone. However, the following three functions of the foreskin can be restored: (continue reading article)"
Should I Worry?
Common questions and answers for parents of intact boys.
Yeast & Irritation
"Yeast and irritation happen to both boys and girls. Treatment is simple and foreskin amputation is unnecessary. Learn tips and tricks for quickly treating yeast."
"Imagine that you’re changing your two-year-old son’s diaper one day and you notice a lump on his penis that you hadn’t seen before. If you had to describe it, you’d call it a cyst."
Screenshots of Sadness
"If seeing is believing then these screenshots should help to convince you that genital cutting is painful, damaging and has many common complications. We see posts like this almost daily. The majority of the developed world does not cut the foreskin off of their baby boys. It is an archaic and barbaric practice that must end now."
What if it's Too Late? Healing After Circumcision (Dr. Adrienne Carmack, Board-Certified Urologist)
"Since I've come to understand the normal anatomy and function of the male genitalia, it has been impossible to overlook the harms caused by circumcision. I have witnessed firsthand how circumcision directly interferes with normal sexual functions and also frequently causes other complications such as meatal stenosis, irregular healing, and disruptions in sensation."
"New parents are sometimes concerned to find dark pinkish-orange spots in their intact baby’s diaper during the first few days of life, and worry it might be blood in the baby’s urine."
List of Places to Card
"There are so many places to leave intact information cards and plant seeds of change. Check out this comprehensive list and start carding today!"
The Medical Community Failed My Son
"These are the faces of moms and dads who trusted that their medical community knew best. They were told circumcision was healthier. They were asked to sign the consent form without being fully informed. They were told that circumcision should be a parent's decision. They were told it was "just a little snip." They were made to believe "it's just what you do." Or they were told nothing at all."
Getting Ready for Baby
"Getting ready for your baby’s arrival is hard work! Your Whole Baby is here to make preparations a little bit easier with our free Packing List and Birth Plan. You can type right into these documents from your computer or smart device, and save or print them out to help you discuss your needs and preferences with your care providers at any point during your pregnancy/delivery."
Breastfeeding & Your Baby (Sylvia, RN/YWB Director)
"I love breastfeeding! As a momma who has successfully breastfed three babies beyond their first year, as well as donated breast milk towards multiple babies in need, I have a passion for seeing other mommas succeed in breastfeeding. We all know there are many physical and emotional benefits to breastfeeding, so you’d think it would come completely naturally. But each mother-baby pair is unique, and has to develop their own breastfeeding relationship."
Car Seat Safety
"Did you know that 9 out of 10 parents use or install car seats incorrectly? Unintentional Motor Vehicle Traffic Accidents are the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States. Is your child as protected as he or she can be? At Your Whole Baby we strive to keep children safe from unnecessary harms such as injury from incorrect car seat use."
Congrats! It's a Boy!
"Welcome, researching parents! You are here because you have never loved anyone as much as you love your unborn child. You want to make sure you are doing right by him and making the best parenting decisions you can for him. Not just for when he is a baby, but for when he is an adult."
"This is a collection of adorable, fun, and creative pregnancy announcements submitted by our Your Whole Baby community and fans. We hope you find some great ideas and inspiration for announcing your next bundle of joy!"
The Big Potty
"The transition from wearing diapers to using a potty can sound stressful to both caregivers and children. Here are some ideas from parents who have been there. We hope these suggestions help you and your child navigate this change without too much trouble!"
"Today’s parents are questioning many things that are routinely done to babies at birth. One of these is the Vitamin K injection which is meant to increase blood clotting in a newborn."