A parents love, the cycle of life, and genital integrity
I was saddened to learn that a friend's baby died. Jennifer is a Facebook friend. She is a fellow intactivist and we are both passionate about fighting for genital integrity. I have never met her. As Intactivists we are members of a close-knit community who fight against male infant circumcision and therein lies our bond.
Jennifer lost her baby after 36 weeks of gestation. It may be another week or two before the baby is delivered as a stillbirth. That short time will give Jen a chance to say goodbye to the baby she carried for so long. One of the greatest losses suffered by a parent is the loss of a child.
Many of us in that Facebook community are showing our support by burning a candle. The candle is for Jennifer and her baby that died in the womb. The candle sheds light when in a dark place. With our many candles burning brightly, we wish to let Jen know she is not alone.
Please join me in a moment of silence as we think of those who have lost a loved one.
* sigh *
Jennifer posted the following on Facebook:
In honor of my baby, please continue to do what you need to do to keep other babies safe. Life is precious and fleeting enough already without introducing unnecessary, fruitless risks like genital cutting. After experiencing this kind of loss, I'm sickened to think of all the perfect, healthy babies who are forced to endure genital mutilation.
Even with her great loss, she still thinks of others.
It is so important to continue our battle for genital integrity for all children. Learning of Jen's loss reminded me once again why this is so important. As I read her wall and the many posts in support of Jen, I was emotionally overwhelmed several times.
I was circumcised as a baby. I am currently in my 50s. For all my life I avoided physical contact with others. I did not like to be touched and would move away if someone tried to touch me. I did not trust others. I was emotionally withdrawn. I was not emotionless; I just could not express my emotions. I kept everything bottled up and I could not share my emotions with others.
All that began to change after I began restoring my foreskin three years ago. I thought I was restoring only my foreskin, but it turned out that I was restoring more. As my skin grew long enough to protect the parts of my penis that had been exposed for so long, I began to feel an inner peace. I started to have a sense of being whole. These changes were subtle. But I am very self-aware and I notice these little changes.
I walk and move with greater ease. I do not know if that is because I no longer feel any irritation from my exposed glans rubbing against my clothes or because of a greater sense of well-being. I know I feel more comfortable in my skin and not just in my foreskin.
More significantly, I notice changes to my psyche and to my emotional being. I began to be more empathetic. About a year after I started restoring, I noticed that my emotional reaction was much more pronounced. I would tear up and cry, which, in my 50+ years of life, I never did before. I am better able to relate to people and I find it easier to converse. I still struggle with sharing my emotions, but I no longer keep everything bottled up inside me.
As an example of this change, I easily tear up when I see something sad on television. I often walk through the living room as my wife watches television. The television often catches my eye and I watch the show for a short time. During that brief encounter, I would tear up if there was something particularly sad being shown on the screen. Before I started restoring my foreskin this never happened. No way.
And this brings me back to Jen. The way I was before, I would have felt sad upon learning about Jen's loss and reading the condolences being posted on her wall. Now, I get a lump in my throat. Some posts cause me to tear up. Even during that moment of silence earlier, the welling of my emotions boiled over.
I am amazed at my new found emotional well being. I am also pleased that I am no longer as emotionally withdrawn as I used to be. But, I am saddened that I spent most of my life missing out.
I wonder if I had not been circumcised as a baby if my life would have been richer and more emotionally satisfying. I will never know. I fight for genital integrity to stop infant circumcision so that others will not have to wonder as I do.