When I had my daughter, who was not an easy baby, this book was recommended to me by the mothers on one of my lists. It's brilliant!!! These authors studied primate babies and found that they went through distinct fussy periods during the first year of life that were consistent in terms of timing. They were able to extend this to human babies and I have found it to be incredibly accurate. When Baby Bean suddenly stopped sleeping late last week and by Sunday, I found myself getting very despairing, I decided to get out the book and, lo and behold, human babies go through their first developmental leap, accompanied by significant fussiness, at 5 weeks old and Baby Bean turned five weeks last Thursday. There is a map in the book that outlines the first year, giving timelines for when the baby is most likely to be fussy or not, which can be very useful information to have. Pk was consistent to it within a day or two the first year and so far, it looks like Baby Bean will be too. It's helpful when booking visits, photographers, etc. and also, it can really help you to understand that nothing is wrong when a normally easy baby becomes a grouchy bear for a few days. I wouldn't want to be without this!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
When my mom was growing up, they kept the Sabbath strictly. They went to two services and Sunday school in the morning, went home to a simple meal for lunch, slept the afternoon away and then went back to church in the evening. Nothing else happened on a Sunday.
When I was growing up, things were relaxed quite a bit. We didn't strictly keep the Sabbath but Sunday was always a church day, we usually went to Grandma's for lunch and there was always an afternoon nap. We didn't know why Sunday was different than other days but it was.
A few years ago, when Dh and I were first married, we started keeping a kind of Sabbath of our own. We hadn't been working all that long and the load was very heavy and we were TIRED. We wanted to make the Sabbath special in some way and what we decided to do was to make it a "quiet" day - no t.v., no computers, no "must do" work, no shopping and limited phone calls. We spent it doing church in the morning and then spending time together - we played games, went for walks or hikes, went to spend part of the day with family, cooked special meals, etc. We came to really love it and when we were doing it, I found that Monday was less painful - I went into the week more centred and relaxed.
I don't know when we stopped our Sabbath rest tradition. I think it just gradually got sucked under by the pace of life and all that we found pressing. Home ownership brought a new list of jobs and now with children, one day tends to feel a bit like another. I find myself craving those quiet Sundays more and more.
Not too long ago, I read the book "The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. It really, really spoke to me. I find myself craving rest and not just sleep but rest of an emotional, spiritual kind. A quiet cup of tea with a book for an hour, a nap without guilt, a walk with the family, a meal that doesn't feel like an effort (fancy Sunday dinners were something we were trying and I have to say, for me, at least, that makes Sunday LESS of a day of rest). There is so little rest in my life these days and this book really inspired me. It helped me to remember that rest comes in many different forms and the rest that God is offering us is not a punishment but a wonderful gift, all the more so in a world as fast paced as the one we live in now.
At this point, I am pondering what form that Sabbath rest will take in our home. Of course, Sunday begins with church and will probably include a nap for the foreseeable future (lovely!). I want the day to be special, though, a day that stands out for all of us as being something to treasure. I am not entirely sure of what form that will take but there are a few things I have already decided:
1. Sunday is not a day for shopping or errands - anything out of the house should be about fellowship and activities that help us to recharge and enjoy, things that don't have an obligation tied to them.
2. I want Sunday to be a day that has significance for my children, too. Not a day that we are forced to be bored and quiet but a day that does stand out as being different. Today, I set a rule that the music we listen to needs to be Christian and the books we read need to have a focus on our faith. Pk seems to have enjoyed it quite a bit - we got out some stories that we haven't read in a while and we had a nice cuddle and read this morning. I think I will try to plan some other special things to make Sunday stand out but things that also don't end up being a bit burden to me, either.
If you have any Sabbath suggestions, I would love to hear them. I don't want to turn this into a day of obligation but a day that helps us to go into the week recharged and aware of what means most to us. I want this day to be a gift!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
A friend from church has a little girl who is just under a year old and I decided to offer to lend her all of Pk's stuff (I was considering giving rather than lending but I am not entirely certain that we are done with having babies - I am too old and too poor but I would love to have another little girl...). I spend the better part of a morning going through the bins of clothing a pulled a few of my favourites to keep back and decided to share a few with you.
This is the first sweater I ever made for Pk. It was foolish, really - who wears a short-sleeved sweater but it looked really cute (and you see it on the top banner for the blog). I hope it is the first in a long line of sweaters that mummy will make for Pk.
This was the dress she wore for her first Easter. It was the start of my early Gymboree addiction (which has since waned - nothing like poverty to cure you of spending).
This little outfit was brought to us by a friend who lives in England and it is so soft and cuddly. It was one of the outfits that made me wish that I could wear children's clothing - this would be perfect for lounging around with a book and tea on the weekend.
This dress was sent by another very special English friend (who I have lost contact with because I got too busy and never seemed to have time and I greatly regret that). The photos don't do the dress justice (my camera was acting up) but it has the loveliest smocking (I have a huge thing for smocking, I love, love, love it).
This was the dress that Pk wore for her turning 1 photos. I love navy and white and especially anything that has a bit of a nautical look. She looked lovely in this and the photos were better than I could have ever imagined.
I love this dress - the colour and the springiness of it. She wore it to the 150th anniversary of Dh's parents' church and I got to see how people are really drawn to her. It isn't always the happiest of churches and yet some of the grouchiest people went out of their way to smother her in cuddles, smiles and crackers :-). It was so nice to see how her warm smile can draw people in (when she chooses - normally, she can be somewhat aloof and shy). A friend bought the same dress for her little girl (actually, the friend I am giving the clothing to) and she always calls the dress "the Pk dress" since it so fits who Pk is. And hey, it's not pink, which, according to Pk, everything has to be these days.
Yes, that is a photo of my horrible toes (no, I very obviously have not gone for a pedicure lately) and yes, the colour of nail polish is horrible. I will explain shortly.
One of the things that I have found the hardest about having a new little one is trying to find a balance between meeting the needs of little Baby Bean, who would like to nurse for most of his waking moments and meeting the needs of Pk, my pretty much constant companion and, frankly, one of the loves of my life. I have so enjoyed her over the last few months, we can do so much together and while she has done a really great job of adjusting to being a big sister, at times, she seems really lost and hurt and, at times we are seeing the results in her behaviour. I have heard of other mothers with the same struggle and thankfully, there was a great article in Mothering a few months ago about the struggles in transitioning from one to two that prepared me a bit for the pain and guilt.
I have tried all of the usual things and a few of the less usual. I have learned to multitask even more than I had in the past - nursing and reading, nursing and doing puzzles, nursing and attempting to change diapers... it helps but whatever anyone says, it isn't enough, at least, not in this house. We have taken Pk on some special outings, everyone who has brought a gift for the baby has been incredibly thoughtful and has included Pk and we have tried to involve her in in caring for both her brother and for her own baby. It's been interesting to see the results.
One thing that was a complete flop was trying to look at photos together. Much of Baby Bean's baby gear is stuff that we used for Pk and she asks almost constantly about whether she used something and parrots back the responses we have given her (I constantly hear "You fed me milk from your body ALL THE TIME?"). I thought it might help her to see photos of us doing things for her as an infant and us using the stuff for her. That was a disaster. She couldn't grasp that the pics were of her and it seemed to reinforce for her that Baby Bean was the centre of our universe.
I have tried to have Dh take Baby for a bit in the afternoon and she and I do some of our "homeschooling" activities. She enjoys that and we have done some fun things but I have to say, more power to anyone who homeschools. Pk is not a risk taker and when she feels confident, she will happily do something but otherwise, she digs in and gets stubborn and it drives me CRAZY. She knows all the letters, many of their sounds and, at just shy of 3 years old, is now developing her sight vocab and writing several letters of the alphabet. On the other hand, she hates numbers and counting and refuses to do almost anything with that. I know it will come because she was exactly the same with colours and then woke up one day and knew them all but I want it to happen NOW. Amazing when you think that at work, I am known for being an incredibly patient teacher who works well with special ed. kids!
The three things that have worked best at continuing to connect have surprised me a bit. The first, which makes things complicated, is that she is still in bed with me. I say with me as opposed to with us because I sleep with the kids and Dh is in Pk's bed. It doesn't make for good sleep for me but she seems to really, really need that connection at night. I don't mind for now but it will have to change eventually when I have more will and more strength.
The second, that has come to be something that I really enjoy, is that we go for walks. I bought a used Joovy Caboose from Craigslist and it was one of the most wonderful ideas I have had. If you haven't seen one, it's a tandem stroller where the baby's seat clips in the front section and directly behind is a combination riding platform and seat for an older child. Pk can get on and off at will and while she never sits, she loves to stand and watch the world go by and I get exercise that I wouldn't get if I were waiting for her to catch up. We have explored the neighbourhood, talking about houses we like, pretty gardens, looking at leaves and visiting with neighbours. She helps me check our mailbox and post letters. We have wonderful chats and since Baby Bean is asleep in the front, we can really talk.
The third is that we have started to try to build a sense of her as a "big girl" like mummy. As you probably know if you have been here much, I don't think much of the idea of children wearing make-up and in my world, nailpolish counts as make-up. I was a bit concerned when she came home from daycare one day with polish on her toenails that the older girls had put on. I debated what to do about it but decided that toes go into shoes and socks and I didn't want to risk losing a wonderful daycare situation based on that. Pk noticed that I somethings wear polish on my toes and asked me to do hers, too. After some thought and conferring with dh, we decided that it wasn't a big deal and mummy/Pk pedicures have become a weekly event. We even took her to the store and let her choose the polish colour (hence the photo above). We also bought her a cross necklace to wear in honour of the anniversary of her baptism last year and she is wearing that daily. She wanted one because I wear one and now, at least once a day, she draws my attention to the fact that we "are the same."
Motherhood so often perplexed/concerns/frustrates me and makes me feel completely inept and then we find a way through. I wouldn't change a minute of it!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I am trying to be better with money but after Baby Bean was born, I treated myself to two things that I have been wanting (neither of which is terribly expensive). The first was a wonderful little Etsy purchase (I LOVE Etsy and love the idea that I am supporting small crafters). Pk loves playing with my earrings and I couldn't find any pairs. I don't have a lot of time to look so I wanted some kind of an earring stand. I found this one from Tammnoony, who is in Israel. The price was great and her shipping was super fast. It's really helped me to get organized.
My second purchase is something I have been looking for quite a long time. I have eyed Lisa Leonard designs and she had several pieces I was thinking about buying. This one, the family tree necklace, seemed a perfect gift for myself after Baby Bean was born. It's the tree with the names of your immediate family members. If I do say so myself, it's lovely and it's a nice reminder of what my most important job is. Now, I need to save to buy a few other treats from her site!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I took Baby Bean to the doctor today for his 1 month check-up. I was worried because he had started to put on weight last week but still hadn't quite hit his birthweight. I was so nervous about whether we would finally have made it to the 10 lbs, 2 oz mark. The scale my doctor uses is metric so when the numbers came up, I had no idea what they meant. It wasn't until my doctor did the conversion that we found out that he is now ... 10 lbs, 10 oz!!! That's almost a pound in a week. It looks like we have made it without formula!!!! The even better news is that now, I can do totally "on demand" feeding, no more trying to feed every three hours, even at night! While he feeds constantly during the day, I often struggle to wake him at night - now, I don't have to!!!!
Thank you, God!!!!
Monday, July 12, 2010
As a Christian woman, I have struggled a bit in terms of my identity, most especially around what my roles as wife and mother are (and whether I should be stay-at-home). Sarah, at Emerging Mummy, has written a brilliant post on what it means to be the "Keeper of the Home." It's worth reading and you can see it here.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
As I have baby on the mind, I thought I would share a few more of my absolute favourite baby gear items. I don't know what I would do without each of the three of these.
The first is the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper. I discovered this via Dr. Sears when I was trying to figure out how to get Pk to sleep. I was a bit unsure about the whole co-sleeping thing (I have since gotten over all of that but I still love our co-sleeper). This attaches on the side of the bed so that baby can be right there safely when you don't feel comfortable having the baby actually in your bed. We bought this model, the Universal, which functions like a Pack-n-Play - it can be a playpen as well. It's not cheap but the quality is outstanding. Baby Bean sleeps with us most of the time but when he is on his own, this is his bed. As an aside, it's interesting how quickly things change. When Pk was born, three years ago, I felt all this pressure to get her bassinet out of our room and into her own room at three months. I saw a student doctor with Baby Bean last week and she pointedly told me that the baby should now be in the parents' room for the first six months (and I know that is what the pediatric societies are now saying). Given that Pk is in with us a lot of the time at almost three, I think we can last with Baby Bean at least six months!
This is Baby Bean and I in our Sleepwrap. I am a committed babywearer (research shows that worn babies cry less, bond well with their caregivers and if you have a child who isn't a good sleeper or is hard to get down, you will know how wonderful a carrier can be - this was almost the only way I could get Pk down for naps at all). This one is WONDERFUL! I was really intimidated at the idea of tying a baby wrap style carrier but this is amazingly easy (although the first time I tried to put it on with all the fabric, Dh called me Obi Wan). Baby Bean LOVES this and when he is fussy, he is so happy to sleep close to mummy (and to be honest, I kind of miss the closeness with Baby Bean so this is a nice halfway point). We have worn it out a few times to shop, to the local farm and to the CBC open house and it has been wonderful. I never found a ring sling or a pocket sling very comfortable but this, I love. It was worth every cent!
This is the Ergo baby carrier and with Pk, it was a lifesaver. You can buy a newborn insert but I have heard that it isn't so great - we started with this when Pk was about 5 months old, I think. When she turned two, I was still wearing it with her to hike with the dogs. As far as I am concerned, this is truly the BEST overall carrier for the older baby/toddler. There is more back support than with any other carrier and the position is best for baby, as the child is in a sitting position rather than hanging by the groin, as with some other carriers (which I have been told is actually not so great for the spine). I find that some of the more structured carriers need a degree in engineering and an extra arm to get the baby in whereas this carrier is very easy to put on. It is approved for carrying a child up to at least 40 lbs so you will certainly get your money's worth.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I haven't been around here much and I thought I would just post a little update about where we are at right now, since I don't seem to be able to get around to emailing people personally who are so kind as to check in to make sure that I am o.k.
Baby Bean was born on June 17th and that was a wonderful day. I was so proud of myself and the fact that I was able to have a vaginal delivery of such a huge baby. Pk was not an easy delivery (she ended up being a forecep delivery and the entire thing was pretty awful) so to have things go so smoothly had me come away on quite a high. To be honest, it's been kind of downhill from here.
The night he was born (he was born at 6:41 p.m.), I was put in a semi-private room, which was really frustrating because we have private coverage but there weren't any rooms available. That also meant that Dh couldn't stay with me that first night. I was terrified because I had no feeling in my right leg from the epidural and I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to get up and care for Baby Bean. I had a good cry and then steeled myself to deal with things. There ward was incredibly busy and the nurses were, to be honest, useless. I still had an i.v. in and I was told to buzz when I was ready to go to the washroom and someone would come to help me and then I could have the i.v. out. I buzzed and waited over 30 minutes after being told someone was coming and then finally buzzed again and got some help. I got a roommate about half way through the night, just as I had fallen asleep finally. Of course, while Baby Bean actually slept (which Pk had not done the first night in the hospital), the other woman's baby SCREAMED the entire night and I didn't get any sleep.
I was finally moved to a private room at around 5 the next day. I had been told by my o.b. that I would be allowed to leave later than night, pending Baby Bean's bloodwork since all was well but since there were no nurses available to do the testing, I was told I would have to wait until the next morning. I didn't feel that he had been latching well and I called the nurses several times for help but the only nurse who did actually come said that I "obviously knew what I was doing" and that when my milk came in, all would be fine. The next morning was horrible. The nurse we had was a misery and when she came in, Baby Bean was SCREAMING. She took his temp and announced to us that he had a fever and that she would have to get the doctor. She then weighed him and told me that we wouldn't be allowed to leave because he had lost too much. By this time, he had stopped crying and she took him temp and it was fine. I was nearly hysterical - all I wanted was to go home and all of a sudden, I was being told that something was wrong with Baby Bean. She then did calculations and decided that his weight was fine after all but she couldn't get the machine to work on the hearing test. She finally got a pass on the one ear but couldn't get a clear result on the other ear so she angrily told us she would have to do a more in-depth test but we would just have to wait. Finally, about 3 hours later, she came back to do the other test and he passed with flying colours but only after she had us terrified that something was wrong with his hearing and that we weren't going to be able to leave.
That really set me up to be worried about things (and before you say it, Kittenpie, yes, I know, I am a worrier). He didn't nurse well at home until the day before our visit to our doctor so of course, when we got there, his weight was down again. She wasn't terribly worried but I was. We were strictly told that we had to feed him every three hours no matter what and come back later in the week. I was fanatically counting wet and soiled diapers and spending a good portion of each night fighting with him, trying to get him to wake up to feed when he obviously wanted to be sleeping. Latching could take as long as 45 minutes because he just wasn't hungry.
Did I also mention that we came home from the hospital to Pk being sick with a raging cold that she managed to give to both me and Baby Bean? We went back to the doctor on Thursday and he had started to gain his weight back. Then, later that day, he got really sick with the cold. Latching became and even bigger nightmare and by Friday night, in the wee hours, he wouldn't feed at all. I didn't know what to do. I really didn't want to give him formula or a bottle (breastfeeding is really important to me and I didn't want to do anything that might interfere) but I didn't want him to dehydrate. I called Telehealth and was directed to go to emergency, which we did. We had a wonderful doctor who finally told us to give him a spitz of Dristan in each nostril twice a day for three days and that seemed to get us started again.
Of course, though, with several days of poor feeding, when we went back to the doctor, he had only put on four oz. Again, the worry. Latching continued to be a nightmare and I really debated just giving in and giving the bottle of formula. To be honest, by that point, I was really wondering whether I was started a good go with post-partum depression - I couldn't stop crying, I felt like I couldn't cope and all I wanted was to walk away. I kept trying to ask for help but didn't know where to turn.
Finally, we got a break. I emailed my doula for the name of a lactation consultant and I found a wonderful woman who was willing to come out that day. I was scared about doing it - my experience at the breastfeeding clinic at the hospital with Pk had been pretty terrible and I was so afraid of getting a "lactation nazi" as a friend likes to call them. T, the consultant, was sweet, supportive and incredibly helpful. She had also spent 6 years working at Jack Newman's clinic, so I also felt like she knew what she was doing. By the time she left, I felt like we had a game plan and she had largely solved our latch problem - now, other than late at night when he is sleepy, we can get a latch in less than a minute. She also really put pressure on me to get back to taking my vitamins and supplements, which I hadn't been doing and I will say, I do feel better with some iron and vitamin B in my system.
Since then, things have been improving. Baby Bean was just shy of his birthweight at our last appointment and had put on 10 oz that week and is latching well. Sadly, the signs of his being a sleeper were misleading and I am starting to have worries that we are going to go the route we did with his sister. He dozes a lot in the day without being willing to sleep deeply unless we are in the car and he nurses A LOT. Once 7 p.m. arrives, all he wants to do is nurse and we get quite a bit of crying. Some evenings, I can get him down by about 9:30 although last night, he cried off and on from 8 until 11:30 and the only thing that would console him was nursing. He is having longer waking periods after the feeds, too (he used to go right back to sleep) and I am starting to get pretty desperate about my chances to sleep at all. At least I feel like I can cope and he seems to be doing all the growing and bathrooming things he needs to do.
You may not hear much from me - it's hard to type with one hand and/or while breastfeeding and at times, I am feeling pretty sorry for myself. It is getting better, though, and, as I said in my previous post, I am going to try to "bloom where I am planted". This is a hard time but I will feel even more miserable when the time comes to go back to work and leave him behind. I can't have this time back and the one real gift from God is the intense love I manage to feel for Baby Bean, even as I am sleepless and frustrated and overwhelmed. And hey, we should get our first smiles from him fairly soon...
Friday, July 9, 2010
I have a really bad habit of setting myself up for disappointment. I am sure that I am not the only mother who does this and I really need to work on it. I decide that there is something that will be wonderful and I build it up in my mind beyond reason and then when it flops, I am so disappointed. I really set myself up for failure.
This week was a prime example. Most people would probably say that taking your almost-three year old down into the city along with your husband and your almost three-week-old baby on the hottest day of the year to see something that you KNOW will be crowded and probably too busy to enjoy isn't the best idea. Not me, though - Pk's favourite t.v. shows were being featured at an open house at CBC in the city and I thought that it would be a wonderful thing for her to do. Like most second time around mothers, I think, I have been battling a lot of guilt at not being able to do the things that I feel like I should do with my eldest and I really wanted to give her a special outing. We talked about it for days in advance and she was really excited about being able to go to "Mamma Yamma's house". Afterwards, we planned to swing by my parents' house so that mom and my brother could meet Baby Bean (that's become his nickname, I am not sure why). I even drove right into downtown, something that I loathe doing.
Of course, the day did not live up to its expectations. The crowds were HUGE, it was horribly hot and honestly, there wasn't much to see. We got in, ditched the stroller, got Baby Bean into his Sleepywrap (that's another post, it is wonderful!) and started to tour. There were several people dressed in large costumes of the most popular characters and when we took Pk up to one to have her photo taken, she attached herself like a barnacle to my leg and would have nothing to do with him. To see the performances they were doing, she had to be up on Dh's shoulders since the crowd was so large and she really wasn't very interested. By the time we left, after only about 45 minutes, she was being a royal pill, not wanting to hold our hands, trying to run around in the crowd and generally being belligerent, the way that she goes when she is feeling "off". To cap it all off, after we got home, after dinner, I asked her whether she wanted to watch her show (we PVR it for her daily) and she had a complete and utter meltdown. It eventually become obvious that not only did she not want to have her photo taken with the character but he had scared her so much that she was afraid to watch the show. Strike one, mummy!
This pattern of blowing things up in my mind and then being disappointed is a bit of a pattern for me. I can think of so many examples, holidays being the quickest to come to mind. There was the year that I went crazy at Easter and did a "Martha Stewart". I decorated everything, had personalized gifts for everyone with hand-stamped cards - if I do say so myself, everything was lovely. I was so excited. That is, until the family actually arrived - dh's sister couldn't eat anything because our butter was unsalted, my b.i.l. wouldn't eat because we had mint sauce instead of mint jelly and m.i.l. kept saying that she was nervous to eat off the china dishes (we had set the table with my grandmother's china). I can think of example after example and I come away feeling so let down -outings, special meals that don't turn out as planned, knitting projects that don't fit the way I want...
This all is on my mind right now because I just started the Kelly Minter Ruth Bible study I am doing with the Bible study girls and through the LPM Blog (although I am way behind for obvious reasons). I think it was the third day, the emphasis was on trying to be happy where God has put us as opposed to always trying to find happiness somewhere else. For obvious reasons, that really hit home for me. I do try and make these "big" events extra special, I try and do things that are totally exceptional for Pk (and, honestly, for myself) instead of looking for the little joys in the every day. I thought that the expression "To bloom where you are planted" was Biblical but when I tried to look it up, I couldn't find it so I gather that it must just be a saying. It resonates with me. Instead of trying to look for joy in the exceptional, I should just try and find the joys in the very ordinary, in the ground in which I am supposed to be growing. I want to teach Pk to learn contentment and how can I teach what I don't know myself?
Monday, July 5, 2010
Not being one to shy away from controversy here, I have wanted to write a post about circumcision over the last couple of weeks, I just haven't had the time. When I saw this article in the Toronto Star today, it gave me the motivation to wade in. This is one of those issues that parents, especially mothers, oddly enough, seem to have such intense feelings about. I spend time on Mothering.com and some attachment parenting groups and there, you wouldn't raise the topic unless you were prepared to be viciously attacked. Here, I feel a bit safer.
Five days after Ij was born, he was circumcized. For us, it was a no-brainer. While we don't judge other people's decisions, for us, we felt that it was something that NEEDED to be done. Dh was not done as an infant because he was so premature and then, at age 9, he developed problems that ultimately led to it being done. Just try and picture the shame, the pain and the fear faced by a boy going through that procedure. From the little that he has said about it, the experience was nothing short of a major trauma. We were not prepared to take that risk with our son (and we did later discover from the pediatrician that did Ij that the problem Dh had is probably genetic and Ij would have faced an increased risk). We did not have it done at the hospital where he was born - after some research, we found a pediatrician whose methods seemed the most humane and we were very happy with our choice. Ij slept through the entire procedure and there was very little issue after the fact. He did not need stitches, he did not seem upset and the doctor used freezing. It was entirely worth the $200 and the drive to the pediatrician's office.
What really angers me in the discussion of male circumcision is the "head in the sand" position of some who are against it. I had a woman on one of the groups I am on tell me that while Dh was done as a child, that "it is almost always unnecessary, even when done later", it's "just an easy way for doctors to deal with things." Easy? Really? Would you, as a parent, find anything easy in your son having to have part of his penis removed, with fourteen stitches and a three week recovery period involving attempting to keep bandages from becoming stuck to his wound and potentially needing to be peeled off? Would you, as a doctor, suggest that as the "easy route"? Would you, as a parent, lightly undertake that with your child???
My doctor and I had a good discussion about this last week. Her take on the situation was that while many boys can be uncircumcised without a problem, we can't guess which boys will have a problem and need to be done later and a number of them WILL have problems. Dh and I were pretty quiet about the fact that we were having Ij done, just because we knew that many people were so intensely against the procedure. Even so, we have heard about four other boys who had to be done later, and we have heard about that just in the last week or so. If even in our small group of people we have seen and talked to, we have heard about multiple cases, can it really be that rare?
I realise that those who are vigorously opposed to the practice will continue to maintain that it is child abuse, that it is the same as female genital mutilation and that it is entirely and completely unnecessary. Nothing that I say will changed their minds and I will be vilified for having "mutilated" my son. I don't care. My son will not have to go through the trauma of chronic infections, he will not have to have the procedure done later and heck, if he decides that he wants to convert to Judaism or Islam later in life, we have spared him the trouble of a later-in-life procedure. And, if you follow the studies in the article above, we may have reduced his risk of HIV infection by up to 60%. I am not sorry for that.
I will not judge other parents choices in terms of what they decide. I respect their rights when it comes to making decisions for their own children. It's too bad that other parents aren't as willing to show that respect to others (a bit like with breastfeeding - it's an issue that brings out the worst judgementalism in people... but that's another post). I would like to see those with strong feelings on the issue admit the complexity of the situation and not over-simplify. There ARE reasons to support the practice and the fewer boys are done, the more we will get a clearer picture of the potential risks of not doing it. It's not pretty and I will admit that driving to the doctor's office, I started to have second thoughts but in the long run, I believe it was the right thing to do. I just wish we could discuss the situation in a clear-headed, respectful way.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I have very little time to post right now - Ij has discovered the joys of nursing after a slow and frustrating start (a post of its own, if I ever get time!) and it's hard to type with a baby at your breast. In the meantime, I am hoping to get more active in posting to my private blog - I am taking so many pics these days. If you stop in here and would like to join me at the other blog, leave a comment and I will send you an invite.