Sunday, July 3, 2011

Welcome to Emerald Cove! ......and some thoughts on circumcision



 My son just sent this photo from Thailand.  It's not exactly
emerald...more of a turquoise cove.
This blog is a place to bring up and discuss topics that fall under the big umbrella of health and wellness.

I say big umbrella because I view everything as connected- our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives are all a part of our wellbeing. And so you can expect to find conversations about a wide range of wellness related subjects.

While I do have training and experience working in several areas of health and wellness, my approach to this blog is more that of a lay person- a lay person whose passion compels me to continue to ask questions, dig a little deeper and challenge the status quo.                                                                                    
Some of the topics you can expect to find here over time include cleansing herbs and diets, Chinese tonic herbs, exercise, reviews of books and products, spiritual guides, energy healing, sleep, alternative cancer therapies, longevity, the role of our subconscious in our health, health freedom.  This is an example list of some of the things that I have been studying, in some cases for years, and which are part of my own personal life of health and wellness.                                                                                                                                                                Your comments are valuable.  Our ability to meet at the watering well‚ in such numbers, and talk to each other about what is going on in our personal health journeys and to share resources is an amazing part of the time we live in.  Thank you in advance for your contribution.
                                                                                                                                                              Years ago I trained and worked as a midwife.   I got to know many newborns, and I experienced from them how deeply and intensely sensitive we are as humans at this stage of life.  Every touch, every sound seemed to affect the new child in a way that caused me to respect their need for gentle and thoughtful care.  During the same time, I came to know several adults who remembered pieces of their own births, and from this came the understanding that we are also conscious of the thoughts,feelings and actions of our fellow humans who are around us near the time of our birth.  
                                                                                                                                                       

Circumcision
                                                                                                                                                           And so the thought of strapping a newborn down and cutting off a part of his body was inconceivable to me.  Arguments for or against could be made, but my belief in the acuteness of his feeling nature and his right to remain unviolated would always override any argument that could be made in favor of this operation.  I heard many of those arguments on both sides anyway, and recently have looked again at this most common of American surgeries. One new "piece" I learned about recently is that foreskins are sold. Checking into this I found that a company that buys foreskins is located about 5 miles from my house.  Could this financial incentive combined with the fee charged for this quick operation, and the willingness of insurance providers to cover this operation have anything to do with perpetuating this practice?  Hmmm.  How do we feel about this?

When other mothers have explained to me their reasons for allowing their sons to be circumcised, I was always left with the feeling that their reasons were vague and not well thought out, though imbued with strong feeling.   Ultimately, I have come to believe that social convention is the real reason for parents to choose circumcision in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, which is to me another way of saying that we just haven't bothered to think much about the choice we are making.
                                                                                                                                                               Now, I do think there is a place for social convention, but I value informed consent more highly.    Social convention is a good enough reason to consider something like circumcision, but not a good enough reason to choose it without thinking further about both the immediate and long term effects.  The list of these possible effects include all the potential consequences of any surgery- pain, shock, emotional trauma psychological impacts of male circumcision, risk of infection and excessive bleeding, maiming and death.  Remember the definition of minor surgery?  It is surgery that happens to someone else.  But once the infant makes it through this gauntlet, I think we have been led to believe that there are no further issues to consider.   There is however a great deal of evidence that removing the foreskin has long lasting implications for the future sexual experience of the male and also future female partners sex as nature intended it (warning: the previous link leads to some literal information and images).  And if this is true, then what additional implications does this have for the intimate relationships between men and women?

To read more, these two books are insightful, thorough and thoughtful.

Even just reading the books' descriptions and the readers' reviews will reveal a lot.

And finally, thank you to my friend Cassandra for pushing me to look at this issue again.

-Stella

1 comment:

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