Dear Soon to be New Mom

Dear mom to be,

I’m older than you; probably a lot older. I even have children who are older than you. You know many people like me and you take our words with caution – because we can’t possible know or understand your reality. You might be bombarded with well meaning advice.

I pray you will take a few minutes and try to understand my heart. I truly want only the best for you. I am older, but I have learned a lot in my many years and would love to share what I have learned with you – both from my mistakes and from my learning.

I’ve always tended toward being a trusting person. I have been duped many times because I put trust in the wrong place. My life was forever changed when I made the choice to anchor my trust in Jesus Christ alone. My wholehearted desire to seek a growing relationship with Jesus, my Savior, has led me to investigate all the decisions I make differently, especially for my babies.

When I was a very young expectant mother, God brought several wise women across my path who provided input and wisdom beyond my years. They urged me to investigate:

  • Childbirth options and drug free childbirth;
  • Drugs given to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding and what impact they might have on the developing/new baby;
  • Procedures common for childbirth and newborns like episiotomies and circumcision and whether they were the best thing for long term health;
  • Routine standard of care procedures for newborns and babies like vaccines, vitamin K injections, and prophylactic eye ointment, and if they were safe and beneficial for newborns.
  • Breastfeeding and how to be successful – learning through the vast experience of other mothers.

I totally believe in your ability to be an amazing mother. However, there are forces at work in our society which are going to make it a lot harder for you to achieve your own expectations. There has never been a more difficult, more confusing time to be a mother.

When I was younger I couldn’t imagine a world where harm would be done to babies just for the sake of making a profit. Unfortunately, as I have learned more about the world, I’ve seen it happening in far too many arenas; confirmed by far too many moms. I don’t enjoy being skeptical and suspicious, but as a mother who desires only the best for her babies, it pays to be vigilant about everything.

Most parents are quite concerned about car seats, mattresses, diapers, and other basic baby items. I encourage you to be even more vigilant about the health choices you make for your baby. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t wait until you are in the hospital or doctor’s office to investigate the many routine procedures they now perform on newborns or recommend during pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to hold a different opinion than the doctors or nurses. They probably have blindly accepted the information put out by the CDC. Their position and the pressure of insurance companies requires them to adhere to “routine standard of care” procedures, but that does not mean these practices are best for you and your baby. There are many highly intelligent members of the medical community who actively question and disagree with a lot of standard of care practices.

Making choices that go against mainstream recommendations can be a scary road to travel. I believe God gives mothers basic intuition on how to protect their baby and my desire is to nurture your intuition so that you can be a powerful advocate and warrior momma, doing everything you need to do to protect your baby from anything that could cause harm.

That is why I write. I am passionate about healthy empowered moms with healthy babies. I don’t make money! I have been researching many of these topics since I was newly pregnant 35 years ago. I have linked many of my previous blogs about these topics throughout this text. I encourage you to take a serious look at this information. I’d love to discuss any aspect of mothering with you. I realize you may make choices different from mine, and I respect your right to those choices. However, I urge you to make fully informed choices. Investigate, ask questions, dig deeper. Your baby will thank you.

All my love,

Becky

Author: Becky Hastings, wife to John for 36 years, mother of five naturally born breastfed babies, grandmother of six, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a volunteer breastfeeding counselor since 1993, Becky is devoted to helping parents, especially mothers, make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies.

Reasons for Circumcision

Botched circumcisions are a reality. Circumcision, which should more appropriately be referred to as ‘complete foreskin amputation’, as performed in the US on infants, often goes wrong. You might not have heard about it. Parents don’t talk about it. Boys and men experience so much trauma and pain that they rarely discuss it. Yet it is a reality that has negatively impacted the lives of thousands. Circumcision is a risk. It is a risk to lifelong sexual satisfaction; a risk of functional use of a healthy specifically designed part of the body. And there is a risk of death – far more often than parents are told about.

“The hundreds of boys I have seen who needed surgery to repair problems caused by their circumcisions are real. The men who lost more parts of their penis than the foreskin are real. The thousands of adult men saying they wish they hadn’t been cut are real. Not recognizing that circumcision is harmful is either ignorance or denial.” Adrienne Carmack, M.C., urologist https://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/for-professionals/complications/#anchor-02

Please inform yourself of exactly what the procedure entails BEFORE you are in the hospital faced with the question of whether to keep your son intact or not. This is elective surgery. It is a choice for parents to make, yet often parents are not fully informed.

I urge you to dedicate at least 2 – 4 hours researching circumcision before you make an irreversible decision for your son’s genitalia. If you still decide to do the surgery, at least you will make an informed decision that you won’t later go back to and say, “I wish I knew better before I had made this permanent decision for my son about his genitals.”

The most important thing for you to do right now is to decide why you might want to have this surgery done to your newborn son.

The most common reason given for circumcision is because they want their son to look like everyone else, so they won’t be teased or embarrassed. The truth is ALL penises look different – whether intact or cut. Over 80% of adult men in the world have intact genitalia. Many experts in the US now admit that there is no need for circumcision and recognize it as purely cosmetic surgery. Because of that, insurance doesn’t always pay for it, and many parents are now skipping the procedure. As a result, fewer and fewer infants in the US are having this cosmetic surgery so the locker room issue will not arise. In 2010, the CDC reported that 41.70% of baby boys left US hospitals intact! Would you endorse cosmetic surgery on your young daughters genitals or breasts to conform to other girls? Could we give our sons the same consideration?

Some moms want to circumcise their newborns because they don’t like the way an uncircumcised man looks. Maybe their son’s future wife won’t have that same opinion. Intact men are satisfied with their genitals. When asked, most intact men say they would rather face teasing than have their forsaken amputated. Adult men will have the opportunity of having a circumcision – with true informed consent – if they desire.

Other people opt to circumcise because of the religious connection. In the book of Genesis, Abraham was told to circumcise all the males in his household. When Jesus was eight days old, his parents took him to be circumcised. This procedure, given to the Jewish nation before running water, was symbolic in nature and had no value except to mark someone as a Hebrew person that placed their faith in God. Biblical circumcision was a cut. A small blood sacrifice; a mark on the skin. It was not a complete amputation of the foreskin. Only a very small bit of the excess foreskin was removed. It never involved forcibly tearing the protective skin away from the glans (head) of the penis, which is adhered at birth like a fingernail is to a finger. Additionally, there are many New Testament examples that clearly show us the need for a blood sacrifice has been finally fulfilled in Jesus’ death and circumcision is no longer necessary. See Galatians 5 & 6 or look up circumcision in a concordance.

Here are a few links that I urge you to look at BEFORE making any kind of irreversible decision for your precious son.

There is a lot of discussion on whether a baby can feel the pain of this traumatic surgical procedure, or if that pain makes a difference in his life. Anesthesia … http://www.drmomma.org/2008/11/the-effectiveness-of-anesthesia-for.html?m=1

Why did circumcision became so mainstream in the US? These excerpts from medical journals from the late 1800’s and the 1900’s provide the answers. http://www.drmomma.org/2007/05/circumcision-brief-history-in.html?m=1

This EXCELLENT video, Child Circumcision: An Elephant in the Hospital, looks at the topic through both a review of scientific literature and a discussion of the human cost of the procedure, this presentation explores these questions from the perspectives of the child, the adult survivor, the parent, and the practitioner. Ryan McAllister, PhD, is a parent, a biophysicist, an Assistant Professor of Physics and Oncology at Georgetown University, and also a volunteer who supports parents and families. Over the last 10 years he has been studying the medicalization of childbirth in U.S. hospitals.

The actual procedure: An infant’s penis is very small making such surgery difficult and delicate. There is a very small surgical field and no way to know how the penis would normally grow, which can and does result in devastating outcomes. In fact, some men have painful, tight erections because too much foreskin is removed in infancy. Any parent considering allowing such a surgical procedure on their son should at the very least, watch a video that shows what happens during the procedure. This video is a US style circumcision using a plastibell device.

From a nurse…

…the first circumcision I saw was in nursing school. I asked the doc if he would use something for pain. He said, “No, topical meds won’t be enough before hand and if I give him injections I’ll have to give 9-12 injections, which will make the pain worse at first. No, it’s better to just do it quickly. Get it finished. Apply topical pain relief and give him to his mom to nurse or feed.”

The nurse took the baby back to mom after he had stopped crying. She told mom, “He did great…” and mom smiled. She never knew what the experience was like for her son. It was heartbreaking. I asked the nurse how she felt about it and told her I felt sick. I was shaking. She said, “Yeah it’s one of the worse parts of the job…” and that was it. She walked off. Later she told me she wished it didn’t happen and her own son was intact. I said, “Well, yeah, because you’ve seen it happen – how awful it is. These parents, here, never see behind the scenes.”
Alicia J.

I hope these resources help you get started in learning about the details of making this important decision for your precious son. This is my second blog on this topic, you can read my first blog here.

Edit: I just found 2 more thorough sources of information published by GreenMedInfo on this topic:

Ji, Sayer. “Infants Deeply Traumatized By Common Medical Procedures, New Study Suggests.” GreenMedInfo – The World’s Natural Health Resource, 30 July 2016, www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/infants-deeply-traumatized-medical-procedures-new-study-suggests-1.

Quine, Spoony. “The Foreskin: Why Is It Such A Secret In North America?GreenMedInfo – The World’s Natural Health Resource, 2 July 2015, www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/foreskin-why-it-such-secret-north-america.

Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies.

10 Not so frequently shared facts regarding Circumcision

Circumcision is a very hot topic. So hot, in fact, that many parent health forums on Facebook completely ban it from discussion and all posts using the word are deleted. Discussing the genitals of males seems to elicit strong emotion from all angles. For this reason, I believe a lot of people have never really taken a serious look at the discussion; never investigated the true facts for themselves. My toddler grandson was able to get away from his mother during a diaper change at a church social gathering and enjoyed the freedom of walking around naked. There were several young fathers who noticed him and remarked amongst themselves, “He must be European.” Between them they had seven sons. They totally accepted that the American way is to cut off the foreskin.

1. Circumcision practiced today is NOT the same as Biblical circumcision. Firstly I want to address the actual word. The word circumcision is a familiar term to Christians and people familiar with the Torah or religious practices of Abraham’s descendants. The use of the word in our modern context is not at all the same. The procedure performed on infants today, predominantly in the US, should more appropriately be known as foreskin or prepuce amputation. Many people refer to it as genital mutilation.

Language is critically important in this discussion. The practice introduced to Abraham was not the same practice performed in US hospitals today. During Abraham’s time no one could imagine the complete amputation of an infant’s foreskin. This is part of the reason that ancient artistic depictions of the infant Jesus show him to be intact. (http://www.drmomma.org/2009/11/jack-black-on-circumcision.html) Of course the fact of Jesus’ circumcision according to the Jewish law was never questioned, but the procedure was one of a slight cutting of the foreskin which left the appearance of an intact organ. Biblical circumcision was a cutting of the foreskin, not a cutting off of the entire prepuce.

2. Rate of death from the modern practice of foreskin amputation is approximately one infant every two days in the US. According to those who have researched documented cases of death where the stated cause is circumcision, every second day a baby boy dies as a result of circumcision complications. The actual number may be far higher, as circumcision is not always listed as the cause of death. Deaths may be attributed to a secondary cause such as infection or bleeding, which would never have occurred without the surgical procedure of cutting off the foreskin. Parents are rarely warned that there is a real risk of death from the trauma, or from the bleeding.

MORBIDITY: Deaths from circumcision and its complications are estimated at 229 per year based on a ratio from a British study. There are about 178 times the number of circumcision deaths than schoolyard violent deaths each year.   http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/bollinger2004/

3. The US is the only country with high rates of routine infant foreskin removal. Prevalence of circumcision in other countries according to the WHO is ±30% of the total male population. Parents in the US are completely oblivious to the rate of circumcision throughout the world.

“The strange truth is that the U.S. is the sole country in the world where a large majority of its male population is routinely circumcised at birth for non-religious reason.”

“The neonatal circumcision rate peaked in the U.S. in the late 1960s, at around 80-90%. Since then, the procedure has been slowly declining—in part due to the skepticism of parents who no longer place blind faith in the medical establishment and in part due to the profession’s own writings.”

https://matthewtontonoz.com/2015/01/05/why-is-circumcision-so-popular-in-america/

Good news: “The intact rate among newborn males in the U.S. has increased from 15 percent in 1965 to 44.5 percent in 2006. This is an increase of 294 percent.”  http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA//

4. The positive role of the foreskin. The foreskin is an organ that the majority of men in the US have not experienced. “Removing this healthy, vital, fully functioning organ from a non-consenting person will forever change the sexuality of this future adult man and his partner.” The intact foreskin provides external protection, self-cleansing, internal self-protection, immunological protection, antibacterial function, coverage during erection, erogenous sensitivity, sexual functions, and self lubrication. Foreskin removal deprives a man of these benefits. http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html

5. There are no health benefits from routine infant foreskin removal. Circumcision has no justifiable benefits and is in fact harmful – from pain and suffering, to surgical botches, to reduced maternal-child bonding, and confounding of breastfeeding. Medical authorities throughout the world consider circumcision medically unnecessary and unethical. Botched circumcisions can cause trauma for boys and men throughout their lives.  https://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org

6. Blood loss is a serious risk of routine foreskin amputation, especially for infants. Parents are not adequately warned of this danger. Losing a small amount of blood results in a significant loss of a baby’s total blood volume. “An eight pound baby only needs to lose 1 ounce of blood to hemorrhage, and just 2.3 ounces to die as a result of this blood loss. It can, and does, occur at a frightening quick pace.” Smaller babies are even more at risk. http://www.drmomma.org/2010/05/death-from-circumcision.html

7. Baby Foreskin is a highly profitable commodity. Infant foreskins are sold at considerable profits for scientific research, vaccine development, and other consumable uses. Details of the many uses and how to harvest the highly valuable fibroblast cells are discussed here. https://vactruth.com/2017/09/28/foreskin-used-in-vaccines/

8. Baby boys should be like their fathers/brothers/etc? Performing a surgical amputation is not justified because of a surgical amputation performed on the infant’s father, siblings, or other males. Most of us were taught as children, two wrongs don’t make a right.

9. Male infants are not able to give informed consent AND the experience is painful and traumatic. The most popular surgical procedure performed on male babies is profoundly stressful, derives no medical benefit, and can impair breastfeeding and thus long-term health, yet it is completely cosmetic.

10. There is no current Biblical imperative for Christians to circumcise their infant. In fact, the imperative is to love and treat others the way you would want to be treated. Part of the parental role is to investigate every single medical procedure recommended for your baby and ask questions. Any procedure that provides an income stream to hospitals, doctors, and research labs is going to be promoted. Get the facts. I encourage you to read the entire letter Paul wrote to the Galatians, especially chapter 5 and 7. Here are the highlights:

“But if I still proclaim circumcision … then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.” 

“I wish that those who are pushing you to do so would mutilate themselves!”

“And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples.” 

“For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters. Rather, what matters is being a new creation.”

Galatians 5:11, 12, 6:13, 15

“Cutting off a functional, protective, and sensitive body part is a far-reaching decision that the vast majority of Europeans believe should be left to its owner when he becomes old enough to understand the consequences. Despite the recent, backward-looking statements by U.S. medical organizations, more and more Americans are beginning to agree.” Morten Frisch, M.D., Danish epidemiologist

“Genital cutting and the amputation of a healthy, functioning body organ from a non-consenting human being is a severe violation of human rights. If we did such a thing to a dog, we would be charged with animal abuse.” http://www.drmomma.org/2010/07/biblical-circumcision-information.html


Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies.