Andy and Amanda

The Non-Wrangellite Morses

Busy Bees 4 July, 2012

The last few months have been crazy for us-like really crazy, mind-blowing crazy, but also so rewarding and so worth the time and effort that they have required from us. Ró is growing into such a big boy (he’s 10 MONTHS OLD) and Andy and I have also made some pretty serious life decisions. I started a course to be a doula and lactation consultant, with the ultimate goal to be a midwife. I left UW on a whimpering note and have languished at my fun (but not fulfilling) job not quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. I knew that I wanted to work and have that independence, but I wasn’t sure what was calling me in life. I considered birthwork while I was pregnant, but after Ró’s birth I knew it was the path for me. It’s very early days yet, but in approximately 5 years I’ll be a licensed midwife, delivering babies and preaching the Homebirth Gospel. I’ve never been so excited about anything that wasn’t my kid.

I’ve also been involved with some activism groups, including Doctors Opposing Circumcision and The Whole Network. I’m working on a post about our presence in last Sunday’s PRIDE parade, but it isn’t quite done yet. Stay tuned! I’m lazy about patriotism, so I plan on spending more time catch-up blogging than eating meat-on-a-stick today.

As though my love and passion for helping mothers and babies wasn’t enough of a reason to want to pursue birthwork, my Granny recently told me that my Great-Grandmother, her mother, was a lay midwife in her community in Belfast. The women in the area would have her come round when they went into labour to assist them. How awesome is that? I’m not sure if they give you bonus midwife points for being a Legacy Midwife, but they certainly should. Birth is beautiful, powerful, and the best experience of my life. I can hardly wait to help other mothers feel the same empowering femininity that I did when Rónán arrived into the world. ♥

If you’re interested in birthwork or another flavour of natural medicine, Bastyr is a great place to look!

 

PRIDE

Last Sunday Rónán and I had the privilege of marching in Seattle’s PRIDE parade with our local intactivist groups- Doctors Opposing Circumcision and W.I.S.H. (our local The Whole Network) group. It was a moving, altering experience and I was so bolstered by the response we got from the crowd. We were so lucky to have the incredibly talented James Loewen come to film us from Vancouver. His pictures and video are just incredible. I am so blessed to have been able to work with these people to spread the message that children deserve the same rights to genital integrity and bodily autonomy that I enjoy as an adult.

 

 

 

When I was pregnant I knew that we wouldn’t circumcise, but it wasn’t until I researched what actually HAPPENS during circumcision and the aftereffects of the procedure, examining the violation of the child’s rights, that I knew that I needed to try to make a difference.  No medical organisation, anywhere, recommends infant circumcision. No anesthetic is used, no follow-up pain medication is given and the foreskin is fused to the glans (head of the penis) the same way that your nails are fused to your nail bed. The foreskin is forcibly torn from the head of the penis, and then cut off. The child’s genitals have an open wound in his diaper, being rubbed against urine and feces,  for 7-10 days without any pain relief. The child’s right as an autonomous human to decide if he would like a purely cosmetic surgery performed on his genitals, removing 40,000 nerve endings, is completely disregarded. Demanding that our children’s genitals have healthy, normal, functioning tissue removed is a violation of their human rights. Full stop. When this same procedure is performed on girls in North Africa and the Middle East we throw up our hands and say, “My God! We have to protect our daughters!” Why aren’t we saying the same? Why aren’t we concerned about saving our sons? Why are we doing less for our boys? Why are we leaving them with less? When we violate our children like this, we’re taking ownership of their bodies. There’s a difference between consenting for your child to a medically necessary surgery (such as an appendectomy) and disallowing him to consent to a non-necessary, non-recommended procedure that has no benefits and causes him to feel less pleasure during his future sexual relationships. 

 

I don’t own my child. I am his guardian, his caretaker. I do not own him any more than my husband owns me. Only my son owns his body. Only my son has the right to decide how it should be altered without medical necessity. Only my son has the right to make those choices about his genitals. I respect my son enough to let him choose for himself.

None of this means that I think parents who circumcise are bad people or that they’re bad parents. They just made a choice that hurt their child(ren). That doesn’t mean they don’t love their children; it’s just that they made a mistake. We all do our best, but we can only work with the information that we have available to us. My hope is the work that we are doing will spread information about the dangers and risks of routine infant circumcision, preventing more children from suffering this fate.

An album of James’ pictures from last Sunday can be found here

Image Credit to James Loewen

Image Credit to James Loewen

Image Credit to James Loewen

And my absolute favourite

Image Credit to James Loewen

Worth Noting: Last week Germany outlawed circumcision for non-medical reasons, even if the parents wish it for religious reasons, on minors. I could not be more overjoyed at this triumph for the rights of children.

 

 
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