Bris Guilt: Claiming the Mother's Role

Avatar for Cmmelissa
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Registered: 11-13-2008
Bris Guilt: Claiming the Mother's Role
2
Fri, 12-16-2011 - 1:51pm

I thought this was a very interesting article from the perspective of the mother at her son's bris ceremony: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/12/bris-guilt-claiming-the-mothers-role-in-a-ritual-circumcision/248680/1/

The bris serves as a shrill reminder that the mother's control over her son's well being is incomplete. This ritual acts as the first separation following the birth. It represents the harsh, but true, reality that the baby is now subject to external, unpredictable, and varied forces. "Quite convincingly, circumcision gives the lie to the womb-dream of life.... The heavy hand of human values falls upon you right at the start, marking your genitals as its own," Philip Roth writes in his novel, The Counterlife. Or as Rabbi Elyse Goldstein reflects: "Tender male children are taken from the safety of their mothers, the female world they have known for eight days, and given into the hands of men, who then cut them."

Avatar for geedee99
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Registered: 07-07-2003
Wed, 12-21-2011 - 11:46am

Good article melissa, here's my take on it.

There is no doubt that the mother is naturally programmed, at and following birth, with hormones which arouse her to guard her baby from any harm. Like everything else, it is a variable, some mothers feel it more intensely than others, but it is there for all but a tiny non maternal minority. I think it is a force which drives a lot of moms away from circumcision and into the intactivist camp.

I said 'naturally programmed' but of course we do not live naturally. Circumcision is not natural but has evolved since the dawn of time as a valuable practice in cultures and faiths as well to be medically recognised today in advanced societies like the US.

Avatar for Cmmelissa
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Registered: 11-13-2008
Wed, 12-21-2011 - 3:11pm
I have to say, that as a mom I've never been too emotional when it comes to my kids and pain. Some might see it harsh, and it's not like I want to see my kids get hurt but life does come with pain. I really could relate to the mom's position that you can't always keep your kids protected and the world can be harsh. My dh is a big proponent of "no pain, no gain", and while I did want to slap him during labor to hear that (not really a good time to use that phrase!), it is also a valuable lesson in life.