Last week, a little baby boy named Joshua Haskins died shortly after he was circumcised. I first heard about it...
Last week, a little baby boy named Joshua Haskins died shortly after he was circumcised. I first heard about it through Twitter because there was an outpouring of support for his parents -- not just because they lost their precious child, but because they felt as though they were under attack. I didn't read everything about the situation, but I did click around so that I could understand what happened. From what I gleaned from the family's blog, their baby was born with a congenital condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and that he ultimately passed away at seven weeks old as a result of cardiac failure. His mom keeps a blog and had posted not long before his passing that they nearly lost him following a circumcision procedure. That post has since been taken down, but in it, she noted how awful she felt that she and her spouse's decision to circumcise their son nearly killed him. At that time, she believed that Joshua nearly died because of the circumcision. Tragically, they did lose him not long after the procedure. As I noted above, Jill Haskins shared that Baby Joshua succumbed to cardiac arrest. She also said the doctors assured her that the circumcision had nothing to do with his passing. A lot of people who have had something to say on the 'net believe it was directly related. Somewhere along the way, an anti-circumcision group, "W.I.N. - Whole Indiana Newborns," took note of the situation. A link was posted on W.I.N's Facebook page to a blog post from an anti-circ mom who wrote about Baby Joshua's death being an unnecessary result of the circumcision. After Baby Joshua passed, W.I.N. organized what they called a "peaceful information gathering" that was to take place outside of the hospital where Baby Joshua was a patient. Ultimately, after coming under intense criticism, W.I.N. canceled the event, stating,
Whole Indiana Newborns has NEVER planned to protest any person, or funeral, or personal home at any time. At this point, the peaceful informative gathering that was planned outside of Peyton Manning Children's Hospital has been canceled out of respect for the wishes of the family of Joshua Haskins.
I have to admit I was glad to see that the event was canceled, and I think it was both the compassionate and the right thing to do. Even if it wasn't aimed directly at the Haskins family and even if it served a purpose -- which it very well may have -- I couldn't stop thinking about how much additional pain something like that could cause a grieving mom and dad. There are several issues to consider. One is that when you choose to blog, you open yourself up for criticism and commentary. It is the nature of the beast. The way to avoid that, of course, is not to blog. However, as someone who blogs myself and who was able to emotionally and mentally come through the first several months of parenting each of my children relatively unscathed because of blogging, I can't imagine not doing it. And I'm aware that many, many things I have written could be taken the wrong way, out of context or used to criticize me. Many people who blog - and blog openly - do so from the heart. It doesn't mean that everything we say is 100% accurate - feelings are rarely 100% accurate at the time we experience them. It doesn't mean that everything we say is a fact, but rather our understanding of it, at the time we write it. Blogging can be a written version of our stream of thoughts and emotions, all of which change regularly. Beyond all of the debate surrounding whether blogging opens a person up to criticism -- because, obviously, it does -- here is my point: this family lost their baby. They have experienced a loss that, as a mom, I simply cannot and NEVER want to fathom. Maybe I'm sensitive because a friend just lost her young infant and the pain and loss she and her spouse are experiencing shakes me to my core. Maybe I'm sensitive because now that I am a mom, I don't believe there is anything worse than losing one's child. Maybe I have a sadly naive view of the world and think that there are some situations -- even if only a few -- where we should shut our mouths, at least publicly. If we need to talk about something because it upsets us that much, we should call our best friend or tell our spouse. And hey, maybe it needs to be talked about publicly. But maybe not directly to the person, maybe not immediately after the occurrence. Maybe not in a hurtful way. But because of the way I feel, I could only focus on Jill Haskins pain. Even if I felt very strongly that circumcision was wrong (for the record, while I'm not quite as adamantly opposed to it as others clearly are, we chose not to circumcise, mainly because of our son's emotional and physical condition when he became part of our family at ten months old) and EVEN if I believed that it was Jill's fault that she lost her child (something I do not believe), I would never email her or comment on her blog to tell her that. Because, in the end, this mom lost her baby. I feel like sometimes we take our positions too far. Not being intimately aware of W.I.N.'s position, I don't know how extensively they were involved - or whether they were involved at all - in what Jill called bullying. This isn't about them; it's about what occurred. Obviously, some people were involved. And that is what saddens me. Because, again, EVEN if someone feels that circumcision is wrong and EVEN if someone feels that it was the reason Baby Joshua didn't survive, at what point do we draw the line between having an opinion or an agenda and hurtfully thrusting that opinion onto a grieving mother? It seems to me that moms - new moms, expecting moms, seasoned moms - often have very strong parenting opinions. I know I sure do about some things. But should there be a self-imposed limit to expressing them? I think there should.

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