Sunday, October 30, 2005

25 weeks 6 days: It's just a little bit of skin...

I had a major meltdown last night. I am still not sure what the underlying cause was, but it started with me going on line to look for a mohel to perform a bris for our little one. Of course, most mohelim are Orthodox Jews. I knew that. That shouldn't have come as a surprise to me.

What came as a surprise was how white and straight all of the families were. (Again, I am not sure why this was a surprise. I know that most Jewish parents are in fact white and straight). I think it was two things: first, all of the talk about pain relief and soothing the baby, and second, the fact that all of the sites stressed how this is a mitzvah that is ordered of fathers to perform on their sons. Our little one doesn't have a father. And, I don't see how the Orthodox ceremony can be modified to include mothers instead of fathers. And, none of the websites seemed interested in making room for the Black, non-Jewish, non-biological mother. To top it all off, the thought of contacting these Orthodox Jewish men and asking them to come hundreds of miles to circumcize the black son of lesbians was more than I can face asking them to do.

My father would gladly step in and play the role of the father, but the bris is supposed to happen on the 8th day of life. I can't guarantee that he can travel 800 miles to be there on the 8th day, though he will be here within the first 20 or so. I cried for like an hour, and still well up thinking about it. We wouldn't be circumcizing if it weren't for the Jewish obligation to do so.

Dyke Two was really confused, but so supportive. Finally, we decided that I will call the rabbi at the reform synagogue this week, and ask what he would suggest. Unless he has a great suggestion that really resonates with us, we are thinking that we will have our OB do a hospital circumcision, with at least Dyke Two there to watch and comfort (I am not sure I can physically watch it). After the hospital circumcision, we will have a baby naming ceremony with a rabbi, and schedule it for when my parents are down here anyway. If the rabbi needs to prick him to draw blood, I think I can watch that happen. That way, we can invite friends and family to come, without a room full of non-Jews wondering what the hell is going on as they all watch a baby boy get his penis cut.

We trust our OB to do the circumcision. He does a lot of them, and is such a gentle, kind man. He has done them for friends of ours who were also under Muslim religious obligation to do it and they felt it was a great experience with little stress/trauma on their son.

I think I just became overwhelmed with the thought of so many people judging our decisions, and so many decisions that have to be made on faith/instinct, with no way of predicting 10 or 20 years in the future. i don't know that Judaism will give us the home we want for our family. I don't know that he won't grow up to become an Orthodox Jew, though he is out of luck if he does, since Orthodoxy doesn't consider me Jewish since my mom did not do an Orthodox conversion. i don't know that he won't grow up to be a right wing evangelical Christian who will feel that his mothers are going to burn in Hell. I don't know that he isn't going to resent us for giving him such a load to carry as he walks through life as a bi-racial, Jewish, son of lesbians. i don't know that he is going to finish high school and go to college. I don't know that he will ever learn to read, or even to walk and talk. I don't know that he will be born developmentally normal, or that he won't die of SIDS. All I can do is trust our hearts, the universe and whatever higher power there is up there to lead us in the right direction.

And to think that this all started over a tiny piece of skin and a decision about whether to remove it or keep it intact.


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