Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 8 September 2014

Baby N's Bris

Baby N's Bris was on Friday morning. I am generally against circumcision. But A is Jewish and it was his choice to make and so he chose to go ahead with it...

I had met with Rabbi Greg (who is a wonderful kind and caring man, and whose wife is a doula who I have met) and he'd explained the whole process and ceremony to me to put my mind at ease. We also met with the doctor a few days before to get a briefing from him and so he could examine Baby N in advance and make sure all was good.

Apparently the parents don't usually watch - especially not the mothers. But while I was opposed to the idea I was not hostile to it and my attitude was that I did not want to be complicit or facilitate it, but that I would be supportive and comforting as needed.

In the end I was needed to assist to bring baby N downstairs since the official person who was meant to present baby was a bit wobbly on the stairs. So I found myself in the throng of things and positioned myself next to Griff and right at the helm of the action pretty much.

It was not pleasant to watch (but I did) but was actually less traumatic than I expected, and the ceremonial community/cultural part was admittedly quite dignified and special.

I did cry as it was being performed, I just couldn't help the tears rolling down my cheeks. My father came down from Pretoria and was the 'Sandak/Sandek'* or person who holds the baby. He felt very honoured and privileged to have been invited and included. A wanted him there to acknowledge the link with my family, and also because none of his family could be there (they are all in the states and his dad is quite old and sight impaired now). Else it would have been his own father in the role.

A doctor performed the actual procedure - and administered a local anaesthetic first - and we used panando drops and emla cream too.

I let the boys stay to be there and they went to school after 9am. Quinn was around before and then disappeared to his room and then came back after. Poor Griff stood and watched the whole thing. I think he felt emotional more than squeamish and did get a bit pale. He wasn't happy about the blood.

After it was over I got some photos taken with me and the 3 boys. Q was holding N and after a while he got niggly so I said, 'Ok Quinn let me take him I think he wants to feed. ' To which Griffin chirped 'No I think he wants his skin back'. The photographer nearly fell over he was so amused and shocked.

I expected it to be horrendous, but I am glad it wasn't. A seemed more upset and a bit rattled afterwards and I think he felt a bit guilty about it.

At least it is done now.

*Sandek (Hebrew: סנדק, "companion of child") is the term for a person honored at a Jewish brit milah (circumcision) ceremony, traditionally either by holding the baby boy on the knees or thighs while the mohel performs the brit milah or by handing the baby to the mohel.[1] The origin of the term has been attributed to a derivation from the Greek sunteknos (syn meaning plus and tekno meaning chlid), which means "companion of child.[2]

* Sandak - Holds baby during bris. This is the highest honor at Bris, the sandak is equated to a kohen burning incense offering in the Bies HaMikdash. Holds baby during bris.

Some of the photos taken at the Bris (by Sam Squire-Howe of Twinkle Star Photography)

All 3 boys and I.

Quinn with Nathaniel after his bris.

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