Thursday, May 24, 2012

Piercing baby's ears - Is it a mistake?

I had Little Spanish Pinay's ears pierced when she was 6month old.  There was really not much consideration on anything except that in my culture (as well as hubby's culture), this is quite normal for baby girls to have their ears pierced while they are still baby.  Some would even have it right before leaving the hospital.  Most wait until after the vaccine for tetanus has been completed - which is about 6 months.  And that is precisely our case.


I never knew though that there has been such a big controversy about piercing babies' ears (side by side with circumcision).

While I honestly admit that our reasons to "inflict" pain on our baby's ears are but frivolous, we have never ever thought it can be tagged as something inhumane.  We've viewed it much like vaccine shots... although not quite the same.  I felt her pain and I had tears in my eyes when we finished (much like everytime we go to health clinics to give her vaccine shots) but I felt like it was just one of those many things were my child will have to experience pain where mami can't do much and would just have to cry with her. 

When I read this article, I suddenly questioned what we have done.  I read through all the comments and read some more articles about ear piercing and many naturalists and advocates of children's rights are against piercing baby's ears.  One major argument (that really caught my attention) is that our baby's body is not our body.  We shouldn't decide on any body alterations for our baby because it is their right to decide on it when the time is right - that is, when they can already decide for themselves.  The age range varies so much depending on the parents (somehow I sense this as making decisions too for themselves instead of on their own but oh well)

I am an advocate of children's rights.   I believe in respecting a child like how we'd respect an adult.  That's one of the reasons I do not believe in spanking to discipline a child.  But if ear piercing is a disrespect of a child's right, why did my husband and I ever decided to do this on her?  This has really made me second-guess our decision.

Then I started reflecting on how my parents decided about piercing my ears when I was young.  I have no recollection of whatsoever how the piercing went.  Obviously, it was done when  I was still a baby.  Did I ever regret that my parents made this decision for me instead of me deciding on altering my own body?  No.  Would I prefer it to be done when I can already consent it myself? No.  I am a super cowardly person when it comes to needles and all that... so if my parents didn't pierce my ear when I was a baby, I would probably never pierce my own ears after.  I love earrings so if my parents handn't been "inhumane"  to me, I would definitely regret not having my ears pierced and being able to wear earrings.  The clip ons are not just as good as the real earrings, you know.  And so, I do thank my parents for deciding to pierce my ears when I was a baby.

I have one cousin that has never got her ears pierced.  Not because her parents believed that piercing their daughter's ears is disrespecting their daughter's body but because her parents just got too busy with life and has forgotten all about it.  When my cousin was old enough and wanted to have her ears pierced, she couldn't because she was too scared of it.  All her other older sisters have their ears pierced though.

But what if the child happened to not like earrings when they are old enough to know what they want and what they do not want?  One of the comments I read from other articles is that she hated he her mom for piercing her ears when she was a baby.  She never liked earrings and now her ear piercings would never close up even though she hasn't been wearing earrings for 20 years.  I feel sad for the mom.

And what if the reverse happened just like what happened to my cousin?  A daughter would also hate the parents just the same because they didn't decide for herself when she was young, when she'd have no recollection of the pain after?  Either way, looks like we parents have no choice but be hated by our kids.  Sad.

Would our daughter hate us in case she'd never like earrings when she grows up? I hope not.  Would she feel that we disrespected her body?  I certainly hope not.  I honestly believe she wouldn't hate us nor feel that we disrespected her... because she will see beyond the act.  She is being raised in a home with so much love for her and I don't believe that one possibly wrong decision from us would make her feel that we have disregarded her to be the person of her own, nor that we have disrespected her.  She would understand that we have done this with the best intention (frivolous it may seem) and not because we are hungry for power and decision making over our own child.  And most of all because she will be raised in an understanding and forgiving home.

Another strong argument against ear piercing is hygiene and the safety of it.  There is risk of the earlobe getting infected.  There is risk of the baby pulling the earrings (that is why most of the earrings used for babies are the ones that are really tiny and do not have the form of hoops).  But there is always some safety tips on doing these things. Obviously, we shouldn't be doing it on a place that is not accredited by the government health authorities.

In any case, the question now is that do I regret having this done on my daughter?  I really can't tell right now.  I honestly felt a pang of guilt when I read the mentioned article but after doing a lot of reflections,  it's really hard to tell whether I totally regret it or not.  Perhaps if we'd have another daughter, I would consider thinking about its pros and cons more thoroughly before I would decide on it together with my husband.  Somehow, I think that it's better not to be able to read opinions like this because it makes decisions making harder... but hey, getting informed is the best way for us to make a sound decision, too right?

If I realize in the end that I have done my daughter wrong by piercing her ears at a very tender age without her concent, would I beat myself up because of it? No.  I'm sure I'd be making mistakes along the road of parenting whether I like it or not.  And sulking about my mistakes and regarding myself as a bad parent will not make anything better.  I will have to learn to forgive myself and learn from it the best I can.

What about you? What is your stand about ear piercing? 

33 comments:

  1. My daughter's ears are not pierced eventhough it is my culture (and hubby's) to pierce upon birth. This way they don't feel the pain, etc. you pretty much covered all the reasons. But it was personal. Hubby and I just didn't want to do it because it was expected of us. There wasn't a lot of discussions about it. We didn't battle over it. We both agreed to wait for her to make her own choice. The end. Do we think poorly of others fur doing it? Of course not! My parents pierced my ears. I don't remember it. I don't hate them. I think it's a personal choice - for parents and child. It shouldn't be a public debate. (just like what most do to boys. We opted out of that too. It wasn't a difficult choice. We made it and stuck with it). I'm LSP will love you regardless. You are an amazing mom. I can tell you only want the best for her just by reading your blog. I bet you are awesome in person too. :) don't beat yourself up over this topic. People are always debating. It's our nature. In the end you Fo what is best for you and your family.

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  2. My smart phone may have corrected some words for me. Sorry!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Steph for your heartfelt and honest comment! With the things that we parents need to decide or not for our kids sometimes it can get a little overwhelming to make sure that we are doing what's really best for them.

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  3. I don't see any thing wrong with piercing a child's ears at a tender age, maybe because it's accepted and well practiced in our culture. I still remember how I cried when my ears where pierced but I still love my parents for it.

    With LPS' case, I think she will be very grateful. She's growing up in a healthy environment with great loving parents and I think this case wouldn't be an issue with her in the future.

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    1. Thanks, Sey! Luckily, I do believe LSP wouldn't mind at all... If you can just see her admire herself in the mirror and asking me to put on her my own earrings... She is one girly-girl. I guess I just got bothered ny the arguments because they do have very valid grounds

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    2. I guess her expression would sum it up. She just love having earrings and you just did a good job mami.

      p.s. you're tweaking your template. LOL. I was surprised byt he change. I was looking for the old look which is my favorite way back when blogger hasn't introduced the new templates yet.

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    3. Oh no, I am not tweaking my template... as much as I want to, I don't have time to change anything... I wonder what's going on?

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  4. Earlier it's all white like the simple blogger template. New banner, no blogroll, everything was gone. But now it's back, I too, was wondering what's going on.

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  5. We decided to wait until our girls were 12 years old before piercing their ears. It just seemed like they should decide. I think what you did was more of a cultural thing than anything else. I don't think it's abusive, but I do agree that it should be the childs decision. I can also see how groups can go way overboard on simple thing like ear piercing.

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  6. I believe life is like that. What was right before can be wrong today and vice versa.What is right in one country, may not be rightin another country. Circumscision is normal in the Philippines, but in Norway it is a horrible act. It depends kung ano ang culture ng bansang tinitirhan. And no matter what the topic, there will always plus or minus. I believe that as long na you show LSP your love, which you are doing perfectly, there is nothing to worry about. And for the other parents too. Piercing or not. Well, for my daughter her, she has piercing in many places in her body, and that I don't like. But what can I do? For her it is beautiful. For me, I am just thinking of side effects.

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  7. Oh boy I can so relate here. Would you believe that I have no ear piercings (totally virgin ear lol)? I don't wear earrings not because I'm scared of ear piercing but I just simply don't like earrings. And I always got this "What? you don't wear earrings?" reaction:(

    We're 4 girls in the family and my 3 older sisters got their ears pierced when their old enough to decide for themselves. We asked our parents why our ears were not pierced when we're babies and they said that it was not their decision but ours. I hope this won't make you feel bad :(

    But I agree with the other commentators that ear piercing is just a minor issue vs. the love and protection you are giving to your LSP. You're love to her will over rule any issue :)

    Btw, I followed you here in GFC. THANKS for passing by my site :) You left a comment that you "joined" my giveaway - THANKS again. May I know the URL of your blog entry please so I won't miss counting it. THANKS again, see you around!

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    1. I'm back THANKS for living your other entry sis :) but the blog entry is a sponsor's requirement. hope you can post. even a short post will do as long as you mention them. THANKS again sis!

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  8. we followed our mom's footsteps,my ears were pierced during infancy. in this generation when everything we do is open for comments and feedbacks, we learned about different opinions and perspectives. as a mom, you know what's best..no judgement..

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  9. I agree that ear piercing, just like circumcision, is perceived differently depending on the culture. Just want to share one recent report here, one super hot sports celebrity juts got circumcised here in manila and he's roughly mid-20's. as it is , he grew up abroad but recently settled here to make a career. Imagine the shock and reaction of people when they heard about this news? But he had to have himself circumcised when he transferred to manila because that is the norm here. When in Rome, do what the Romans do.

    For our kids, we do what we feel is the best for them.You're a great mom, don't doubt yourself.
    I had Sophie's ears pierced when she was a baby because she was always mistaken as a boy (even with the pink dress:( ) She eventually lost her earrings and the piercing closed. Now that she's 5, I asked her if she wants to have her ear pierced again and she said she's scared. I never forced the issue again.

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  10. I had Kelly's ears pierced when she was a month old. I regret it because she developed a rash (even if we had hypoallergenic earrings attached) so we had to take the earrings off. :( I regret having her ears pierced. Dagdag sakit pa tuloy kay baby.

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  11. I'll be forever thankful to my mom for having my ears pierced before i actually knew it. I hope my Lia will feel the same when she grows up.

    This post is something to think about :)

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  12. Parenting is a difficult job and the decisions you have to make are not always easy, Marilou! However, if you make the best decision at each point based on your beliefs and with good intentions and the well-being of your child is first in your mind, then you have made the right decision.

    I did not have my ears pierced until I was 40! My husband was buying me beautiful earrings and I was always losing one. My 8 year old daughter came with me and wanted to have her ears pierced also...so it was a mother/daughter bonding experience. :) If it is in your culture to pierce a young baby's ears, I don't see anything wrong in it...the second of discomfort that they may feel is certainly made better by momma's kisses. And if your daughter should decide when she grows up that she doesn't want her ears pierced, she can let them close up. Children cannot or should not blame parents for decisions made with love.

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  13. Our side her seldom done at 6mths old but when they were like 3yrs old and above.

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  14. Totoo sa culture natin normal lang yan kaya para sakin e ok lang. Kasi ako first year high school na nagpabutas ng tenga. Naiinis pa ako sa nanay ko nun kasi bat di nung baby pa ako pinabutasan. Kasi nga gaya ng cousin mo takot din ako at ayaw ko maramdaman yung sakit ng ear piercing. Syempre teenager gusto kumarengkeng at mag hikaw ng mga peke kaya tiniis ko sakit. lol!

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  15. Admittedly, I know a lot of people have strong feelings when to pierce a child's ear. "Let them decide" is being replaced by parental decision when mommy intuition knows, "earlier is better" from either personal or friend's experiences of unpleasant childhood ear piercing. I think it just depends on your own personal choice whether or not you wish your baby or little girl to have pierced ears.Certainly, you've not erred in having your dd's ears pierced as an infant. You've made a decision for her that she'll thank you later for doing when you could care for them. You've followed your mommy intuition and can never be faulted for doing that.

    Some feel perceived gender of their child is important while others find it a cultural tradition where all infant girls have pierced ears. I pierced our oldest daughter's ears when she was two months old and our youngest at just days old. We found an experienced individual where they specialized in infant piercing. My advice is to do them one at a time to insure they are perfectly centered. This may take 15 seconds longer, but will make sure they are not crooked later in life. Our oldest daughter just turned two and has never had an infection, pulled them out, and she's never even played with her earrings (which is amazing in my book). My mom pierced my ears when I was 2 weeks old and I've loved it....I think earrings on little girls are adorable! Their is nothing wrong with following tradition and creating a maternal daughter bond.

    Cerebrally, as mothers of girls of all ages, we know it celebrates their femaleness and femininity. After all, they are little girls, right? Growing up I remember many of my little girlfriends were not allowed to get their ears pierced. I could never understand it...but when their parents did finally let them, it always seemed they'd get infected because they were constantly touching them or trying to change out the earrings before they were supposed to. Many said it was painful, but all cried having a great deal of angst leading up to and including the actual ear piercing.

    To each their own but I think the earlier the easier. If we have another girl, I will pierce her ears early as well. I took my youngest DD at days old after I asked our pediatrician and she encouraged me to go ahead before she aware of her surrounding or developed a pincer grip to play with her ears. She gave me some suggestions for moms having their daughter's ears pierced. They seem to apply to all ages.


    Just when is the best time to pierce your daughter's ears? It is when you are ready to care for them during the healing phase. They are very easy to care for. If you decide to do it as a newborn or infant, then I promise she'll thank you later!

    If anyone is unsure and would like our ped's tips, then don't hesitate to write me an e-mail.

    Angie

    angietune@hotmail.com

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  16. Parenting is not always easy when it comes to making choices for our kids. You always imagine that you want to do the best for your kids.
    I like her little earrings, too. They're so cute.

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  17. When you made the decision to have Tala's ears pierced, it was because of a good intention. You shouldnt feel guilty, sis.
    We had Akira's ears pierced at barely 2months. Besides from your reason, we had it done kasi napagkakamalan cyang boy dhil konti lng hair niya. But if ever she decides later on that she doesn't want it anymore, she can, by all means, remove her earrings and let her earlobes close by itself... which reminds me, kelangan ko na pala maglagay ng earrings. hihihi. Mashado kasing sensitive ears ko, i have no choice but to either wear the ones for babies or the real thing.

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  18. ang iba naman nasa elementary na nagpapa butas sa tenga...ang iba nga umiiyak,hehe..

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  19. I never really thought that ear-piercing was an issue until now. It's all a matter of perspective, I guess.

    Yes, we parents only have the best intentions in mind. We make decisions which may not always earn our kids' approval when they grow up, but we shouldn't be burned at the stake for it.

    I also had my daughter's ears pierced at 6 months (by her pediatrician, of course). It's not like we're getting our babies tattooed, right?

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  20. I don't really see anything wrong with having LP's ears pierced. While my mom made me decide when to have mine pierced, I wished they could have done it way earlier..

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  21. Not an easy answer to if you should or shouldn't. To be honest. All I know is that my parents had my ears pierced when I was a baby and it hasn't crossed my mind to think twice about the matter. I don't remember the pain, and I'm thankful.
    Rebecca

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  22. dear, my daughter had ear piercing when she was 2 weeks old. mas brutal pa talaga ako wala ng antay ng vaccination. i never thought about this talaga. i was actually with my sister, we brought my child in one of the jewelry stores around singapore, they sterilized it naman, point and viola, may earrings na. my daughter cried for a bit after that natulog na sya. she's happy naman til now.

    oh noooo. kakaibang argument nga to. ill read about it.

    thanks.

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  23. My mom had my ears pierced when I was an infant. Friends whose ears got pierced in grade school said they hardly felt anything. However, since we're raising our daughter following my husband's religion, I haven't had my daughter's ears pierced because wearing jewelry is discouraged.

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  24. oh my gosh...she looks so pretty with those earrings!! i think we all have to lighten up a bit!

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  25. ...sometimes we just have to stop reading what people say or listening though.
    Just my experience.
    We can't please everyone.

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  26. You are such a sweet Momma. I think it is perfectly fine to save your precious daughter the memory of the pain of ear piercing. It is such a common thing. I have had mine pierced 3.5 times. I happen to be allergic to any metal I try to put in my ears so my ears are still not pierced. I still remember each of those times my ears were pierced and the awful pain with it. The .5 was when I ran to the car after one ear had been done. I locked myself in there and refused to let my Mom in or go back into the store. You have saved LSP a memory just like mine. Your a good Momma!

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  27. my ears were pierced by my parents since I was a baby and now, I don't really wear earrings unless on special occasions. I don't hold it against them at all. As for my own daughter, I didn't had her ears pierced when she was small, I live that decision up to her when she grows up :)

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  28. I have 3 sisters, and all of us but one, have had our ears pierced early. My sister whose ears aren't pierced, like your cousin, is scared of getting pierced now. She'd usually frown, then smile whenever my other sisters and Iare having 'earring moments', like buying earrings, borrowing earrings from one another. I often tell her that I could treat her and have her ears pierced, but she's so scared. So, i guess its better to hve their ears pierced while they're young

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