The First Cut

January 27, 2009

Here’s something that I had planned to never blog about: my son’s penis. Not about the novelty of having a baby with a penis (because, really: contrary to all expectation, the novelty wears off. A baby penis is just a little version of the appendage that you’ve seen before, and once you get accustomed to the risk of being sprayed during diaper changes, there’s really nothing particularly complicated about its care and maintenance), not about the differences between be-penised babies and be-vulvaed babies (there’ll be plenty of opportunity to reflect upon gender differences as these pertain to my son and daughter without considering their genitalia) and certainly not about our decision whether or not to make that all-too-significant snip. Circumcision, above all else, was not something that I was going to blog about. Too personal. Too controversial. Nothing to say about it.

I changed my mind. I still regard the topic as dangerously personal and controversial, but I do, as it turns out, have something to say about it.

My husband and I agonized over whether or not to circumcise Jasper. Actually, that’s not true: I agonized over whether or not to circumcise Jasper. My husband was pretty certain that he wanted to not circumcise – it’s not my place to explain his reasons, but I will say that he (my husband) is circumcised, and that he does not practice a religion that encourages circumcision – and although my inclination was to give my husband decision-making authority on this issue – he, after all, knows penises better than I do – I was, for some time, torn. I had never seen an uncircumsised penis. I had no idea – beyond the most rudimentary, high-school sex-ed posterboard kind of understanding – what might be the implications of circumcising or not circumcising. I was all, what’s a foreskin? And: why cut it off? But also: but doesn’t everyone cut it off? And: if everyone else cuts it off, there must be a reason. But then again: cutting. I was very confused, and more than a little uncomfortable about the whole subject.

The only thing that I knew for certain was this: circumcision meant that someone would bring a very sharp object very close to a very delicate part of my very little baby, and I didn’t like that idea one bit.

I read every article, medical and otherwise, that I could get my virtual hands on. I read anti-circumcision articles and pro-circumcision articles. I read about how circumcision might reduce rates of certain kinds of infections, and about how such reductions were most likely statistically irrelevant in North America. I read many personal essays by parents who are pro-circumcision, and many by parents who are anti-circumcision. I saw many comparisons to female genital mutilation, which I dismissed intellectually, but which haunted me nonetheless. I resisted being haunted. I worried about resisting being haunted. I worried about the ethics of making such a decision for my child: what would my boy want, if he were able to ask himself the question? I asked my husband; he knew his own answer. I wasn’t sure that that was enough.

I worried about how much I was worrying over the issue.

I read more articles.

I read that the pediatric associations of both the United States and of Canada recommended against circumcision. They were circumspect about it, to be sure: they fall all over themselves assuring concerned parents that it’s a personal decision, a decision that only the family can make. But they still get their message across: there’s no medical reason for a child to be circumcised.

That, however, was not the reason that I decided that I did not want Jasper to be circumcised. I decided that I did not want Jasper to be circumcised, simply, because I could not bear to allow anything to happen to him that would cause him unnecessary hurt. I could not bear the idea of the flash of a blade near his little body, the slice that would cause him to cry out in pain.

This was – this is – an intensely personal decision. In a way, it was a selfish decision: I made (and my husband supported) a decision based upon my feelings, my fears. It is Jasper, however, who will live with this decision. If I chose, I could weave a story, a philosophy, about how decisions such as these demand that we consider most seriously the passive option – that we do nothing that takes away from the individual that our child will become, that we do nothing that constrains that individual, that robs that individual of anything, literally or figuratively – but that would be bullshit. As parents, we make decisions every day – every hour – that shape our childrens’ futures with little conscious regard for whether or not our children, looking back, would want us to consider those decisions differently. We take away little pieces of potential futures for our children with every step that we take – and with every step that we take, every decision that we make, we also add pieces, we also build possibilities into those futures. Obviously, in an ideal world, we would make all the right decisions, and our children would one day congratulate us for caring for them and protecting their interests perfectly. But ours is not an ideal world, and we make decisions under imperfect conditions, and we can be assured only that we will, as parents, achieve imperfect results.

So I didn’t choose to not circumcise my son because I was perfectly convinced that it was right thing to do, because I believed that it was the thing that he, someday, would thank me for doing. I didn’t make the choice that I did because I think that all parents should make that choice. I didn’t choose to not circumcise because I came to the conclusion that it was the only choice that a good mother could make. I did it only because I didn’t want to cut him.

It was the only thing that I could do, the only choice that I could make, for me. I can only hope that I did right, that I chose right, by him.

(I’ve not yet drawn a name for the Motozine from last week’s giveaway; I’ll do so at first opportunity and post the winner by Thursday. In the meantime, thank you all so very, very much for sharing your generosity of spirit in the comments, and, as always for your love and support.)

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    { 139 comments }

    Issas Crazy World January 27, 2009 at 1:21 am

    I wish I’d read this about four months and three days ago. I applaud you for talking about it, as most people don’t. I tried to find something like this, but I just wasn’t able too. We went back and forth on it for months. In the end, I left it up to my husband and in the very end (like the day after our son was born) we decided to do it. In my semi-holiday-jewish family, it seemed like the thing to do. And it was fine, he is fine, but I do regret it. There were issues at first, that kept us in the hospital a day longer and aged me about ten years.

    In the end, we all do the best we can. We made the best choice in that moment, as did you and your husband. I do hope you don’t get shit for posting this, because I’m sure it will help someone else who is struggling with this choice.

    Backpacking Dad January 27, 2009 at 1:43 am

    False starts….

    ….how dare you blah blah blah :}

    ….ow! penis!….

    ….well, Canadians do need turtlenecks more than Americans do….

    …it’s impossible for there to be a general will about this….

    …someone call the cops! you’re doing something non-violent to your child!…

    :}

    Awesome Mom January 27, 2009 at 2:02 am

    That is as good a reason as any. My eldest son had had his fair share of cuts due to several heart surgeries before he was even six weeks old, so I was not about to add to the pain by doing a cosmetic procedure on him. That was not our only reason but it was a pretty good one to add to the mix.

    Caroline January 27, 2009 at 2:12 am

    You know, we struggled with this decision, just as much as anyone did, too. My husband was on the fence, I was sure we weren’t going to do it. But, I wanted my husband to (think he would) have a say in things like this. So, I left it up to him.

    A wise woman once told me that it’s always best to make the choice that you’d be okay with if that choice turns out to be wrong. So, I put it to my husband like that.

    If you choose to circumcise him, and you’re wrong, are you okay with that?

    If you choose not to circumcise him, and you’re wrong, are you okay with that?

    The ultimate answer was this, for him, if he’s wrong about leaving him intact, then our son could make a different choice later. He could CHOOSE circumcision for himself.

    If he’s wrong about circumcising him, well, too bad. He’s left with whatever deformity, infection, problem that happens and that’s that.

    The choice was easy in that light.

    (thank goodness, because I didn’t want to have to put my foot down!)

    Angella January 27, 2009 at 2:29 am

    I said this over at Alice’s, so forgive me if I repeat myself…

    Boys on my side of the family seem to be circumcised, because that is what everyone does.

    I met and married a man who is NOT circumcised, ad we chose not to circumcise our boys so that they could “Be like their Dad”

    The fact that I have announced the state of my husband’s penis in TWO comment sections would mortify him…should he ever, you know, READ blogs.

    Kaitlyn January 27, 2009 at 2:43 am

    I’m glad you chose to share. This is something I’m already debating (though I’m years away from children).

    I, for one, think you made a great choice :)

    Heather January 27, 2009 at 3:13 am

    I’m so glad you shared this. What I want to say on the matter is a blog post and more of my own, but let’s just say I regret the decision I allowed to happen regarding my son, all because I allowed people other than myself to get involved. I wish I’d been strong enough to make the decision that *I* knew was best for my son, rather than being bullied by others who thought *they* knew best, and who shouldn’t have been involved to begin with. Good for you for going with your gut.

    enithhernandez January 27, 2009 at 3:59 am

    Bravo and thank you for sharing! I have a circ’ed husband and an intact baby boy! I feel so good for making the right decision for our son. If he ever wants to have that part of his penis cut off when he is old enough, I’ll be there for him. But I think it is not my decision to have him circumcised w/o his permission. I am sure our boys will be thankful for that ;)

    Miss Grace January 27, 2009 at 4:01 am

    All anyone can do is what they think is best for their child. After all, all you can do is your best.

    I was opposed to circumcising my son (the men in my family are not circumcised), and I had to come up with a pretty tight case to convince his dad on the issue. So while I started the argument with “I don’t want to do it but other people can and that’s fine,” in order to get my way, I ended up on the side of “OMG PEOPLE WHO DO THIS ARE BABY KILLERS.” Of course that’s not true, and now that my son is safely uncut, I’ve managed to come back towards the middle. Do what you feel is best.

    Mrs C January 27, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Funnily enough, in Europe this is not even an issue. I didn’t even think about it when my son was born because I didn’t marry into a Jewish family.

    And really. Why is it cut off in the first place? Who invented that? I think the uncircumcised willy is much nicer than the circumcised willy. It’s cute. Like an aardvark or something.

    ewe are here January 27, 2009 at 5:48 am

    We didn’t circumcize either of our boys.

    Initially, I considered it because the majority of men in America have been circumsized, and I knew there was a very small possibility of infection issues that could lead to needing the procedure at a later date which would be a lot more painful for a small child as opposed to a baby. (I know a couple of people who had to make this agonizing late choice for their little boys due to chronic infections; Canadians, by the way.)

    ANyway, obviously my husband is British and we live in Europe where men are generally NOT circumcized, and he was adamently opposed to circumcision at birth. And his feelings made more sense on the matter, so I agreed.

    It seems to have been the right decision. We’re very diligent about hygiene, and all seems well.

    Syko January 27, 2009 at 6:29 am

    When my son was born, there was no question. Everyone did it. And I wasn’t informed enough, or wise enough, or experienced enough, to do anything else.

    Many years later, I know that if I had known what I know now, I would have left him intact.

    The reason is going to sound perverted. As a single woman with fairly extensive sexual experience, I find the uncut much sexier.

    And yet there are those who find it repellent.

    But I’m now against doing it. Bravo to you.

    Badness Jones January 27, 2009 at 8:06 am

    My husband is circumcised, but he agreed with me that there was no reason to do it to our boy. Which led to a very funny bathtub conversation with my five-year old girl last week….all about foreskins, and who had them and who didn’t. Talk about things you never thought you’d say….

    My reasoning was the same as yours. I didn’t want to do anything to hurt him.

    Motherhood Uncensored January 27, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Here’s hoping both our sons thank us for mindblowing sex later. You know, when they are old and shit (and not 15).

    TeacherMommy January 27, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I was torn–a lot of the reasoning behind wanting to do it was social (“what will other boys say in the locker room” sort of stuff) but then the matter was taken out of our hands. Both boys were born with chordee, which if left alone results in a curved penis later in life, with the possibility of pain and even (in bad cases) sexual disfunction. It apparently runs in the husband’s family–fortunately not the disfuntion, but yeah. So both boys had surgery (more complex than the *snip* of regular surgery, and once they were a bit older) and therefore are circumcised. I’m kind of relieved that the decision was a practical and medical one–takes away any lingering guilt one may have.

    I confess to preferring the easy way out when it comes to difficult decisions…

    No Mother Earth January 27, 2009 at 8:55 am

    What decided us finally was the fact that there was no medical reason to do it. So we didn’t.

    Kaye January 27, 2009 at 9:08 am

    When my son was born circumcision was a pretty much standard procedure. My husband and I made the decision to circumcise based on the common reasons…he’ll look like his dad and most other little boys and less risk of infection. It wasn’t a difficult decision and we have never regretted it.

    My son is 18 now and doesn’t regret it either. But he would be mortified to know I was discussing this part of his anatomy on the internet. :)

    bellaf January 27, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I second Mrs C all the way. I actually held my breath when I started reading your post and let out a huge sigh of relief for Jasper when I read he’ll be kept intact. Here in South America this isn’t an issue either.

    Ms. Moon January 27, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I had a friend who said this about the decision not to circumcise her son: “We decided to give him his whole body.”
    I like that.

    The Mother January 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I was dead set against circumcision, for purely medical reasons—it’s a completely unnecessary surgery, perpetrated on innocent victims who can’t sign an informed consent.

    Flash forward: I married a Jew. Funny how words come back to haunt you.So, I figured we’d just have girls, right? Life had other plans. I have four great, completely different, boys.

    There is a particularly nice custom surrounding the brit milah (the ritual circumcision)—the ladies attending are supposed to get the mother stark raving drunk, so she can forget the horrors being perpetrated on her little son.

    I applaud your decision. Wish I could have made it.

    Not my name this time so my boys don't throttle me! January 27, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Thank you for this. I agonized for the same reasons (you want me to let a WHAT go WHERE on my newborn?!) but in the end went ahead because three men on my husband’s side of the family didn’t have it done at birth…and had it done later, at ages 6, 11, and 13. When we went ahead and did it, one of them thanked me with tears in his eyes. And in the end, I thought, the only thing worse than doing this to a newborn…is doing it to someone entering puberty. But I stress: there was family history here.
    AND: it never ever would have happened except that my OBGYN, who did it, uses three different kinds of painkillers/numbing agents and brought them to breastfeed instantly after for comfort as well. It would never have happened with someone pushing the “infants’ pain sensors aren’t fully functional” BS. Bad enough to do it. Worse without every possible measure of comfort.
    Am I sorry? Yes. But would I be sorrier to watch it happen to them now? Oh, yes. I know: they might never have needed it later. But that seemed like a hard history to buck, and I imagined my 11 year old asking me after the surgery why I didn’t handle this when he was younger and wouldn’t remember.
    That’s me, and my kids’ genetic legacy. Thank you for providing a space to reflect on this. And in the town where we live, it runs about 50-50 as far as who’s had it done, so the locker room should be pretty interesting if lore is to be believed.

    Chelsea January 27, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Yay for you and Jasper. My son is also intact, though my husband is circumcised (and from a Jewish family). It took a little convincing on my part, but when our doctor agreed that it was not medically necessary, it would basically have been a cosmetic surgery on an infant, and there was no way my husband or I could see putting our little boy in any pain.

    Bianka January 27, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I was in nursing school about 10 years ago (I eventually dropped out) and actually witnessed a circumcision. It was so traumatic and awful.. the poor baby was strapped down to a board and just screaming his poor little head off while the doctor sliced. It looked like literal torture to me. This experience sticks with me, and will prevent me from ever circumcising any son I may have.
    My husband is kind of on the fence about it, but knows how adamant I am.. so luckily no son of mine will ever be circumcised!

    Her Bad Mother January 27, 2009 at 10:05 am

    MU – that was something that factored into the decision for my husband. You know, if he could possibly do anything to guarantee a future of better sex for his son, he was going to do it ;)

    JPTG January 27, 2009 at 10:19 am

    hallejuah sistah… I have 2 sons & we chose not to c-size either. You just articulated EXACTLY my thought process that I wish I could've conveyed at the time of those decisions. I'll have to point these kids' grandmom to this post if the subjecct ever comes up again, she looked at me like I was nut-so for electing to not go through with it. THANKS!!

    MaggieO January 27, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I feel this way too…I had a long infertility struggle and of course did my fair share of worrying about my son while I was carrying him, and about him being brought safely into the world. After that, I’m going to cause him pain unnecessarily, as one of the first things he experiences in his life? No way.

    Anonymous January 27, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I had similar reasons for not circumcising my son. I did all the research and honestly it came down to me asking myself if I could stand next to him and hold his little hand while I gave a doctor permission to take a blade to his penis. The answer was NO! I really did not want for pain to be one of the first experiences of his life.

    That said I also honestly believe it is my sons body and if he wants to make the decision as a young boy or teen-ager to get circumcised for whatever reason I will support him 100%. I figure he can always get the foreskin taken off but putting it back on is not an option.

    It was a very hard decision though.

    Cheers, Gia

    Cheryl January 27, 2009 at 10:31 am

    My husband and I went to circumcision counselling — to a woman who helps people decide whether or not to circumcise thier sons.

    Even after the counselling and the making a decision, I still somehow get drawn into reading people debate the topic.

    My favourite comment ended up being something from my midwife, who said that she didn’t believe it was anything near as big a deal as poeple make it out to be.

    Whether or not a boy is circumicized is unlikely to change his life.

    What’s far more important is that he has parents who spend some time really thinking about what is best for him, and being committed to doing what is best (sure, there are things that are unequivocally “best” but circumizing or not is not one of them).

    Sean January 27, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Over here the snip is pretty much only done for religious reasons. Some men elect to have it done and I would have thought that leaving it to them is the preferable course.

    Jeni January 27, 2009 at 10:33 am

    My husband and I talked about this for the first time last night; we just found out Friday that our baby-on-the-way is a boy. We didn't come to a conclusion, but I expect to be doing more research & talking & planning about it in the coming months.

    Ali January 27, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I can’t even imagine making the decision, in England it just isn’t done. It’s bad enough taking them for their injections, let alone having someone there with a KNIFE.

    It’s funny, you always think of the UK and the US being quite similar, but sometimes the cultural differences are astounding.

    Amy M. January 27, 2009 at 10:40 am

    thanks for posting your thoughts, catherine.

    i was asked at my last OB appointment that if we are having a boy (which we do not know yet) if we would circumcise. i actually looked over at my husband with raised eyebrows. i wasn’t expecting to be “asked” that question, especially not so far in advance (i am 14 weeks). immediately, he said “no”, because he is not circumcised. i personally don’t know why one would be circumcised one way or the other but i agree with you – i would not want my baby to be “cut”. i looked to my husband for a decision because he knows better than me what the deal is with circumcision.

    sorry, this is a lot longer than i anticipated! :)

    Mom101 January 27, 2009 at 10:52 am

    There’s only 27 comments now which means within about another 12 or so you will start getting the defensive circumcizers followed by the defensive non-circumcizers followed by the trolls followed by the screaming debate that includes the line “I feel sorry for your kids.”

    So basically I’m staying out of this one except to say I’m glad you’re happy with your choice, whether or not it would have been my choice.

    kgirl January 27, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I am a hippie Jew – talk about conflicted.

    This is a huge reason why we are stopping at two girls. For real.

    Mona January 27, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I find it interesting that you intellectually dismissed the comparisons to FGM, since many of the justifications given, including religious ones, for male circumcision are the same ones that are given for FGM. In fact, my husband who works with refugees felt that was one of the strongest arguments against circumcising our son. Can you explain that dismissal? Just curious . . .

    toyfoto January 27, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Jed ended up wanting his son to be circumcised when the nurses kept handing us literature in the hospital.

    Up until that point I had determined he could make the decision. But I reneged. I had to. Having just been through a c-section that was not closing properly, I couldn’t allow my son to go under the knife. My reasoning was simple: “No unnecessary surgeries.”

    We all have our reasons.

    Her Bad Mother January 27, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Liz – I’m waiting for the defensive circumsizers, although I hope that they won’t be too defensive. I was *this* close to being a defensive circumsizer myself – I had always assumed that I would circumcise a boy, simply because I had only ever known circumsized penises.

    My overwhelming feeling about all this is still that it’s such a weird and discomfiting decision to be called upon to make, regardless of what one decides. Ear piercing for baby girls – much easier call ;)

    Don Mills Diva January 27, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I was conflicted but changed my mind after THREE (yes three!) close friends (one close relative actually) who didn’t circumcize described their strugglse with continuing infections: one actually had to circumcize at two years of age.

    Another friend who works in an old-age home told me about the diculties of caring for eldery and infirm men who were uncircumcized.

    Perhpas if I had heard different accounts (and I know there are different accounts!) from different people my decision would have been different but as it turned out Graham slept through it (for real!) and it all worked out just fine.

    I have read, and tend to agree, that the foreskin was meant to be protective many thousands of years ago when humans were unclothed etc. I suspect in 10,000 or so years (if humans make it that long) evolution will take care of the whole debate.

    Just my two cents – I truly don’t see it as a huge deal. Most people these days make their decision in a thoughtful manner and I think that’s the main thing, ya know?

    Her Bad Mother January 27, 2009 at 11:12 am

    DMD – totally, totally agreed.

    Ami January 27, 2009 at 11:13 am

    My husband was not circumcised nor was his little brother. His two older brothers were. When my husband and his younger brother hit their growth spurts as teenagers the inside stuff grow faster than the outside stuff, if you get my drift. For over a year his penis was constantly “ripping” his foreskin. It landed him in the hospital on a few occasions because of the pain and yeast infections. His older brothers never had this problem.

    My husband was very adamant that our son be circumcised. I figured he knew from first hand experience and our son was. It was hard to hand him over to the doctor and know he was going to be hurt. The only thing that made it easier was the belief (erroneous or not) that we were preventing greater pain down the road.
    You have to do want your “mommy” brain cells will let you.

    pandorican January 27, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I don’t have a boy, and probably never will, so that probably colors my opinion some, but…
    To the other commenters: I tend to fall on the side of, “Why is this such a big deal?”
    You either do it or don’t. There are risks and benefits to both sides. I’m not saying it’s not a tough choice, but the people who are convinced it is child abuse one way or another strike me as odd.
    To you:I applaud your decision because you made the right choice for you. And didn’t make me feel like your way is the ONLY way. Thanks for that. :)
    (For the record, Jewish Guy here= circumcised son, if I had one)

    Tiffi33 January 27, 2009 at 11:16 am

    We have 2 boys, the eldest is circed, the youngest is not..
    The reason?
    We simply never thought about it when the oldest was born.
    Then we got the internet, and i started thinking about it, and how it isn't really necessary…and how painful it is, and how many nerve endings it removes…
    My hubby is done, his father is not b/c he was born at home..
    We were also thinking about the missing sensation my husband has during sex, and that also played into it…(he'd give his left arm to have those back..lol..)
    we also thought of the possible MISTAKES…and we weren't willing to see our baby possibly lose his little winkie or have it scarred for life if something went wrong…small possibility, but still there..
    and our GP was on board w/ us..he has 4 boys and never had them done…and he supported us :) which was awesome..
    and we have no history of problems w/ keeping a foreskin…so it was a no brainer for us after a little while…

    I STILL feel guilty for not being w/ my oldest when he had his done, they sort of whisked him away w/o being plain on where he was going, and I was distracted by the phone..& new motherhood in general
    I wanted to be there for him, knowing it was going to hurt..I felt it was the least I could have done..
    There have been questions about the difference between then boys, and we explained it…no big…

    Incidentally, we found that my hubby has a slight scarring from his circ, nothing major, but it is there…

    Mimi January 27, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I like that you posted this: all the intellectualizing ultimately gives way, often, where our kids are concerned, to raw emotion. It’s our strength as parents, and it’s also our weakness.

    Her Bad Mother January 27, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Mona – it’s maybe a bit strong to say that I dismissed comparisons to FGM. I had gut reactions to comparisons to FGM, but tried to remain analytical. It basically came down to this for me: FGM is about controlling women – specifically about controlling the sexuality of girls and controlling their transition to and experience of womanhood – whereas my understanding of cultural/religious reasons for male circumcision is that those are different. I didn’t want my reflexive horror at FGM – particularly at the gender politics of FGM – to overwhelm my thinking about circumcision.

    As a former academic, I worry a lot about cultural relativism. In this case, I worried about confusing judgments about other cultural practices with possible judgments about my own. Or something like that. These things can’t, I don’t think, be compared apples to apples, nor should they be. That said, I pretty certain that I would dismiss immediately, with hesitation, the idea of circumcision for my daughter, so why was it such a hand-wringer for my son?

    And now I’ve confused myself. I think.

    Tiffany January 27, 2009 at 11:26 am

    My first son was circ’d because… well I didn’t know any better and it was ‘the thing’ to do. The hospital wouldn’t do my 2nd sons. The pedi wouldn’t do it because he was a big baby (something about more acute pain sensation). Ultimately we ended up at a pedi urologist who said… The child doesn’t quit crying because they’re taking a nap. They quit crying because they have passed out from the pain. That along with it being a largly cosmetic procedure was not enough for me to get it done. So #2 is intact. He’s almost 3 now and has never had an issue with it.

    Anonymous January 27, 2009 at 11:29 am

    If I knew then what I know now….

    We chose to circumcise. A few months later, I saw a few circumcisions performed at a major hospital during my obstetric clinical rotation. Even with the emla cream (supposed to not make it hurt as much) it seemed like the doctors and nurses were torturing those poor little boys. The screams of those babies, and the looks on their little faces literally haunted me for quite some time. I have since became a little bit anti-circumcision, based more on the fact that many of these parents (I was one of them) have absolutely NO idea what they are doing to their sons.

    kittenpie January 27, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Me, I’m a circumsizer, but not feeling defensive about it. I was so on the fence, too, as the arguments for and against are pretty much equal.

    Ultimately, two things pushed me over to doing it. One, Misterpie wanted to. Two, we have a friend who had to have it done later in life and fond it rather traumatizing,and it is apparently not as uncommon as one would hope. That scares me for an older child.

    What made it okay for me was getting the name of a recommended doctor who does it with spot freezing and then a needle for real freezing. He also uses a device that means the skin closes as soon as it is released. The Bun didn’t even fuss.

    Given that there is no way to know what kind of person he will be and what he would have preferred, I have, as you did, as we all do, made the best decision I can with what I know right now. What more can we did? At least I’ll have an answer for him if he ever asks why we did it, and that’s as good as we can do, i think, make sure we know why we make or decisions. i’m quite okay with it, actually.

    Binkytown January 27, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I circ’d both my boys. Mostly because my husband felt it was important to have them not be different than him. Yes, I know it hurt and involved cutting but we give our kids shots so they don’t get sick and that hurts too- why is this so different?

    Catherine January 27, 2009 at 11:36 am

    When I was pregnant with Elliot I read and read and contemplated about cutting. One thing I read is that in the US it’s not geographically dispersed. It’s not like half of all communities circ and the other half don’t. Our coasts are largely non-circ’d and interior circ’d.

    We bucked that trend, we live in the middle and did not circ. We have friends with boys nearly the same age born at the same hospital with the same OB and ped – her boys are circ’d. I’m not seeing an overwhelming movement in the US. Yet. Never can tell what we’ll get uppity about next.

    mothergoosemouse January 27, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Like you and MU, hoping Oliver thanks us for mind-blowing sex down the road.

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