Her Bad Mother

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The First Cut

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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Blogger Issa said...

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.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

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!...


12:43 AM  
Blogger Awesome Mom said...

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.

1:02 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

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!)

1:12 AM  
Blogger Angella said...

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.

1:29 AM  
Blogger Kaitlyn said...

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 :)

1:43 AM  
Blogger Heather @CritterChronicles said...

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.

2:13 AM  
Blogger enithhernandez said...

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 ;)

2:59 AM  
Blogger Jenny Grace said...

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.

3:01 AM  
Blogger JChevais said...

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.

4:30 AM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

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.

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Badness Jones said...

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.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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

7:12 AM  
Blogger Teacher Mommy said...

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...

7:46 AM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

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

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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. :)

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

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.

8:20 AM  
Blogger The Mother said...

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.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Sea-Green Designs said...

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.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Bianka said...

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!

8:59 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

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 ;)

9:05 AM  
Blogger JPTG said...

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!!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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).

9:31 AM  
Blogger Gilbert Moon said...

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.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Jeni said...

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.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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! :)

9:40 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

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.

9:52 AM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

I am a hippie Jew - talk about conflicted.

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

9:54 AM  
Blogger MLB said...

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 . . .

10:03 AM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

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.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

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 ;)

10:07 AM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

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?

10:10 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

DMD - totally, totally agreed.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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)

10:16 AM  
Blogger Tiffi33 said...

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...

10:16 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

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.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

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.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

10:29 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

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.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Binkytowne said...

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?

10:33 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

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.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

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

10:39 AM  
Blogger Mouse said...

We had the advantage of not having to worry about what Daddy looks like. There was, however, the Jewish side of my family. We're mostly cultural, New York Jews; at a family gathering, one uncle said, in response to my telling his daughter that we wouldn't be raising our son Jewish per se, "But you are going to circumcise him, right?" I found it funny that what we did with our son's penis was more important to him than the religious upbringing.

10:53 AM  
Blogger SP said...

Funny Story - Ex and I decided we would not circumcise Thing1 for the simple reason that we felt that he should "look like dad." It was not a religious need for us. The medical opinions were not enough to sway us one way or another. We just thought that growing up, looking the same as Daddy made sense. When my Mother-in-law showed up and asked why we were not having Thing1 circumcised and we explained the look-alike thing her head just about exploded! Apparently, Ex is indeed circumcised. We had no idea...
There really should be more PICTURES in sex ed.

11:01 AM  
Blogger katherynei said...

I chose not to with both my boys, and so far so good. I didn't want to make the decision for them since it is their body. And I know, other than in Sex and the City not a lot of people opt to have the surgery when they are older, but at least they'll have the choice. It helped too that dad was so adamantly against it.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you. Ultimately that's why I made the decision not to circ our son too, but I blogged about more reasons here:


11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi catherine the decision was easy for me.i didn't want to hurt my son in any way and also his father is not circumsized so we didn't do baby...

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From anecdotal experience and a bit of reading, I'm under the impression that a lot of gay men are against circumcision. Make of that what you will.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I have a boy, I'm going to make the same decision you did, for the same reasons mostly.

Look at it this way, if he ever really wants to cut it off later, it's always an option. (they do it to grown men in Africa a lot these days b/c of the AIDS connection) But if you made the decision to cut it off for him... there's no deciding later that he wants it!

Glad you shared this! Thanks!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so anti-circumcision I think people are afraid to discuss the subject with me.
Before we made that decision, I'd read tons on the subject and decided we would leave our children's penises intact. I was very worried, like you, that we would make the wrong decision.
But I also think it's not a personal decision unless you put that decision in the hands of the child at the age of 18. I believe that circumcision should be completely illegal for kids under 18, regardless of religion. That's where it gets sticky for some people. So there's that.

12:31 PM  
Blogger heels said...

I had pretty much already made up my mind not to cut my son, but then I got a letter from my male cousin that sealed my decision. He was never circumcised, and he wrote about how much he enjoyed having his body whole, how he had never had any trouble at school or with girls, and that he seemed to have more feeling based on what his guy pals had related to him ( I didn't know that boys talked about their penises so much, but...). Hearing from someone who had grown up so happy with his body made me feel very comfortable with my decision. I thank him to this day for being so open and honest about it.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is such a highly personal decision!

The thing that I find odd, though, is when families say that they want their sons to look like their dads. Really?! I dismissed this arguement right away - a child's penis looks nothing like a grown man's penis. My husband is circumcised and my son is not . . . my son has never mentioned that difference, but has mentioned the hair and size differences! By the time they would notice that they do or don't have as much foreskin as Dad, I'm pretty sure the visual comparisons won't be happening!

There are several good reasons to choose to circumcise, I just don't think "looking like Dad" is one of them.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is such a highly personal decision!

The thing that I find odd, though, is when families say that they want their sons to look like their dads. Really?! I dismissed this arguement right away - a child's penis looks nothing like a grown man's penis. My husband is circumcised and my son is not . . . my son has never mentioned that difference, but has mentioned the hair and size differences! By the time they would notice that they do or don't have as much foreskin as Dad, I'm pretty sure the visual comparisons won't be happening!

There are several good reasons to choose to circumcise, I just don't think "looking like Dad" is one of them.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We circ'ed. But only because the hubs insisted. I was on the fence, not caring, not wanting to cut, not wanting to have to decide.

Boo made the choice and dealt with the snip and the healing.

I bowed out out completely like the chicken shit I admit to being.

If we have/had another, I don't know if Boo would be as impassioned to have it done to his third son. But I also don't know if he wouldn't. So I push the subject of little boy's willies out of my minds and focus on teaching my boys the important things in life.

Like peeing in the toilet and the importance of foreplay.


2:13 PM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

My ex husband and I didn't circumsize either one of our boys (even though my ex was circ.)My oldest is ten now and we have never had any reason to regret our decision, and more and more I am meeting other mother who have made the same choice. My pediatrician says the split is leaning more towards 60/40 as far as the averages are concerned in their practice. My decision was based entirely on the ca=fact that I couldn't bear to let anyone harm my brand new perfect little one....nothing more nothing less...

2:21 PM  
Blogger tallulah said...

I call it male genital mutilation so you know where I stand on that subject. I figure if any of my boys want a penis that looks like the ones in Playgirl, they can always get "cut" as an adult.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the end I left the decision up to my husband, since he has the equipment that I lack. I figured he'd want it done since he is, but he said no, it's unnecessary. So both boys are intact. I think as long as the parent makes the best, most informed decision they can, it doesn't matter what that decision is.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Kari said...

My sons are not circumcised either, they are 10 and 5 yrs old. Neither is my new nephew - he's a week old :) I think you made a perfect decision.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Did I write this post? I decided the exact same, for the exact same reasons, after the exact same process. :)

2:57 PM  
Blogger specialaffinity said...

Why is there even a need to think about performing this unnecessary surgery? This thinking is but an example of 'not accepting what is.'
Male babies are born as Nature/God design them to be. They are born perfect. What is it, that makes it so hard to accept that Fact?

It's our job as adults to teach our sons to bath and maintain their personal hygiene - just as we have taught our daughters to do.

Our job isn't to mutilate our sons genitals and then rationalize our reasons for doing so. It's not the business of parents to be modifying their sons genitals, without their permission.

If our sons, when they reach adulthood want to modify their genitals, then that's their business.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

It's really refreshing to read a NON-judgmental post about this topic. The comparison between circumcision and FGM angers me. There is no comparison. I don't know anyone who is traumatized or harmed by a circumcision (unlike FGM). I admit that I was relieved that I didn't have to make the decision, but we were leaning the other way. I spoke to a nurse once about how many circumcisions have to be performed on teen and preteen boys because of infection or trauma to that tissue. It happens more often than people think.
Ultimately we decided that if we had a boy we'd do it. H wanted his son to look like daddy and not feel different in that way and for me it's a cultural thing.
I agree completely with you. There is no right or wrong here. It's just a call that the parent has to make.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We made the same decision that you did, for much the same reason. Actually, my husband was on the fence until I told him it cost $300 to have it done, then he decided not to do it. So in actuality it was a combination of well, I'd rather not and being cheap.

I will admit that once my little guy was born, and I watched him wail after his vitamin K shot, I was relieved. I don't believe circumcision is permanently damaging or anything, but I think it would be traumatic for me.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You made the RIGHT choice because you gave HIM the choice. Every child regardless of sex, age, race, religion, culture, or nationality has the right to choose whether they want to permanently alter a functional part of their body once they have reached consenting age. Cosmetic surgery on a non-consenting minor is wrong and every medical organization in the entire world has classified circumcision as non-therapeutic.

Please read these so you can protect your intact son from doctors that may not be educated about the development of the intact boy.

How to Protect your Intact Son, Expert Medical Advice:

Avoiding circumcision after the neonatal period:

Best Wishes,

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For our first son, I went with circumcised husband's wish to have our child circumcised as well. As it turned out, our baby spent his first six days in the neonatal intensive care unit, and I believe one of those days was due to the trauma of the circumcision (perhaps just being uncovered for that amount of time, since he was having trouble regulating his temperature). Obviously it was an after-the-fact realization. We would probably have done the same with our second son, in spite of my reservations, however he was born with a "natural" circumcision. Yes! Clearly he's destined for greatness--Moses had one, and so did Muhammad.

My OB, anti-circumcision all the way, said he was glad since he'd had parents whose sons were born with natural circumcisions who still wanted a little taken off--a much trickier surgery to perform.

At my second son's 4-month pediatrician visit, the doctor examined his penis and said (and this was the man who examined the baby when he was still in the hospital), "Looks like somebody didn't take enough off." I was confused, thinking, "You mean GOD?!" Then I realized he meant the OB and I reminded him it was a natural circ.

I was so grateful not to have to go through that again. And our boys will have much entertainment in future, taking baths together and comparing their genitals.

And I suppose I could feel guilty about the first child's getting cosmetic surgery, but at this point I have so much else to worry about that that doesn't really make the cut, as it were. My parenting life is filled with enough guilt as it is.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

We have a biological son and an adopted son. When biological son was born (he was the first) I was defintely in the NO circumcision camp. There was no debate, I put my foot down and that was that--I would not have it.

Then my second son came to us from social services and his birth mother had chosen circumcision so he was cut when we got him.

And now I have two bigger boys who have penises that look COMPLETELY different and, you know what?, it doesn't make one bit of difference.

If we have another biological boy we still won't do circumcision and if we get another foster child I'm pretty sure they probably will be. But in the long run I have realized that it's just not worth stressing over.

Do what you want, own your choices and move on. I just have to think that it's one of those works-great-either-way things.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

I went through the same struggle three years ago when I was pregnant with my son. We've taken some flack for leaving him in his 'god-given' form, but I have never regretted our decision for one moment. Some people are very sensitive about it, but it seems that people are open to both alternatives more than ever.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have done three snippys with my boys and all is well. But I do think it is a personal decision and both sides should be respectful of each other's decisions. Great to have an honest discussion like this!

4:19 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

I'm with Anonymous from 1:47 about the "looks like Dad" argument - or at least, I think that argument only has validity from the parents' point of view rather than the child's. Same goes for the "looks like all the other boys" argument because these days most locker rooms are going to have a pretty healthy representation of both.

4:25 PM  
Blogger SciFi Dad said...

Not that it should matter to you, but circumcision is classified as cosmetic surgery in Ontario.

My son is uncut, as am I. However, my status had nothing to do with the decision; it was about the lack of necessity for us.

As for the looks like Dad argument: how many times did you spend naked time with your parent of the same gender growing up where it mattered to you what either of you looked like?

4:47 PM  
Blogger Shonda Little said...

It was a tough decision for us because my husband isn't, nor is his brother. Ultimately my doctor talked us into it.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Loralee Choate said...

I did it mainly because I watched my best friend go through it at 20 and MY HELL how that man suffered. I knew it would not be a memory for him and much worse should he opt to do it later.

Plus, I do no think I could go near my husband in the way he would REALLY like if it were not. (Personal preference and TMI, I know)

That said, when the time came I was all a quiver with worry and doubt, even though I was sure.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

We ended up not circumcising our son, but it was a tough decision to make.

5:29 PM  
Blogger mom2nji said...

We circ'd all three boys, I was against it with all three. Dh was firmly in the they must be clipped camp esp with my oldest. He thought it was unclean. Noah's was awful! His ped was a nut job and didnt use anything for pain. We had no idea and just ASSumed he would. Jebus awful stuff.
DH started to wane on the issue by the time #3 came along but didnt want him to be "different". We had to wait til Zai was 3 weeks cuz he was sooo tiny. Once again awful stuff, though this doc did numb it.
Whats done is done, I was not thrilled at the time but they all came through okay.
I am working on him for the then next baby, cuz I know it will be another boy!

6:41 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Is it wrong that I laughed out loud at the second part of your comment, Loralee? Because I did.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Baby in the City said...

For those new or soon-to-be parents who are interested in all the info from both sides...

We snipped my son and he cried a lot, but not from the cut, from being undressed and cold and being strapped into the body mold and constrained (which is so the baby keeps still and out of the way). We had a topical freezing, followed by a needle and I am sure he felt nothing. His cries stopped long before the cutting. It healed SO fast, kind of like the umbilical button.
I was present for the whole thing. It was awful to see him all strapped down, it felt wrong, but it was over very quickly and really, I believe boys are no worse for it.

Ultimately, I think it is a 50-50 proposition, there is no right answer. Parents should follow their gut.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the end, he can choose to go under the knife one day if he would like, much like one day my girls can decide for themselves if they want pierced ears. Who am I to modify their bodies for non medical reasons? If I was all up in that idea, I'd get them some bad ass tats. Bad ass tats have way more street cred then a circumsized penis any day.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

I was pretty certain I didn't want to have my son circ'd, but wasn't sure about how my husband would feel. It turns out, he was ok with letting our son decide if he wanted to get it done later in life. Sure, he might feel some pain if he decides to get it done, but at least he'll be in charge of that decision.

(I do dislike the 'so he looks like his father' reason b/c do men and their sons really compare penises? My breasts are teeny tiny compared to my mother's and yet I've never wanted implants to 'match' hers)

9:02 PM  
Blogger dawn224 said...

Loralee's comment was awesome :)

I left it to hubs. He has a penis - he chose the cut.

When they brought Alex back he was sleeping peacefully. When he woke up, he let out a whole new cry we hadn't heard before, and it was one of pain.

And we felt like shit heels.

Now - he's almost two, and for the amount of time that child spends with his penis in his hand, he would have rubbed the damned foreskin off by now anyway.

(and funny, it seems like there are more defensive non cutters in this thread. hee!)

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her Bad Mother -

As a guy who was mercifully spared when it was much more common I want to congratulate you on a good decision. He will thank you I am sure of it. It's great to see that the tied seems to be shifting I hope we see circumcision dwindle to very low levels as soon as possible.

I wanted to share an article that was published last year in an Australian Journal, Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Before anyone completely dismisses any comparison with FGM please carefully read: A Rose by Any Other Name? Rethinking the Similarities and Differences Between Male and Female Circumcision.

I think they make some very compelling points and I hope people who completely dismiss a link might be able to see how in some cases the two procedures are closer than we would like to believe. Perhaps it will give people more to think about.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We circ'd. I am Jewish and we plan on raising our son Jewish.

With that said, I didnt just say "Well I'm Jewish and thats that". We did research and had conversation with each other, with close family and with a rabbi to make our decision.

We had a beautiful ceremony at our home with a lovely Mohel and kiddo didnt even cry. Me? I was a blubbering fool (those darn hormones!), but not because I questioned our decision, but because I didnt want any pain to come to my small child who I knew already was going to need surgery at 2 weeks old.

With all my careful consideration and empathy for my child, whom I love more than life itself, I was still called a child abuser and was attacked with such venom by people who opposed my... well thought out... decision, that I vowed I'd keep my personal and controversial decisions off the internet. Kudos to you for taking on a hot button topic like this.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

LizPw - which is exactly why I swore that I'd never talk about it - too hot button, and I wasn't interested in stoking flames. It's a personal choice, an intensely personal choice, and I respect whatever any parent thoughtfully chooses. It wasn't until I saw a thoughtful discussion taking place at Momversation that I realized that it might be safe to bring it up, and have people talk about their decisions openly and civilly.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have five girls and didn't really think about it until I realized that in the United States it's a big issue. In Italy, boys are not circumcised but after reading the post and comments I understand it's a hot issue.
I'm glad I don;t have to deal with it with girls :)

10:39 PM  
Blogger NotStyro said...

Although I don't agree with the result, I think you made an informed choice and that is all that a child and the AAP can ask of you.

For anyone seeking more information on male circumcision, please follow the links...

Why should you consider circumcision?

Benefits outweigh risks...

Debunking lies and myths...

Personal Testimonials...

Medical References...

11:22 PM  
Blogger Mr Lady said...

Found it.

If you're on the fence, try this one out.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting topic and one that I haven't given much thought to. Since we only have a girl, we didn't need to make the decision.

However, I'm naiive and I don't think it would have been a hard decision for us. I knew the reasons for it and I just figured it's something you do. Granted, I probably would have researched it more, knowing I would be putting my son through it. What a tough subject.

But I will always remember a time in high school. Things got hot and heavy with a guy. Before he let me see or touch "it", he begged for me to promise not to tell anyone that he was uncircumcised. It was humiliating for him. We never had sex (not b/c of that) so I don't know how it feels to be with a man who is intact, but I think of that night and I don't ever want my child to feel embarassed (any more so than is natural at that age!).

I guess what I'm saying is that you've opened up a new area for me to explore. I never realized it was such a controversial topic.

12:01 AM  
Blogger Deb Rox said...

My sons are teens, with the elder cut and the younger not. I started reading Mothering magazine after having my first son and was evangelized. I agonized about both decisions on and off and still don't know what is right. For what it is worth, the older is happy he was snipped as a baby; the younger is fine with his foreskin intact and doesn't want it removed now/yet, but wishes it would have been done as a baby. Who knows?

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In my experience the issue you describe was not a problem though I am sure for some it could have happened. I think you, and others, should consider that a lot has changed since those days. First, many more boys are left intact today. Just look at the replies to this blog post. And hopefully it will continue to fall. Second, there is so much information on this Internet now most boys will know that this is a uniquely American enigma and everyone will be aware of the differences. The days where either girls or boys will think that boys are born circumcised (and therefore an intact boy seems odd) are long gone.


I also wanted to get some reactions to a blog I found. It's of an Indonesian mother praising her infant daughter for getting through her circumcision bravely. Now clearly she did this at a hospital or pedi and infact a large majority of women in her part of the world do this. We here would have put her in jail for what she did but for some reason it was important to her.

It was important for her (whether it was culture or religion), she had it done by a doc, and since the kid is an infant she won't know what she was missing. My question to you all is: Is she a bad mother? If you say yes, she shouldn't have done that how is it materially different from what we do to boys?

12:24 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

My son isn't circ'd either...then again neither is the hubs. I'm sure he'd LOVE me sharing that with the Interwebs, so to soften that, I will also add, mindblowing sex? Yes indeed.

12:38 AM  
Blogger NotStyro said...

@Joe, not to spark a debate, but FGM is not equal to male circumcision.

From 'Allegation 8' of the 'debunking lies & myths' link...

"Male circumcision and female genital mutilation (sometimes also incorrectly called "female circumcision") are two completely different procedures. Circumcision of males, except if done for religious reasons, is considered by most people as a prophylactic (health) procedure. FGM - by its nature - usually results in the mutilation of the female sexual organ, which makes it very hard for the person involved to experience any sexual pleasure. The equivalent of FGM in males would amount to the complete amputation of the penis. "

12:39 AM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

I had a short relationship with a man who had been damaged in the circumcision process and he was damaged in every way by it.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story.I think it's great parents are now talking about it and sharing information.
For the record, I'm a mom of two boys - one circumcised and one not (I also have a daughter). My oldest, a son, was circed at 2 days old and to my knowledge suffered no ill effects. He came back to my room sleeping and the nurse said he did great. He's now 10 and fine. When my second boy was born I just assumed we'd circ, as my oldest is, but the baby was born with an undescended testicle. We were told if his testicle didn't drop by age 2 he would need surgery and we could just circ him then while he was under anesthesia. So during this time I researched how to take care of an uncircumcised baby and what all a circumcision entails (he was born 4 years ago so the internet was much more accessible). I found out so much stuff I had never know. If I had actually known what all a circumcision involved I don't think I ever would have consented to the first boy getting it. I also read there could be serious complications, thankfully my oldest didn't have any. I also saw a video of a baby getting the surgery and then that was it for me. I knew I couldn't go through with it. Cleaning an uncircumcised baby is actually easier than cleaning a circumcised baby and you just wipe it off (there's a lot of vasoline and gauze with circed babies for a few weeks). It's very easy.
For the record, my youngest son's testicle dropped around 11 months so he never needed that surgery either. By then I had already decided against the circ even if he needed the testicle surgery.

I guess my whole point is we are lucky information is so available to us parents now days. I think you can find much info for or against anything. But sometimes seeing both sides of the cause allows us to make a more educated decision and feel confident doing so.

Somebody mentioned in an anonymous post that a lot of gay men like foreskin, or something like that. I have to say I find that comment hateful and unnecessary, and I'm not sure what that person was getting at. That said, 4 years ago when I was researching it, I did find some gay men and websites discussing the greatness of the foreskin. I also found several websites by, if you can even believe this, men who get off sexually seeing and performing circumcisions on both boys and men. I can't wrap my mind around a fetish like that, but it does exist. So I would hope anyone researching circumcision would really investigate the source and incentives for posting such information (pro or con).

Lastly, as someone with both circed and uncirced sons, I can't say I feel one way is better, or that someone who circumcises is a bad parent. I think we all make the best decisions we can with the information we have, and I think most parents put a lot of thought into stuff like this. I don't think there is just one right way. But I do think it's nice that issues such as this are being discussed. It's a good thing!

(I'm using anonymous posting because I don't want any harassment, but my name is Anita and I enjoy your blog! I also love the name Jasper!)

4:34 AM  
Blogger Gunfighter said...

I think you made the right choice.

I have daughters and I am officially (surgically) out of the baby making business, but if I had a son, I wouldn't have had it done simply because there is no reason for it.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

I'm in the "I don't want to perform cosmetic body modification on my infant child without his permission or understanding" camp.

And I was perfectly willing to talk about it. On the Motherhood Uncensored Blog Talk Radio Show, a couple of years ago. That's right. I'm willing to talk about penises on the radio. I should put that on my resume.

We had a very civil discussion there, actually. I think civil discussions on this matter are indeed possible.

Of course, it's also quite possible for people on both sides to be jerks about it, as is true of any controversial issue. While I was pregnant with my son, I was very, very surprised at how many friends, co-workers and distant family members asked me, without being prompted, about whether I was planning to circ my son. And then proceeded to hold forth on their opinions pro or con, like my the appearance of my son's penis was somehow their business. My sister's boyfriend at the time actually attempted to STAGE AN INTERVENTION, while I was hugely pregnant, by taking me out of the house alone on false pretenses and then confronting me in anxious tones in an attempt to convince me to circumcise the baby so that he would not "be part of a minority." It was pretty ridiculous.

Incidentally, Catherine, you really should make sure your doctor knows how to deal with an intact penis. Sometimes doctors forcibly retract the foreskin before it's fully detached, because they don't know any better. A doctor I assumed was knowledgeable tried to do this to my son when he was a baby. I got pretty angry.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It hadn't occured to me until people started asking when I was pregnant that this was even a decision I had to make. After all of the research that I did I still hadn't come to a conclusion. I wasn't swayed either way.

I ultimately made the decision to have him circumcised because my dad insisted. (My son's father wasn't in the picture at the time to help make the decision)
I figured he would know better than I would.

I was in the room with my son when they did the procedure and I have to tell you it was the most heart breaking, painful experience.. for me.
He strongly disliked being strapped down but he didn't seem to feel any pain at all. If he did, it didn't show.

I think that faced with this decision I probably wouldn't do it again.
Even though, like previous commentors, I've known people that were embarassed that they weren't circumcised, I think that there is enough of both that it really won't affect my decision. There won't be any basis for the "like everyone else" argument. Although I'm sure that very argument probably came into play in my own decision at some point.
I just don't think it is all that necessary. -- IMO.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

This, in a perfect, well-thought out and well-said nutshell, EXACTLY what we went through - right down to me having Penis Day Camp with my doctor so he could assure me about taking care of an uncircumcised penis.

But yeah - agonized, studied up, decided to go for it - and couldn't, because I couldn't bear to think of causing him pain.

12:27 PM  
Blogger April said...

i was so on the fence about this before having each of my kids... husband was inclined to cut (as he is) and i was inclined not to cut. unfortunately both of our boys have been born with hypospadius which requires LOTS of cutting, and, ultimately, a circumcision. bah.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a respectful discussion about circumcision. We decided not to with our two boys, largely because it is unnecessary surgery. That said, we did make sure to find out how to properly care for an uncircumcised penis!

To second Jaelithe, above, make sure your doctor knows how to properly care for an intact penis. It is amazing the amount of wrong information, and the number of people and sources that say to retract the foreskin! Don't!! It will move on it's own, generally before the child turns eight. Not two, eight! Sometimes, forceful retraction of the foreskin can lead to tears, can lead to scarring, and this nasty little cycle continues, until, guess what? A circumcision is sometimes necessary at an older age to deal with splitting, scarring, and pain... Just ask my father, who, at 60 years young, finally addressed this problem! :O

1:16 PM  
Blogger Mammatalk said...

My husband and I only had girls. Nonetheless, we struggled with this topic throughout both my pregnancies. My thought process followed yours. I could not have written it so elequently, of course. But, my final decision would have been the same. Great post!

PS My European born hubby is not circed and judging from my very, very personal experience, it is much better. Just my opinion.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I feel like I ought to drag the conversation into the mud just because it's been so nice so far :}


*pokes head around corner*




Do anything for you? :}

I'm so awesome.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Jessica McFadden said...

You expressed my feelings exactly, and your husband sounds just like mine on this matter. (Cut dude doesn't want son to be cut.) Thanks for this post.

7:04 PM  
Blogger A Crafty Mom said...

Great post! Everyone is entitled to their own decision, and you are awesome for sharing yours (eloquently too, as always).

We didn't circumsize our boys, and I'm embarrassed to say I didn't actually do very much research on it at all. My husband's parents are from Europe, thus he is not circumcized and it never really occurred to us to have the procedure done on our children. Our midwife advised against it (although, obviously we would make our own decision not based on her opinion), and I am the biggest wimp ever when it comes to pain, needles, and blood. It was a pretty simple choice for us, lol.

7:55 PM  
Blogger cakeburnette said...

hunh...not one person asked me about what we planned on doing with my son. I don't know if everyone I know is just not that nosy, or if they think that's sort of an inappropriate conversation topic. Ewwww.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think this website and this woman could really be helpful she is fantastic and and a wealth of information! (especially about Foreskins for Keeps, an idea whose time has come )

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading the following article on what this pain specialist experienced with 'circumcised male babies', we chose to leave our twin sons natural. It's obvious, that most of the pro-circumciser's that posted here have no knowledge of what their doing to their sons. Or they don't care.

Anna Taddio, a pain specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, noticed more than a decade ago that the male infants she treated seemed more sensitive to pain than their female counterparts. This discrepancy, she reasoned, could be due to sex hormones, to anatomical differences — or to a painful event experienced by many boys: circumcision. In a study of 87 baby boys, Taddio found that those who had been circumcised soon after birth reacted more strongly and cried for longer than uncircumcised boys when they received a vaccination shot four to six months later. Among the circumcised boys, those who had received an analgesic cream at the time of the surgery cried less while getting the immunization than those circumcised without pain relief.
Taddio concluded that a single painful event could produce effects lasting for months, and perhaps much longer. “When we do something to a baby that is not an expected part of its normal development, especially at a very early stage, we may actually change the way the nervous system is wired,” she says. Early encounters with pain may alter the threshold at which pain is felt later on, making a child hypersensitive to pain — or, alternatively, dangerously indifferent to it. Lasting effects might also include emotional and behavioral problems like anxiety and depression, even learning disabilities (though these findings are far more tentative).

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying that I really appreciated the honesty of your post & completely respect your decision.

As a complete random stranger I'll put my two cents in the pot...

I circumcised my son because I heard that its good for the father to match the son. I'm also not too bothered by the pain part if I think it is good for them in the long run. Your post however makes me a little ashamed that I didn't think past that one simple thought. Does that make me a bad mother?
I believe in the cry out method for teaching the kids to put themselves to sleep too. I so mean. I guess the only point to make is that I think there are decisions as parents that we have to make even if those decisions make us feel bad. (LIKE DISAPLINING THEM). But, Circumcise isn't one of them.

2:06 AM  
Blogger Avonlea said...

The website for the Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.)organization has some good info - http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org

"People" may think they should do it for "health" reasons, but they don't need to. Unless you are a man in Africa without good access to clean water and good hygiene, there really isn't a need for it.

I was adamant that we were not going to cut away part of my son's healthy, functioning sexual organs for purely cosmetic reasons. Even though my husband actually was circumcised later in life at about 8-ish years old due to recurrent infections, he agreed with me that there was no reason to circumsize our newborn.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Avonlea said...

I forgot to add that it's my thinkging that many of the later in life circumcisions came about due to misinformation about how to properly care for the intact foreskin, leading to problems and infections. From the D.O.C. website, in Finland, where they don't do newborn circ, the risk of needing a circ later is is one in sixteen thousand, six hundred sixty-seven (1/16,667).

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My hubby is circumcised. All four of our sons are circumcised. I feel there is no right or wrong answer on this topic - it is the parents decision to do what they feel is best for their son.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Male Circumcision – Much More Than The Mutilation of Sexual Pleasure

By Jamie Glazov

THAT MALE CIRCUMCISION mutilates male sexual pleasure is a fact that has been thoroughly documented. It is unfortunate, therefore, that this anti-sexual savagery continues to be widely practiced in our own society.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that not only does male circumcision reduce male sexual pleasure, it also inflicts severe emotional and psychological damage upon its victims. Yet there is even more ignorance and indifference about this fact than about the anti-sexual component of male circumcision.

Don’t kid yourself: circumcision of the male foreskin, which is almost always inflicted without anesthesia, is extraordinarily painful and traumatic. Whether or not this violence is experienced by a newborn, a young child or an adolescent, the victim’s brain and emotional state is sharply and negatively affected.

Think about it: the penis is an organ that is connected to the operation of the brain and, aside from the overall objective of procreation, it is designed for the experience of sexual pleasure and the expression of love. So when it is mutilated with painful violence, the victim obviously suffers a permanent alteration of his normative brain development for the normal expression of sexual pleasure and love. All future experiences of genital pleasure involve, to certain degrees, the memory – even unconscious -- of severe pain.

Developmental neuropsychologist Dr. James Prescott has done extensive research into the neurological damage caused by circumcision. He has documented how the excruciating genital pain that is suffered, even "unconsciously," by a new-born male baby, has long-term, damaging consequences on his ability to separate the differences between pain and pleasure in love and intimate relationships. The brain system that has been designed for pleasure is, because of circumcision, encoded with pain. It is simply a fact that this reality disfigures subsequent experiences of pleasure -- and not just in the sexual context.

The blurring of pain and pleasure in the developing brain provides the foundation for many circumcised males to need pain in order to experience pleasure, or vice versa. It would not be unreasonable to argue, therefore, that much of the violence in a society could very well be rooted, in part, in the extent to which that society practices male circumcision.

Scientific studies have consistently shown that circumcision disrupts a child's behavioral development. Studies performed at the University of Colorado School of Medicine revealed that circumcision is followed by prolonged, distressed non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Because of the infliction of unbearable pain on their neural pathways, circumcised babies withdrew into a type of semi-coma that lasted for days and sometimes even weeks.

Numerous studies have confirmed that children and adolescents who experienced circumcision were terribly frightened during the assault and exhibited behavior problems after their circumcisions. Among the symptoms were stuttering, obsessive compulsive reactions, ticks and aggressive behavior. Psychological trauma also included the development of night terrors, temper tantrums and rage. In many children, suicidal impulses developed. Fear of authority was also greatly increased.

Studies have also shown that that circumcision adversely alters the brain's perception centers. Moreover, circumcised boys have been shown to have lower pain thresholds than girls or intact boys.

Male circumcision has been shown to disrupt the mother-infant bond during the crucial period after birth.

But we know how crucial this bonding is, especially in terms of what we know about how developmental deprivation of affection in the maternal-infant relationship leads to future violent destructive behavior in the child-turned-adult.

Neuronal damage occurs in babies who are deprived of maternal affection. In other words, even if a mother gives her circumcised baby affection, there is evidence to suggest that this dynamic is often distorted because of the effect of the circumcision itself – in terms of how the baby is able to receive affection after being the victim of excruciating violent pain.

The point here is that circumcision prevents the normal sensory stimulation of the brain and emotional well-being, which is essential for normal human development and function.

Let us also keep in mind that, in many cases, circumcision literally destroys an individual’s life. Many boys, for instance, have been transformed into girls because their circumcisions went wrong.

It would be silly, of course, to suggest that all males who are circumcised are sociopaths or psychopaths. That is simply ridiculous and we know better. But that is not the point. The point is that, in terms of what medical science tells us about the genitalia’s relationship with who we are, perhaps we should begin to think twice about mutilating our baby boys.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I’ve kind of been meaning to blog about this for awhile. I’m approaching this from a medical standpoint so it isn’t inappropriate or anything. It is just something I’m rather opinionated about.

Why is the US so obsessed with circumcision? I can see that it had its place in history, a time when bathing was a once a week event, but what about now? Why has this utterly barbaric and now obsolete practicing still being performed? It really perplexes me. After all, the US is about 65-70% cut and I know that the practicing Jew population does not come near to those numbers.

The procedure has already been shot down by many doctors. Having no foreskin does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases, does not lower your chance of getting AIDS, nada. Foreskin just needs to be kept clean like any other part of the male body.

Another big reason people advocate for circumcision is purely for cosmetic reasons. Some people value having no skin on the penis (which was there PURPOSEFULLY). But if any woman wants to judge a man by that, I’d humbly ask her what part of her vagina she would like to give up. I don’t thing girls really understand that it is not some detachable body piece. The pain infant males go through is painful to watch. If you want to see, search up Penn and Teller’s BULLSH!T episode about the matter.

Am I against circumcision? No. There are valid medical reasons why it is performed in some cases. And what if a guy just wanted to be cut? Sure, whatever. But in those cases it can be a consenting male that willingly goes under the knife to get those results. Not an infant who is having an operation that will change his physical appearance for the rest of his life and something he has to deal with.

It is something people should really put more thought into. Don’t just do it because the “majority” does. America is one of the last countries still holding on to this spiteful surgery.

ps- I should clarify. I find nothing wrong with circumcisized penises. The problem lies in infants not having a CHOICE.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sex with a circumcised penis has been likened to 'trying to appreciate one of Goya's masterpieces by looking at a black and white photograph?'

Kenneth Purvis, M.D., Ph.D.
The Male Sexual Machine: An Owner's Manual,

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is aware of the deep implications and life-long effect (of circumcision). All that takes place in the first days of life on the emotional level shapes the pattern of all future reactions. How could a being aggressed in this way, while totally helpless, develop into a relaxed, trusting person?

Dr. Frederick Leboyer
Birth Without Violence, 1975

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paula said...
I feel there is no right or wrong answer on this topic - it is the parents decision to do what they feel is best for their son.


Statements such as this are a projection to protect or relieve that individual of any responsibility for their actions or feelings.
If we accept, that babies are born perfect as Nature/God designed them to be - and that's how the vast majority of the people in the world see it - why would some parents think it's their right to interfere with Nature/God's design?
Wouldn't it be ingratiating on the parents part, if the parents decided it was their sons decision to decide how he wants his own penis to be?

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This topic is so painful for me I can't read the comments. It hurts my heart too much. We did it to our son. We fought over it and he had his reasons and at the time they were compelling to him. I gave in and hated myself for my postpartum weakness. There are no excuses. It was a huge mistake and now we both regret it. Even him. If we could undo it we would. My biggest parental regret.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There seems to be a lot of posters who didn't or wouldn't circumcise their sons. I think that is great. Although I don't think that should be a consideration, I hope people who are concerned with the 'look like others' will consider the response here. I look forward to the day when circumcision is forgotten like other parts of 18th century medicine or bronze age rituals.

I think the best way to do this is just what is being done here, talking about it and eliminating the overwhelming number of myths concerning intact boys. Since once people realize most of what they've grown up to believe is wrong, the decision is easy.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cruelest Cut

Then after the child is born some cultural traditions circumcise the child and this is another violation of the baby, the baby has only just arrived and now they cut the skin of the child. The child is welcomed into the world by giants that erode the boundaries of the child as soon as it enters the world.

Jesus Christ was against circumcision and when the Apostles asked him about circumcision he replied that if you were meant to be circumcised then you would have been born like it from the mother.

Some people realize that circumcision is barbaric and has no place in the 21s century. "Jews Against Circumcision" also state that Rabbi Moses Maimonides himself acknowledged that circumcision is done to desensitize the penis and curb masturbation. Anyone that hurts a child in thought, word or deed is in contravention of the universal law of God.


The bible also talks about traditions of men being a hollow and deceptive philosophy.

One might ask why then do religious people CUT their children in circumcision, circumcision is a tradition of man and not of God. God does not wish for any child to be harmed in anyway.


"Children are not a commodity, without love they become so. Parents are the guardians of the soul, a precious gem born to shine. It is the guardian’s responsibility to ensure that gem is not reshaped, but allowed to BE its natural state. Children are the supreme joy of human life’ from Sacred Words.


"MGM (Male Genital Mutilation) is a cruel, painful, mutilating, torturous, violative act without valid medical benefit that not only contravenes the UN Charter but also violates every principle of human kindness and medical ethics in every civilized country in the world. The very foundation of modern medicine is "First, do no harm." Yet, circumcision does just that.

The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and equivalent organizations in Canada all state that routine circumcision is not medically justified.

Growing up, we heard the same myths that all of you have heard - it’s just a snip, it doesn’t hurt. Lies! They have attached EKGs and EEGs to babies during circumcision. Their blood pressure rises, their brain waves go off the chart, they writhe in pain, and they go into shock. It hurts, trust me.

Circumcision removes healthy, erogenous tissue. It has been estimated by Canadian researchers that up to 80% of a male's erogenous tissue is amputated during a circumcision.

We've also heard people say, “It’s cleaner.” If boys can learn to blow their nose, brush their teeth, and wipe their butts after using the toilet, they can learn to pull back their foreskin and wash. (Incidentally, the foreskin is normally attached to the Glans and may not separate until puberty. When this is the case, it should be left alone, not forcibly retracted)." http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.com/


3:28 PM  
Blogger JCK said...

My husband and I went back and forth about this, too. In the end, after much research, we decided to not circumsize our son. I have to say, every time I see him running around naked a breathe a sigh of relief that he was not cut upon. Two things helped form my decision. Dr. Fleiss' article on why circumcision is unnecessary, and statistically that more parents are choosing this path. The 2nd reason did not weigh as much in the decision, but it was reassuring to hear that the stats are 50/50 and 70(not)/50 here in S. California. This would, of course, be statistics from families that do not have a religious belief on the subject.

Good for you for writing about this. And, yes, bottom line...like all of this parenting stuff...it is SUCH a personal decision.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a mother, but I would like to say that having sex with a guy who is intact(has his foreskin)has been unbelievably good.
I'm 24 and have had an active sex life since I was 17. Until I met Rob, I had never had sex with a natural guy.
It's hard to explain, but I sexually feel more of him, than I ever did with the previous six circumcised men. I think it has to do with him having a lot of extra skin on his penis - it's just great. He glides in me, where the previous men would grunt and groan trying to come. In some way, having sex with Rob is like having sex as Nature Intended.
If I should ever have a son, I will definitely not let anyone tamper with his penis.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the ultrasound is right and if the little nudger currently beating the crap out of my uterus is a boy, then I have to face this decision...to do or not to do?

My entire family and my fiancee and HIS entire family all say; do. But I have no clue.

I'm torn.

On the one hand, like you mentioned...the idea of a blade so close to my baby and harming him when it doesn't NEED to be done, well I don't like that idea.

On the other hand, my fiancee's entire family [of boys] has been circumcised, and the only one that wasn't ended up having to have the operation when he was 25 due to medical issues...and that's scary. You remember that. At least as a baby you don't remember it.

But I have NO CLUE. :(

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarcastica, nearly all men who ever "need" a circumcision later in life either do not actually need it, or damage was caused by improper care, or both.

In countries which intactness is the overwhelming norm, the concept of needing a circumcision for a medical reason later is almost unheard of. I've heard numbers from scandinavia of something like 1 in 12,000-15,000.

All you really need to do is protect your some from ignorant/improper care, and he'll be fine.

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could go on at great length about the medical and ethical arguments against male genital mutilation. Perhaps I will, in the future. But today I'm going to focus on a first-hand account of what it is like to experience/witness this barbaric procedure. I dare you to read it and defend it. I dare you.

(I essentially copied the following from the book Circumcision Exposed: Rethinking a Medical and Cultural Tradition by Professor B.R. Boyd.)

What you are about to read is an account of the first circumcision witnessed by Marilyn Fayre Milos, during her training to become a nurse/midwife. The experience she describes launched her into her life’s work to end the circumcision of baby boys.

We students filed into the newborn nursery to find a baby strapped spread-eagle to a plastic board on a counter-top across the room. He was struggling against his restraints - tugging, whimpering, and then crying helplessly.

No one was tending the infant, but when I asked the instructor if I could comfort him, she said, “Wait till the doctor gets here.” I wondered how a teacher of the healing arts could watch someone suffer and not offer assistance. I wondered about the doctor’s power which could intimidate others from following protective instincts.

When he did arrive, I immediately asked the doctor if I could help the baby. He told me to put my finger into the baby’s mouth. I did, and the baby sucked. I stroked his little head and spoke softly to him. He began to relax, and was momentarily quiet.

The silence was broken by a piercing scream - the baby’s reaction to having his foreskin pinched and crushed as the doctor attached the clamp to his penis.

The shriek intensified when the doctor inserted an instrument between the foreskin and the head of the penis, tearing the two structures apart.

The baby started frantically shaking his head back and forth - the only part of his body free to move - as the doctor used another clamp to crush the foreskin lengthwise, where he then cut. This made the opening of the foreskin large enough to insert a circumcision instrument.

The baby began to gasp and choke, breathless from his shrill, continuous screams. My bottom lip began to quiver, tears filled my eyes and spilled over. I found my own sobs difficult to contain.

During the next stage of the surgery, the doctor crushed the foreskin against the circumcision instrument and then, finally, amputated it. The baby was limp, exhausted, spent.

I did not know what they had cut off, and I did not try to find out.

I had not been prepared, nothing could have prepared me, for this experience.

To see a part of this baby’s penis being cut off was devastating.

But even more shocking was the doctor’s comment, barely audible several octaves below the piercing screams of the baby: “There’s no medical reason for doing this.”

I couldn’t believe my ears, my stomach became weak, and I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe that medical professionals, dedicated to helping and healing, could inflict such unnecessary pain and anguish on innocent babies.

9:59 PM  
Blogger the mystic said...

I have never blogged about this, but I will tell you it has been the most anguished decision of my life and I had to make it twice. There is not one parenting decision I have ever made that I second-guess so much. But, like you, at the moment, I just simply couldn't stomach the thought of the procedure, so here they are... and I pray they don't hate me someday.

2:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Staci said...
I have never blogged about this, but I will tell you it has been the most anguished decision of my life and I had to make it twice. There is not one parenting decision I have ever made that I second-guess so much. But, like you, at the moment, I just simply couldn't stomach the thought of the procedure, so here they are... and I pray they don't hate me someday.

Stop worrying! I'm one of six brothers and our parents left us as Nature wanted...intact. We've thanked our parents a number of times for leaving us whole. None of us are interested in changing our genitalia - we're just grateful to have our 'original equipment.'

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Staci, your sons will thank you for it. Just make sure you protect them from uneducated people (doctors included) who might forcibly retract them.

In the unlikely case one of your sons wants his penis smaller and shorter, he can always get it done.

You made the right decision, no doubt about it!

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I remember those days well. I agonized over Tre and Jonathan...do I or don't I. Their father is NOT circumscised and he was totally FOR them being circumscised. I had the same doubts as you - they were going to CUT my day old baby! They were going to hurt him and cause him pain! I was so anxious about the whole thing. I had to be there when the doctor did it. I wanted to be there to make sure they didn't f*** up anything. I had a wonderful OB/GYN doctor who did it herself and yes, I was allowed there. She actually gave him something to numb the area and he cried initially but as soon as he was back in my arms he was alright. You're absolutely right though, it IS a personal decision and everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and decisions. Hugs to you!

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok there was way too much to read here, but as someone WHO WAS CUT A YEAR AGO, here is my experience (I'm 24):

1) As uncut, I never understood the phrase "get your di*k wet," as the head of the penis was moist and soft all the time. I NEVER GOT why GUYS would use lube for masturbation/hand-jobs!!!! ---Your penis will DRY UP like a peeled cucamber left uneaten for too long --- rubbing/touching it will be unpleasant and weird

2) In case you're wondering what all the "nerve endings" and sensitivity craze is all about, (such as whether it's simply feeling less during thrusting and lasting longer) YOUR ORGASMS -- WILL --- SUFFER!!! A LOT!

I used to YELL and SCREAM and SHOUT and now it has NUMBED like a permanent anesthesia! Oh, I still make a sound, but it's a FRACTION of previous orgasms. The most intense orgasm now is like "way below' what it was before I had my circumcision.

You can go ahead and argue and debate that your son won't know the difference. You can say that millions in the U.S. (who never knew the difference) enjoy sex, and that adult males don't regret doing it to their sons. But if you want to decrease how much your sons will feel doing sex go ahead and get them cut.
Illustration - my last orgasm, arousal and Plateau have been reduced since my circumcision. I can see a vast difference in the before and after.
Now if this is what you want for your son, then do this unnecessary surgery. Just remember, once a boy is cut... there is NO TURNING BACK.

Hope it was helpful.


11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Ashley Montagu Resolution to End the Genital Mutilation of Children Worldwide: A Petition to the World Court, at the Hague
Please sign at:


3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compelling reasons exist for strong concern among attorneys and the public about the various types of damage caused by circumcision. These include pain and suffering, psychological harm, behavioral changes, irreversible reduction or loss of full sexual function, and underreported tragic complications, including deaths. Moreover, no satisfactory medical justification for routine circumcision has ever been demonstrated.


3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here via Neil's Citizen of the Month post.

Having gotten married and had grown up step-children I've never had to worry about making this decision.

I respect your decision as a mother.

As I mentioned at Neil's (and I can't believe I did, happily no one will read it LOL).

I only wish I had been circumcised when I was a babe so as not to have remembered what it was like!

When I was young, doctors were worried about how tight the foreskin was and recommended I get it removed. Due to the waiting list on the National Health in the UK or something it didn't actually happen until I was 13.

Never again!

Waking up in the hospital in pain and spending quite a while in pain recovering and pulling the so-called dissolving stitches out of myself for a while after was no fun (the merciless teasing of school mates didn't help).

I do remember the doctor telling my Mum that having it removed is also cleaner and the female partners of men who have been circumcised have a lower rate of cervical cancer due to the cleanliness! I had no idea if this was true or BS.

I can say it hasn't effected me in the workings of the little guy or in any physiological way that I am aware of, or has it?

Dang, that's two blogs I've talked about my penis, he'll be writing his own blog next if I'm not careful.

If I'd had the choice, would I have had it done, mm, good question, at the time I thought it was necessary and didn't know any better. Now I probably wouldn't.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good to see that so many people have made the same commonsense choice you did.

It's striking how in America it is such an agonising decision - but with so much pressure to do it. Unlike what school to send him to, or what time to send him to bed, it's not a decision that needs to be made at all. Most of the world never gives it a first thought. The rest of the English-speaking world tried it, found it did no good, and gave it up. In New Zealand it was nearly universal; now it's almost unknown, and in many cities there isn't a doctor who will do it.

And it's a most extraordinary decision, when there is no other part of his body - and no part at all of hers - that may be cut off at parental whim. The only reason it's not dismissed out of hand is that it is so common.

And to look like his father? You can't be serious!

3:26 AM  
Blogger Mark Lyndon said...

You might also want to check out the following:

Canadian Paediatric Society
Recommendation: Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.

Circumcision is a "non-therapeutic" procedure, which means it is not medically necessary."
"After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys. Many paediatricians no longer perform circumcisions.

RACP Policy Statement on Circumcision
"After extensive review of the literature the Royal Australasian College of Physicians reaffirms that there is no medical indication for routine neonatal circumcision."
(those last nine words are in bold on their website, and almost all the men responsible for this statement will be circumcised themselves, as the male circumcision rate in Australia in 1950 was about 90%. “Routine” circumcision is now *banned* in public hospitals in Australia in all states except one.)

British Medical Association: The law and ethics of male circumcision - guidance for doctors
"to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate."

National Health Service (UK)
"Many people have strong views about whether circumcision should be carried out or not. It is not routinely performed in the UK because there is no clear clinical evidence to suggest it has any medical benefit."

See also:
Canadian Children's Rights Council
"It is the position of the Canadian Children's Rights Council that "circumcision" of male or female children is genital mutilation of children.

Drops in male circumcision:
USA: from 90% to 57%
Canada: from 47% to 14%
UK: from 35% to about 5% (less than 1% among non-Muslims)
Australia: 90% to 12.6% ("routine" circumcision has recently been *banned* in public hospitals in all states except one, so the rate will now be a lot lower)
New Zealand: 95% to below 3% (mostly Samoans and Tongans)
South America and Europe: never above 5%

It's worth remembering that we wouldn't even be having this discussion if it weren't for the fact that 19th century doctors thought that :
a) masturbation caused various physical and mental problems (including epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, tuberculosis etc), and
b) circumcision stopped masturbation.

Both of those sound ridiculous today I know, but if you don't believe me, then check out this link:
A Short History of Circumcision in North America In the Physicians' Own Words

Over a hundred years later, circumcised men keep looking for new ways to defend the practice.

4:01 AM  

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