Scene - Triage room in L&D, 35 weeks pregnant, checking for preterm labor
Nurse: Let's do your preadmission
Me: Ok.......(skip ahead)
Nurse: Do you know the sex?
Me: It's a boy.
Nurse: Will you circumcise?
Me: (looks to Connected Dad)
Connected Dad: Yes
Three weeks later when I finally gave birth, the on-call doctor told me she didn't
When we were expecting Connected Daughter, I tentatively brought up circumcision to Connected Dad. I knew I would not allow another boy to be circumcised and was concerned that he might be upset. After all, I had left the initial decision up to him. Instead he agreed. He'd read about circumcision in a book and was horrified that he'd agreed to let Connected Son be circumcised.
And all of this leads up to what I mean when I say someday we will have the circumcision talk. I have no idea how it will come up. But someday I will apologize to my son for circumcising him, and I will explain to him that he was born perfectly healthy and I made a decision that was not my place to make. There are those that would laugh at this I'm sure, but my motivation is not to alleviate my guilt or traumatize my son, it's to stress the importance of leaving his own sons intact. I imagine the conversation may occur if we are blessed with another son in the future. I have no qualms about leaving that son intact. I'm not hung-up on a future son looking like his brother or father. Instead it will be a chance for me to admit my own mistake and stress to my children the importance of making educated decisions about parenting and birth. If I had been informed, I never would have agreed to circumcision.
Now I could list all the medical reasons why circumcision is not only unnecessary but dangerous. I could share with you the horrible statistics of infant boys who die, are seriously injured, or become ill from an unnecessary procedure. But I won't. If you need to read statistics or hear more stories, Peaceful Parenting has put together a tremendous resource list of books, articles, and websites with accurate information for parents. You can view it here.
In the end it all comes down to one thing - leaving your son intact is a matter of ethical integrity. Americans are horrified by the practice of female genital mutilation in other cultures. Amnesty International has spoken out against it. Yet, circumcision is an accepted medical practice in the U.S. If we can be honest with ourselves, it is no different than female genital mutilation. Regardless of whether you circumcised your son, like I did, or left them intact, it's time to accept that reality and demand an end to a procedure that is dangerous, medically unnecessary, and psychologically traumatic. We cannot hide behind the guise of tradition. And if that's not enough to convince you, imagine being strapped down, days old, and having the most sensitive area of your body partially removed by a knife. Could you do that to your child?