Monday, July 19, 2010

When the time comes: The Circumcision Talk

My son is circumcised. Not for a religious reason. Not as the result of an educated decision. My son is circumcised because this is exactly how much thought I gave it:

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 do circumcisions, but Dr. K loved to do them and would perform it later. They informed me that despite my objection to pacifiers as a nursing mom, they recommended one with a little sugar water to help calm the baby. At the time I was so caught up in the recovery from my c-section and difficulty nursing that I simply agreed. Looking back I wonder what I was thinking! Why would a doctor not do it? Why did they need to pacify my son? Because I was agreeing to mutilate him. There's really no way around it. My son was born beautiful and perfect, and I allowed them to perform unnecessary surgery on him.

Like so many mothers I fell victim to the idea that I wasn't the best person to make the decision, since I didn't have a penis. I was fine with it because I had no experience with intact penises. I can recall every single couple, there were 6, in my childbirth class, all of whom were expecting boys, discussing that circing was the norm. The only thing I read about circumcision, from a baby book I greatly revere from Dr. Sears, advised that if you thought the baby would ever want to be circumcised, it was best to do it at birth than later in life when the procedure was more difficult and painful (recent research undermines this theory, suggesting newborns are much more sensitive to pain). I do remember thinking it's better to do this now that wait. He'll want to look like Daddy. I know somewhere in my subconscious I thought it would be easier if he couldn't remember. How unfeeling of me! He still experienced the pain and fear. And like most mothers, I did not attend my son's circumcision. Having seen photos now of the procedure and read more about it, I can only imagine how my maternal instinct would have overcome me. I suppose if they let moms attend it, they wouldn't perform many circumcisions once mom saw this:Photo credit peaceful parenting


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?


74 comments:

Circumcision said... [Reply to comment]

Male circumcision is a safe, popular, healthy & beneficial procedure for individuals & parents to choose. It provides benefits such as 12x less likely for UTI, +22x less likely for cancer, 28% less risk for herpes, 35% for HPV & 60% for HIV/AIDS. The risks are about 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.

Parents should research circumcision and make an informed decision for the health & well-being of their son.

More information can be found at the following sites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision

http://www.malecircumcision.org/

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm

http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/164/1/104

http://www.circinfo.net

http://www.medicirc.org

Cyn said... [Reply to comment]

Sorry, but I disagree. Statistics are great, but what about ACTUAL numbers. For example, penile cancer at ALL is exceedingly rare, so being 22x less likely really doesn't mean anything. The fact is that pro-circ'ers are simply looking for reasons to justify something that is completely unnecessary.

Slee said... [Reply to comment]

Wow, troll circumfetishist commenter- the fact of the matter is that circumcision is not medically necessary, carries risks, and is NONconsensual genital mutilation. An infant can't give consent just like they can't sign a contract.

Thank you, Connected Mom for posting this very honest article on your own choices and why you wouldn't make them again. Somewhere, a mom is reading this, and her future son stands less a chance of risking infection from a surgical site in his diaper, of potentially bleeding to death, or of being raised as a girl in the case of a penis severing mistake. Some of these risks are more common than others, but they all happen, and the risks are just as real as that of penile cancer.

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

I'm not going to remove "Circumcision"'s comment above because he raises many of the common arguments used to justify circumcision. Instead I would invite anyone who looks at his resources to quickly look at http://www.drmomma.org/2010/02/dr-dean-edell-statement-on-circumcision.html A resource that addresses most of those "facts."

And when it comes down to it. It's as simple as this. A boy is born with foreskin. It is his my body and not mine. We can make many medical decisions for our children, but we should not remove a part of their body without a clear indication of medical necessity. It's no okay to say there is a need for circumcision because it might prevent a rare form of cancer. The American Academy of Pediatricians states that penile cancer is so rare that is should not be considered a reason to circumcise. Penile cancers accounts for less than 1 percent of all male cancers.

12.7% of girls will develop breast cancer in the U.S. alone. Do we lop off their breasts as prevention? That argument just doesn't hold water.

Cyn said... [Reply to comment]

Exactly, Jenn. I'm tired this morning, so didn't go into it as much as I normally would have, but those are exactly my arguments. I have two sons, both intact, despite arguments with my husband. He eventually came to see it was completely unnecessary, although he still doesn't like to talk about it. I had this to say about the topic a few months back: http://www.climbinguptheslide.com/2010/03/unkindest-cut-massachusetts-government.html

Restoring Tally said... [Reply to comment]

Unlike @Circumcision above, I believe circumcision is a very personal choice. One that should be made by the person who owns the body part to be cut. The statistics he cites ignores that UTIs and penile cancer are rare and that recent studies call into question any connection with a male's circumcision status.
See http://www.CircInfo.org

Also, the rate of complications is much higher than he claims. First, 100% of males experience reduces sexual pleasure. Circumcision amputates erogenous tissue. Current studies estimate that over 100 baby boys die from infant circumcision in the US every year.

I was circumcised as an infant. I dislike my circumcision so much that I am restoring my foreskin. The difference is amazing. The more I restore my foreskin the more I realize how much I lost by having my sex organ cut at birth.

The Water Girl said... [Reply to comment]

We are still a few years away from needing to come to a decision on this, and I have to say I'm much more in the middle. There are points I agree on from both sides.
I couldn't not comment, however when I saw this:

"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."

It IS different. Not because of what the procedure does (you're right, it cuts off a piece of the child's genitals) but because of WHY it is done and HOW it is done. Circumcision is done for many reasons, including tradition, but also because many people believe it is healthier and more sanitary. FGM is done to deprive a woman of sexual satisfaction. No one has their son circumcised because they don't want him to enjoy sex, ever. That is the purpose of FGM. It is a means to control women. It is also done when a girl is just that, a girl, not an infant. They are SUPPOSED to remember. It is SUPPOSED to be a traumatic experience for them, so that they associate anything that goes on with their sexual organs as being painful.
You may not agree with circumcision (I'm not sure I do either) but PLEASE don't compare a doctor in a clean hospital performing a surgery on an infant to a 10 year old girl being held down so that her clitoris can be cut off by a dirty razor blade.

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

I should clarify that I'm referring to the actual removal of a part of the genitals when I compare to FGM. The sad reality is that many of the "reasons and facts" behind circumcision are greatly exaggerated or have been disproved.

I'm sure people who wanted to could find facts to say FGM is more sanitary, beneficial and perfectly safe. What if doctors offered to do it in hospitals in a sterile environment? Would we be arguing about it instead?

Part of the reason I draw that comparison is that most of us have a visceral reaction to FGM. We believe it is not a parent's right to do that. Yet, somehow due to misinformation and the name of tradition, it is our decision whether or not to circumcise? That does not make sense.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Water Girl,
You might want to do a little more research. Did you know one of the original intentions of male circumcision was to curtail masturbation?

A.W. said... [Reply to comment]

I have seen more & more of the decision/choices we are as parents are suppose to make becoming topics like this! I guess next we will be saying it is not our responsibility as parents to even raise our kids. After all, every choice we make is based on our beliefs & understanding of things. Is it wrong of us to decide to breastfeed or babies & not give them the choice of formula? Or how about not letting them choose what type of diaper we use? I guess it is fine for a kid to decide they just want to eat candy & junk, because it is not our place to make ANY choices for them!
I circumcised my son because his father got an infection at age 12 & had to be then & became the joke of the school! It was not an easy choice, but I prayed about it & feel we made the right choice for him!

Restoring Tally said... [Reply to comment]

@Water Girl, are you aware that male circumcision and female circumcision were both promoted in the United States during the Victorian era as a means to stop self-pleasuring? Historically, genital cutting of both genders has been employed to subjugate a class of people. If you read JH Kellogg's book, he recommends male circumcision without anesthesia so that the boy associates the pain with his penis. He also advocated applying carbolic acid to girls' genitals.

As for how GM is performed, many countries practice FGM in hospitals using sterile surgical equipment, for example, Egypt and Indonesia. There are many types of FGM and it is practiced many different ways, from the African bush cutting that you apparently are thinking of to hospital settings analogous to how male genital cutting is done in the US.

I am not comparing male genital cutting with female genital cutting. But, your comment shows a lack of knowledge about both.

Lastly, the child whose genitalia has been cut does not care why it was done. The child suffers the loss regardless of the reason for the cutting. Let's protect all children and let them all grow up with intact genitals.

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

A.W., I think its pretty dismissive to associate my belief that this is not our decision with letting kids do whatever they want. If you read this blog, then you would know that is not the case. However, children are people too. Our job is to guide them during their developmental years. Guiding their choices on eating is not the same was performing risky surgery during the first few days of life. And also, I don't believe it is our job to make every decision for our children. I choose to look it at as I provide healthy food for my kids and offer limited sweets rather than I choose what they eat, because I don't force feed or cater to them.

I'm sorry your husband had a bad experience but he is in a very small minority. Intact boys are much more common now than in the past, so its really not something that makes a kid stand out anymore.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said... [Reply to comment]

Jenn, I just wanted to say thank you for being so honest and sharing with us. Please know that you WILL help change a mother's heart and mind. You WILL help one parent decide to leave his/her son intact. You are making a difference for the next generation!

A.W. said... [Reply to comment]

I know what I said is extreme, but what you are saying is extreme to me! Suggesting that those of us who choose to make this decision are sexually mutilating our children & taking away their choice, is in the same league as far as I'm concerned. I believe in the Bible & if God had said in their that Circumcision was evil I would not have even thought about it, but He did not. He commanded the Jews to do it to their sons, therefore it is not evil & we as parents have the right & responsibly to make a choice. Whether that choice is the one we made or the one you are making is not the issue. The fact is we as parents have to make tough choices & we should support each other in those choices, whether they are what we think is correct or not. We should in no way invoke feelings of judgment or condemning for what choices others have made.
Providing the facts is good, but making it sound like we are in the same group as those that make young children, who are of an age to remember being held down, go though this just as a right of passage is NOT fair! I believe I made the right choice! Every time I change my sons dipe & he fights me to just clean his bum, tells me that had I not chosen to circumcise then he would have had an infection & had to have had it done! I was not an easy choice, but I did it to make his life easier.
My nephew had to be circumcised at age 4 & it was much worse for him than it was for my son who will never remember it!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said... [Reply to comment]

A.W., because you are a Christian, I also hope that you are aware that God relieved Christians of the Old Testament commandment of circumcision. Circumcision was the OLD law, salvation through Jesus is the NEW law - you simply cannot use the OT as a justification for circumcision. Otherwise, you would also need to not work on the Sabbath, not eat certain foods, and adhere to a number of other strict laws that are set out in the OT.
For more info on Christianity & circumcision, please read: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/information-on-circumcision-for.html

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

I'm a fan of being supportive and welcoming regardless of parenting choices and I strive for that here. There is one thing that I am critical of though and that is decisions that I think endanger the child.

My hope is that by bringing this up more people will think about this choice and not make an uninformed decision like I did. Mostly because I believe most parents who do a lot of research and consider the ethical issues surrounding circumcision will reach similar conclusions.

I don't like to think what I did was genital mutilation, but factually it was. Removing part of his genitalia without his consent with no specific medical indication falls into the category. Its my responsibility to raise awareness and provoke parents to think about this choice.

A.W., it sounds like there may be a hereditary indication for circumcision in your family, but such circumstances are exceedingly rare. They estimate 100 baby boys die as the result of circumcision complications each year. I would rather have to do a medically necessary circumcision on an older child, teenager, or grown man when the problem became apparent than risk my infant's life on a what if.

PurpleDancingDahlias said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for writing this. I too, some day, will have to apologize to my boys for circumcising them. I was wrong and did not have the correct information to make an informed decision. If we are blessed with another little boy he will remain intact.

Jen Holland said... [Reply to comment]

A.W., you say that "we as parents have to make tough choices & we should support each other in those choices, whether they are what we think is correct or not." I completely disagree and think that is a very dangerous and irresponsible sentiment. Genital mutilation is NOT ok. Corporal punishment is NOT ok. I will never respect another parent's choice to cause their child harm.

A.W. said... [Reply to comment]

Dionna, I know it is not a law anymore. There is also no law against it. You also said, "Otherwise, you would also need to not work on the Sabbath, not eat certain foods, and adhere to a number of other strict laws that are set out in the OT." I don't work (or shop) on the Sabbath. There are things I don't eat, because they are not good for me. My point was that God is not against it!
I prayerfully made the choice to circ my son, I know it was the right choice for him. I will pray about it next time & if the answer is to not do it, then I won't. However, if the answer is the same as it was for my son then it will happen again. I will not feel the guilt that you all put on yourselves, it is not what God would want. Go ahead & make the choice you feel is right for you & your family. In the same respect please allow everyone that right, to make the best choice for their families.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said... [Reply to comment]

A.W. - it was not a "choice" God gave the Jews. It was a *Commandment.* I'm not going to argue Biblical semantics with you, because I don't think I made my point very clearly. (I'm not talking about not eating foods that aren't good for you, I'm talking about the strict Old Testament laws on eating "clean" animals, etc. Those weren't "choices" either.)

I will reassert my position that it is not a "family's" choice. Only one person owns the right to permanently alter his or her genitals - the owner of the genitals.

Let's put it this way: if doctors came up with new research that said that your daughter would be half as likely to get cancer or AIDS (but her chances were still less than about 5% either way) if she had her clitoris circumcised, would you jump on the bandwagon? *THOSE* are the arguments people are making about circumcision now. Your child is less likely to get penile cancer than he is of getting BREAST cancer.

A.W. said... [Reply to comment]

I never said it was a "choice" for the Jews, I am fully aware of the difference in choice & Command! I also never said that the choice I made was Because of the Bible, or Penile Cancer! I said that God has never said that it is a sin to circ your sons. You can compare it to FGM all you want, but I made my choice based on prayer. Maybe you don't believe God still answers prayers, but I do! I know that circumcising my son was the right thing for him. I will not embaress my son later in life by sitting him down & saying, "I'm sorry I circumcised you! I was a stupid, ill-informed woman, & do not have the right to ask for your forgiveness."
You made your choice, deal with it! Stop making yourselves feel guilt for it! If you still plan on having kids, then you have the chance to not make the "mistake" next time. Forgive yourselves & move on!
I guess when your kids are teens & want to go jump in bed with everyone they see & then go & get an abortion without telling you that that is fine too! After all it is their genitals, so it is none of your business as a parent! I love what our society has become...

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Old Testament circumcisions removed only the tip of the foreskin, not the entire foreskin
as happens today. The Pharisees changed the practice of circumcision in the second
century A.D. Those wanting to learn more about what Christianity teaches about
circumcision should visit: http://www.acts15.net/ and
http://www.catholicsagainstcircumcision.org/

It is puzzling why a parent would make a medical decision for their child based on a
problem from a third person, and not on the health situation of that particular child. A
child born with a healthy foreskin has no medical need for circumcision, and one would
have to be a prophet to know if he would ever have a problem. Many foreskin problems
today can be treated non-surgically.

God in His divine wisdom creates males with a foreskin. I trust in God's design, and I
cannot improve upon His creation by cutting off healthy body parts from another person
to do a better job than God knows how to do.

God teaches me to love my neighbor as myself, and that includes the children he gives to me. Loving a child does not include holding him or her down and then cutting off a healthy part of his or her genitals. God does not make mistakes that we need to correct.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said... [Reply to comment]

So we've jumped from circumcision to premarital sex and abortion? Fitting, since circumcision made a comeback in America due to several doctors' assertions that circ would "cure" boys of masturbation.

I'm not knocking the power of prayer, I was raised Southern Baptist. I do question any parent's choice to perform surgery on their child's genitals without researching it, guided only by prayer. Even our spiritual leaders do their research on matters outside of religion.

The fact of the matter is that God's original call for parents to circumcise their children was to have the parents show their faith, their commitment to God. Christians have no need to circumcise to prove their faithfulness or commitment.

God made our bodies perfectly. He has said that our bodies are beautiful just as they are - we're even called not to change them with tattoos! Why, then, would our loving God want us to remove a functioning part of the foreskin?

As far as asking forgiveness of your child for something - I hope that's not your attitude forever. Parents make mistakes too. If you are unwilling to ever tell your child you are sorry and ask for his forgiveness, you will have a long road ahead of you with a very resentful child. Loving parents model forgiveness by giving it and seeking it when we make mistakes.

I really did not intend to get you riled up A.W., nor is it my intent to make anyone feel guilty about their previous choices. But I do want to make parents think about their very real, very permanent actions and educate themselves about the decisions they make for their children. Genital surgery is no light or inconsequential matter.

mystic_eye_cda said... [Reply to comment]

@The Water Girl

No, there isn't. In some cultures male circumcision is done to 8-18 year olds with dirty knives, hunks of glass, etc. And in many places, including recently in the US, female circumcision was done in nice clean doctors offices.

Female circumcision is done for cleanliness. And the reasons that male circumcision started, and the primary reason in many cultures, is to reduce adultery (by reducing sexual pleasure for both men and women) and to prevent masturbation.

Similarities in Attitudes and Misconceptions toward Infant Male Circumcision in North America and Ritual Female Genital Mutilation in Africa.
http://www.fgmnetwork.org/intro/mgmfgm.php
Clitoridectomy and Infibulation in Africa

"She loses only a little piece of the clitoris, just the part that protrudes. The girl does not miss it. She can still feel, after all. There is hardly any pain. Women's pain thresholds are so much higher than men's."

- -
""The parts that are cut away are disgusting and hideous to look at. It is done for the beauty of the suture."

- -
"Female circumcision protects the health of a woman. Infibulation prevents the uterus from falling out [uterine prolapse]. It keeps her smelling so sweet that her husband will be pleased. If it is not done, she will stink and get worms in her vagina."

- -
"An uncircumcised vulva is unclean and only the lowest prostitute would leave her daughter uncircumcised. No man would dream of marrying an unclean woman. He would be laughed at by everyone."
- -
"A circumcised woman is sexually more pleasing to her husband. The tighter she is sewn, the more pleasure he has."

[See the matching male circumcision reasons, and the rest of the list at the link]

http://aandes.blogspot.com/2010/04/circumcision.html
Everybody was very excited, siap ada extra nurse request to call her up when Zahra is about to be 'cut' as she wants to witness it as well. I think ada about 3 or 4 nurses inside that time and everybody is talking to Zahra as a way to calm her and eventually she is very jolly and happy that time. Babytalk gaagagagauuuagagauagaa all the time haha.

It happens so fast, with a bismillah and a snip, a little bit blood and that's it, Zahra dah sunat! She didn't cry even a drop, in fact giggling2 lagi. I guess it wasn't painful for her, alhamdulillahh..

[...]
Dr Fidak was very kind, waiting for me to snap pic, and siap letak kat cotton ball so that I can get a clearer picture hahaha

So that's it! A very simple and happy procedure.


(continued…)

mystic_eye_cda said... [Reply to comment]

http://www.yousaytoo.com/tsbmag/5-most-brutal-male-initiation-rituals-from-around-the-world/31971
Zulu teens are rounded up and sent off on “man camp [...] he process then culminates with the removal of the youngster’s foreskins, using either a spear blade or the aforesaid sharp rock.

Now, all this “surgery” obviously doesn’t take place under very sterile conditions

http://artofmanliness.com/2010/02/21/male-rites-of-passage-from-around-the-world/
The tribal elder in charge of the circumcision sits on top of the boy’s chest facing his penis. He pulls up the foreskin and twists it so it can be cut off.

[...]

While the boy sits there dazed and in pain, the tribal elders tell him to open his mouth and swallow some “good meat” without chewing it. […]. After he’s swallowed a piece of his own wiener, the boy is told that he has eaten “his own boy” and that it will now grow inside him and make him strong.

[...]

Now comes the second part of the initiation- the sub-incision. […]. A small wooden rod is inserted into the urethra to act as a backing for the knife. The operator then takes a knife and makes a split on the underside of the penis from the frenulum (underneath the head of the penis) to near the scrotum.

After the sub-incision, the boy stands above the fire and allows his blood to drip into it. From now on the boy will have to squat when he urinates, just like a woman. In fact, some anthropologists posit that the sub-incision ceremony is done to simulate menstruation, allowing men to sympathize with the females of the tribe.”





So now, you tell me, what's the difference?!

mystic_eye_cda said... [Reply to comment]

@A.W.

Galatians 5:1-5
1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.

5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

Galatians 5:11-12
11 Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves

Titus 1:10-14
10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. 11 They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. 12 Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.”[e] 13 This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth.

Philippians 3:2-3. "Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh."

A.W. said... [Reply to comment]

Honestly, I'm really not that upset! I am just making a point that both sides of this can be passionate & that we need to understand each other better.

I tell my kids I am sorry for a lot of things, but I don't believe we should spend the rest of our lives with guilt for a past decision. God does not want us to live that way (that is why we have the Atonement). I will not sit my son down when he is a per-teen, teen, or adult, & beg him to forgive me for circumcising him. Just as I would not sit my daughters down & beg forgiveness for not having used cloth diapers & all of the rashes they had because of my choice. It's the past, it was a choice I made & I will deal with it as I see fit.

I also never said I didn't research it. I just don't like extreme views, that make it sound like some huge sin! I hope parents do research it & make the choice they feel is right for their child. I leave them that choice. I will not judge them for that choice.

Some woman out there reading these posts may get really down on herself because she made an ill-informed choice. She may spend the rest of her life beating herself up over it. What good does that do her children? All I have been trying to say is that we make choice based on what we believe is right at the time. It is ok to move past it & forgive yourself, even if you don't apologize to your son!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks, A.W. I don't want you to think I was picking on you.

I don't think choosing to leave a son intact is an "extreme" view, nor do I judge people who have circumcised. It is not my place to judge, nor do I know what information they had access to at the time.

I also don't think it's out of the question to apologize to your child for making a mistake in the past. Acknowledging that you acted without full information, that you are fallible, that you have your own regrets, these are all good things.

And I don't think Jenn is wallowing in regret. I do think she is coming to terms with what she now feels was a mistake, and she is trying to add her voice to the people trying to educate Americans on why circumcision is not the only (or best) choice.

A.W. said... [Reply to comment]

@mystic_eye_cda

The Scriptures you posted seem to say that you think I circ my son so that he would be "right with God". That is not my belief. I did what I did base on the knowledge I have & by praying to ask if it was the right thing to do for my son.

I know their are some out there that think this way, but I do not.

Dionna, I honestly don't have any regrets for circing my son. I doubt I ever will, because I know I struggled with the choice & then turned to God for the answer & I believe I made the right choice for my son. I will never know if he would have had the same problem as his dad or cousin. I just trust that God knew what needed to be done & he lead us to that decision.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

This is terrible - u are all cruel and unsupportive to one another. I viewed this site thinking that I would read posts from loving caring parents who support one another. This is awful and I will not return to this site. AW I support your decision and the reasons you chose to make it. You did what you thought was best for your child. You made an informed decision and I applaud you for standing by your beliefs. However, I do not believe that you should continue to defend yourself on this site to these people, for they are not worthy!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said... [Reply to comment]

Anonymous - there's this little part of the Bible that says something about judging others lest you be . . . darn, what was that again?
(eyeroll)

AW had a conversation about circumcision. I don't judge AW for her beliefs, nor for the decision she made, but I did want to make sure she wasn't under the mistaken impression that Christians are supposed to circumcise. It doesn't appear that AW is upset at any of the purportedly "cruel" comments by "these people." AW seemed to hold her own just fine.

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

Anonymous, I have every right to judge my own actions and I have a responsibility to provoke people to think about this at a deeper level. This site is very encouraging and supportive of parents; however, we are not supportive of practices that we believe to be psychologically damaging like crying it out or circumcision.

Honestly, I felt attacked for wanting to apologize to my son because I made a mistake. That is my decision and no where did I say all parents should come to that same conclusion. I do think most parents need to spend more time considering their children's feelings and needs. I left this argument because it digressed into a parental control discussion. I guide and nurture my children, I don't control them. I respect fellow moms and dads, but I can disagree with them. I wouldn't ask someone to support a decision they strongly opposed, nor should they expect support from me on things I am against.

Somewhere we have stopped differentiating between respect and support. They are different things.

Crystal said... [Reply to comment]

When I was expecting both of my boys this topic came up. I didn't research about it. I had one friend giving me info. However, I jsut pushed it off and said it was up to Dad because that is who they are going to look to for information and advice in that region. Now, I research so much more about different aspects of parenting. My opinions and what is important to me has grown and become more defined. Now, I wish we hadn't had them circumsized. My oldest was cut with a knife. My youngest had a ring. That is all I know so far. I am afraid to look more into it, honestly, because I don't want to have to see what MY BABIES went through!

Jen said... [Reply to comment]

I found your blog through Dionna's post on FB and wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I am sure it could not have been easy, but I know many will find your words a useful tool if/when faced with such a decision!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing your story. I think it's important for more mommies to share what their experience was, and why they would do things differently. When we know better, we do better; you are helping that cause.

Carla Sue said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you so much for having the courage to stand against this atrocity.

It is a well-known medical fact that circumcision is completely pointless, purely cosmetic surgery that does permanent sexual damage to the child it is inflicted on. It is the removal of the most sensitive part of a man's body. It is criminal to purport it as in any way beneficial or benign.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

To: Circumcision

I have an idea! Why don't you have all your teeth pulled just in case you someday get a cavity!

Cyn said... [Reply to comment]

"Suggesting that those of us who choose to make this decision are sexually mutilating our children & taking away their choice,"

Circumcision is a violation of the sexual organs. It can definitely be considered a sexual mutilation. And their choice *has* been taken away. This cannot be denied.

Cyn said... [Reply to comment]

"It IS different."

No. It is NO different. Both are forms of genital mutilation. And there are different degrees of mutilation for males and females. Certain types of male circumcision are WORSE than certain types of female cutting.

Fundamentally, both are wrong to do to a child and should be banned.

Christy said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing your story. Many parents deeply regret having their son circumcised and think about it every day. My 3 sons are intact (no problems ever, which usually stem from forced retraction), but if I had had one cut, I too would be devastated with everything I have learned, and would also profusely apologize.

Most people have no clue that their precious new baby is strapped down, and with no pain medicine has his foreskin ripped away (which is fused to his penis), and then cut or clamped off. Babies feel pain much more acutely than adults. To subject a new baby to such incredible pain and trauma (and many risks including disfigurement and death), removing part of his perfectly healthy penis, is an incredibly cruel way to welcome baby into the world.

For those wishing to further research, this is the best informative site I've found: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/are-you-fully-informed.html.

Carla Sue said... [Reply to comment]

@ A.W. - You appear to think that circumcision is justifiable because the defenseless infant "won't remember" being strapped to a plastic baby-shaped restraint and having his most sensitive body part chopped off within hours of being born.

In the first place, this is just false. More and more scientific study is telling us that early traumas such as circumcision are indeed stored in the brain and can rear their ugly heads later in life.

Furthermore, by your logic, date rape shouldn't be considered wrong because the woman won't remember it happening anyway if she's been drugged. It's the same thing - an attack on the sexual organs of people who can't defend themselves. It is a terrible crime that parents are not informed that circumcision is almost 100% unnecessary, that loving parents and good doctors with the best intentions have been deceived by superstition and myth.

LH said... [Reply to comment]

"I guess next we will be saying it is not our responsibility as parents to even raise our kids. [...]I guess it is fine for a kid to decide they just want to eat candy & junk, because it is not our place to make ANY choices for them!"

Not cutting off a healthy functional part of a person's body without their consent is exactly the same as not parenting your children. Right. Beautiful logic there.

"I circumcised my son because his father got an infection at age 12 & had to be then & became the joke of the school!"

For much of the last century doctors had no idea how to care for an intact penis. Got an infection? Never mind about antibiotics! Let's just cut it off! What nonsense. They also advised (and some still do) that the foreskin be pulled back from infancy, which creates serious problems. Your husband most likely did not need to be circumcised, and you made your decision based on outdated medical beliefs.

"Every time I change my sons dipe & he fights me to just clean his bum, tells me that had I not chosen to circumcise then he would have had an infection & had to have had it done!"

You're mistaken. The foreskin is fused to the penis in infancy and actually keeps the interior *clean*.

open-minded mama said... [Reply to comment]

Yes, thank you for sharing this story! I have already chosen not to circumcise, through much research and what I feel to be common sense. If we are born with it, lets not cut it off unless there's a TRUE medical reason to do so. I also, however, do NOT look down upon anybody who has chosen to circ. I do hope that those who have chosen to circ have done extensive research on the matter- not just what they hear and read to be the 'pros'- so that they can make a decision with an informed and open mind.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Wow-I am always amazed at how intense people will defend a past choice. I applaud the writer of this article. If not for my husband I would be in the same position. When I just said "Of course" when the circ question came up my hubby asked me why I was refusing the 2nd most common misused surgery(routine episiotomy) but okaying the 1st most used unnesessary surgery without doing the same amount of research I paused. He was right AND he was circed as an infant himself. So I tried to watch a video and had to stop-I will NEVER understand how a parent can knowingly do that to a child when they have a choice not to. I am sure everyone supporting has their own justifications for doing it. But honestly I can't agree with anyone saying they have the right to alter their childs sexual organs. And for everyone who has made the decision and regretted it-I am so amazed by your strength to be able to NOT justify it and admit you made a bad decision. It takes a truly honest loving person to take that path-I honor you.

Spider said... [Reply to comment]

A.W. - I'm sorry to hear your husband had an infection that lead to him being cut...but that was the fault of uninformed circ-happy doctors. If an intact boy gets an infection, they can be given antibiotics to treat it. If a girl gets an infection, they would never suggest cutting off her prepuce.

Also, circumcision that was called for in the Bible was NOTHING like how it is currently practiced. It didn't remove the foreskin like we do now. The total removal of the foreskin was started later to keep men from masturbating.

My husband is cut and is unhappy with it. We will not be cutting our sons. It is their body and their choice. Yes, I've had to make some decisions for my daughter, but they've all been things that wouldn't change her body permanently or were medically necessary.

Kimberley said... [Reply to comment]

Jenn,
Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
I was 20 by one day when my first son was born in 1989. I deferred to his father on the matter, though my instinct told me that circumcision was wrong. A nurse rang my room, asking me to come nurse my son to calm him down when it was over. I could barely hear what she was saying because my poor baby was screaming in agony. My heart sank as I realized I'd made a terrible mistake. I took a deep breath and thought, "Well, what's done is done." For the next 20 years I walked around in denial. I knew I would NEVER allow that to be done to another child and I was relieved when my second husband said he would not want our son, who is almost 2, to be mutilated.
About 6 months ago I watched a video on YouTube of the procedure. I am not a squeamish person. Blood and guts don't affect me. Pain does. The cries of that poor baby were awful. I cried for days. I was sick to my stomach at the thought of my son having endured such a horrific thing. My failure to protect him stands as the one of the worst mistakes of my life.
Any person who minimizes or denies what our sons really endured must be operating from a place of deep denial. I wonder if I could have handled the truth without TWO DECADES between my enlightenment and my son's torture.
I pray that this barbaric custom is outlawed soon.

cosmopolite said... [Reply to comment]

How to beat back a naive circ advocate.



12x less likely for UTI,

ME. If boys are exposed to good E. coli, the difference diminishes. Girls are 30-40x more likely to get UTIs than cut boys, but girls get antibiotics. The same should be true of intact boys.

+22x less likely for cancer,

ME. Not true where a daily shower is the norm. Using condoms with casual sex further improves lowers the cancer rate by lowering HPV infection.


28% less risk for herpes,
ME. Daily shower, use condoms.

35% for HPV
ME. Daily shower, use condoms.

60% for HIV/AIDS.
ME. A dubious finding of the dubious African clinical trials. This has no bearing on HIV around the N Atlantic, which is almost always transmitted by dirty needles and anal sex.


The risks are about 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.
ME. This is excessively optimistic. American medicine has not been honest about the risks of routine circumcision, especially the damage to sexual sensitivity that manifests itself several decades later. Australian medicine uses the rule of thumb that 1% of routine circs result in a damaged adult penis.

HM said... [Reply to comment]

I had the 'circumcision talk' with my son recently. He's five years old, and I chose for whatever naive reason to have him cut. I am now pregnant with our third child, our second son, and we have decided to not circumcise him. I felt the need to explain all of this to my son, as he'll be there, helping me change diapers and everything else. He had ... See Moreno clue what I was talking about, so I showed him the baloon/stick demo video of circumcision, and cried and apolgized. Sweet boy he is, rubbed my shoulder and told me he was not angry and that he still loved me.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

How beautiful of you. It may encourage you to know that my husband although he recognizes that he has been deprived of his foreskin for no reason other than a dominant religious practice influencing his parents decisions, he holds no anger for them. He understands the social pressure, the conformity, the thoughtlessness and more importantly knows that harboring anger would not help his situation. We chose to keep our son intact. I think explaining your mistake to your son is one of the best ways you can ensure it will not be repeated. I commend you <3 best wishes <3

bronwyn said... [Reply to comment]

hitler also prayed before he exterminated 6 million jews.
i'm sure osama bin laden prayed before he orchestated 9/11.
df malan, vorster and verwoerd prayed about apartheid.
hey, i prayed before i decided to do drugs.

prayer and research are 2 different things.

i'm sure your son will be comforted by the revelation that you did the research - which if you googled - is VASTLY in favour of NOT cutting off the foreskin - but god told you to mutilate him anyway.

Lindsay said... [Reply to comment]

WTG connected mom!!!!! where I live, you just don't circumcise babies... it just simply isn't done.. last year 1 person was circumcised in the entire region. over 2 million people, and 1 person was circumcised!
religion doesn't give people freedom to injure, torture, and mutilate human beings! it is illegal, and circumcision shouldn't be any different!

Lindsay said... [Reply to comment]

haven't finished reading all the comments, so somebody may have said this, but MORE MEN DEVELOP BREAST CANCER THAN PENILE CANCER! that's right, you heard it correctly, breast cancer is more common in men than penile cancer, so why don't we cut off the breast buds of baby boys! that makes more sense than circumcision!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Check out this guys story...
http://thedaddyexperience.blogspot.com/2008/07/just-to-be-fair-im-circumcised.html
My 1st son circ, my 2nd son not. Educated myself 28 years ago.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

<3 wonderful honesty and courage <3

AnaRoo said... [Reply to comment]

For those of you pro-male genital mutilation:

"Up to 20% of circumcised males will suffer from one or more of the following complications, to some degree:

* Meatal stenosis (narrowing of the urethral opening due to infection and subsequent scarring, that occurs almost exclusively in circumcised boys)
* extensive scarring of the penile shaft
* skin tags and skin bridges
* bleeding of the circumcision scar
* curvature of the penis
* tight, painful erections
* psychological and psychosexual problems

20%!!! Those are scary odds when compared with the 290 men in all of America who will get penile cancer. Rather than teaching [your son] how to pull back [his] foreskin to clean [himself], you put [him] at risk for a scarred and curvy penis with painful erections. It’s no wonder this leads to mental problems."
~ From The Daddy Experience blog

I am one of those moms who didn't know better and has 2 circ'd sons. My eldest is 8 and has had TWO surgeries in a 9 month period for Meatal Stenosis. MGM is NOT ok. I have apologized to my son for causing him pain, embarassment and numerous other things resulting from unnecessary circumcision.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

As seen in this thread, people who argue pro-circ arguments, do so out of guilt. I read a little more than half way, until I read the comment that someone was not going to allow y'all to make her feel guilt.
So therefore she blocks it. Lives in denial, and throws the truth in the garbage bin. You can't compare circumcision to cloth diapers unless the cloth diapers have been permanently attached to the child's body.

tawny said... [Reply to comment]

thank you so much for posting this! what you said was like it was in my heart and soul i just couldn't find a way to release the regret and the sorrow i feel when i educated myself and realized the choice i made was the worst one! my future sone will be intact and daddy is on board as well. if you are truly educated and looked into "religious" reasons you would know we have changed it and u better have a ceremony at the time!! i am upset that i did it but i will overcome this by telling others and helping them make the right choice and that is to have your sons be intact!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Really great article. I also circ'd my first son because I let my husband make the decision. Our second son is intact.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I can't tell you how much I appreciate posts like this...and how intrigued I am by it all. I am not a mother yet and, I too, am stuck in the middle in regards to what my decision will be when I have my own son one day. The more I read, the more I learn, the more I understand...the more I move towards an anti-circ opinion. In fact, I would say that my instincts are already anti-circ...my brain just needs to catch up. My issue? My husband. He is of the "I had it done, why not our future son?" mindset; and of course, "there was ONE kid in gym class in middle school that wasn't...and he was tortured by the other guys for being different. I don't want out kid to be subjected to that." God bless him he is a wonderful man but sometimes he just doesn't think for himself. We aren't ready to start a family yet, although it will be sooner rather than later and I find myself hoping we have girls first to give non-circ-ing time to become the America norm so it won't be as much of a difficult fight for me. The way things have been going for all of my friends having babies it looks as though I'm going to be spending all my energy fighting a planned/forced/"necessary" c-section. I don't want to have to fight the circumcision band-wagon either. So...any suggestions on how to get through my dear husband's thick head!?

Kimberley said... [Reply to comment]

Dear Anon,
Order an information pack from www.drmomma.org and share it with your husband.
No matter what his wishes are, you have a moral duty to protect your son(s).
You will never regret leaving your son(s) whole.
If you capitulate to your husband's mistaken beliefs, I believe you will regret it for the rest of your life, and you may well end up resenting your husband (as I did, and still do). I wish I had stood up to my (now ex) husband. I knew in my heart that he was wrong.
Good luck!

Lippy said... [Reply to comment]

@watergirl you are simply wrong. Female genital cutting has been practised by those claiming all the same 'benefits' as male genital cutting - including reduction of HIV. Check out the writings by Fuambai Ahmadu for example, the videos of clean_sexy on Youtube and the press reports about why girls are choosing to be cut in Kenya.

I attended the launch of the UK national action plan against FGC/M a year or so ago and the African women there admitted that one of the reasons women promote FGM and practise it on their daughters is that they think a vulva without its flaps and folds is cleaner - and also more aesthetic.

In Indonesia one of the reasons for their type of Female circ (removing her foreskin with scissors) is so that urine and germs don't gather there as they believe that would increase her chance of cervical cancer. Does this ring any bells?

Also FGC is widely practised on infants - for example in Nigeria it's often done in the first month of life (sometimes on the 8th day following biblical tradition) and also in Malaysia, and sometimes Indonesia, Egypt and Kurdish areas.

You really need to get informed before you wade in to these debates trying to play down male circumcision and play up female circumcision. The reality is that they are very similar. In fact as the American Academy of Paediatrics recently confirmed, female circumcision is often practised in forms milder than American male circumcision. One of the commonest forms around the world (the type practised in Malaysia for example) involves making a small slit in a girl's clitoral foreskin. This type IV incision is what the Bedouin of Israel do (or did until they were persuaded by their Jewish neighbours that is was a 'mutilation'!!) Yes really.

PLEASE read the latest interagency statement on FGM and GET INFORMED before you comment again on this issue:
http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/documents/publications/2008/eliminating_fgm.pdf

This document confirms that the average age of FGM is dropping. If you also look up the information on FGM in Egypt from the WHO you'll see that it had become medicalised there (60% performed by doctors, who also tended to promote it). So it's simply not true to say that male circ is performed in hygienic conditions and female circ not. When a girl died in Egypt undergoing FGM in 2007 and caused an outcry and a closing of all legal loopholes, her cause of death was an overdose of general anaesthetic.

I hope you will have the decency to actually check your facts before you ever comment again on this issue.

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

Great information, Lippy, thank you. I know that since I've been out of grad school, I haven't been as in touch with what's going on with the world community on this issue. It's a sobering reminder of the concern, and I also think a huge wake-up call to see how similar the justification is in many instances now.

Roxychick1623 said... [Reply to comment]

I'd really like to address the first poster... Not having a cervix could dramatically reduce your daughters chances for cervical cancer and HPV are out going to cut that off when she is born?

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

"60% reduction for HIV/AIDS." ahhh the traditional war cry of the pro circ division. However, I do wonder if these people actually can do math. The US has one of the highest rates of circumcision in the western world, a vast "safe sex" and hygeine education program that includes circumcision as a preventative, and yet surprisingly one of the highest rates of HIV infection per capita. The math doesn't add up. Clearly circumcision ISN'T working. Perhaps the pro circ group would be far better off investing their time and energy in promoting the active use of condoms in all sexual relationships where both parties are not tested, rather than saying... "If you are circ'd at least 60 people in 100 won't get HIV". It's simply not the case. Also @Circumcision please stop using Wiki as a "source". It's not a reliable, peer reviewed paper. It's something anyone can log on and add too. You may also want to ask yourself, if circumcision really prevents all these things, why is it that men in the Europe, where circumcision is almost exclusively confined within the Islamic and Jewish communities, aren't dropping down dead for all these illnesses? You may also wish to look up the number of deaths associated with UTI's and Penile cancer of non circed men, to the deaths associated with the actual circumcision procedure and it's complications (infection etc)... I think you will find that the AAP is quite right, the risk associated with the actual circumcision procedure is much greater than the actual risk of all the things it's suppose to prevent, but doesn't. Circumcision, the parent's lazy way to not have to bother teaching their kids to clean themselves properly and have safe sex.

Emily Schulcz said... [Reply to comment]

"Circumcision said...
Male circumcision is a safe, popular, healthy & beneficial procedure for individuals & parents to choose. It provides benefits such as 12x less likely for UTI, +22x less likely for cancer, 28% less risk for herpes, 35% for HPV & 60% for HIV/AIDS. The risks are about 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.

Parents should research circumcision and make an informed decision for the health & well-being of their son."

dude, you're an idiot. any loving parent who researches circumcision should see that mutilating their son's genitals is wrong. what kind of "well being " are you talking about? it's not a parental decision, it's a personal one. clearly, you have no actual connection to this issue, but rather were placed here to be a jack-ass.

Renee said... [Reply to comment]

I really dislike when people go all politically correct to make it a more gentle topic. The poster above that said she prayerfully chose to circ her babe. Seriously? God told you to cut off his foreskin? How exactly does that happen? I firmly believe its just a way to mitigate guilt in the face of factual reasons against or shame of having destroyed some of your sons sexual function.

There is NO reason to mutilate a child's genitalia. There is NO statistic that supports using outdated Victorian era BARBARIC methods to prevent self pleasure.

Will you circ yourself so your clitoris is exposed to the constant rubbing of your clothes to help hinder your sexual function? If you have a daughter you know she has a 12% chance of getting breast cancer so I hope for fairness sake you rob her the ability to breastfeed and take those breasts away before they get a chance to become cancerous! Im sure i you pray long enough you'll convince yourself god wants you to do that too. Of course you wouldn't do those things, that's shocking, terrible to even consider, dare I say abusive! It's essentially the same exact principals for why people try to support circ with stacked stats designed to make it sound okay to circ.

What I read is your saying that you prayed until you convinced yourself that it was okay to just do whatever you wanted with your sons penis. Unfortunately it will be him and his someday wife that has to deal with the consequences of what your god apparently found some way to communicate to you.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

to the above poster dealing with her hubby...
LOL.. I know exactly how you feel. When I had my first son The argument finally ended when I informed my ex that his penis may have been larger if allowed to naturally grow w/o being cut short as it was. I believe he was cut too tight and had alot of issues with sensation so when I stated this he got quiet and my words finally sunk in.

I hit that man with all the facts, the videos and stats I could find. We started off reading pro and con websites and after feeling informed I was fully against! He held onto the whole locker room issue and his fear of his son being different from himself for almost my whole pregnancy.

The amount of boys who were uncut when our husbands were in high school are different than it is now for sure. I worked in childcare for a few years after I graduated high school in 2000. Working with toddlers and changing diapers I assure you those stats are different now. It was far more common for boys to be intact at both of the schools I worked in. The schools were no where near each other and each served families from vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Good Luck with this. This was " THE ISSUE" in my house for quite some time but I wasn't gonna allow it no matter what. I wish you strength of your convictions to do what you know is right.

Susan said... [Reply to comment]

I was outside the room when they circ'd my son. They locked the door. I can still hear his wails and I wish I had stood my ground about not having it done. Truly, what makes the husband more qualified to make such a call about a son's penis? His circumcision fused funny and had to be fixed at the age of 3 because he was peeing at a 30 degree angle. Double trauma and this time his father was nowhere to be seen and didn't care about the state of his penis. My husband's was poorly done and has skin bridges that pull tight when erect. This did not have to happen to him but that is his reality.
If intact is so dangerous, then why isn't Europe experiencing record highs of HIV and penile problems? If the "statistics" proved true then men would be lining up in droves to be cut for their health and safety. That is not happening and is proof that there is nothing wrong with an intact penis and the only answer is simply good hygiene unless something medically indicative presents.
No more boys will be cut in my house.

Jenn said... [Reply to comment]

pink puffy heart to the anonymous poster who called out use of wikipedia for not being peer-reviewed - made my day!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

This sounds like my story, except I have a second son and he is intact. I think everyone has said pretty much everything I have, but I'd like to add something. It took me a whole year to admit the mistAke of circumcision and he had reattachement complications. The reason it took so long is because when you fully admit to yourself what you let happen to your newborn is very very hard. When they say "ignorance is bliss" they are right. But ignorance isn't productive. The worst thing I could do for my oldest was to crawl in that whole and not come out.

Adam said... [Reply to comment]

My wife and I were talking about this issue recently after a friend mentioned she was considering not circumcising if she has a boy. My personal experience was not being circumcised as an infant. The first time I pulled my foreskin back to clean under it in the bath tub, my foreskin swelled up and wouldn’t go forward, constricting the head of my penis. We had to go to the emergency room where it took them about fifteen minutes of shots and pulling with forceps to put myforeskin back over the head.
After that trip I was always washing under my foreskin with soap and water, but in college I got a yeast infection under my foreskin which also resulted in tearing the which attaches to the foreskin. The doctor said that the foreskin creates a moist, warm environment where bacteria can easily grow.
I ended up being circumcised in college to prevent any more infections. Sex was actually more pleasurable after the circumcision because the head is always uncovered and in contact with the vagina, whereas before circumcision the foreskin would cover the head for a little over half the time, preventing the contact with the vagina.

Wallace the Tall said... [Reply to comment]

@Adam Your own personal issues with your foreskin do not justify automatic circumcision on healthy infant baby boys. Sorry.

Rachel W said... [Reply to comment]

I too will have this talk one day. I live every day with regret for having this done to my son. If we are blessed with another son, there is NO way I will allow him to be circumcised. My instinct at the time, and my research since, tell me it is cruel!
I allowed the circumcision to be performed at the wishes of my husband, and the advice of his mother. I struggle not to resent my husband for pressuring me to have it done. Although he isn't entirely convinced, he has begun to talk openly about leaving a future son intact - we are making progress and I am finding it easier to forgive him. Forgiving myself is even harder. A mother should ALWAYS try to protect her children from pain - Failing this time is my biggest regret.
I appreciate posts like this one. Helps me feel a little better to know others are in this place.

Sheila said... [Reply to comment]

@Adam You left an identical comment on my blog some time ago. Do you just cruise around the blogosphere, looking for articles questioning circumcision so you can tell your story?

In any event, I think some of your problems could be caused by the excessive focus on hygiene people seem to have. Boys shouldn't be encouraged to retract their foreskin until they're ready -- I've heard it suggested they not even be told about it so they make this discovery on their own instead of constantly testing it. Then they should only rinse with water, not use soap. You probably killed off all the beneficial flora under your foreskin, making it vulnerable to infection.

As for sex being more pleasurable, most men have the opposite experience, since the foreskin is actually more sensitive than the glans.

In any event, it's a decision you were able to make for yourself, when the time came. My son will have the same ability, if he wants to. But I chose not to sever a functioning, undamaged part of his body before he was of an age to consent to it.

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