“Why We Decided Not to Circumcise Our Son”

The following is a guest post for the series, “Speak-Up Mama!” The purpose of this series is to help Mamas have more compassion for one another regarding controversial decisions. In light of that, feel free to comment but please play nicely or your comment will be removed. Thank you to Leeanne for her willingness to share her story!

To tell you the truth, I never really thought circumcision was a controversial topic. How is it any of my business what a man has down there? After all, it’s not mine nor do I have one. I never really thought about it much. My husband on the other hand had his views and didn’t want our son to be circumcised and so I went with that. However, I was curious as to why he didn’t want to. His reply was, “I want him to be like his daddy.” Ok fine, I guess that can be a reason, but what I wanted to know was why people are so strongly opinionated about the topic…

Being me, I did A LOT of research. I found everything from… it’s more clean if you circumcise… to it’s more pleasurable “later” if you don’t because of the nerves that the skin has down there. Then, there are the religious traditional reasons. I’m not Jewish but from what I understand from a Christian perspective, circumcision was in the old Testament as part of the old covenant. Then I researched the reasons for circumcising. My favorite reason of all time is that kids will tease him if you don’t circumcise. Really? Everything possible a person will tease about we should alter? Well that’s just playing into our warped societal values.

Anyway, the issues of circumcision became really interesting to me when a friend of mine told me that she didn’t circumcise her son, and this was always her intention, but later the baby got an infection on his penis. So, their doctor recommended that he get it circumcised. They agreed. Then, the doctor pulled-out a picture book of their choices of how he can make it look. I was stunned. Ok, I get that if you have to get a procedure like cosmetic surgery, you want to know what the outcome will be but it just seemed interesting that you can choose a aesthetically pleasing penis. On top of that, if every time women get a lady infection, is it appropriate to suggest surgery? Or for any infection for that matter. Now of course I’m not a medical doctor but I do have big personal issues with the medical system and how they just seem to love surgery and pharmaceutical drugs but that’s another topic.

Then, I was amazed how my insurance company and the hospital never really asked me if I wanted to circumcise my son, among other assumptions that irritated me. On the hospital wall there was a list of things that I needed to accomplish before we left from signing records to circumcision. I was well prepared for all the ”average” baby duties that “most” parents follow. Lets just say I know that there were a few nurses that were happy to see me go because I not only refused multiple things like circumcision but I challenged their ridiculous comments, arguments and fear-based tactics. I wasn’t rude but I did let them know they just can’t assume that they can do just anything to my son.

With all of that I have my own personal reasons and I know many mammas who feel the same… But I just think that there are definitely some gender double standards here. Why do most feel that it’s barbaric to circumcise a girl but not a boy? I don’t care how precise a surgeon is, you are cutting a piece of a persons body which can always result in nerve damage or worse. I mean don’t you think that it’s just unnecessary and intrusive? And if circumcision inhibits women from sexual pleasure, could it possibly be doing that to men as well? I’m not saying my reason was to prevent my son from having sexual pleasure but I guess my reasoning is there really doesn’t seem to be a medically valid reason to do it. I feel it’s now become a unquestioned tradition/procedure. But, in my opinion, if this is what I was born with, leave it alone. If it becomes a medical issue or later the person wants cosmetic surgery then so be it. I kind of feel a little self-centered and silly if I care how my son’s penis looks.

If a person is doing it for what I call, the convenience of cleaning their baby son, I also think that is a little silly. Yes, I’m sure it is easier to clean and keep clean but I learned very quickly how to easily clean my son’s uncircumcised penis. Another one of my theories is that maybe it’s not the uncircumcised penis that makes germs or infections more possible, maybe it’s the chemicals in diapers, wipes and our soaps. I mean these are chemicals and they are generally used daily. Also could it be their child’s diet? It has been medically proven that the ph balance of your body heavily effects the growth of bacteria. I mean, there are many cultures around the world who don’t circumcise and/or don’t have access to hospitals for the procedure yet I don’t see their male population having an infected-penis epidemic. So my point is there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to finding the source of infection.

Also, I don’t want people to feel that I am attacking their choices and views. If you had it done to your son or feel strongly that you want your son circumcised for personal or religious reasons, then I’m sorry if what I’m saying offends you. It’s not my intention. I just challenge a lot of status quo things because like you, I only want the best for my child. My values will sometimes conflict with the values of other and that’s ok. But if I made Pros and Con’s list of why I should or shouldn’t circumcise, I had more reasons to not do it. I don’t feel comfortable doing things to my son’s body that physically alter him in any way, without solid medical necessity.  The hardest part is, I hope my son will understand why I made this choice, among others. I hope he understands that it’s always been my goal to do the best I can for him.

Leeanne & Isaac at their favorite place, Disneyland.
Leeanne & Isaac at their favorite place, Disneyland.

Please comment below instead of Facebook so that the author can see your comments too! It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there so I’m sure any encouragement would be appreciated! If you are interested in being a part of this series, please contact me at mrsjsnyder@yahoo.com.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

“Why we’re not vaccinating our baby.”

“Why we’re ‘kinda vaccinating’ our baby.”

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13 thoughts on ““Why We Decided Not to Circumcise Our Son”

  1. We also decided not to circumcise our little guy. I’ll be honest, we were worried about him getting teased. I think kids can be cruel and our sexual organs are sensitive subjects in high school! (I’m imagining gym class, ha!) Anyway, my husband was surprised to find that 50-60% of boys are now uncircumcised! So our sons won’t be alone, it won’t be as “different” as it once was. He also read a story about a man who had two sons, one circumcised and one not. The author said it was far more difficult to explain to the circumcised son why something was “missing” rather than the other way around. The boy who had been circumcised felt sort of cheated I guess. Anyway, that’s what we discovered! Thanks for sharing your story!

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    • You’re welcome. I think that the first step is to normalize uncircumcised. I think that can take away the taboo. But I totally understand the teasing thing. Well at least Isaac and Luca can have each other in those times:)

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  2. I am feeling very thankful I had a girl. But if I has a boy we would have left it alone. As with most things simple and natural is best.

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  3. We also chose not to circumcise. I’m guessing he’ll thank us someday for leaving him with everything God have him. “I really wish you’d chopped off part of my penis”- what man ever said that?! About the cleanliness/infection thing, I have read that some doctors will tell parents to pull back the baby’s foreskin to clean. This is a horrible idea though because it’s supposed to retract on its own a few years down the road and forcing it to do so can cause infection…..

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  4. Thank you for sharing your common sense. I am sure that your son will thank you and his father for keeping him intact. And you will not have the burden of guilt, had you allowed his circumcision.

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    • I never had too many people ask anyninog or personal questions but when my twins were babies EVERYONE wanted to look at them. Total strangers would stop me in the grocery store two or three times every visit. My sister has a son a year younger and another a year older than my boys. One time we mixed up the kids in our double strollers (one of mine and one of hers) then walked around a summer town festival and NO ONE even looked twice at me! It was great not to have any attention over my twins!

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  5. Rather then say “uncircumcised” why not say what it really is…. Natural, normal, and INTACT. 🙂
    -Not having had a normal healthy functioning body part amputated.

    Who the hell ever though it would be a good idea to cut off THE MOST SENSITIVE PART of the human body, anyway?

    The foreskin is actually the prepuce organ, which females also have. The male ‘foreskin’ is sometimes referred to as a hood, well woman also have one… the clitoral hood. Not all FGM removes the whole clitoris, but it is still the most sensitive body part(yes, inside the hood which covers the glans clitoris/penis.) and is still completely wrong. it is torture as well as mutilation.

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  6. SO very glad that you didnt let some doctor cut up his penis! HE will thank you one day!

    One more thing, its silly to say cleaning a raw, open, prone to infection wound on a babies penis, which will be sitting in a urine and feces filled diaper! doesnt sound too clean huh? the foreskin is fused at birth to PROTECT it(and the urinary tract as well as internal organs) from becoming infected. Isnt natures, or gods design awesome?

    There is NO cleaning of an intact baby penis! only clean what is seen, do not retract!!! it will separate on its own over the years, it will be able to retract when the boy is much older, usually between 10 and 17 years of age.

    Thanks for sharing, if only more people would not be so afraid to just TALK about this stuff! Good for you! spreading the word.

    P.s: a fantastic site is sexasnatureintendedit.com
    Enjoy!

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  7. Thanks for posting this! We also choose not to circumcise, and what really got me thinking about the issue was a post I saw similar to this on some baby site. When my husband and I first discussed the issue it really wasn’t a discussion at all and went something like this “yeah let’s circumcise. It’s what most people do and we don’t want him to be different, or ‘unclean’ (gasp)”. It wasn’t until a little while later that I saw some discussions about it and really started to question why people circumcise and more importantly why WE should circumcise OUR son. After alot of research, thought and debate we decided to leave our son how he was made. I do worry sometimes that he might get teased and be upset with us for not circumcisng him… But ultimately I think that it should be his decision. I know that we did what was best for our son and our family.

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    • One of the websites aculltay mentioned Israel. LOL I believe it was the issue of cleanliness and preventing disease (all those randy soldiers), but of course now we know that’s not necessarily relevant and is only necessary for a very small percentage of the population. Numbers are falling (when it’s not done for religious reasons) so I imagine it will keep changing. Also as the world becomes less insular (despite the Tea Party’s efforts to make it more so LOL), people will be exposed to more ideas of normal which can change perceptions.

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