Circumcision - What To Do?

I just read a wonderful article about circumcision on one of my favorite blogs and thought I'd share it. Since we have 2 boys, we've had to address circumcision twice. The first time, as with many things, I had no idea what to do. I only knew what I was told and had Josiah circumcised. Only in hindsight did I wish I'd done otherwise. When we came home from the hospital each diaper change was so painful for the poor boy because his penis was so red and sore.

When I was pregnant with Liam, I really start reading about it and found that many of the reasons people decide to circumcise their children are often false and, in fact, most other countries do not circumcise, or at least, not as much as we do in the US. A study in 2000 showed that while 75% of boys in the US were circumcised, more so when born in hospitals, only 24% were in other countries (and you have to take into account religious affiliation, too). In hospitals, the doctors and nurses just seem to assume you will get the procedure done for some reason, though I can't understand why they would.

When we were in the hospital with Liam we were asked about having the procedure several times, even after we came home from the hospital the doctor inquired. It's really annoying and frustrating to have this decision made for you, like you are a bad mother for not getting your son circumsized. I don't get it!

I'm happy to report that Liam just turned 6 months old, is uncircumcised and so far his penis has not fallen off, gotten infected, or is it hard to clean. My only concern is that the boys will compare later, noticing differences, and have questions or jealousy issues, but we will address that when needed.

What was your experience? If you had/have a boy what did/would you do?


Buzzfloyd said...

I have quite a strong opinion on this!

When we knew I was pregnant with a boy, Clay's mum asked if we would get the baby circumcised. I found it hard to contain my shock and had to remind myself that this is still normal practise in the US. Although I appreciate this custom is part of some people's religion, and that medical circumcision is often performed when a man's foreskin was rolled back for cleaning before puberty (which should be unnecessary), but otherwise it seems barbaric to me.

My understanding is that the supposed health benefits have been known to be false for years. Not only this, but circumcision can create sexual health problems in adulthood for both the man and his partner. Belief that it causes no pain to the baby is not backed by evidence and some scientists think that it causes significant trauma that has a lifelong impact.

I don't know why it is still so routinely carried out in the States - perhaps due to the national paranoia about hygiene and puritan attitudes to sex (it used to be believed that circumcision would lead to less masturbation - in fact, the opposite tends to be true, according to studies).

Clay had some concerns about Michael wondering in the future why he's different from Daddy - but he was happy to go with my choice, since I found the idea of letting anyone cut my precious baby so abhorrent.

On a lighter note, the verification word that Google offers for this post is 'slywoodi'!

earthlymama said...

It is definitely a barbaric practice. Many Americans use the cleanliness excuse for circumcision, saying it is harder to clean, can get infected, cause UTIs, etc. It's like the myth was started to scare women into thinking they should get it done to their children. It's even more ridiculous that doctors and nurses seem to encourage the procedure here in the US.
The idea that it decreases masterbation made me laugh, but in such a conservative nation, especially in the south, I would not put it past some people.
I'm curious to see how the boys react when they are older and how Micheal will react to noticing a difference between he and his daddy... if they even care at all.
Side note- Josiah saw the little drawing as your icon picture and told me that was me. lol. "It's you Mama!" Who knew I looked like a stick figure. hehe

The Cooks said...

I went back and forth on this question. We decided to do it. Thankfully Trey did well healing up. Could be scary though if they get an infection! Yuck!

The Cooks said...

To clarify- I meant it would be scary to get an infection from the circumcision procedure, not from not being circumcised. I wasn't sure if that would make sense. :)

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