Originally Posted by TCA2008
I however have A LOT of friends who circumcised their 1st son, but not their second. If you don't make a big deal of it, they won't either. If the question comes up from either boy, just say:
"When (first son) was born, we thought circumcision was a good idea because your father was circumcised, and doctors used to believe that circumcision had some health benefits, but when (second son) was born, we learned that circumcision just wasn't necessary, so we decided not to have (second son) circumcised. Just like you know a lot of people with different hair color, skin color, etc...boys have different penises - some boys are circumcised, and some aren't, and either way is fine."
I think if we're honest with ourselves, we have to confront the fact that this approach is too facile and papers over a lot of more complex emotional/psychological issues. So complex, in fact, that it is hard for me to bring myself to post this, but on the other hand I think it is important for us to always be honest, straightforward, and reality-based in our analysis so that no one can accuse us of simply making "sales pitches" or "spinning".
I'm not of course talking about the cleaning issue. Everything that has been said about that is completely correct. I'm talking about the issue of having an older son who was circed out of ignorance and going along with the norm, and then becoming more educated and enlightened by the time DS #2 comes along.
Let's unpack this a bit. Do we here on this board really believe being intact or circed is just like variation in skin or hair colour? I certainly don't, and I doubt many others here do either. Do we think "either way is fine"?!? If so, why are we even posting here? Do we want our boys to grow up and think "either way is fine" when they are making decisions about their own sons, our grandsons?
Let's face it: what we are talking about is lying to one son to make him feel better, plain and simple. And I'm not sure I'm comfortable endorsing that. On the other hand, I can't just dismiss it out of hand and pretend the alternative is easier, either. I really can't deny that once a boy is circed, letting him know what has been lost, what a mistake has been made, is probably not helpful and in all likelihood is harmful.
So if my sole goal was to do whatever would make the older son feel more secure, what would make the family interaction smoothest and least complicated, I'd have to grudgingly admit that the answer to that would probably be not only to have the younger boy circed, but to move (or remain living) in a part of the country where this is the norm. And of course to never ever admit to either boy that any enlightenment had ever taken place, and repress it way down there and just try to act like it never happened. This of course will be a secret torment to the enlightened parent, so in some twisted way it is probably true to say that once you have circed one son, you are probably better off remaining ignorant! ("Ignorance is bliss", as they say.)
Yet obviously this goes against my beliefs in so many ways, and is quite agonising to admit. And when it comes right down to it, I don't believe that the boy who can still be saved should be put through circumcision and all its consequences for the sake of living a simpler, less complicated family life.
Therefore, while I see no entirely positive solution once one son has been circed, I think ultimately the "right" thing to do, though certainly not an easy thing to do, is to leave the younger son intact and then when the circed son wants to know what the deal is, to explain that "I'm so sorry, Johnny, but your father/mother and I made a terrible mistake. We were talked into doing this because since your great-grandparents' days, people who live in this little part of the world have been doing this and convincing everyone that it was the right, normal thing to do--that's why your father had it done to him too. When we found out it wasn't the right thing, we didn't do it to your brother, but it was too late for you. Lots of people still think that doing it is the right thing, and it doesn't mean you can't have a happy life, but we do really wish we could go back and have it to do over again so we could make a different choice." Obviously this needs to be adjusted so as to be age appropriate, but you get the idea.
As I say, I recognise that this is quite unlike a lot of the stuff we talk about here. Usually, it's "all of us in here see so clearly what the right thing is to do, but people out there are propagandised to think differently, so we have to get the truth out". In this scenario, though, it's a bit of a Catch-22 (damned if you do, damned if you dont'); and I don't find my "final answer" to be completely satisfying. So I'd welcome discussion from others about it.