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Husband vs. Wife

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
I am due with my third baby in late January. I dont know if its a boy or a girl. I have two girls already. I am already considering if its a boy and the question of whether to circumcise or not. I am a RN and about a month or two ago i assisted a pediatrician with a circ on a baby. Since I had never done that before I took that as possibly a sign that I should be getting prepared for this event. This particular baby seemed to do fine under the circumstances. My job was to sooth him with sugar water on a paci and he seemed to sleep most of the time, with the exception of a couple squeeks.

Since I have been researching and after a talk with my pediatrician recently, he said it is now considered a "cosmetic procedure" and he seemed to not be in support of it, although he will perform it. From all I've heard, this seems to be the consensus.

My husband is adamant(sp?) about about having it done, if it is a boy. He states many reasons, but probably most importantly because he wants his boy to look like him and the boy to know he looks like Daddy. Other reasons are biblical ones and also he states higher risk for infection, which I know isn't true.

We even got in a fight last night where he started swearing when i told him I was the one who had to consent to it, and I wouldn't. THat really set him off, because he feels like he has no control and no say over his own children. I can imagine how that sucks.

I have been crying when i think about it. If it were only up to me, I would not get it done for sure.

I feel like my choice is 1) Refuse to get it done and risk further negative feelings between my husband and me. I have heard this can risk marriages. I dont want that. or 2)Get it done, cry and cry and try to pretend it never happened and make myself think it is ok.

Husband says it is temporary- the pain, the healing.

I have gut feelings about my children and I always follow them, but I dont want to alienate and lose my husband. I guess this has a lot to do with our relationship and the fact that he feels left out and feels like he doesn't have any control with me. I do almost all the child rearing and decision making re: the children. I am the one who does all the research.

Bottom line, its like a gamble. Lose my husband-I dont know if literally (that wouldn't work for the benefit of the child!!!!!!), but at least more of his respect for me, or put my child under the knife for no good reason- just to please my husband. Again, I dont even know if it is a boy, but there is a 50/50 chance.

Long story, I could go on and on.

Do any of you have any practical advice for me.

Is there anyone on this site who has circumcised their son in the same situation and everything turned out ok???

post #2 of 66

Take time to watch a few Youtube videos on the procedure. It isn't always as calm an experience as you witnessed. Research shows quiet babies sometimes go into shock from the pain. Try not to fight with your husband over it...approach it more as a learning experience for both of you. Agree to look into it with him and consider both sides.

I seriously doubt that you or he will be willing to cut your baby after thoroughly examining both sides.
post #3 of 66
also watch "cut" the film at www.cutthefilm.com
that certainly changed my mind
post #4 of 66
If your husband is that serious about wanting it done, then I think he needs to do some more research and get all the facts. Once you both have done your research you can come together and make an informed decision.
post #5 of 66
Originally Posted by mymary View Post
Husband says it is temporary- the pain, the healing.
As my husband and I are on the same side on this subject I don't have a lot of advice in that arena-- but I wanted to address the above.

Being circumsised is not just a question of temporary pain; even in circumstances where there are not complications.

I don't want to get in to to many tmi details, but the foreskin *does* serve a purpose. foreskins are fun! Being circed decreases sexual feeling and function. I think I read somewhere that's why they were started, to discourage self pleasuring. Anyways-- being circed shortchanges your son for a lifetime-- it's not just a temporary decison. As mama's, don't we want our kiddos to have the best of everything (even if it means that it's better than what we have now?)
post #6 of 66
Your dh is a grown man he will get over it. Your ds depends on you to protect him from harm and that is what would be happening. He would loose a valuable part of his anatomy just so your dh wouldnt pout? My dh wanted it done but ds is intact and dh is over it now for the most part.

Woman are given the opportunity to feel sex as it should be men deserve the same opportunity.

About the boy looking like the dad ask your dh how often he compared his penis to his dad's. I would bet he didnt see him much if any.
post #7 of 66
Just because the baby during the circ you watched seemed to be sleeping doesn't mean he wasn't in pain.

The fact that he slept through it tells me that he was most likely in shock. When a baby is in pain they go to sleep.

From Dr. Sears:http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/t101500.asp#T101504

The myth that newborns do not feel pain came from the observation that newborns sometimes withdraw into a deep sleep toward the end of the operation. This does not mean that they do not feel pain. Falling into a deep sleep is a retreat mechanism, a withdrawal reaction as a consequence of overwhelming pain. Not only does circumcision cause pain in the penis, the rest of the newborn's overall physiology is upset. During unanesthetized circumcision, stress hormones rise, the heart rate speeds, and valuable blood oxygen diminishes.
post #8 of 66
Before you make your decision, I hope that you will read this thread. http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1158645

This is by a mother who was in a similar situation to the one you are in. Please remember that this is real surgery and that there is a real potential for complications.
post #9 of 66
What if you take yourselves out of the equation and let your son decide when he grows up? It is, after all, his genitalia.
I never understood why some fathers are adament about surgically reducing the size of their infant son's penis.
And he won't look exactly like dad anyway because he's half you
post #10 of 66
about "looking like Daddy"

An adult penis will always look different. And they're probably not going to be comparing genitalia once the son is older. I have two sons: one cut, the other intact. They are 6 & 3. They regularly take baths together and have never asked me why their penises are different. I don't know if they've even noticed. To them, a penis is a penis, and they chalk up any differences to them being individuals (just like one has blond hair, the other brown).
post #11 of 66
Originally Posted by BugMacGee View Post
And he won't look exactly like dad anyway because he's half you
Originally Posted by SwanMom View Post
about "looking like Daddy"

An adult penis will always look different. And they're probably not going to be comparing genitalia once the son is older.
Pointing out the above obvious facts to the dad will not help. Because it isn't really about how the son's penis ends up looking. It's about the dad KNOWING that the son IS circumcised, even if he never once even changes a diaper or for any other reason ever sees the son's penis or the son never ever sees the father's penis. It is the dad's desperate attempt to justify his own circumcision by having it done to his son. Circumcising the son "proves" that circumcision is right and good and therefore that Dad's penis is good. Not circumcising the boy makes Dad think there could maybe be something wrong with circumcision - that he could be missing something. (and sadly, he is. But who would want to face that knowledge head-on?)
In other words, it is all about the man's issues. And his issues are his problem. You can't go around hurting your kids just to make yourself feel good about what was done to you in the past.

As for the baloney about feeling left out of all the decisions on child care, and just wanting this "one" thing to be "theirs"? Absolute BS and you should call them on it. First of all, if the wife is doing all the research, then why isn't the husband? Is anything stopping him from researching child care issues? No, he is simply letting his wife do all the work. Secondly, once presented with the research, most guys agree that their wife's decisions are right anyway (on the breastfeeding, cosleeping, etc..) So if they are perfectly happy to sit back and let the wife do all the research, and happy to go along with her well-researched decisions, then why all of a sudden the "oh poor me, I never get to have any say in raising our children..." card? Because it is emotional blackmail, that is why, just a ploy to try to get the wife to let him take a knife to a baby's penis (because he feels a primal compulsion to do this in order to protect his own ego.) If you don't believe me that the "You get to make all the decisions, all I want is this one little thing" argument is baloney, then try turning it around on him. Say, "okay, fine. From here on out you make every single decision there is. It is all up to you. I will be the perfectly submissive wife. You are the husband, you are the king. The kids will be fed what and how and when you decide, they'll get the vaccinations you feel are appropriate, they'll sleep where and on what schedule you decide, you decide if they get pacifiers or not, go in a sling or a stroller, where they go to school, how we will discipline, whether they go to daycare or have a stay at home parent or nanny, and so on. You can make EVERY decision in their whole entire childhood and I will go along with it. EXCEPT we leave the foreskin alone." Think any guys will take their wives up on the offer? I think not, because the real point of the argument is not that they want more clout on all the other decisions, it is because they just want to get the kid circumcised.
"Who, me, issues? No, I don't have any issues! I just really, really need to cut off part of my son's penis! Now just let me, already!"

Good luck, op!

post #12 of 66
Make it less about you and DH and more about your son. Whose body is it? Your son's. Whose penis is it? Your son's. Who is the one who will be using the penis for the rest of his life? Your son. Who should get to decide what it looks like and how it functions? Your son.

If you make it about YOUR SON and HIS BODY and HIS DECISION, rather than a battle of who is right and who is wrong, it'll likely go over better, because that way your hubby won't feel like you don't support him or like his body as it is.
post #13 of 66
Originally Posted by mymary View Post

Do any of you have any practical advice for me.
I'm so sorry you are going through this difficult time with your husband over all of this. It sounds stressful, especially for a pregnant mama.
Simply speaking, it shouldn't be a matter of if you or your husband "win" or "lose" this argument. If the child, the owner of the penis, doesn't get a choice, that child is the one who loses. So leaving him intact and allowing him the choice of cosmetic surgery when he's old enough if he wants it (chances are high he will not) is the only outcome that will allow anyone to win.
It's highly possible your husband feels insecure or has some psychological issues with his own circ or any possibility of his son looking different than him. My husband is circed but our son is not. It's NEVER been an issue. For starters, they don't sit around comparing genitals. And as others have said, there is the whole pubic hair and size issue that makes them different anyway. How will your dh feel if your son is born with only one testicle? Or different hair color? Please read this link (it's for you to read, not your dh) and maybe it will help you understand your dh's insecurity:

You asked:
Is there anyone on this site who has circumcised their son in the same situation and everything turned out ok???
What I can say is we have pages and pages of moms who did circ their sons but later regretted it. Please read this thread for more info:

If your nursing school was anything like mine, it never taught the value and biological function of the foreskin. But it does have a legitimate function and there is importance in keeping it.
I don't think we are allowed to link to anything about it (due to the sexual nature of it), but you can google "foreskin function".

I truly don't think you refusing to circ your son will destroy your marriage. Most men just need some time to digest the idea of their son being intact and different from them (and to digest what was done to their own body). Many men even become intactivist after having an intact son. Somewhere on here is a thread where some mamas talk about their partners feelings and disagreements. A few mamas said their partners were not happy with leaving the baby intact but it didn't cause a marital strain and certainly not a divorce. But most dads become very accepting and it becomes a moot point.

And when your dh says the pain of circ is temporary, he's only partially correct. If everything goes smoothly, chances are high he'll be healed with 7 - 10 days. But often circs get botched and require additional surgery, or blood transfusions. Sometimes meatal stenosis occurs. Sometimes boys grown into men with painful erections due to a bad circ. And then there could be psychological stress that some men have over their circs. Maybe your son will have some of these issues, maybe he won't. But is it worth it to take that chance over a non-medically necessary procedure?

Please don't circumcise your son.
post #14 of 66
The way I figure, intact is the "default" state. HE needs to do research on why a boy should be circumcised. Read the studies, learn about the procedure. 80-90% of boys worldwide are NOT circ'd. About 50% in most of the US. The first generation of dads to get their baby boys cut didn't worry about their sons "matching" penises. There is a pretty good chance that your husband's father or grandfather was intact.
I understand a man feeling a lack of control in his family life, but the more he learns about circ' the more he will hopefully realize that this is an area he needs to let his SON control!
post #15 of 66
You have gotten a lot of good replies, and I won't simply repeat them. But I will add a few thoughts. First, here is something that you and he can read:


It has references, so can be a good starting point for more discussion.

Second, he is using fear and irrational arguments. Keep trying to move back to rational decision making, rather than fear based arguments.

And you will be more successful at moving the discussion form fear based arguments to informed decision making by keeping that full set of issues on the table. When people are afraid, they focus on only one issue and let that overwhelm them.

Instead, make sure that all the advantages and disadvantages of either choice get included in the discussion. Sometime writing it down on paper is helpful. For instance:

Circumcise him:


He will be amputated like his dad.

He will have some very small decrease in UTIs, though even if he were intact, his chance of UTIs would be well below that of girls.

If his condom breaks, or he chooses to use unsafe sexual practices, he will have to have more encounters with HIV positive females in order to contract HIV.


Intense pain during the procedure, with some research suggesting that the pain could have long lasting effects. At a minimum, it seems well documented to interfere with breast feeding, bonding, and pain thresholds in his early years.

Risk of infection.

Risk of complications. There are many, and some cannot be known until he reaches puberty or later.

You will be taking away his options. While he can always be circumcised when he is older, he cannot save his foreskin and reattach it later if he finds that is his preference. And the results are likely to be more predictable and risk of complications much less if he has himself circumcised when he is an adult.

Dramatic loss of sexual function. He simply will not have a foreskin to move up and down on his shaft. This makes a huge difference in comfort and how one has to go about masturbating and having intercourse. With a foreskin, lubricant is not needed.

Dramatic loss of sexual feelings. Your husband cannot know this. He may well not be able to accept it. He simply does not have the equipment to understand. The foreskin itself has nerves that respond to its movement. these nerves add sensations different than waht you husband can feel. And they are the major sexual sensory input for a man. If you don't have them, you can't feel them.

Violation of your son's human rights. There is widely held acceptance of this, legally and philosophically.

As far as your husband's points, I cannot fit them into this as clear advantages of disadvantages. Your son won't look like your husband in many ways. Is that good or bad? And your son may find that many of his peers are intact, so that cood go either way. And by the time he is ready for sex, he may be glad he has his foreskin. Again, you can argue either way.

The key is not to focus on just one issue, but understand the tradeoffs. What are you "buying" for the pain caused? Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? All of them?

post #16 of 66
Regarding his own most "important" reason to circ. Looking like his father.

I'd have to ask him how often he has spent time comparing his penis with his father's.
post #17 of 66
My understanding is that we are allowed to discuss/link to the sexual function of the foreskin, so long as we're not engaging in graphic sexual discussion. After all, it would be almost impossible to discuss the Case Against Circumcision without discussing the penis' sexual function!

This link is one of my favorites for explaining what the foreskin is and what it does:


It's based on the research of several pathologists into the foreskin's structures and functions that's been published in the British Journal of Urology.

The risks of circumcision go far beyond infection, bleeding, adhesions, meatal stenosis, etc. -- the 100% complication of circumcision is the loss of the foreskin and all of its specialized sensory structures.
post #18 of 66
I can assure you that boys do NOT care if Dad is circumcised and they are not. My twin sons are intact, and they learned about circumcision when they were 8 years old - during a church sermon, of all places. They asked what the word meant, and we explained in simple, non-emotional terms. One said "Ouch! Why would anyone want to do that?" I went on to explain that most men don't choose it for themselves, but their parents have it done when they are babies. I told them that their sitter's baby was circumcised, and the felt horrible for hom.

Finally we explained that their Dad was cicumcised when he was a baby. One of our sons said "Poor Dad! He's missing the best part!" The other said "I just thought Dad always kept his foreksin pulled back". It never occured to either one of them that his foreskin had been cut off - why would it, if you've never heard of that before? Since my boys could retract their foreskins, they could make theirs look like Dad's.

Once they learned about circumcision, they had NO desire to get circumcised themselves, to "match" their Dad. The don't match in eye color, hair color, or shape of nose or ears (they look like me). He has a mustache; they don't. None of these differences are troublesome in any way - why should they worry about "matching" a body part that no one ever sees? We aren't prudes at our house, but we don't spend a lot of time naked either.

Finally, my DH and his brother (both circumcised) were in their 40s before they learned that their own Dad had been intact (their Mom told us). They had no idea. Obviously "matching Dad" is not a big deal AT ALL to children - as stated so well in a previous post, "matching" is only important to the Dad who is threatened by the idea of his son having something he doesn't have.

Best wishes to you, MyMary - I do not envy you this conflict in your marriage. I agree with the poster who said that baby boys come with a foreskin as standard equipment - the person who wants to authorize an operation on a normal, healthy infant is the one who needs to come up ith a valid *medical* justification, sufficient to outweigh the risks and harms of the surgery. Trust me, he won't be able to do it.
post #19 of 66
Here's another tool - it's a list of questions that should be asked before any operation.


Since circumcision is often regarded as "just a snip", or a minor procedure, just highlighting the fact that it is sugery might help change your DH's mond. If not, at least you will have the opportunity to have a doctor (or two, if you take the advice of getting a second opinion) explain that the foreskin is normal, natural, and not a condition that needs immediate treatment.

If you can find a doctor in advance that is opposed to circumcision, so much the better! Though any doctor worth his/her credientials should answer all of those questions truthfully.
post #20 of 66
As the intact son of a circumcised man, I can say that, the few times I saw his penis as a child, I noticed the differences having to do with age--ie size and hair--much more than his glans being exposed and mine not. I do remembering noticing the difference but I figured it was part of the "older penis=different penis" trend I had noticed. I thought for awhile that my foreskin might disapear as I got older, and remember being relieved when I learned more about circumcision and realized that I was gonna get to hang onto it, after all.
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