I can understand how it can feel to be the "odd one out," and often AP/NFL moms stick out in some ways or more obvious ways (like being a breastfeeder in a room full of bottle feeders or breastfeeders who aren't comfy nursing in public, or objecting to the terrible snacks at preschool, etc.) Some of these issues go away after the very baby years, some of them still come up as kids get older. It can be hard to feel like an outsider around people who might think you're weird for doing or not doing xyz.
On the other hand -- put the shoe on the other foot, and pretend you were living in a society (in Africa, or some Muslim countries outside of Africa, for example) where most if not all girls get circumcised, ranging from very minor to extremely invasive and terribly wounding cutting. Would you feel as self-conscious about your choice to keep your daughter intact, even if she might notice a difference in the shower room or the public toilets or wherever else? Of course not, because my guess is you know as a woman the value of having all of your parts and you would never dream of subjecting yourself or your daughter to genital cutting for any reason whatsoever, whether hygiene, fitting in, etc.
Would you feel badly about not cutting her if she got an infection? Of course not, you'd get it treated, change up the hygiene routine as necessary, and just accept it as a normal part of life that kids get infected -- sometimes their fingers, sometimes their toenail, sometimes their ears or tonsils, sometimes their genitals. It happens. You can be sad for any pain they're going through but you can't cut off all the body parts that can get infected, because truly, just like fingers and toenails, the genitals are not optional, disposable body parts.
It really, truly is no different for boys. The amount of cutting you would have subjected your son to if you'd had him circumcised as a baby is just as bad as the vast majority of all female genital cutting types out there (most girls do not undergo the most damaging type). You'd have removed half the nerve endings of his penis and destroyed the foreskin's natural gliding action, permanently altering its structure and function. Can you imagine if half the nerve endings in your sensitive parts were gone?
It's really only in this country where we have this cultural, non-religious tradition of cutting baby boys that circumcision seems normal. If you step outside and imagine how you'd feel if it were your girl we were talking about -- I'm pretty sure that even if 100% of all families at her school circed their girls that you wouldn't go along with it, knowing what you know about your experiences and the realities of being an intact woman.
Please feel confident that you made the right decision (or non-decision, really) because the foreskin is not a bonus, extra, disposable body part, and the amount of harm you would have done to your son far, far, far outweighs any possible, transitory, non-essential "good" you might have done him in terms of fitting in socially.
(Oh and FYI my dh DID play sports from middle school through college and saw lots of intact as well as circed penises -- the rule was always don't look and above all don't comment! Even for a guy born in the late 60s in the Northeast, a very cut-happy part of the country, the locker room was simply a non-issue.)
Originally Posted by stacyann_1
Thread seems a bit old, but wanted to add I have been feeling this way also about my 5 year old. He tells me often that at school that ALL the other boys look different and they look at him and have even noticed he looks different. This shocks me a bit, I had always told my (intact) husband there will be other boys the same as him, as it is becoming more common in the US. My husband feels his confidence would be better in adolescence if he was circ'd he might have even played sports he says.
Also just recently my son had an infection, was so painful for him, first time he saw me cry, i felt horrible. But it cleared up quickly with bacitracin. We have a newer nanny and she didn't remind him to clean at bath with water (he is mostly retracting now, but some still attached.) so now he is rinsing every day at bath pulling back a little and putting under running water.
Also, I am not suspicious of studies in reputable journals and on pubmed, and some are showing less chance of infection passing with circ'd boys (hiv,hsv, hpv) but i have always said in my mind, any boy is in trouble if they are depending on being circ'd to prevent an STD, this is not safe sex anyway. this thread does help, reminding me if he really wants it at some point when he is older he can make that decision (wheras my husband never felt that was a choice)
plus my husband alwasy says it is SO painful to have it done when older, is this true? i mean just because a child doesn't remember doesn't mean it was less painful. if a person gets alzheimers, doesn't mean when they broke their knee 40 years ago it didn't hurt..
Just to let you know i think about it all, but still wonder sometimes if all would be easier if i had done it. also i know no one IRL that has had problems either way, except one older man who had it done in the army because he was getting infections.