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Where is circumcision in your hierarchy of parenting decisions?

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
I was leading a LLL meeting a few weeks ago, and I brought up the topic of how what you PLAN to do before your baby is born may be very different from what happens once baby is actually here. I was referring to things such as "I planned to cloth diaper, but baby is extremely high needs and I couldn't keep up with the laundry, something had to give" or "I planned on co-sleeping, but baby had severe reflux and needed to sleep on a wedge" (that second example is true for me, my first could not lay flat and could not side-lie nurse, so co-sleeping wasn't possible).

But the topic got me thinking...I told the moms there that you need to be aware of what parenting choices are the most important to you, kind of a "rack and stack" so if you have to re-evaluate anything for any reason, you already know which ones are easily negotiable. Maybe making your own home-made-from-scratch baby food suddenly seems like an enormous task, and buying jars of food is exactly the break you need to keep up your cloth diapering, and you have placed the importance of cloth diapers over the importance of home-made foods. Knowing that before hand can make the decision easier, less mama-guilt involved.

You get the idea.

I've been trying to figure out where my hierarchy is. And I think I'm surprising myself a little with my self-analysis. [caveat...I did not bring up circumcision at the meeting as it's outside the topics I'm allowed to discuss]

I think that leaving a baby intact falls at the top of my list.

I would rather formula feed my baby than circumcise. The way I see it, there is an "acceptable" alternative to breastmilk, but there is no alternative to a foreskin. Formula could potentially lead to health issues later in life, and I'm not downplaying those at all, but I think the health issues of circumcision are hugely ignored. Sexual health is health, after all. It's a big part of life.

I used to think that breastfeeding was really high on my list of important things, and it is high, but I think I put intactness above it. I also think I put correct use of car seats above it. I'd rather a mom formula feed her baby than not use or incorrectly use a car seat.

I'm still mulling this over in my head...but I'm curious where the rest of you stand in your own hierarchies? I had someone say to me once "I could care less if you circumcise your baby, but at least breastfeed!" and I think I've come to the conclusion that my beliefs are exactly opposite of that.
post #2 of 79
I was just thinking about this recently. Circumcism is the most important decision I can make for any son and it is one thing I will not budge on ever. It is the parenting issue I think is more important than any other. Breastfeeding is very important to me but circumcism is even more so because the effects of it will last a boys entire life. There future sex life will not be the same with a circumcism. You can't take it back. Breastmilk is healthy and important but it will not effect them later in life as much as circumcism does. I was just examining the same thing that I think it is more important to me that a boy is left intact than a baby is breastfed.

There are a few things I thought I be more crucnchy with. UP does not work for me and although I do use gentle discipline and liked some of the points from UP I do not folow it completely. I also encourage independent sleep and didn't co sleep as long as I thought with my ds. There are issues I could do things a little differently but circumcism does not fall into that catagory. I don't know if I could stay married to someone who was trying to force it.
post #3 of 79
Honestly, not that high.

FWIW, my two sons are circumcised. Were we ever to have another son, we would not circumcise. But even so, I don't view it as THAT big of a priority. I place breastfeeding way WAY up high. Natural birth is almost as high. Cloth diapering and babywearing are way up there, as is car seat safety. Cosleeping is high, but not all that high. If I had a child that happily slept in its own space in my room, that would be fine with me.
post #4 of 79
if I were to have a boy, circumsicion isn't negotiable. It isn't happening. The end.

however for me, because it is such a cut and dry issue that I won't really need to think about again, I don't consider it on the list at all. It won't really interfere with daily life trying to care for a baby other than reminding people not to retract and junk.

Carseats also isn't on the list for me either simply because using it correctly isn't hard and doesn't interfere with life. I know how to install correctly and I know how a child should be seated in one and how tight the straps should be. case closed for me. The ONLY issue is when to go from rear facing to forward facing and my child currently is just fine rfing at 23 pounds and 16 months so I'm going to leave her and will leave her for as long as possible. If I had a child that seriously couldn't be rfing past the legal time, I'd reconsider my stance.

For the list, breastfeeding is definitely more important than cloth diapers and for my current baby, cloth diapers was more important than making my own baby food. I've succeeded at the first two perfectly and failed at the third but I DID do my best to make good baby food choices for her. I'm currently adding in not vaccinating and figuring out where it belongs for me. Right now we delay vax but I am looking into pushing to stop altogether. We also didn't cosleep but I think that that will also be moved up the list for the next child... not sure yet where it belongs though. I'm also hoping to put babywearing up higher on the list too but again, I'm not sure how the order is going to go yet.

I think breastfeeding, specifically extended breastfeeding with solids no earlier than 6 months, will always be my number one though. Unless we are factoring in the birth. Natural birth is EXTREMELY important to me and I want a homebirth next time (first time was a fsbc) but I'm not sure which one would win out. losing either I think would affect me deeply. heaven forbid I get neither... I think I would have some serious issues getting over that.
post #5 of 79
Number one issue for me.
post #6 of 79
In a way I see it as a non-issue and a non-parenting issue. It's not my body, it's not my decision to cut parts of it off, so I'm not choosing not to circumcise -- I'm simply leaving things as nature intended. Circumcision is a decision that parents make, but it's not a parenting decision -- it has nothing to do with raising your child or shaping the person they become in any conscious, deliberate way.

Breastfeeding, CD/ECing, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, homeschooling, whatever it is -- those are all things that have to be done on a daily basis, even an hourly or minute by minute basis, and to me really are parenting decisions. Breastfeeding is at the top of the list for me for many reasons, and it is something that many moms have to work hard to do and really suffer and sacrifice for, so I see it as a parenting decision. As someone whose nursing relationship with my first nearly failed due to many factors, I can understand how sometimes a mom needs to make a parenting decision that breastfeeding isn't going to work out (although obviously I think we need a heck of a lot more support for moms so that there aren't so many booby traps!) And having nursed continuously for 8 years now, I'm pretty darned tired of it and I'm ready to stop because I'm not the parent I want to be after years of chronic sleep deprivation from night nursing. I do think every baby has the right to breastfeed but there's a big caveat in terms of whether every mama is able to breastfeed. It's not great if baby can't nurse but it's also not a human rights violation in the way that I think circumcision is.

But I simply don't see that there's ever a trade-off between circumcision and breastfeeding or any other real parenting decision, although I can certainly understand the question.
post #7 of 79
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm kind of fumbling over how exactly to word the question, because I also don't see it as something that I'm willing to "trade-off" or negotiate...the original discussion was definitely about trade-offs, but it got me thinking about what my priorities are.

I guess maybe a better way of putting it is...if you had to give a speech about one and only one topic related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, what topic would you choose as the most important?

I used to think that breastfeeding was close to if not my number one choice.

Natural birth probably being up there.

Anti-CIO being up there somewhere.

Baby wearing being up there.

CIrcumcision has always been a big NO for me, but it hasn't really been an activism thing for me until recently. I didn't do it, but didn't really care much if others did. That's not true for me anymore!!

Oh, same with vaccines...it used to be not a big deal, I was on the fence, didn't really care what others did one way or another, but now I find myself talking about it more and more.
post #8 of 79
there was no way i would have allowed my son to be circumcised.

but to me, that really wasn't a parenting *decision*.

for me, it is the default position.

my husband wanted to circumcise, but i said that he had to prove to me why surgery on normal anatomy was necessary.

for people who do circumcise, THEY are making a decision.
post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky View Post
In a way I see it as a non-issue and a non-parenting issue. It's not my body, it's not my decision to cut parts of it off, so I'm not choosing not to circumcise -- I'm simply leaving things as nature intended.
post #10 of 79
Circumcision is BY FAR my first. BY FAR!

Second is CIO.
post #11 of 79
I'm with Quirky on this one in terms of labeling this a parenting decision. It's a human right issue to me.
I would not trade anything that compromised my child's emotional well being. I nurse because of the biological need for a human to receive human milk. Nothing else is specifically tailor made for that baby besides it's mother's milk. BUT breastfeeding has a huge emotional component and I place that aspect of it on equal footing with the biology.
I feel the same way with co-sleeping. Their is real biological science behind co-sleeping. Just read any of James McKenna's work if you are not familiar with it. There is also the emotional security issue. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
I understand the nature of the question. Meeting my child's biological and emotional needs are primary, so breastfeeding, co sleeping, baby wearing, never CIO...those sorts of things are totally not negotiable.
post #12 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky View Post
In a way I see it as a non-issue and a non-parenting issue. It's not my body, it's not my decision to cut parts of it off, so I'm not choosing not to circumcise -- I'm simply leaving things as nature intended. Circumcision is a decision that parents make, but it's not a parenting decision -- it has nothing to do with raising your child or shaping the person they become in any conscious, deliberate way.
ITA For me it was non-negotiable. Circumcising my son would have caused him physical harm. I could never choose to do that and justify it.
post #13 of 79
If I had to pick a position (I understand what you're saying, but the fact is is that it's not a "parenting" decision at all, and we know that), then it would definitely be number one.

I've been thinking about this lately... I had a friendship absolutely fall apart because I told her I thought she was making a gargantuan mistake, by thinking about just "giving in" to her husband's adamance about circumcision. Then a bunch of my other friends jumped all over me, saying things like "are you suggesting she leave her husband?!" And I felt terrible.

But now... in retrospect, I think I would. If my husband were the type of guy that couldn't listen to reason, and still wanted to damage our son like that, well then I don't think I'd like to be with him. And I would protect my son at all costs, including marriage. Most other issues have a little wiggle room... a bit of "discussion room".

Not when it comes to my sweet baby's bodily integrity, that's for sure.
post #14 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky View Post
In a way I see it as a non-issue and a non-parenting issue. It's not my body, it's not my decision to cut parts of it off, so I'm not choosing not to circumcise -- I'm simply leaving things as nature intended. Circumcision is a decision that parents make, but it's not a parenting decision -- it has nothing to do with raising your child or shaping the person they become in any conscious, deliberate way.

Once again, Quirky said it better than I could - It's not even on my list of parenting decisions, because it's not a parenting decision.
post #15 of 79
Circumcision simply isn't happening. It's not even an option. The end. Nothing could make me needlessly circumcise my child. Unlike other parenting choices (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, etc) it's irreversible and once it's done, you can't go back. I'm very much against it.
post #16 of 79
Here's my top 5:

1) Circumcision- non-negotiable, I consider it assault and abuse, and would literally divorce over the issue, told DF as much the minute it looked like we were going to get serious (which was on our second date ), that he was welcome to look at all of the research if he wanted to and I would help him with that.

2) CIO- Ain't happening, but wouldn't leave my partner over it. WOULD stop leaving the baby alone with them, however, and did this with my previous partner over my daughter, before I eventually left him outright.

3) Breastfeeding- Will do everything in my power to EBF and CLW, but wouldn't leave my partner for giving formula. He never would, though, he's been educated on the advantages of breastfeeding now

4) Babywearing- I consider this important but I'm flexible about it, and wouldn't try to force my partner to do it if they didn't want to.

5) Cloth diapering- would rather CD, but it's a pretty big point spread between circ and diapering choices.
post #17 of 79
keeping my baby from being mutilated? Up at the very tippy top of that list.

Next would be physical/emotional abuse; spanking/abandonment ect.

I can bend on nearly anything else.
post #18 of 79
Keeping the child intact is the number one priority. Period. Like others have said, once it's done it's done, there is no putting the foreskin back on. Other things may or may not be detrimental to my child but surgical removal of a healthy, functioning body part certainly is harmful and forever changes a sex organ that isn't my own.

I'm curious about what the OP meant by this:
"[caveat...I did not bring up circumcision at the meeting as it's outside the topics I'm allowed to discuss]".

Is circ discussion not allowed at your LLL meeting by anyone or just you? Can you provide more info on this? Maybe it's not allowed at any LLL meeting (I've never been to one). I would hope they would allow it, especially since some babies may have a nursing difficulty for a brief time after a circ. I hope if a new mama to a freshly circed baby asked questions someone there could answer her. I'd hate to see her stop breastfeeding because she thought something else was wrong.
post #19 of 79
I'd say at the top. It's an absolutely non-negotiable for me.

Breastfeeding is a close second. I'd say they're tied, but if I ended up in a situation where I had to pick one or the other (can't imagine how that would happen), not chopping off one of my baby's body parts would win out.

After that? They're all at least somewhat flexible. I was a tyrant about using cloth, at least most of the time, until after Aaron died. I've just never pulled it together sufficiently since then. I'm pretty hardcore about bedsharing, but it isn't always the best...dd1 did better in her own bed, next to us, after about 3-4 months or so. I'm totally pro-babywearing, but don't do it that much with dd2, because of my back and shoulder issues. I'm a serious natural birth advocate, but...I've had five c-sections. Things have to give sometimes...but not foreskins.
post #20 of 79
Interesting. I just read through the thread, and realized I ddn't even think about CIO. It's a bit like circ - it's never even occurred to me to attempt CIO. It's just not on my list of possibles.

I agree with those who said that circ sin't really a parenting decision and wouldn't even really be on the list. To me, it's no different than asking "where on your list of parenting priorities is leaving all your baby's fingers in one piece?", except that I don't know anyone who would chop off a baby's finger.
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