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How to talk circumcision w/ a husband who is pro-circumcise - Page 2

post #21 of 79

There is some good information being given here, and I also would like to refer you to the Case Against Circumcision Forum here on MDC. There are really well educated people who are devoted to that forum and that cause, and this question is one they are used to addressing.


Now let me personally address a few of your concerns. 1) cleanliness. My husband is intact. He was born in Holland where medical circumcision is unheard of and seen as barbaric. DH, his cousins, his male relatives and friends were all intact, and because their parents knew how to care for an intact penis, none (to MiL's knowledge) ever "needed" to be circ'd for repeated infection. 2) Looking like Daddy. Ask your DH if he remembers what his dad's penis looks like. My husband and son are both intact. That doesn't mean their penises look the same.

3) fitting in with peers. In 2009 68% of American parents chose NOT to circumcise. And circ rates have been declining since the 1980s, and continue to drop. So keeping your son intact means that he will be like the majority of HIS peers.


I would also mention that each year, circ kills nearly as many babies as SIDS. To quote the article: "The study found that approximately 117 neonatal (first 28 days after birth) circumcision-related deaths occur annually in the United States, [...] To put this in perspective, about 44 neonatal boys die each year from suffocation, and 8 from auto accidents. About 115 neonatal boys die annually from SIDS"


And here is a little logic for ya: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/11/circumcision-most-twisted-logic-in.html


(eta - correct formatting error)

post #22 of 79

I'm really lucky, my DH came around very quickly. The one thing that really convinced him was that it's not his body, and it's not his choice. He does computer security for a living, so the idea of someone else taking away your personal choices really struck home with him. Hopefully you'll find something that will help your DH see your side. I also think you should try logic and information first, but that the videos and pictures can be really compelling.  There's been some good resources listed here, good luck!

post #23 of 79

crashing from December DDC-I just had this issue with DH. I looked up the American Academy of pediatrics statement from 1997 (not sure if that's the most recent or not) It has about ten pages of risks of not circumcising but then at the end says that they don't recommend it in spite of these risks. Sounds good to me.


I also looked up some stories on this board from"The Case against circumcision" group and told him about the poor baby that had severe bleeding afterward to the point that he was waist deep in blood in his carseat.  Manipulative,cruel and wrong, I know, but I got my point across. DH didn't have a strong opinion, he just knew he wanted to do it because everyone else does it. Now we are planning to" leave it alone."

post #24 of 79

i'd go with the "it's not my body argument" Point out to your dh if your ds wants it done he can CHOOSE to do so in the future. That being said I did ultimately leave the decision to my dh as I at the time was not swayed either way, but my dh is not circumsized and he was not about to let our ds be circumsized. I have since done research on the subject and do feel strongly that boys should be left intact, but i am glad that my dh was against it from the get go.

post #25 of 79

DDC crashing to say that our Bradley teacher convinced my hubby. She showed a video. Said why it was wrong and "poof" my hubby is an intactivist! Thanks, Gail!

post #26 of 79

Find a video of the actual procedure, if you can.  My DH and I were discussing it, and the whole "fitting in" thing and whatever.... I've been in on a circumcision as part of my medical training, and there's NO way that I would allow anyone to do that to my child.  I explained that there was no anasthesia used often, and that seemed to clinch it for him. 

post #27 of 79

There was a recent new story that showed that about the same number of babies DIE each year from circumcision as SIDS.  http://www.icgi.org/2010/04/infant-circumcision-causes-100-deaths-each-year-in-us/The risk of death is very real.  Also, as for looking like his father...um....a child's penis will not be big, he won't have pubic hair, etc....in other words it isn't going to look anything like the father's.  And once he is old enough that it might they won't be getting naked together.  As for it being weird, the most recent stats show that MOST boys being born now are NOT circumcised. http://www.davidwilton.com/files/2010-08-05_zoler.pdf So he won't be in the minority.  Girls will be used to intact penises.  Cleaning is no big deal, it's no more complicated than cleaning a girl's vulva.  


Finally, if it helps at all, my son is intact.  He is now 11. The other day I had to explain what circumcision was based on something we were reading in the Bible.  He was HORRIFIED!!!!  He looked right at me and said "THANK YOU for not doing that to me!"  This boy doesn't say much, and never says thank you without being prompted.  It was truly heartfelt, and made me feel great.


I hope this helps.

post #28 of 79
I saw that a few women have taken the "you do all the research and make the decision" route, but I think that's a really bad idea. It sounds like it worked out well for the children of the women who posted about it on this thread, it has the potential to be very dangerous. While I would hope that if your husbands do actual research and are reasonable minded men and would make the right decision - what happens if they don't? Are you actually willing to let your son be circumcised if he decides it's a good idea? Or will you, after telling him that he can make the decision, go back on it because he made the wrong one? I think it could be very damaging to a relationship to say "You can make the choice" and then go back on it. And, of course, it would be very damaging to your son to allow him to choose to circumcise your son.
post #29 of 79

The default is to leave the baby as he is at birth unless there is a pressing medical need to correct something right away.  


Have your DH provide you with hard evidence that circ is 1) something that MUST be done, and 2) MUST be done right away.  He won't be able to prove either one.  But if he tries, and you don't have a response to one of his arguments, come here and we will help you.  Bottom line, there is no reason circ must be done to a child - he won't be using his penis for sex until he is an adult or nearly so.  And at that point, he can make the decision for himself.


Really, it's not your decision, and it's not your DH's either.  The man your baby will grow to be is the only person whose opinion matters.


Leaving his penis alone is the only way to preserve his options for the future - circ can always be done later, but it can never be undone.


And to address the concerns you listed:


1. Cleanliness.  Girls are way harder to get clean, but we don't cut bits off of them just to make it easier.  You wipe a baby's intact penis like a finger (from base to tip) - no retracting or scrubbing with soap needed (and in fact, that can CAUSE problems and recurrent infections).  And in just a few years, the boy will be able to take care of washing himself. 


2. Look like Daddy.  This is an emotional argument, and not based in rationality or hard data. See the article that a previous poster linked - this argument has more to do with feeling good about himself (and knowing that YOU think highly of sex with him) than what is best for the baby.  If he has a sense of humor, tell him that he can shave all his hair in the area and use ice packs to make his smaller and more like his son's.  But really, when was the last time he compared genitals with his own father?  Probably never.


3a. Fitting in with other boys. The circ rate in the US has dropped dramatically in the last several years, so there is a good chance that the intact boys will outnumber the cut ones in your son's social circle or school.  But even if they don't, who do you think will feel bad - the kids with all the penis that nature gave them, or the ones who's penises were surgically reduced?  Plus, saying "Why are you looking at my junk?" is all that is needed to deter comments.  Kids have more of a fear of being thought gay than motivation to bully others about their genitals.


3b.  Being ostracized by girls.  The circ rate has dropped.  Girls of your son's generation will be familiar with the intact penis.  Already magazines aimed at young women have articles about the differences and similarities between intact and cut (Cosmo).  This will only increase as the babies of today grow up into adults.  Also, think about this:  What would you think of a boyfriend that didn't like that a daughter's genitals weren't altered?  I know that I would think he certainly wasn't boyfriend material, and would hope that he never contacted her again!  Same thing for a son - a foreskin can act as a really good filter against terribly shallow women.




post #30 of 79

I faced this issue 12 years ago (it was sort of the turning point in me becoming an intactivist rather than simply a parent who chose not to circumcise)


I did it all wrong (because I had NO IDEA what I was up against)


I thought it was about the baby. 


For me this was not a question or a decision- this was not going to happen and it might have broken up our marriage if it came to that- it almost did.


I don't know how the subject got brought up, but I think I might have just offhandedly assumed that we weren't going to circumcise because DUH... you don't cut off bits of other people's penises.... and WOW- I was not prepared for the total WALL of defensiveness I got.  "You must hate me" etc... it was all about him and his sexual ego and the fact that I was supposed to prove that he was perfect and awesome etc etc... by doing what had been done to him to the baby.  If I respected the WHOLE male, based on the fact that I knew whole men and respected their foreskin as a part of their sexual anatomy - (like full of veins and able to feel sexual pleasure- and as such it was precious not GARBAGE...) oh the hell opened up.... how dare I acknowledge sexual anatomy he does not posess.   I might have well called him an impotent sexual cripple.  He was irate.  This was not normal behavior for him- but it was like I hit a trigger that just flipped him to total irrational maniac who coluld not be reasoned with.  We fought for days or weeks... I don't remember exactly... how long does hell last? I was on bedrest- I had placenta previa... I was praying I'd deliver a living baby of a survivable gestation and he was planning of cutting up the baby's penis as soon as it was born just to prove he wasn't sexually damaged.  One of the fights included a total primal meltdown sobbing in the fetal position insisting that he was not damaged. ... Whoa.  (at this point in the tale may I sugged reading Ronald Goldman's book, Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma)


I don't know what happened exactly behind my back, but he looked into it himself and something must have gotten through and he begrudgingly softened his stance. The night our son was born (by the grace of God we both lived) another instinct kicked in- his previous desire to defend a past circumcision became a firey desire to protect his beautiful baby.  He didn't REALLY get it till he was standing in the bloody OR holding our new baby.


Years later we found out two additional important facts. 1. His father was intact (he'd argued a boy must look like dad) 2. His parents did not chose to circumcise him- it was done as part of the hospital routine and had his parents even had the option, they would have said no.  This story was never relayed to him because... well, typical shame and secrecy surrounding this issue which is everyone's business but the man who has the penis.


So here is my advice to you, if you haven't already.  Leave the baby out of it for now.  Leave your own ideas out of it for now.  Begin by asking lots of questions and together collecting answers. The object is not to be making a circumcision decision- it's about first trying to reclaim a little objectivity so that you can approach this question without the burden of "circumcision is great because I'm circumcised, to question circumcision is to question me and I'm just not going to let you go there." 


One thing I'd suggest doing is talking with the inlaws about his circumcision.  You aren't asking their advice- you are getting the history.  Know the reasons and whatever the reason is, there is an empowering way to question that reason that builds the circumcised (infant) man up. Try to put the event of that infant circumcision in the context of the time, the information given, the empowerment of the birth process, the decision making model etc.  If possible go back another generation to his grandparents as well.


I also think that it's wise to ask him to research it and to ask him to make a list of his concerns.  Then address his concerns together one by one. 


If you begin with your opinion, you may just begin a dynamic of defensiveness that goes no where.


What you need to understand that one of the reasons why circumcision is so powerful is because circumcised people NEED their beliefs to cling to in order to avoid facing the reality of what was done to them.  Thinking about circumcision as sexual damage rather than the sexual advantage is really painful!  I suggest concepts presented by James Atherton on Learning as loss, Resistance to learning and superlative learning.  In order to acquire new understanding requires a person to enter a destabilizing period of letting go of previously learned beliefs. http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/resistan.htm 


Before you begin to discuss the baby you must discover the truth about his beliefs about his own circumcision.

post #31 of 79

I agree with the abovesaids. Especially with the making him watch one. You can Google "circ video" and a whole bunch should pop up. But, in the end, you are the mama bear, and YOU have to protect your baby -- even from daddy. He may throw a tantrum about it, but eventually, he will get over it. Or he will walk away.


The circ conversations kinda went like this with the fathers' of my 3 sons. (I have been married 3 times, and had a boy with each one..LOL)


"Hey, if this baby is a boy, he will not be circed. Period."


First husband was pissed and fought me about it. I didn't sleep in the hospital at all making sure he didn't sign anything behind my back.

Second husband was like "Ok, no biggie"

Current husband was like "I have no preference either way. I wish we would kinda because of family tradition."

post #32 of 79

I think my DH probably still doesn't have a huge problem with circ even though we didn't circ our son, but he ultimately left the decision up to me because he told me that obviously I had strong feelings about the matter, and since he didn't feel as strongly about it as me, that I could make the decision. Same with vax. It's all he's ever known, and didn't think that they were a big deal, but again knew I felt strongly about it and left the decision up to me. No amount of articles, research, etc. would really have swayed his opinion, but he just knew I had done lots of research and had a strong opinion, so he figured that was good enough. This is huge, since he's very opinionated about lots of things, and does everything he can to convince me that he's right about stuff!

post #33 of 79

Here are the arguments I would present (in no particular order):


1. Infection rarely becomes a concern unless (usually well-meaning) parents/doctors attempt to retract the foreskin too early for cleaning. And if your son DOES (extremely unlikely) need to be circumcised later on, they don't strap toddlers and older kids to a board and do it without adequate pain control. It's much less brutal when it's not being performed on a newborn. Regarding his concerns about infection, show him the information the AAP has, and remind him that the procedure itself carries risks -- including a higher rate of infection (caused by an open wound swimming in germs in the boy's diaper). Don't forget that one risk of circumcision is penile amputation (a thought that would make most men cringe and grab himself protectively).


2. Circumcision, when performed on newborns, is a brutal and horrendously painful experience. Show him a video -- not an anti-circ video, but one of those instructional videos for doctors where you can see and hear the baby screaming in the background while the doctor does it. And since he's concerned about hygiene, ask him what he thinks about his son having an open wound on his penis that is exposed to urine and feces.


3. Foreskin status is minor compared to the other differences between his son's genitals and his. When his son sees his pieces-parts, chances are he's going think BIG and HAIRY, not "Why does Daddy's penis not have a foreskin?"


4. Circumcision rates have dropped tremendously in the US. Your son will see a mixture of about half-and-half circumcised and uncircumcised boys in the locker room.


5. IMO, the most important argument of all: your son's penis belongs to him. No one else should be making such a permanent, life-altering decision for him, especially not when the only "advantage" is cosmetic (and of course, that's debatable). Once it's done, it can't be undone, but your son can always choose -- as an adult or maybe older teenager -- to have the procedure performed if HE wants to.



post #34 of 79

Simple - This is not a parenting decision.  There is no decision to made at all.  What other body parts can we cut off our children just for giggles and still call it a parenting decision?  This is a very personal body part and a very personal decision.  The decision should be left to the person who will be using the penis. 

post #35 of 79
I 100 percent agree with whomever said that what the husband really needs is reassurance that his circ isn't " bad". Than he won't do it simply to prove a point
post #36 of 79


Originally Posted by malayasmommy View Post

We just found out we are having a boy (yippee!), and while I am pleased beyond words there is one discussion that now needs to be had between my husband and I--the circumcision discussion.  I'm sure I don't need to explain my reasons to being anti-circumcision to this group, but in the brief conversations we've had I know my husband is very pro.  He stated to me that his main concerns are: 1. cleanliness; 2. looking like his daddy; and 3. "fitting in" with other boys and not being ostracized by girls.  Regarding cleanliness, my brother was actually not circumcised many years ago and had to be circumcised at a later age (4) because of ongoing infection despite cleaning the area--so my husband knows of a specific example.  2. & 3. I can try and give my husband all the "research" in the world but I am sure he's going by emotion and his own experience to guide him on this.  My initial thought is to say that I trust him to make the best decision for our son, but that before he leads w/ emotion I would like for him to read a few articles that describe my concerns.  I don't want to give him gory graphic info (as I think his knee-jerk reaction would be to be defensive), but I want to give him articles that make his really think through whether or not this is TRULY best for our son.  Can any of you who have been in this situation tell me how this discussion happened with you, and/or can you refer me to good, thoughtful articles?  Thanks for sticking with me through this long note!  



It takes under 30 seconds to retract the foreskin and wash under it.  Besides, the foreskin is self-cleaning.  Think about the "how to care for a circumcised penis" information floating out there.  NONE of that applies to an intact penis.  Just dab the tip the same way you would a finger.  With a circumcised penis, you have to check for adhesions, care for the wound, etc.


As for "looking like daddy" ask if he sat on the side of his bed and compared with his dad.  By the time he realized what circumcision is, he probably didn't WANT to think of his dad's penis.


As for "fitting in with the other boys", that's another load of horse-hooey.  If anyone looks at another penis in the locker room, they'd certainly shut their yap, or fear being called out.  "EWWW WHAT ARE YOU DOING LOOKING DOWN THERE?!?!?!?"  All of a sudden, it's the circumcised boy who feels uncomfortable.  Not just for being called out, but for having that unnecessary surgery being done to his body without his consent.


As for one person who wasn't circumcised at birth, but "had to" have it later, think of the trillions of intact adults in the world.  There are so many creams and other medicines that if he doesn't retract even at age 14 or 15, an amputation wouldn't be necessary.



And as other people said, put the onus TO circumcise on your husband.  If he can come up with reasons to circumcise that aren't rooted in myth and aren't debunked by modern science/medicine, then tell him you'll consider it.  Tell him that every reason TO circumcise has an equal counter-argument NOT to circumcise and with that in mind, you'd rather let your son make his own decision regarding his foreskin when he's old enough.  Giving your son his own decision is just about the best thing you can do.  It's not circumcising, it's not keeping intact, but rather a third option that SHOULD satisify both you and your husband.

post #37 of 79


Originally Posted by mclisa View Post

In regards to  looking different in the locker room...consider where  you live.  Europe has low rates of circs.  In the States, the coasts, TX, NM, AZ have low rates too.  There are higher rates in the Midwest, but in my area circs are at 70% of boys and dropping.


He's going to find boys who look like him and don't look like him where ever he goes.


As far as looking different that dad, dad has been through puberty, so he already looks different. 



That map is great to understand that not everyone looks the same.

post #38 of 79


Originally Posted by Fyrestorm View Post

Simple - This is not a parenting decision.  There is no decision to made at all.  What other body parts can we cut off our children just for giggles and still call it a parenting decision?  This is a very personal body part and a very personal decision.  The decision should be left to the person who will be using the penis. 



We don't remove labia, kidneys, galbladders, spleens, intestine, or other body parts at birth.  Why should we remove another healthy part, the foreskin?

post #39 of 79

We aren't finding out what we are having, but when we were TTC I brought up the issue. DH wants the baby to be circ'ed if it's a boy and I don't. I know that the big hospital around here won't even allow parents in the room when it's being done and I'm COMPLETELY against that. My friend had a boy and she thought he was going for his nb shots (yea, I know) and he came back without a foreskin. She and her husband wanted it done, but I couldn't get over the fact the hospital would go and do it without saying that's what the baby was leaving the room for.


I'm not sure how I can get to DH about not circumcising but I think if I insist that we both have to be there, the baby has to have some sort of numbing done (my mom drove 2 hours to find a dr who would do this on my little brother and he still cried) and he has to completely research the pros/cons then he might change my mind, but we both know that won't happen.

post #40 of 79


I'm not sure how I can get to DH about not circumcising but I think if I insist that we both have to be there, the baby has to have some sort of numbing done (my mom drove 2 hours to find a dr who would do this on my little brother and he still cried) and he has to completely research the pros/cons then he might change my mind, but we both know that won't happen.

I'm glad to be able to speak from experience now, as my ds is 7 months old. No amount of "meeting in the middle" will convince your husband. A cut penis is all that he knows, so you are rocking his world just by merely mentioning that this might not be a great idea. I too hoped in the beginning that if I just gave a little, that maybe dh would come around. That never happened. Circ is a yes/no checkbox. (though I would add that your son can always make the decision for himself later). My dh was VERY angry in the beginning, and we fought and fought. I started to just not bring the topic up any more, letting him look into things on his own. I didn't want him to feel badgered. I decided that, because I'm the mama, and I sign the papers... it was absolutely NOT happening to my boy. Now I definitely did not bring this up to dh, because what good would that have done? Instead, I worked on smoothing things over and building up our relationship and his ego. After all, a good deal of husband angst is that there is something wrong with THEIR penis and you are rejecting them. As we got towards the end, he was still panicky, but I went to talk to our wonderful doctor, who is Indian (and intact) whom dh has a great deal of respect for, and then had him go and talk to him. That is what finally calmed his fears... talking to someone he trusted who could lay out the real facts.


On the late, late night when my son was finally born, and dh held him in his arms in awe... he looked at me sheepishly and said quietly "you were right about the whole circumcision thing." I heard him discussing our decision with relatives, and while he is not an intactivist, he really sounds like he understands the reasons we left ds intact. Now we joke about it and think of it as a bid deal over nothing, which it truly is. Ds is our "director's cut" boy.. full length and un-edited... (in my husband's corny but loving way of describing him) Your ds's penis will NOT fall off if left alone. He's born that way for a reason. You just have to believe in yourself and be loving, gentle, but FIRM with dh. Be an unmovable rock for your tiny baby's sake. :) Your hubby might huff and puff, but I know he will get over it and all will be in perspective once the baby comes.

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