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Mamas expecting boys--the issue of the big C

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
When I was pregnant with Alexander I was quite young (I had him at 22). We were poor, living in a bad neighborhood in a mid-sized city, and I worked all the time. My family lived about an hour away and I, save the internet and dh, was very much alone.

I ended up doing things with him the way that they've "always" been done. The way most people did them because I wanted to be like most people. I had a hospital birth with continuous EFM, an epidural, and when he was born we had him circumcized. After all, it was how things were done in my family (neither of us are Jewish, btw, so it's not like our families had any reasons for doing it). He ended up having a severe blood sugar drop and I had to fight hard to keep the nursery from giving him sugar water.

When I found out that Holden was a boy I set about doing a lot of research. Co-sleeping, extended nursing, babywearing, vaccinations, circumcision. I read a lot at the Circ board here at MDC and their various recommended links. I watched a video of a circ and made dh watch it as well. I did not want this baby circumcized.

But it's hard to change, even when you feel like you know better. After all, I had already circ'ed one son. In our families it was unheard of to leave a son intact (of course, most of our other choices were as well). Was it fair to circ one son, really with the only reason being because his dad was circ'ed, and leave the other intact? Would the boys notice the difference? Would my oldest feel bad, that his parents had made this mistake with his body part? Would my youngest feel as if his penis was the 'odd' one out?

As Maya Angelou says, when you know better, you do better. I declined circ'ing him at the hospital, a decision that the nurses applauded. They said that nearly every boy left that hospital circ'ed.

My sons are still young enough that they don't notice the difference in their penises any more than they notice the difference in their size, their age, their eye color. Every one is different. They don't notice that Alex's penis is more like his dad's because, well, it isn't. A child's penis doesn't look anything like an adult penis. By the time it resembles dh's penis, I doubt that we'll still be showing each other penises.

We are also not going to circumcise this boy.

I've been on both sides of the fence, making different decisions both times. I'm not trying to pass judgment or condemnation on anyone (I've tried hard to keep inflammatory language out of my story because I don't want anyone to feel defensive). I just wanted to share that there are families with boys both intact and non, that it's possible to change your decisions even after making those decisions with other children, that there is no shame in saying, "I made this choice at the time based on the information that I had. Now that I have other information I'm going to do something different."

post #2 of 42
First off, good for you for making an informed decision Neither of our boys were circ'd, and Elias won't be as well and we are Jewish. I'm not going to get into a religious thing, but we believe in a circumcision of the heart first - not literally of course

I'm sure DH will love me for sharing this, but he is the only one out of his brothers who is not circ'd. He was born with a heart problem and wasn't healthy or strong enough to go through it. My MIL has since said she wishes she would've known more before DH came along b/c none of her other boys would've been circ'd.

I got a TON of flak from my parents and I simply said I feel it's maiming and there's no need for it to be done, just my opinion, end of story. Then the comments became very, very negative and it showed me just how ignorant people can be. They even offered to pay for it and it just escalated. But at the end of the day my boys are intact and that's all that matters to DH & I as parents.

So much for a quick post, but just to play devil's advocate, our nephew is circ'd and we had him over for a sleepover and it was my oldest that asked why his cousin's peepee looked different, so it was like the opposite of the standard story you hear. We just explained that everyone looks different, and it doesn't matter. So I thought that was kind of neat in my warped little mind

It is a very hard, personal decision to come to, and I think that everyone makes the best choice they can and really that's all we can do as parents
post #3 of 42
We are expecting a boy and are leaning strongly toward no circ. though we haven't done as much research yet as we should. We have just put it off until we knew we had to make the decision. Guess its time to do the research.
post #4 of 42
I am happy to be able say that there is no issue for us. Our son won't be circumsized. Period. No research needed.

It is supposedly much lower rates in Canada than in the U.S.
post #5 of 42
My son is not circumcised. This baby is a girl so its a non issue. Actually, it was a non issue with ds too. There was simply no valid reason for it to be done.
There is no medical reason that is compelling or even proven.
There is no cultural reason as it is becoming less and less common.
There is no religious reason for us as we not Jewish or Muslim.

There is just no reason to do it. Our son is perfect and there is no need to surgically alter him especially in such a brutal way (often without anesthesia).

We are very happy with our decision and believe our son will be also.
post #6 of 42
We're not going to circ. I went over the pros/cons with my husband and was really pleased that he was so agreeable. He is circed and so is just about everyone we know. I am really curious what our families will say about this - so far it hasn't come up. I'm also really curious if future babies born into our family will end up not being circed because of our example.
post #7 of 42
We are team green, but if we do have a boy, we're not going to circ. I had to talk a lot to DH about it, but most of our friends who've had boys haven't done it, so that helps. I read an article that said the most common reason they heard in doing research to circ was because they didn't want their boy to be different from the other boys. But the circ/non-circ rate today is on average 50%, as high as 75% non-circ on the west coast. So that's not even really an issue.

And the AMA declines to take a side on this issue. They say there isn't compelling medical reasons for either. I thought that was interesting.
post #8 of 42
I appreciate your story. There is always more than one way to look at an issue and I hope your experience helps others to do the research and ask questions about circumcision. Thanks for sharing in such a gentle way.
post #9 of 42
Thank you for raising this issue in such a gentle and thoughtful way, with your post. I think, as attitudes are changing, it is so helpful to be able to have safe, thoughtful conversations. This is what allows people to think about their decisions, in a nondefensive way, rather than just retreat and go to what they know. I have a girl, and not sure whether this next one will be boy or girl, so I haven't had to face this decision yet. I appreciate all of the posts for keeping the conversation going!
post #10 of 42
post #11 of 42
Even though this baby is a girl, DH and I had extensive circ. discussions before we knew.

Initially, DH assumed that since he is circ'ed that his son should be too. I said something along the lines of "OK, well if he's born with blonde hair, I guess I'll have to dye it brown."

It really seems pretty ridiculous to me that we have try to make everyone's penises as similar as possible. DH did a little research, and it didn't take much for him to come to the conclusion that there just is no reason to do it. So we wouldn't.

Isn't it kind of strange to go hacking up babys' genitals all willy-nilly like that, anyway?
post #12 of 42
I have a friend who circed her first but left the second intact. There's nothing wrong with it. Like they say, "when you know better, you do better." No sense in continuing to do something wrong just because you did it before!

I was all set to do things the "normal" way when I was first pregnant with my first. Traditional hospital birth, crib in his own room, circ, vax, etc. Then I learned about some different choices that turned out to suit me a LOT better. I wound up not having DS1 circed, and like you, the hospital staff was SO proud of me! DH never shared his views on it either way, and come to find out he is intact too, I just never knew because he has a really short foreskin and it doesn't have the trademark "snout" that DS1 does.

We're having another boy and he will be intact too. In our case, having the sons "match Daddy" means NOT circumcising!
post #13 of 42
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by robertandenith View Post
I have sent him videos but he won't watch them.
Speaking gently here--I would ask him to present his side using research or by watching a video of the procedure (that he wants to put his newborn son through). I know that several women (just from reading message boards through the years) seem to give their dh's more input on this subject than they allow themselves and *I believe* (disclaimed) that it should be a 50/50 decision. One shouldn't get more of a vote--using less research--because one has a penis.

That is, of course, my 2 pennies.
post #14 of 42
This boy will go home the way he was made just like his brother. His body, his decision. If either of our sons decide they want a circ they can have it after they reach the age of consent. Just like if we had girls and they wanted breast implants - when they are old enough to make a legal decision themselves then they can have it done and pay for it themselves.

When we first talked about it with our first pregnancy we figured we would circ until we started looking into it. Once we learned that the foreskin is attached to the glans like your fingernail is attached to the nail bed we knew it was meant to be left alone. We could find no compelling reason to perform cosmetic surgery on a baby.

A newborn intact boy is so much easier to diaper than a circ'd boy. You literally leave it alone and just wipe it like you would the end of your finger. No retracting, nothing but wiping if necessary. You aren't caring for a raw, open, bleeding wound.

I've never regretted our decision - even after having to deal with an awful yeast infection a couple of summers ago because of wet swim diapers.

Best wishes!!!
post #15 of 42
We have two uncirc'd boys. I never even considered circ'ing and my dh was possibly surprised at first?, but after I found and summed up some research, he was totally on board with not doing the unnecessary, painful, non-voluntary (on the baby's part) surgical procedure.

Our experience is that it never again came up as an issue. There haven't been any problems at all, they were fully retractable by 3 on both (they retracted themselves, no one ever tried to, including our ped.), they've never noticed that anyone else is different, including friends when they change clothes, they just assume people's bodies are different I guess, if they even notice. I told a family member we were considering not circ'ing with my first and she expressed distaste, so we never brought it up again and honestly, neither has anyone else. I never felt a need to discuss it, convince anyone or get affirmation by anyone about it. No one has ever asked or made a comment about it. I read Jenny McCarthy writing that she did circ cause she wanted her son to have a "pretty penis" and I have to say that natural, unscarred and normal ones are in fact adorable.
post #16 of 42
My son is intact.

Did my husband want that? Nope. He was adamant on circing him. I presented him with info, and he didn't care -- refuted everything in some way or another. The reason I "won" was that we had our son at home with no easy avenues for circumcision.

I have a stepson (my son's half brother) who is circed. Neither of them have made mention that they are different from each other, and my son has not noticed that he is different from his dad, either. I figure he thinks that all penises just look different, period (which is true to a certain extent).

My surrobabe is a girl, and I don't plan on getting pregnant ever again, so it's now a non-issue for me, but I don't even mention circumcision around my husband since it's a huge hot-button.
post #17 of 42
Nope, not circing. Our older son is intact and so will this little guy.

FWIW, my dh is circ'd. After he saw all the evidence it was an easy decision for him. I'm glad it's not a battle I have to fight a second time!
post #18 of 42
All three of my boys are in tact. My very first long term boyfriend was from England and he was not. That was when I was first exposed to the fact that only Americans typically do it anymore. When we were pregnant with our first son, we sat in front of our ped that we were interviewing and asked him about him. He told us there was not medical reason to do it, but if he had a son he would do it because he wanted his son to be just like him. That was NOT a good enough reason for either of us.

A good read on the Circ issue is the paper written by pediatrician Paul Fleis. The Case Against Circumcision.

I think everyone should be fully informed before they make any decision, and doing it because everyone else does just doesn't sit well with me.
post #19 of 42
Originally Posted by Sasha_girl View Post
Speaking gently here--I would ask him to present his side using research or by watching a video of the procedure (that he wants to put his newborn son through). I know that several women (just from reading message boards through the years) seem to give their dh's more input on this subject than they allow themselves and *I believe* (disclaimed) that it should be a 50/50 decision. One shouldn't get more of a vote--using less research--because one has a penis.

That is, of course, my 2 pennies.
My BFF left this decision up to her DH with their son - since he was the one with the penis. She said that if she ever had another son, she would not do that again, and definitely push to not have him circ'd.
post #20 of 42
As soon as DH and I saw what happened during a circumcision and realized that their was no medical reason to get one we decided that we never ever would allow anyone to do that to our children.
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