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How to explain to the in-laws

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
I'm currently 15 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child. My first child is a girl. However, once during pregnancy, my MIL interrogated me about circ and basically told me that we should if it was a boy, blah, blah, blah. (Locker room arguments, and the typical) I said that if my son wants to be circ'ed, he's welcome to do it himself as an adult, lol.

Needless to say, my husband was circ'ed. But we know that we absolutely will not be circ'ing any future sons due to the problems that we have had to deal with because of my husband's circ. My MIL isn't the best person to get into big debates with--are there any good responses that are short and non-condemning that I can say back, if she should ever confront me on the topic again, or if we do have a boy, how to answer questions and explain??

I think that being condeming about her choice to circ my DH would be pointless and obviously isn't going to buy him his foreskin back. (And being that it was the 1970's, who knows if she actually even signed her consent for it?)

How do you folks who have circ'ed DH's and intact sons deal with your in-laws?
post #2 of 49
I havent had to deal with it, BUT I would just not say anything to her. If she mentions it at some point say simply "they know now that there is no need for it, its cosmetic surgery, and we arn't doing it. End of discussion." If you want to have her agree with you, or attempt it at least, then you need to be armed with other facts. The locker room thing is silly now days because A.) only about half of boys are circ'd anyway now and B.) most schools dont even require showering anymore and boys dont see each other regardless.
post #3 of 49
I have not been in that situation, however, I think a non confrontational statement along the lines of

"In the past it was recommended, but today no major medical body recommends it, and some have pointed out that it has negative effects on sexual pleasure as well being traumatic for the infant and against commonly accepted human rights, so we have decided to wait and let him make the decision when he is an adult."

might work well, edited as needed for you and your audience of course. Then, if she presses and/or raises arguments, you can reply with a "tired" sigh, and say something like

"yes we have heard that as well, but also counter arguments to that, so since it is his penis, we think he should make that decision after weighing the pros and cons."

Best wishes
post #4 of 49
"Oh, we've already made that decision - can you pass the sugar?"

It's done, she has no say, and you didn't say WHICH way you decided. Also, you present a solid front, a united force on the issue.
post #5 of 49
Try...(in a joking voice) "Awkward! I don't think the baby would appreciate me discussing his penis with his grandma. How embarassing! Did you get a new couch?"

That way you just reinforce that it isn't her business & don't get into it with her.
post #6 of 49
day my sn was born, my MIL asked when he would be circd, and dh said "he wont be, its cosmetic surgery and he doesnt need it." i heard him reiterate it and he then told her "dont evertalk about this with artie, b/c she will leave the room, its not up for discussion" and its never been spoken about since!
post #7 of 49
Well, how about something like:

His penis is private, we are not cutting it, and I'm not going to discuss it.


I would consider issuing an ultimatum if she badgers you that if you feel harassed about this, or if they say ugly things about your son's body, you will no longer visit. I think that's pretty powerful ammo, but I wouldn't make that ultimatum right away, only if the IL's don't quite understand that negativity about your son's body is seriously off-limits.
post #8 of 49
I like this approach: "Thank you so much for you concern. We will certainly keep all that in mind".

You don't disagree, so you don't open the door for argument. You acknowledge that they care, which makes them happy.

Once the baby is born, and they realize he has a foreskin, you can say "We were SO lucky! There was absolutely nothing wrong with him, and he didn't need an operation!"
post #9 of 49
I'm blunt and would just say:

"ewwwww chopped up penises are gross"
post #10 of 49
I'd just say "It's not recommended anymore. " That is a very simple statement of fact that doesn't hurt anybody's feelings or place blame on anyone. There's no need to get ugly. If she persists with medical myths you can continue, "Well, the doctors say that the potential benefits are so small they don't outweigh the risks and side effects, so they don't recommend it anymore." If she persists with social reasons you might say, "Well, since it's not medically necessary, we don't think that social reasons are enough to put him through that."
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by nd_deadhead View Post
I like this approach: "Thank you so much for you concern. We will certainly keep all that in mind".

You don't disagree, so you don't open the door for argument. You acknowledge that they care, which makes them happy.

Once the baby is born, and they realize he has a foreskin, you can say "We were SO lucky! There was absolutely nothing wrong with him, and he didn't need an operation!"
I dont know, I dont like that response, it gives off the idea that there are medical reasons to circ, and that there are times when the foreskin can naturally cause problems.
post #12 of 49
I was lucky, my partner's parents are VERY anti-circ. However, in dealing with well meaning extended family, we just said "It's our decsion and we will not be discussing it any further." Then we said it over and over till they left us alone about it. :
post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Pickle View Post
I'd just say "It's not recommended anymore. " That is a very simple statement of fact that doesn't hurt anybody's feelings or place blame on anyone. There's no need to get ugly. If she persists with medical myths you can continue, "Well, the doctors say that the potential benefits are so small they don't outweigh the risks and side effects, so they don't recommend it anymore." If she persists with social reasons you might say, "Well, since it's not medically necessary, we don't think that social reasons are enough to put him through that."
I like this one! I think I could make it through talking to Dh's uber-conservative family without insulting or offending anyone. I've been sweating thinking about it! We don't know what the babe is going to be, so it hasn't come up yet. But, boy-howdy, I know it will once the kid makes an appearance if it is a boy... They have a hard enough time with breastfeeding past 3 months
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by thixle View Post
I like this one! I think I could make it through talking to Dh's uber-conservative family without insulting or offending anyone. I've been sweating thinking about it! We don't know what the babe is going to be, so it hasn't come up yet. But, boy-howdy, I know it will once the kid makes an appearance if it is a boy... They have a hard enough time with breastfeeding past 3 months
Uh-oh, do they know about your plans for a UC? Or will that be a "oops, the baby came so quickly we had him/her at home unassisted!"
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by thixle View Post
I like this one! I think I could make it through talking to Dh's uber-conservative family without insulting or offending anyone.
If they are Christian, then you can show them where GOD told you not to circ... there are some Bible passages you can quote. This makes you holier-than-thou!
post #16 of 49
I just thought this one up: "Well, if he is born with a foreskin, then we will have to assume that God intended for it to be there, and we will leave it alone."
post #17 of 49
Some responses here have included something along the lines of "we will not discuss it." But isn't that one of the things we can't stand the most about so many parents who circumcise? We know the facts, the ethics are on our side, and that if more people were open to honest and intelligent investigation and discussion, we would make headway. Ignorance favors the circumcisers, not the pro-intact crowd.

If someone, anyone, wants to question your choice to leave your son intact, isn't that an educational opportunity of the best kind? Have confidence. Hone your skills of persuasion on this topic so you can apply them elsewhere. Stand your ground and make your case, not because you are closed to information, but because you are open to it.

Be patient, kind, informative, and non-condemning with in-laws. Teach them the facts. Just like anyone else. If you can do that with a brief comment, that's great too.
post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post
If they are Christian, then you can show them where GOD told you not to circ... there are some Bible passages you can quote. This makes you holier-than-thou!
I've got those passages! I don't think they will take that angle, but I'm prepped if they do. I'm sure they will go with the "make a man out of him" "it's cleaner" "he will get teased" angle. They are from Michigan and Kentucky (we live in KY)-- still the 2 highest circing states, and it is just what is done :
Quote:
Originally Posted by aept View Post
Uh-oh, do they know about your plans for a UC? Or will that be a "oops, the baby came so quickly we had him/her at home unassisted!"
Oops! Luckily, I was only in labor with DD for 6 hours, so it is completely plausable

You know, a few of the younger cousins might actually hear me out... so far, they all have girls. It's the "aunties" and grandparents I'm more worried about. Especially the MIL... I don't know how I'll hold it together because DH has (wait, I should say DID) have problems from the tight circ. Thank you MDC for telling us about restoration! I don't want to unload on her because i don't even know if she had a choice, kwim?
post #19 of 49
I would respond along the lines of "I'm sorry, but we don't discuss our children's genitals with other people."

Really, how is this possibly any of her business? I just don't understand why anyone would justify this or any other personal decision to the ILs, but I'm the Queen of Boundaries.
post #20 of 49
I have a question for all of you that are suggesting comments along of the lines of "It's none of your business..." and "I won't discuss my child's penis with you", etc, etc, etc...

I do realize that this is probably a good response for somebody that's not going to do well in a sitution where they feel like they might be backed into a corner and not able to defend themselves well enough.

HOWEVER...

When you get this response from a person when YOU want to discuss circumcision...is that an acceptable response that deserves your respect? Or do you think the parent owes it to their child to discuss it more?

I know some people don't do well in confrontational situations, but I guess I just see these discussions as a chance to educate. And although I see the pro-circ side as completely and totally unfounded and WRONG, I think if I expect somebody to discuss it with me and listen to my viewpoint, then I think that they deserve the same from me.

My cousin recently said this same thing to me when I attempted to discuss circumcision with her. She said "This is not up for discussion. It is a very personal decision between me, my husband and my child." And what did I think of her after that? That she was completely and totally uneducated on the subject and that she was extremely naive to make a decision based on incorrect information.

Isn't is possible that my MIL would feel the same way about me if I refused to discuss circumcision with her? I know that she thinks we're ridiculous for not circumcising...and although she won't bring it up with me...I'm sure she thinks the same thing that I think about my cousin: That I am completely and totally uneducated on the subject and that I am extremely naive to make a decision based on incorrect information.

Again, I want to stress that I know that not all people do well discussing controversial topics, but on the whole, I think that intactivists should be ready and willing to step up and have these conversations. That's what's going to save our little boys.
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