The Case Against Circumcision - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-10-2007, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As we all near our second trimester, I thought it might be a good time to spread some information on routine infant circumcision and why we should protect our sons from this procedure.

*disclaimer*: This thread is concerning medical circumcision. If you are circumcising your son for a religious reason, please refrain from posting in this thread to maintain compliance with the UA and to avoid confusion. Thank you


Neonatal circumcision is the removal of the foreskin. This procedure is painful and unncessary. It also carries great risk to the child for no medical gain. Many consider the removal of a child's body part without their consent to be a human rights violation. The foreskin has function and is not just a bit of skin.

Here is some reading material on the subject. I also recommend visiting mothering.com's own forum on the issue: The Case Against Circumcision by clicking here: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...splay.php?f=44

The Case Against Circumcision article from mothering magazine:
http://www.mothering.com/articles/ne...cumcision.html

Recent study showing the foreskin to be the most sensitive part of the penis:
http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...rells_2007.pdf

The Ten Most Common Circumcision Myths:
http://www.nocircpa.org/4642.html

How circumcision affects the breastfeeding relationship:

http://www.cirp.org/library/birth/

The functions of the foreskin:
http://www.circumstitions.com/Functions.html


Another important point to remember is that care of the intact (not circumcised) penis is very simple. Until the foreskin becomes retractable (may not be until teenage years), the penis is simply cleaned like a finger. No retraction of the foreskin is necessary (retraction can actually cause problems). Once the child can retract the foreskin, the following method is sufficient for cleaning:

Retract
Rinse
Replace

I will post more about this once we are all closer to the briths of our children so that it will be fresh in our minds!


I hope this helps some moms who are thinking about this issue.

with love
Carrie

"Parents are simply trustees; they do not own the bodies of their children"-Norm Cohen  Martial arts instructor intactlact.gifhomebirth.jpgnak.gif and mom to 4: DD1 (1/05) DS (7/06) DD2 (5/08) DD3 (2/11)
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Old 10-10-2007, 05:55 PM
 
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I love knowing that we participate in a board that supports genital integrity for all children. I <3 Mothering.com!

Please, anyone who has not educated themselves about circumcision or has family/friends pressuring them to do this to their sons, get educated now before it is too late. We can each make a huge difference in this if we become educated and speak out kindly to those we love and care about, and stand up for the health and safety of our children.

Mom to DD ('06) and DS ('08)
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would also like to send out a to anyone who has circumcised one or more of their sons. Please, despite past actions, continue to research and reconsider.

You do what you know. When you know better, you do better. -Angelou

You can also find many threads in the Case Against Circumcision forum concerning parents who have sons who are both circumcised and intact.

"Parents are simply trustees; they do not own the bodies of their children"-Norm Cohen  Martial arts instructor intactlact.gifhomebirth.jpgnak.gif and mom to 4: DD1 (1/05) DS (7/06) DD2 (5/08) DD3 (2/11)
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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Thank you for starting this thread! If my first had been a boy he probably would have been circumcised, thank goodness we had a girl! By the time we found out we were having a boy with #2 I was 100% sure that I would never allow that to happen to my child. In fact the first words out of my mouth to DH when we found out we were having a boy and the tech left the room were "...and he will NOT be circumcised!" DH is 100% on board with leaving them intact now.

I really hope any mamas reading this thread that haven't checked out this info before, will take the time to do so now.

~Rebecca~
mama to a sweet girl , & 4 silly boys

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Old 10-10-2007, 06:39 PM
 
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Thank you for this thread! My two boys are not circ'd and any future baby boys of mine (if we have anymore, which I doubt), will not be circ'd either.
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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My feelings on the matter are as follows:

Male or female, this kid gets to keep all the genitals it's born with.

Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:46 PM
 
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Great thread! We will certainly not be circing. We both think its a boy so we will need to review the articles about protecting him from others retracting him, doctors, family etc. Luckily my friends all have the same opinion as me, that its a human rights violation and not to retract, so if we have one of them help out I'll feel better.

:::
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:47 AM
 
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Thank you for starting this carriebft! I wish I had known about MDC before our son was born . We were, sadly, not educated on the matter. As soon as we got our son home and changed his first diaper, we knew we had made a horrible mistake (even though we were still not educated at that point, we could just tell by our reaction to seeing how painful the wound looked that it was wrong). Then I wandered into "the case against circumcision" which further distressed me about what we had done :, but at least it educated me on how to handle the next one if it is a boy (ie - how to break it to ds1 that mommy and daddy made a mistake, and how sorry we are, and how now that we have learned better with hypothetical ds2, he is not circumsized, and that's why he may look different than you (if ds1 even noticed at all, anyway).)

One of our influences (not the only one, of couse) to get our son circ'ed was my cousin-in-law. He is intact (born in France in the mid-60s) and was adamant his son (7 years older than ours) be circ'ed because he was mercilessly teased in the locker room as a preteen/teen (he is not making it up - it was very emotionally painful for him (so that argument isn't totally mythical - but it is very wrong, nonetheless)). At the time, unfortunately, that sounded reasonable to us and we were not aware that more and more people were choosing not to do it and our son wouldn't be so different after all. So stupid! I hope someone can learn from our story and decide not to do it!

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Old 10-11-2007, 01:56 AM
 
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We did not get our son cut when he was born. I did not want anyone hurting him. My hubby is not cut as well so he was very vocal about no one touching his son.

I have a friend who had her son cut, they did not cut enough so it still looks like he has half a foreskin. She took him when he was 2 1/2 to get recut again so it could look pretty.

I had to bite my lip to keep my mouth shut since she did not ask for my opinion. I give it when asked though and she got upset when I told her it.


Lyn
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:19 AM
 
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My first husband and I agonized over this decision (had a girl in the end). My eyes were opened to the total insanity of the "medical" need to routinely circumcise with my current husband, who's European. They just don't do that here. Total non-issue. And frankly, he was horrified to hear it's so routine in the US.
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:08 AM
 
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If it turns out that this babe is a boy, then I suspect that I will have a lot of educating to do with my husband. He's not necessarily pro-circ, but since he is circ'd himself, he doesn't really see the big deal. I absolutely do not want to circumcise if we have a boy. Hopefully the fact that genital integrity is becoming more mainstream will help sway him. I know Dr. Sears is very clear that religious reasons are the only good reasons to circumcise and we have no such religious obligations.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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riverside knitter-

If you find that your husband is resistant to the idea of leaving a son intact, you may want to first read this article to see where he is coming from. We have found this article helps partners to approach the issue with more understanding:

http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/v...ty_of_men.html

Obviously that article is just for you!

From there we can help you with many resources if you need them.

But you never know, there are many times it is just so much easier than we think it will be to bring men around to intactness

"Parents are simply trustees; they do not own the bodies of their children"-Norm Cohen  Martial arts instructor intactlact.gifhomebirth.jpgnak.gif and mom to 4: DD1 (1/05) DS (7/06) DD2 (5/08) DD3 (2/11)
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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i had no idea what my DH would think about leaving our son intact, since he was circ'd. he had been silent about it during most of our first pregnancy. when i finally brought it up, he was soooo relieved! he had decided to let it be my choice, since i was raised Jewish, but inside he was really hoping i would choose to leave any sons we had intact. it was actually such a relief for both of us to have the conversation! so you might be surprised at your DH's reaction.
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:57 AM
 
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If our dd had been a boy she likely would have been circ'd. Thankfully after her birth I found mdc and learned much more. Before we even thought about having another child I knew if we had a boy I would not circ. My father and brothers aren't, but dh is so it just seemed normal. By the time I was pg with ds I knew there was no way I would let that happen to my child. Thankfully dh saw how much it meant to me and didn't fight me about it. He did irritate me at first with saying things like "he won't remember it", but now is as against circ as I am. A couple years of tidbits of info about circ dropped here and there until he was sick of the subject changed his mind. Having a little guy with an intact penis and seeing how much of a non issue it is probably had something to do with it too.

Kristina mom to A 1/12 J 11/05 D 4/08 and tiny dude in late April 2010
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:19 PM
 
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We will definitely not be circing!

Dh and I did disagree during the first pregnancy, but he did come around. (thank you birthing class instructor for calling it a cosmetic procedure!) His concern was due to things he had heard from his mom about hygiene. She was an RN and had told him some stories when he was a teen about older men men getting circed - because of infections etc.... She is the main person who concerns me about retracting, so I'm sure we would be having a few conversations that involve me saying "our doctor says absolutely do NOT retract etc......." She is very into the authority of doctors.

It will be interesting if we have a boy, because we would be the first non-circers in both families. Very interesting indeed.
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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Absolutely no plans to circ here...ever! Thanks for starting a great thread!

Mama to : '05, '08, '10 and expecting our 3rd homebirth.jpgJanuary '13

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Old 10-11-2007, 04:54 PM
 
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Keeping my kids as perfect as they come out
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Old 10-11-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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If we would have had a boy first he prob would have been circ'd but knowing what we know now and finding MDC we won't be circ'ing any children ever.

It took a little bit of research print outs to convince my dh but he agrees now. He just remembers a boy that was picked on in gym class when he was in school for that reason. I told him these days things are changing and more and more children are not getting circ'd.

THANKS for this thread.

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Old 10-11-2007, 08:54 PM
 
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I knew I didn't want to circ a boy if we had one, but I didn't have passionate feelings about it, and I *did* think that it was kinda silly for me, the vagina-bearing parent, to make the decision. So I told my husband, "This is your decision. I'll never know what it's like to have a penis." He retorted, "Why should I make it? I'll never know what it's like to have a foreskin!" ;-) I suggested he ask a friend of ours who is 1) intact and 2) vocal on the issue to get some opinions. It took very little time for my DH to decide that circumcision was NOT in our future.

One thing that may have helped... DH has heard from his dad about the procedure. My FIL felt that it wasn't ok to do it if he wasn't willing to watch, and he's told him about the screaming and how really, really hard it was for him to see it. FIL has never said that they regret doing it or spoken out against the procedure in general, but I doubt he would have made the same decision again.

Oh, and our son *did* have a very rare problem called phimosis. When the ped brought it up, I got the appropriate concerned look, took the referral slip for the urologist, and went home and looked it up. This was reassuring; it's way over-diagnosed, comes up because peds haven't seen enough foreskins, yadda yadda. But then a couple of weeks later, we had a VERY bad evening where DS (5 months) was trying not to pee, was screaming when he did, and had some drops of blood on his diaper. I realized that what had happened was the opening had closed up so much (that's what phimosis is; the opening of the foreskin starts to close up) that the pressure from the urine stream backing up had actually split the foreskin away from the shaft on one side. :-/ Poor baby! Went straight to the pediatric urologist ASAP and got prescribed a steroid cream. When I said that we would NOT consider circumcision as treatment except as a last resort, she responded that she wouldn't recommend it in this case, because as she so delicately put it, "His penis is pretty far back into the fat pad," so he wouldn't have much penis left sticking out if they did!

The cream worked well; in a month, he was totally open again. We stopped using it, he started to close up again, and so for the first year, we had to use it every other day for a couple weeks every so often. The problem has never returned since.
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:22 PM
 
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What a great thread. I too wouldn't ever circ. It's nice to find like minded people.
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:47 PM
 
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Great thread! I didn't really do a lot of research when I was pregnant because we knew we were having a girl, but since joining MDC I've learned so much. The foreskin IS a valuable organ.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ironica- I am so glad you were able to get such a great doctor. That is wonderful to hear that more doctors are learning about this and not recommending circumcision!!


A note to parents with intact sons:



Be warned that it is common in the USA for doctors to think young children have 'phimosis' becuase their foreskin is not retractable. Foreskin retractability may not happen until teenage years. Many doctors will jump the gun and diagnose phimosis when, in reality,it is simply normal adherence of the foreskin to the glans.

In Europe, true phimosis is treated by creams and procedures like a dorsal slit, which do not involve removal of the foreskin.

In the USA, however, many circumcision happy urologists are unaware or unwilling to use these techniques, preferring to 'go with what they know' and recommend circumcision.

To read more about this I recommend:

Protect Your Uncircumcised Son: Expert Medical Advice for Parents

http://www.mothering.com/articles/ne...uncircson.html

When you get a case like Ironica's where urination is problematic, that is the sign of problems, not the retractability of the foreskin.

Quote:
-Your son's foreskin is too tight. It doesn't retract. He needs to be circumcised.

The tightness of the foreskin is a safety mechanism that protects the glans and urethra from direct exposure to contaminants and germs. The tight foreskin also keeps the boy's glans warm, clean, and moist, and when he is an adult, it will give him pleasure. As long as your son can urinate, he is perfectly normal. There is no age by which a child's foreskin must be retractable. Do not let your doctor or anyone try to retract your child's foreskin. Optimal hygiene of the penis demands that the foreskin of infants and children be left alone. Premature retraction rips the skin of the penis open and causes your child extreme pain. There is no legitimate medical justification for retraction. The child's discomfort is proof of that.

-Your son's foreskin is "adhered" to the glans. It must be amputated.

The attachment of the foreskin and glans is nature's way of protecting the undeveloped glans from premature exposure. Detachment is a normal physiological process that can take up to two decades to complete. By the end of puberty, the foreskin will have detached from the glans because hormones that are produced in great quantities at puberty help with the process. There is no age by which a child's foreskin must be fully separated from the glans.

Some misguided doctors might suggest that the "adhesions" between the foreskin and glans should be broken so that your son can retract his foreskin. This procedure is called synechotomy. To perform it, the doctor pushes a blunt metal probe under the foreskin and forcibly rips it from the glans. It's as painful and traumatic as having a metal probe stuck under your fingernail to pull if off. It will also cause bleeding and may result in infection and scarring of the inner lining of the foreskin and the glans. The wounds that are created by this forced separation can fuse together, causing true adhesions. There is no medical justification for this procedure because the foreskin is not supposed to be separated from the glans in childhood. If any doctor suggests this procedure for your son, firmly refuse, stating, "Leave it alone!"

If you need assistance finding a doctor that is 'foreskin friendly', try the "finding your tribe" section or the case against circumcision forum.

with love

Carrie

"Parents are simply trustees; they do not own the bodies of their children"-Norm Cohen  Martial arts instructor intactlact.gifhomebirth.jpgnak.gif and mom to 4: DD1 (1/05) DS (7/06) DD2 (5/08) DD3 (2/11)
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Also, the condition Ironica spoke of where the penis is drawn back into the fat pad is called buried penis. It is a risk of circumcision, caused usually by overzealous cutting.

You can read about this here:

http://www.drgreene.com/21_1125.html

We have some moms who post on the CAC board whose sons have suffered both webbed and buried penis you can search the board for their stories.

"Parents are simply trustees; they do not own the bodies of their children"-Norm Cohen  Martial arts instructor intactlact.gifhomebirth.jpgnak.gif and mom to 4: DD1 (1/05) DS (7/06) DD2 (5/08) DD3 (2/11)
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:19 PM
 
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No circ here, girl or boy!
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Old 10-23-2007, 08:31 PM
 
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I'm not sure if any of you have seen this, but I posted a sort of funny story about converting my husband in the CAC forum. I just sent him the links at the top of this thread and that completely turned him around!

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=775575

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Old 10-23-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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My son is welcome to be circumcised...and pierced and tattooed...when he's old enough to make the decision to modify his own body.

Momentary rant: I hate the term "circ" - it sounds cute. I know it's just easier to type, but it totally creeps me out. End rant
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carriebft View Post
Be warned that it is common in the USA for doctors to think young children have 'phimosis' becuase their foreskin is not retractable. Foreskin retractability may not happen until teenage years. Many doctors will jump the gun and diagnose phimosis when, in reality,it is simply normal adherence of the foreskin to the glans.

In Europe, true phimosis is treated by creams and procedures like a dorsal slit, which do not involve removal of the foreskin.

In the USA, however, many circumcision happy urologists are unaware or unwilling to use these techniques, preferring to 'go with what they know' and recommend circumcision.
Our pediatrician, btw, diagnosed phimosis based on physical appearance; he noted a whitish "dot" near/at the opening, which is apparently a strong indicator of phimosis. It obviously was a good diagnosis in my son's case, and we got good treatment. But it is soooo scary what doctors don't know!
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishcupcake View Post
My son is welcome to be circumcised...and pierced and tattooed...when he's old enough to make the decision to modify his own body.

Momentary rant: I hate the term "circ" - it sounds cute. I know it's just easier to type, but it totally creeps me out. End rant
:

My parents didn't circumcise my brother and my father, being from south america, wasn't circumcised either. So they were telling us not to. And of course, I was like, whatever, dh is so that's probably what we'll do. Interestingly enough, my dh and I never really considered going the non-circumcision route until a colleague asked if we were going to circumcise if we had a boy. Suddenly it wasn't just my parents weird ideas about sexuality (and they've got some ) but seemed worth looking into. When I googled it, it took all of 30 seconds to decide. Dh wants a restoration kit but we haven't been able to swing the $ to get one for some time now, poor man! He feels cheated, in never having had the chance to choose for himself. I'm really thankful to that guy who just posed the question because, like I said, we wouldn't have taken the issue seriously if he hadn't.
My brother, coincidentally, chose not to circumcise his boys as well so it's kind of nice to not be the only one in the family (well, our boys are the only intact ones on dh's side of the family).
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Old 10-24-2007, 11:35 AM
 
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to all of you. we are def not circing if it's a boy

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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If it's a boy this time we will not circumcise. When I was pregnant with dd and we weren't sure of the sex of the baby I told dh we wouldn't circumcise. He is, so at first he said we should but when I showed him some research, pictures and videos he said no way ! Even if dh was adamant about our babe being circumcised I wouldn't let the doctor anywhere near our baby !
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