How to talk circumcision w/ a husband who is pro-circumcise - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 79 Old 11-19-2010, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!  

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#2 of 79 Old 11-19-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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we just found out that we are having a boy too. This topic hadn't registered on my mind yet - I'm still processing the whole "there's someone with a penis in my belly..." thing. (maybe I'm just weird. I don't know.)

 

But I brought the subject up with DH when I was pregnant with DD, and we didn't exactly see eye to eye. 

 

I'm thinking this time, when I bring it up, I'm going to use the "the onus of proof is on you" tactic and the "it can always be done later but it can never be undone" argument. 


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#3 of 79 Old 11-19-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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that's really tough. before we found out the sex of our baby, i was open to reading more about not circumcising and DP was unequivocally for it. we didn't really get to discuss it much because there was really nothing to discuss at the time. i hadn't done enough research to be able to hit him with all the facts and he was being pretty stubborn about it.

 

maybe you could talk about how circumcision makes the penis less sensitive. i didn't know this, but i read a debate on another forum a few mom's had comparing circumcision to female genital mutilation and it struck me as very interesting. that could be a good starting point for you guys?


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#4 of 79 Old 11-19-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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When we had our first son, my husband was pro-circumcision for the reasons you stated.  After I had done some research and come to my own non-circ conclusion, we talked about it.  Ultimately I gave him the decision since he knows what it's like to have a penis and I don't.  All I asked of him was to do some research into the matter before he decided.

 

A couple of weeks later he told me that despite his feelings of wanting his son to look like him, he couldn't find any scientific reasons to cut our son.  I was so relieved!  I don't think there's another way I could have gone about it with him to allow him to come to that conclusion - otherwise he'd have gotten defensive I think.

 

With our second son we never even had the discussion, so I have to assume that he doesn't regret his decision.

 

I hope you find what works for you!


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#5 of 79 Old 11-19-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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I highly recommend reading this essay.

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#6 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 02:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by othersomethings View Post

we just found out that we are having a boy too. This topic hadn't registered on my mind yet - I'm still processing the whole "there's someone with a penis in my belly..." thing.


I'm so GLAD that I'm not the only one slightly freaking out about that!!  After 2 girls it feels WEIRD to have a boy in there!!

 

About circ- I also made the agreement with DH that he could ultimately make the final decision about what to do with the penis since he has one and I do not.  He is STRONGLY opposed to circ.  His main reasons are because it removes a significant portion of the nerve endings in the penis.  I am thinking that more and more people are opting to NOT circ (especially since many hospitals do not do it and medicare doesn't cover it) that maybe when our boys are older it won't be as wierd.  We have a frined who I know is not circumcised (from Europe) I know just via hearing the guys talk but I don't know how to ask if it ever bothered him growing up in the states.  I'm sure he would be open to the discussion but its still kinda wierd to ask.
 


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#7 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 06:49 AM
 
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my oldest was circd I didn't even know I had a choice.same wit #2 and number 3 I didn't feel strongly enough about it to make him different than dad and all 3 boys. but... i saw a video of one being done and BOOM just couldn't do it. my DH saw it too after I did. we never circd#4 and if we do have another boy we will not circ. for Daniel it was seeing how its done that made a difference

 

 

 

 

 


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#8 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 08:06 AM
 
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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. 


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#9 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 08:25 AM
 
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We had this discussion several years ago. At first DH was pro circ, but not for any really good reasons (because I am, it's cleaner, etc). We kept discussing it and I think what really made a difference to him was talking about how absolutely perfect DD1 was at birth - would we ever consider cutting off a part of her body, unnecessarily, causing her tremendous pain? NO!! Why would we do that to a son?

 

Now he talks to friends, and most recently my brother, about not circing their sons.

 

We have a boy on the way after two girls and I am so relieved that we've already had this discussion and it's settled. It's stressful, even more so when you're  pregnant. I wish I had some actual advice... Keep us posted! 


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#10 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 08:25 AM
 
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It's not typically done in Europe. My second boy was born in Romania and I was anti-circumcision but didn't have to worry about it because they don't normally do them. My son is now almost 2 and has absolutely no problems. Might the problems with the 4 year old have been because someone retracted his foreskin? I know that is a true concern. Foreskin infections can be equivalent to a vaginal infection. They can be treated in the same way I believe. 

I agree with the argument that it can always be done later. My hubby did end up being circumcised even though he's from Romania but not until later and it was due to an infection that probably could have been cleared up. 

 

I did circumcise my first as I didn't know anything else and thought it was basically expected but I found it a bit disturbing at times as his penis for now seems more sensitive than his brothers when he was wearing diapers or potty pants and his little wee wee would go up way more often than his uncircumcised brother. I actually don't think I've ever seen my second boy with that problem. Also, I found it easier to change diapers because the wee wee will just stay pointed down better with my second boy, so there were less pee leaks. 

 

Also, circumcisions can go wrong and I've heard of newborns dying from botched circumcisions. And newborns do feel the pain from the circumcision unlike what some believe.

 

Those are things I would touch on with your hubby personally. 

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#11 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 08:36 AM
 
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Quote:
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!  



If he was repeatedly retracted and cleaned wether he was ready to or not, that can cause infection not prevent it.


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#12 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 09:00 AM
 
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FYI--In the essay I posted earlier, it explains that while men give all those reasons mentioned, what it really comes down to is the fact that if they are circ'ed and you choose not to circ your sons, they will generally take this as you saying  that you think something is wrong with their own penises.  They MUST circ their sons to prove that what was done to them is preferable, and therefore their own penises are preferable.   What they really need is reassurance and validation that you love them and you love their bodies just the way that they are.

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#13 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 10:01 AM
 
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A video makes a much better statement than a discussion. A friend's husband just very recently changed his mind after watching one.

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#14 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 10:48 AM
 
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Cleanliness: The intact penis only needs to be wiped off at diaper changes just like you would wipe a finger. There is no need to ever retract the foreskin to clean under it as it is attached to the glans until it naturally separates. In some boys, retraction may not occur until PUBERTY (or even later) and that is considered fine and normal. Once the foreskin does retract, your son can be taught to rinse it in the shower or bath. Soap is not advised as is can actually cause infection just as soap in the vagina can cause an infection.

 

With a boy that is circumcised, the raw wound on the penis becomes exposed to the painful burning of urine and feces getting on it in his diaper. As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection, bleeding and death.

 

Looking like Daddy: No two people have the same genitals. A baby's genitals are never going to look like an adult's genitals. Is your husband planning on shaving off all of his pubic hair so he can match the baby? We do not get our daughters breast implants so they can have the look of developed breasts like mama has. The only thing my 8 year old intact son has said about his circumcised father's penis is that he feels bad someone cut part of it off! To me this argument has absolutely no merit at all. If the child ever does ask why his father doesn't have foreskin, someone can gently explain that when Daddy was little, they thought it was okay to cut off the foreskin but now they know there is no reason to do that.

 

Fitting in with other boys: Lately it has been reported that the circumcision rate has dropped to only 33%. Your son would have plenty of intact friends. We all have a lot of things on our bodies that make us different physically and it's silly to expect that we all should look the same. When I was in school, if any of the guys were caught checking out other guy's stuff in the locker room, they were not regarded favorably.

 

Women: In my group of friends and family, we prefer a partner with an intact penis. Since more boys are being left intact, the girls that grow up in this generation will likely view an intact penis as the norm.

 

Here is a link with plenty of resources for you:

 

http://www.thewholenetwork.org/the-library.html

 

I also suggest visiting The Case Against Circumcision forum here on MDC as there are many resources there. You might want to take a look at the thread where parents talk about why they regret circumcising their sons. 

 


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#15 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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1 - cleanliness - there are far more boys who are uncirc'ed who have no problems than those who do. It's unfortunate that you have your brother's story there so  close at hand, but maybe you can find information on rates of chronic infection necessitating later circumcision (This this one, maybe). Also, this isn't really an argument. Your son might also get an infection on his toe, should you cut that off now too? :)  (sorry if that comes off sounding snarky, I totally don't mean it that way!! :) )

 

2 - Looking like daddy - my 2 DSs have never noticed that they look different. We've never pointed it out. If they ever do notice, we'll explain that DH's penis had part of it cut off and we chose not to cut their penises when they were babies. We don't think they'll mind that :)

 

3 - Fitting in - As others have pointed out, circ rates are dropping. We're in the midwest and i know many, many moms with boys who are not circ'd. Could be the crowd I run in, but it gives me hope :D And, as they get older and start doing lockers and whatnot, we'll talk to them about how to defend themselves against possible criticism (things like "why do you care what my penis looks like?" or "Why are you looking at my penis anyway?" or "My parents didn't cut/mutilate me when I was a baby. I'm sorry yours chose to.")

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/health/research/17circ.html

 

Here's a couple articles. The first one is strongly anti-circ, but cites many studies you may be able to point to, to back up your points.

http://www.intactamerica.org/dangerousmistake

http://www.listen2yourgut.com/blog/circumcision-good-or-bad/

 

If it comes down to it, you can always ask DH to wait and not do it in the hospital, and have your ped do it a week or two later. It's possible in that time he may change his mind, once he's grown used to seeing the uncirc'd penis during diaper changes and whatnot.


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#16 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 06:55 PM
 
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I have a son who is not circumcised but circumcision wasn't even an issue for discussion because no one in my ex's family or my family is circumcised (he's of European background and my family is British/New Zealand).  It won't be an issue for me this time as no one in my partner's family is circumcised either (he's American).

 

Regarding cleanliness - my son is nearly 4 yrs old and for about 2 years now he's been cleaning it himself.  It's never been an issue.  He didn't like me cleaning it so I told him to do it himself.  I taught him how and he's always done a good job - he's had no issues.  As long as boys keep cleaning it properly it shouldn't be an issue.

 

As far as boys looking like their Dad.... well they are not going to look anything like their Dad until they go through puberty.  Boy's penises look very different to man's penises so this isn't even an issue IMO.  If anything it's more important that they look like their peers - though I doubt they spend a long time looking at eachother's penises... idk.  Here in Canada the trend is not to circumcise, so if boys are circumcised they will be in the minority.

 

There are always anecdotal cases of boys having to be circumcised when they're older for various reasons.  Most boys who aren't circumcised are just fine that way. 

 

The other thing I feel strongly about is that you're cutting something very personal off their body.  Shouldn't that be the child's choice?  It's the same reason I didn't have my daughter's ears pierced... it should be her decision to permanently alter her body (it will be her choice when she's old enough to make that decision).  Just as important when we're talking permanently altering a penis!  Men who are circumcised lose sensation in their penis when they're older from all the constant rubbing on their clothes... so they don't have as much feeling with sex.  That doesn't sound like fun!

 

There is some good information regarding circumcision on the Canadian Pediatric Society website.  It's not pushy and it's not too long - has statistics... might be something your husband would read and not feel like he was being bullied.

 

Good luck!


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#17 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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I had actually prepared myself to battle my DH about this very issue when I pg with DS. However our discussion somehow went very smoothly. My main reason for not wanting to do it was because it wasn't my body. I have real issue that parents get to make this decision in the first place. It's not my penis, it's not my husband's, why should either of us have a say in cutting off a completely normal, healthy, functional part of our child? I think that if baby was female people would be horrified to suggest performing cosmetic surgery on them as infants.

 

DS ended up being born considerably early and we spent 6 weeks in the NICU. They asked us once if we wanted it done because it would have to be scheduled 2 weeks in advance because there was only one neonatologist on staff that would perform circ's. This was at a large Children's Hospital in the Midwest....so my assumption is that at least among preemie's at that particular hospital the rates are probably lower than average.

 

As a side note (and I hope I don't offend anyone as that's not my intent!) I don't understand why many women say their DH/partner gets to make the decision just because they also have a penis. Why does that matter? I'm not being snarky....I honestly don't get that thought process though.....especially if your DH is circ'ed.....he doesn't know what it's like to be intact anyhow so he has no personal experience to go on to make an unbiased opinion.

 

All this said, had my sister not introduced me to MDC I am 100% positive my child would have been circ'ed as I didn't question the medical establishment a whole heck of a lot before I read some of the threads here. Thanks to all the wonderful women who led me to do my own research and protect my DS from surgery!!!


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#18 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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My ex-husband is Jewish, so our DS was circumcised - i didnt want to do it - but i had an entire family citing 5000 years of 'tradition' so i folded.  It was terrible, that poor baby cried so much over the next week - it was so obvious he was in pain. 

My second husband is not Jewish- when i broached the subject of c'cising he was on the fence- again, wanting baby to look like Dad, not be rejected by girls etc..etc...Then a friend of ours described how their sons c-cision was almost botched, - something about a clamp not opening back up when it was supposed to.  After just hearing that a clamp was required to perform this procedure my DH#2 was horrified, did some of his own research - found out exactly what happens and is now a huge advocate against c'cising. 

I think you need to bring this subject closer to 'home' with your husband - i think many men would freak out and resist a clamp on their penis!  When he really has to confront exactly what he is doing to his young baby - he may be able to get past all the reasons and just leave him alone!  Good Luck!

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#19 of 79 Old 11-20-2010, 08:07 PM
 
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There's some really great info on this thread, and I don't need to repeat it, but I encouage you to HAVE this conversation with your husband, and have it many times, if need be.  Ask him to consider the information you can bring to him about the cons of circ'ing.  I find, in my experience with friends and family, that most men come around when provided with some good information, even though most are circ'ed themselves.  Locally and in Ontario, only about 40% of baby boys are circ'ed now, so those uncircumsized boys will be in good company.  A pp'er made a good point that there will always be other kids who look and don't look like them.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by puddle View Post

FYI--In the essay I posted earlier, it explains that while men give all those reasons mentioned, what it really comes down to is the fact that if they are circ'ed and you choose not to circ your sons, they will generally take this as you saying  that you think something is wrong with their own penises.  They MUST circ their sons to prove that what was done to them is preferable, and therefore their own penises are preferable.   What they really need is reassurance and validation that you love them and you love their bodies just the way that they are.



I think this is really quite true. My dh, when finding out about other's who've circ'ed, will say 'I don't understand. they must have security or self-confidance issues'. 

 

In our own case, we chose not to circ our firstborn b/c our dr. shared excellent info with us that it wasn't necessary, offered no benefits, and was outrageously expensive.  Obviously, we said, 'meh, not thanks'.  No big deal, really.  As time went on we began to feel more and more strongly that an intact penis was much more 'normal' and healthier.  Our son has never had issues, of course.  After the birth of my daughter, we accidentally, seperately overheard another baby being circ'ed, I even heard the conversation between the dr. and nurse before the procedure.  When I came back into my room, where my husband sat with my daughter, we were both in tears and so traumatized by what we heard.  We will never feel nonchalant again about it :(

 

Lastly, anecdotally, regarding 'comparing' penises between father and son (father circ'ed, son isn't), my ds has NEVER noticed daddy's penis looks different despite often bathing together (it obviously looks different anyway, just like my vagina looks different from my daughter's), but he has asked why a friend's was so 'small!' in the tub, lol, and what kind of penis it was. 


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#20 of 79 Old 11-21-2010, 07:43 AM
 
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we just found out that we are having a boy too. This topic hadn't registered on my mind yet - I'm still processing the whole "there's someone with a penis in my belly..." thing. (maybe I'm just weird. I don't know.)

 

But I brought the subject up with DH when I was pregnant with DD, and we didn't exactly see eye to eye. 

 

I'm thinking this time, when I bring it up, I'm going to use the "the onus of proof is on you" tactic and the "it can always be done later but it can never be undone" argument. 

I agree with the above.  My husband is (thankfully) against MGM and is currently going through foreskin restoration but if he wasn't I would never make it his decision.  The default is how the baby was born and if he wants to surgically alter that then HE can try to convince you.  If your son wants to "look like dad" he can make that choice at the age of consent instead of being robbed of the choice as an infant.
 


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#21 of 79 Old 11-21-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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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)

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#22 of 79 Old 11-22-2010, 08:28 AM
 
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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!


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#23 of 79 Old 11-22-2010, 08:37 AM
 
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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."

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#24 of 79 Old 11-22-2010, 10:05 AM
 
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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.


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#25 of 79 Old 11-22-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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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!

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#26 of 79 Old 11-22-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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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. 

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#27 of 79 Old 11-23-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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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.

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#28 of 79 Old 11-23-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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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.
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#29 of 79 Old 11-23-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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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.

 

 

 


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#30 of 79 Old 11-24-2010, 07:27 AM
 
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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.

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