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#1 of 39 Old 04-17-2011, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't circumcise my first son and will leave this next one intact too...and I am in the minority among my friends and family.  I get passive aggressive criticism in the form of stories about "friends of friends" who have had to have circumcisions later in life due to infections, and therefore it's so much better just to do it when they're babies.  In the past I've nodded politely but restated that we are comfortable with our choice, but I'm starting to realize that I am harboring some anger issues!  Especially towards my MIL, who never tires of 'warning' me with these horror stories, even though my intact son is 2 and what's done is done!!

 

What do you say to people who look at you like you're crazy for not circumcising?  I don't want to alienate anyone but I want to make it clear that I made an informed choice that I feel good about.  

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#2 of 39 Old 04-17-2011, 08:40 PM
 
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I would say something like: " I realize you are trying to be helpful, but please understand that the trend is moving away from circumcision, and we have already looked carefully into this.Nobody else in the world is really doing it if you take away religious motives. Can every other country in the world really have it that wrong? Not to mention, proper care leads to good results, so we definitely aren't worried. We are very confident that we made the right choice, and I would really appreciate it if you would support us, thanks xoxo etc"


 

 

 


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#3 of 39 Old 04-17-2011, 08:46 PM
 
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I would just tell them that it was not a line of conversation I was willing to engage in/listen to and then change the subject every time it came up.
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#4 of 39 Old 04-17-2011, 09:13 PM
 
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I would politely tell them you've done your research and feel good about your decision and would appreciate their support. If they still keep at it I would then just ask them what research they have done. Most often the answer is none. I honestly don't know where people get off on this. I had a "friend" jokingly say to me before DS was born "you're not going to leave him with an elephant trunk, are you? that's disgusting." And the she laughed in a snarky way. I was pretty offended, and just ended up saying it really wasn't any of her business and that what she just said was really rude. 

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#5 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 03:50 AM
 
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I generally reply with "the foreskin contains 240 feet of nerves, 20,000 nerve endings, three feet of veins and a self cleaning function similar to the eye lid. Thankfully we live in a world with antibiotics and a medical system that can treat any problems that may arise without amputating the foreskin which permanently alters sexual function." Depending on what was said I may also add a "Did you know circumcision was started in the United States by Dr. Kellogg to cure masturbatory insanity?"

An answer like this may just inspire someone to fact check you! nod.gif

 

If I want a quick end to a conversation or to follow up a rude comment I go with "90% of males in the world including my husband are intact." 

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#6 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 05:58 AM
 
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If everyone you know has circumcised- surely they WILL know people who have had circumcision problems.  These people fixate on the "I know someone who had to be circumcised stories" as if they are the most glorious justification for infant circumcision... but they conveniently forget their "I know someone who was circumcised as an infant and was circumcised again because of problems." story.  Why don't you ask/tell them about that? 

 

"More circumcised boys are circumcised twice than intact boys ever need to be circumcised a first time"

 

Another thing to do- and this is hard and might take practice- is to emply active listening skill and take a position like a shrink.  The next time it happens- rather than you getting all defensive and trying to scramble to find an answer for them.  Look at it a different way-  that what they are saying is not your problem... it's an expression of THEIR problem.  Turn it around and bring it back to them and put it back in their lap. 

 

Use some of the common active listening / rephrasing techniques to make sure it stays about them and don't get drawn into it.  This might be really unsettling to them and they will likely back off right away- but it's possible that you could get to the root of their problem and do some good. 

 

"It sounds like you are very concerned about genital infections." (let the crickets chirp)

"You circumcised your son. But he didn't circumcise his own son... how does that make you feel?"

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#7 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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I think all of these are good rejoinders to the criticism. I agree with the pp who said it was their problem. In fact, one of my favorite approaches to this is to look at them like they have grown two heads and remark that I am not interested in discussing my son's penis with them.

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#8 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 11:50 AM
 
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I'd give it back at them to the point that they'd be scared to bring it up with me again because they'd be tired of the soapbox. "In previous generations, drs told parents to retract the foreskin and clean underneath it. We now know that this is harmful, and can actually be the cause of infections and scarring. Many men have had to be circumcised later in life because of problems resulting from forced retraction. We now know that the only "care" foreskin needs is to leave it alone and wipe from base to tip like a finger. There still are some boys who seem to "need" a circumcision in childhood, but this is largely due to pediatricians not keeping up on the research and simply not having a clue what to do with a foreskin besides cut it off. Most of these "necessary" circumcisions are for bogus reasons. There are also still many drs who haven't gotten the memo that the AAP advises against forcible retraction and are themselves still causing damage both at well checks and in advice given to parents. In the unlikely, rare, event that my son develops an infection, I would accept antibiotics, the exact same thing I'd do if my daughter developed an infection. I have done my research, and my research comes from medical FACT, not dubious anecdotes." 


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#9 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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It is not up for discussion.  If they try you can use one liners like: thank you for your interest.  

My choice.  

My doctor's recommendation.  

I didn't feel comfortable with cutting off a part of my baby's body.  

Then shrug and bring up another topic.  


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#10 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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Honestly, few people even know that my son is in-tact. I find it just doesn't come up in conversation, so there's no criticism around. He goes to a Jewish day care and it certainly isn't an issue there.

 

Is this more of a general problem with your mother than an issue specifically related to circumcision? Is this a general pattern of criticism with your mother? You don't need to justify your choices to anyone and you can choose not to engage.


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#11 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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I have a grab bag of phrases I use to combat criticism:

 

1. The adult foreskin when spread out flat is about the size of a 4x6 index card, or it would be if it wasn't cut off at birth.

2. The foreskin contains nerve endings, protects the sensitivity of the glans, and increases lubrication.

3. The circumcision rate is only 33% and I don't want my kid to be picked on in the locker room. (I love being able to turn this one back around now that the trend is going towards leaving infants intact.)

4. Are you going to circumcise your daughter? (Then explain why the two ARE similar, since both are designed to limit sensitivity, both are done without "patient" consent and are thus a violation of rights, and both have make-believe "health benefits.")

5. The number of baby boys that die each year from circumcision complications is similar to the number of baby boys that die each year from SIDS, and I like my baby the way he is--alive and intact.

6. When he's 18, he can make the decision to have it done--with full general anesthesia rather than topical or a painful shot. Once I have it done, we can't undo it.

7. It's too expensive, and it's a waste of taxpayer's dollars. (We have Tricare Prime, military health insurance.)

8. It's easier to keep clean and care for. (I then explain those differences and my personal experiences having an intact son AND a circumcised son.)

9. He will never be the same size, skin tone, or have the same amount/color/texture of hair down there as his dad anyway.

10. I don't want my son's first erection to be a memory of pain and abuse.

11. The rest of the world doesn't think it's necessary, judging by their low circumcision rates.

12. If it's doing such a good job preventing HIV, why does the US have both a high circumcision rate--and a high HIV rate?

13. How often do you cut yourself and then rub poop/pee on the wound?

14. I throw out some random "Did you know?" about circumcision, then leave it at that.

15. "Mind your own business." ;)

 

Etc... I have a lot of little catch phrases. I throw 1-2 out and explain and then move right along, if possible. It catches them off guard and keeps them thinking.

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#12 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 01:17 PM
 
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It depends on the comment.

 

"I know a kid who had to be circumcised and it was horrible" = I return with a story of a botched circumcision, head of penis lopped off, re-circing, meatal stenosis etc.   OR, if it hurts so much why would I want to do it to my baby?  At least your friend got pain meds.

 

"I like my circumcised penis."  Good for you, I'm sure my son will like his penis too.  He already does... I can't keep a diaper on this kid.

 

"Girls won't like it" - depending on who asks, I respond either "Natural penises are ribbed for her pleasure" or "Any girl who turns him down because of this isn't worth his time."

 

"He'll be made fun of in the locker room" - either, I was made fun of for having huge boobs in 5th grade - should I have gotten a reduction at birth?  Or, the national rate is 32%, he'll be the normal one and the circumcised ones will be the weird ones.  Or, anyone looking at his penis in the shower has a bigger issue than my son's foreskin to deal with.

 

"It reduces STDs" - Why do you think my boy will be a man-whore, or too dumb to use a condom? Or, I don't think he'll be having sex just yet - when he's old enough to have sex, he can choose if he wants it done then.

 

"It's gross/unclean/dirty" - I'll make sure he showers.

 

"God says to do it (or some version)" - We're not Jewish/Muslim, and if he decides to convert to Judaism he can decide then.

 

"He has a weird-looking penis." - Yours is the one that got cut up.  (I said this to my brother)  or  90% of the world's penises must be weird-looking.

 

Or, as PP said, "My baby's penis is none of your business."

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#13 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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Every time they start with their scare tactics, share what you know about a baby who has died or been injured from circumcision. There should be plenty of stories online. Then ask them, "wouldn't that be terrible if that happened to [insert your child's name]?

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#14 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 02:31 PM
 
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I have to admit that I hate conflict and I generally pretend that I am agreeing with the critic while I do a "switcheroo":  Like, "I know somebody who had to have it done as an adult!"  Me: "Oh, I know, isn't that awful!  How they used to force the intact children to retract before they were ready and it caused so many problems!  Thank goodness medical science in this country has finally caught up and we know the best thing is to leave it alone until it retracts on its own.  Man!  Think of all those people who had such suffering because of the ignorance of their doctors!   I love the pediatrician I have, he knows better.."  blah blah.  Hey, I know it is kinda passive agressive but I am generally piercingly direct with family and close friends and avoid outright fighting with other people, unless I am pushed into ti.  But I know how to get away pretty well, lol.


 

 

 

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#15 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 03:56 PM
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I'd ask them why they have such an unhealthy fascination with my kid's penis and then tell them to mind their own damn business!

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#16 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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At this point, I think my family just assumes I'm the crazy no-vax homebirth freak.  ;)

 

But my grandfather, now in his mid 80's recently had a comment.  He's not circ'ed... or rather was not.  He's going to be very soon, because of undisclosed (to me at least)"issues".  He got all upset when my dad mentioned that my boys were not either (my dad is), because "why would she do that to them?  Look what I have to go through!  It's better to do it when they're babies!" 

My response was that 80+ years without a problem was a pretty good run for his foreskin, and that's better than his heart managed!

 

My biggest issue is actually with my brothers... they are not rude to me, but they cannot get past the cosmetic factor and think it's a little weird.  I just say that if my boys agree then they'll remove it when they're adults, and leave it at that.  If my brothers ever have kids, that's when I'll share my stories of not one but two friends who have kids with botched jobs, so on and so forth.

 

 

 

 


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#17 of 39 Old 04-18-2011, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.  It's enough to hear from all of you and know that I'm NOT in the minority, at least in the wider world!  My inlaws are the most critical, and my husbands 3 brothers and their wives (who all circumcised their boys).  My mom is super supportive and I called her in tears yesterday and she was very angry on my behalf :)  Honestly, it makes me sick to even think about mutilating my kid that way :(  

 

What I hate is that they all look at me like I'm an ignorant, crazy hippy when it's MY stance that is backed by the entire medical community!  Ugh!  They have done no research whatsoever.    

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#18 of 39 Old 04-19-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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I didn't read all the responses, but I often do one of a couple of things when asked/questioned/criticized about our decision to leave our boys intact:

 

1. "We do not believe in subjecting our sons to unnecessary, cosmetic, amputative surgery with real risks and dubious benefits."

 

2. (While looking at questioner as if she/he has two heads) "Um, why on earth would we ever cut off half our son's penis? I can't think of any good reason for that."

 

3. "In our family, owner gets decision-rights." (in other words, the only person who decides about a foreskin is its owner)

 

I have a veritable decision-tree of follow-ups, depending on what the retort is, but honestly, I rarely get much push-back with these three. I try to imply, while being respectful, that the question is insane :)

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#19 of 39 Old 04-19-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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I have two stock answers, depending on how much I like the person. If they're rude about it or I find them nosy they get, "Oh my goodness, why would we want to mutilate a healthy baby's genitals? The idea repulses me." *shocked look*

 

If they're just naive and/or well-meaning, I use, "God made him this way and I tend not to mess with perfection." *warm smile*


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#20 of 39 Old 04-20-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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Sometimes I am so happy I am a first generation American. I just say that Scottish people don't circumcise their kids unless it's for religious reasons. None of the men in my family are circumcised. In fact when my brother was a baby one of the nurses asked my parents if they wanted him circ'd and my dad, in his very intimidating Scottish accent retorted with "We don't mutilate our son's genitalia!" LOL.

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#21 of 39 Old 04-20-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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clap.gif Your dad sounds great!! Hope he made that nurse think.


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#22 of 39 Old 04-20-2011, 04:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappiestLilMama View Post

I didn't circumcise my first son and will leave this next one intact too...and I am in the minority among my friends and family.  I get passive aggressive criticism in the form of stories about "friends of friends" who have had to have circumcisions later in life due to infections, and therefore it's so much better just to do it when they're babies.  In the past I've nodded politely but restated that we are comfortable with our choice, but I'm starting to realize that I am harboring some anger issues!  Especially towards my MIL, who never tires of 'warning' me with these horror stories, even though my intact son is 2 and what's done is done!!

 

What do you say to people who look at you like you're crazy for not circumcising?  I don't want to alienate anyone but I want to make it clear that I made an informed choice that I feel good about.  


IRL, my mom gave me the "it's so much cleaner" speech when I was pg and I told her that X was intact and it's fine and she dropped it. At this point when people try do say positive stuff supporting circ I either look at them like they have 3 heads or say something like, " so you want to cut off a perfectly healthy body part on a newborn/ non consentual child to prevent a hypothetical future issue" That or I just say "you fell for that old story?".

 

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#23 of 39 Old 04-20-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol_y_Paz View Post

It is not up for discussion.  If they try you can use one liners like: thank you for your interest.  

My choice.  

My doctor's recommendation.  

I didn't feel comfortable with cutting off a part of my baby's body.  

Then shrug and bring up another topic.  


And then they can come back with, "it was my choice to circ" or "my Drs recommendation". Both of which I do not accept as valid reasons so I don't like using them. 

 

Exact same problem with the "why are you so fascinated with my childs penis" argument. It's easily used by pro circers to put off intact discussion. Saving a child is the most important thing, so I try not to use ammo that can be used against our cause to protect kids.

 

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We were never subjected to any criticism, but had it occured, I would have been tempted to respond with something like "Do you really think nature made a mistake?"

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#25 of 39 Old 04-20-2011, 09:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

clap.gif Your dad sounds great!! Hope he made that nurse think.


I know, my dad is great!

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#26 of 39 Old 04-21-2011, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post




And then they can come back with, "it was my choice to circ" or "my Drs recommendation". Both of which I do not accept as valid reasons so I don't like using them. 

 

Exact same problem with the "why are you so fascinated with my childs penis" argument. It's easily used by pro circers to put off intact discussion. Saving a child is the most important thing, so I try not to use ammo that can be used against our cause to protect kids.

 

good points both. I honestly WOULD say the penis fascination thing to a family member because seriously WTH are they so interested for. It's not like they are ever going to be involved with it..

 

I am novice in the circ argument department as I avoided it all by having a girl. Before we knew though DH and I went around a few times, shocking because he isn't circed.

 

I will think twice next time I engage in debate...I bow to your superior intactivist skillsbow2.gif
 

 

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#27 of 39 Old 04-21-2011, 06:47 PM
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I don't consider my son's genitals to be an area of debate or discussion. Just tell them to STFU and don't engage.
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#28 of 39 Old 04-21-2011, 09:37 PM
 
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in all seriousness, i would tell her that the time for this discussion has come to an end. that your son is a boy now, no longer a baby, and he has an intact penis. you have decided to "take your chances" against needing circumcision later in life. that's the end of the discussion, MIL. thanks for caring about your son, but no more comments please. your son has his own ears and understands stuff now. and he really really doesn't need people in the family talking about his penis. thank you very much.


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#29 of 39 Old 04-22-2011, 08:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post

in all seriousness, i would tell her that the time for this discussion has come to an end. that your son is a boy now, no longer a baby, and he has an intact penis. you have decided to "take your chances" against needing circumcision later in life. that's the end of the discussion, MIL. thanks for caring about your son, but no more comments please. your son has his own ears and understands stuff now. and he really really doesn't need people in the family talking about his penis. thank you very much.



Yes.  This.   I second the part about him being old enough to hear it now (which detail I missed the first time around.)  No More Talking about it, Thanks, MIL!!

 

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#30 of 39 Old 04-27-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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I didn't read any of the previous responses. If a female family member repeatedly tried to get digs in after ignoring several progressively less polite deflections, I'd probably tell her point-blank that a. I don't want to hear it, and b. she should walk the walk before talking the talk, ie. get circumcised herself.


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