Alright... I admit it, I've become obsessed with this topic. I've mentioned friends who will have this done if their baby's a boy. I told them all the reasons I didn't want it done to my ds, and they didn't argue with any of the reason (even laughed when I mentioned their daughter in law won't care on her wedding night that her groom looks like her father in law). The soon-to-be mom mentioned that in her birth plan, they want to be involved with everything, except the circ. She later mentioned a friend whose son "needed it done" when he ws 14 and she didn't want to take that chance .
I have this letter for her (kinda long, sorry) and I would love any input from you smarter people. I don't want to attack her at all, so I constantly refer to my son and my husband. I already gave her the no medical benefits, not wanting to drug a baby up after going through labor unmedicated, hygene isn't an issue type reasons, so I don't want to repeat those here. Any input is greatly appreciated. =)
I’m sorry for bringing this subject up, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since we talked about your birth plan. You mentioned that you want to be involved in everything besides the circumcision if it’s a boy, because you don’t want the baby to associate pain with you. It seems that you believe the operation to be painful and you believe that babies not only feel pain, but to a certain extent remember it (and I totally agree).
When Spencer was born, I was pretty well numb with shock. The doctors came and asked to do all sorts of tests, and I never questioned them, I just went with the flow. One of those tests was a spinal tap. I remember from what Brian told me that those things can hurt a hell of a lot. The doctor seemed to think it was a relatively good idea, but he didn’t push it as if it was necessary for the life of my baby. I didn’t think too much, and signed the paper. I too didn’t want to be there when it was done because I didn’t want to see my baby hurt and I didn’t want him to associate me with the pain. I perfectly understand why you don’t want to be there. Afterwards, when I was warming up to reality and being a mom, I felt pretty darn crappy. I let the doctors hurt my baby and didn’t even find out why. I felt terribly guilty and that wasn’t a good way to start a mom-baby relationship. I wouldn’t want any other mom to feel that way too.
You mentioned a friend’s son who had to be circumcised in his teens and you didn’t want to take that risk. I thought about this a lot and realized that yes, I am taking a risk that Spencer will have to have the procedure done later. But I’m pretty darn sure that’s a really small risk and I didn’t want to take the risk of an infection after the surgery. I’ve found out that we’re the only country that does this for non-religious reasons. I’m not talking about third-world countries, but civilized, Western culture too. Doctors in Europe can treat intact boys without circumcision-it seems fair that we can do it here too. I think the biggest key is finding a doctor who understands the intact penis. Like with breastfeeding, some doctors are supportive, and others aren’t. If you’re having troubles nursing, some doctors will send you to a lactation consultant, have you try different position, and/or prescribe milk increasing medications. Others will just tell you to wean to formula. Some doctors will see an intact boy and don’t know too much about it. They might see problems that don’t exist or take treatable problems and advise circumcision. I know that keeping Spencer intact means I need to be informed which is a little more work, but I found this site that I think is very helpful for seeing “problems” and how to cure them without amputation. http://mothering.com/10-0-0/html/10-...cson103.shtml.
I’ve also rationalized that if it needs to be done when Spencer’s older, it will actually be easier. First, among it’s other uses, the foreskin protects babies, especially when they’re in diapers. At least he will have had that benefit. Second, Spencer will be old enough to say, “Mom, it hurts. I need more Vicodin!” which he couldn’t have done when he was a newborn. I didn’t want to fill my newborn up with medications in his new little body, but I feel more comfortable with it when he’s bigger and has a functioning liver. Thirdly, it makes more sense to me to have a surgery on an older boy for medical reasons that to have it done on a helpless newborn for no reason. Lastly, if it needs to be done when he’s older, the foreskin will probably be more retractable and easier to remove.
Brian’s first inclination was to have it done, and on the way home from your house I thought more about his feelings. I asked Brian if he felt any more confident, secure, or happy knowing he looks like his father. Although that was Brian’s biggest reason for wanting it, he admits that it’s no benefit to him as a son. I think Spencer will feel the same way. I bet if I were to ask my father-in-law now if he feels better knowing his son looks like him, he will have probably forgot about it. I asked if Spencer’s nose didn’t look like his, would we take him to a plastic surgeon. He admitted that he wouldn’t want to do that. I see more noses in family pictures than I see penises. =) My breasts don’t look like my mom’s, but I’m not having them altered so we match. It’s ok for sons not to look like dads, it’s ok for daughters not to look like moms; it doesn’t bother the children. In the case of circumcision, I think it’s harder on dads, but dads are adults who can think beyond emotion.
I’ve since found studies that indicate after the procedure, baby boys don’t want to nurse or some will, but they won’t look their mothers in the eye. What I’m trying to say is this is a big decision, and it will affect a baby’s life (and yours) for a lot longer than dad will care that they don’t look alike.
If you’re feeling brave, here’s some more sites with information. http://www.nocirc.com/, http://faculty.washington.edu/gcd/DOC/,
The more I’ve thought about this, the more I’ve read, the stronger I feel about it. I think that if parents look at the facts and listen to their hearts, this operation will disappear. I honestly think it should be made illegal (after all, it’s illegal to circumcise girls, which is acceptable in other cultures, why should we allow it for boys?).
I’m sorry for continuing this subject, you just make me think more and more and I find more and more information every time. I want you to have the best birth and for your baby to have the best start on life, because you are my friends and I love you. I don’t want you to feel guilty later, I don’t want babies to hurt for no reason. If you believe the operation will hurt and will possibly have a lasting negative effect, then it’s ok not to do it. You’ll feel better, and so will your baby. =)