I need your advice... (and I know you have a lot of it...) - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-06-2003, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in a really sticky situation here...

I am pregnant with my second child and this time round I am convinced that the baby is a boy. I am planning on finding out when I am a bit further along but for now its just a hunch. Anyway... I have been thinking a lot about circumcision lately and what the right thing to do would be. My dh is circumcised and he thinks that its the right thing to do. I however feel completely unconvinced. I have done a lot of reading and asking and so forth but there is not much to throw me either way!

I have a close male friend who was not circumcised until he was 13 because he developed an infection. He told me that that was the most painful and excruciating experience of his entire life and he wished that his mother had him circumcised when he was a baby. My uncle also had to be circumcised later in life (reason unknown to me) and that too was really painful and hard for him.

One of the major problems I have with circumcision is that they dont give the baby any numbing agents during the operation?!?!?! They argue that the baby cant feel the pain...? Now that just doesnt sit well with me!!! How can you say that the baby doesnt feel pain? How do they know? It really terrifies me!

I tried talking to dh last night about it and in the end his logic was, "well you're not a man so you wouldnt understand." Huh? Okay, let me back up... I asked him to list his top reasons for having a circumcision. His first reason: Health. His second: self-image (boy should look like dad) and his third: Well, I didnt let him get that far b/c I was too busy arguing with his first two...

I told him that if we as parents took good care of his (intact) penis then chances of infections caused by poor hygiene would be drastically reduced. I also told him that we would also have the job of teaching him how to take care of his own penis when he got older so that those chances remained low.

As far as his self-image argument goes I think that there is more to a boys self-image than how his penis looks. What about daughters and mothers? Girls dont have pubic hair or developed breasts until they reach puberty. Does this mean that all girls have low self-images becauses their 'bits' dont look like their mom's for the first 10-13 yrs of their life?! Of course not! Surely one could explain to a questioning child that everyone has a unique body and what matters is who we are on the inside? What happens when a child is born with less fingers or toes or some other kind of physical difference? Do we not tell them that who they are is determined by their morals, values, dreams, desires, attitudes and so on? I was told by dh that the penis actually does play an important role in a male's physche. (Now I wish you knew my dh - he is so far from the typical male that it scares me! He is more sensitive than a lot of women I know and he wont even push his cuticles back b/c they are naturally where they are for a reason. So when he uses completely contradicting logic for something way more important, I cant help but try and see where he is coming from...) I cant really argue with the last statement regarding a male and his penis, as to me it pretty obvious that it does. I dont think that it is right though...

I am so confused....
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Old 06-06-2003, 07:14 PM
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RUN, don't walk, to the bookstore and buy yourself a copy of the book by Dr. Paul Fleiss, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision .

Then read it. Then hand it to your dh to read, especially the chapter devoted to fathers.
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Old 06-06-2003, 08:10 PM
 
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I have a close male friend who was not circumcised until he was 13 because he developed an infection.
Infections are dealt with using antibiotics. Surgical removal is not the answer.
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I tried talking to dh last night about it and in the end his logic was, "well you're not a man so you wouldn't understand." Huh?
Since he does not have a foreskin I would say it's fair to say he does not know what it would be like to have one. You have your foreskin (the hood of your clitoris) so you actually have more *knowledge* than he in the foreskin department.
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I told him that if we as parents took good care of his (intact) penis then chances of infections caused by poor hygiene would be drastically reduced.
A foreskin needs very little attention. In fact most problems are caused by parents with misinformation who try to retract the foreskin, etc.

You might find the following two articles of interest :

http://mothering.com/10-0-0/html/10-...cision85.shtml

http://mothering.com/10-0-0/html/10-...rcson103.shtml
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Old 06-06-2003, 08:31 PM
 
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#1 Stop arguing. Do not fight about this. (do not give in either...) but do not attack, belittle, use sarcasm, mock, or dismiss your husband's concerns.

as for this:

I tried talking to dh last night about it and in the end his logic was, "well you're not a man so you wouldn't understand." Huh?

How about if I phrased it this way- "You are not a circumcised person, so you have no way of understanding how desperatly I need what was done to me to seem justified."

I like the book by David Gollaher.

As for why NOT to circumcise- this is not an issue to be ambivalent about- the foreskin is highly errogenous and functional genital anatomy. Simply put- you just don't cut other people's penises!

Learn about the anatomy and give your husband a lot of time and love and understanding... and don't ever give your consent!

Ask him to do the research... and then back up and give him space.

And by the way- the only reason why any child is cut without anesthesia is because parents allow it- anesthesia is available- (and advised by the AMA, the AAP and the ACOG) even if not entirely effective and any parent who cares enough to find a doctor who will use anesthesia, can do so. There is no rule that any one unethical bastard has to cut a baby over any other unethical bastard. All parents are free to shop around and find the unethical bastard who will do the cutting exactly to their liking.

Stop back and tell us how it is going.

Love Sarah
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Old 06-06-2003, 10:41 PM
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First of all, Welcome to this board!
You've come to a really good place. This board has some very intelligent people (excl. me??)discussing circumcision.

You can ask anything and they will give you the correct answer.

It is so good and smart of you to inform yourself while you have plenty of time to get your husband used to the idea.
And I am sure he will come around.
To leave the baby intact is the only fair and sensible thing to do. After all, why should a baby be sent to surgery within a day or two after he is born. It took nature/God nine months to develop a perfect human being and then we say it's not good enough, we have to make some changes.

You will have time to inform your husband of the importance of the foreskin, its functions, and its pleasures.
Here is a great web site for him to start checking it out, too:

www.cirp.org

Your husband was cirked because that was the thing to do. We used to think every boy in the whole world was circumcised. Now we know that outside the U.S. only Jews and Muslims are circumcised and that the rest of the male population in the world is pretty much intact. As a matter of fact 80% of the world male population is intact.

The reason why you had heard of some people who are circumcised at a later age was more than likely because they made too much of an effort to "take care of the penis".
In countries where almost no males are circumcised (all of Europe) they very seldom have to do circumcisions at a later age.
They have learned not to take extra care of it, as you will learn on various sites.
The foreskin is very much like the eye lid. It is there to protect and prevent infections. A foreskin that is treated like an eye lid will most likely never get infected.

www.infocirc.org/hyge.htm

We know for a fact that babies suffer pain. The medical society has known it for a long time and has stated that often. They recommend highly that the baby receive pain medication. The problem is that none is really effective. And they all have side effects, some even very severe.

And you are right concerning the "look alike image". When cirk first started in the U.S. (around 1920) no father said his son had to look like him, because most fathers were intact and the mothers had their sons cirked.

And just one more thing, 42% of the boys in the U.S. as of today are intact. So, no matter what you chose for your son, he will always differ from about half the boys he comes in contact with.

60% of the boys in California are intact as of 2001
42% of the rest of the U.S. are intact
99% of the boys in Europe are intact
99% of the boys in Latin America are intact

When you look at the overall view of the world, our U.S. boys are already in the minority and marked by circumcision.

Again, welcome to the board, we are glad you found us.
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Old 06-06-2003, 11:04 PM
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what a cute site. Check it out.

Here it is again

Http://www.circumstitions.com/Itsaboy.html
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Old 06-06-2003, 11:30 PM
 
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There are people out there who have had breasts, arms, toes, whatever amputated for medical reasons, I can't believe any of them would say that was an enjoyable thing. I also bet very few think it would have been better to have had it done when they were 2 days old.

Why?

Because most of us see all of our body parts as being useful. We aren't going to give any of them up with out a fight. Unfortunately in this society we have decided that foreskins are unimportant and even a problem. They have to be cleaned carefully (funny I think my teeth need special cleaning (infact much more so then an intact penis), and I don't want them removed), they are ugly (the whole thought that we have to surgically alter newborns to fit society's view of beauty is really scary) and so on and so on.

Is it important to your husband that his penis is like his dad's? does he even know if his dad is circed? If his eyes aren't the same or thier hands are different, are you going to surgically alter them too?

I wanted to repeat that before the foreskin retracts naturally, many problems and infections are caused by misinformed parents and doctors. Intact penises don't need to be washed any differently then the rest of your baby, wiped off (on the outside) with warm water and soap. The only person who should ever pull back the foreskin should be the owner of the foreskin, and even then soap is not really needed on the inside.


Quote:
I was told by dh that the penis actually does play an important role in a male's physche.
This is the whole problem, to be anti-circ, a circed man has to be able to say that his penis is missing something. Give him some space, and time to get around this, but don't give in and pass the problem to your son.
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Old 06-08-2003, 11:06 AM
 
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I have a close male friend who was not circumcised until he was 13 because he developed an infection. He told me that that was the most painful and excruciating experience of his entire life and he wished that his mother had him circumcised when he was a baby. My uncle also had to be circumcised later in life (reason unknown to me) and that too was really painful and hard for him.
.>>>>

You should tell both of them that the pain they experienced is just as great(if not more intense) on a baby,and that instead of wishing to have been circed as a baby they should have wished for a doctor who treated the infection by means other than amputation!

I find there is very little *care* needed with my sons normal penis.It is the cut ones that need a lot of work to prevent infection and adhensions.The more you mess with an intact penis the more chance you will have of causing an infection.I think a boy can handle washing his penis just as well as a girl does with her vagina,labia,clitoral area.

Just tell your dh that it is your son's foreskin,and only he should be the one to decide if he ever wants it removed.The foreskin protects against infection.
sara
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Old 06-08-2003, 01:52 PM
 
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This is all very odd to me. You are in a country that I'm sure doesn't have very many circumcised men but your husband is using all of the myths used here in the US. Where did he get all of this? Certainly almost all of the men he knows are intact and they have no health problems. He can't use the "locker room" argument because your son would be one of few if any boys in the locker room that is circumcised and few, if any, of his future girlfriends will have ever seen a circumcised penis and will think of him and his parents as quite odd for doing this.

I think it is quite apparent that he is afraid of the gremlins he will have to face if his son has parts that were taken away from him. To be honest, I have never given much credence to the suggestion that men have to face their own mutilation full in the face when they approach the decision to have their son circumcised but your message has convinced me. I suspect that because of where you live, you will garner much support from the doctors in your area in keeping your son intact.

Stand your ground!



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Old 06-08-2003, 02:24 PM
 
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Originally posted by Raven
I am pregnant with my second child and this time round I am convinced that the baby is a boy. I am planning on finding out when I am a bit further along but for now its just a hunch. Anyway... I have been thinking a lot about circumcision lately and what the right thing to do would be. My dh is circumcised and he thinks that its the right thing to do. I however feel completely unconvinced. I have done a lot of reading and asking and so forth but there is not much to throw me either way!
Hi Raven. I'm from SA too, Johannesburg. Judging from my experience (I have a 6-month-old son), if you don't ask for a circ, you won't get offered one. What's more, it's unlikely that your medical aid would pay either, unless you have a dishonest pediatrician and a medical aid advisor not paying attention, since the medical aids will only pay for good medical reason.

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I have a close male friend who was not circumcised until he was 13 because he developed an infection. He told me that that was the most painful and excruciating experience of his entire life and he wished that his mother had him circumcised when he was a baby. My uncle also had to be circumcised later in life (reason unknown to me) and that too was really painful and hard for him.
Of course, anyone experiencing something painful would prefer to have had it done at some prior time. I would rather have had my tooth's root canal done when I was a baby too. But would I have enjoyed that pain as a baby, even though I wouldn't remember it now?

As others have pointed out - infections are cured by antibiotics, especially nowadays.

My father was circed at the age of 3 - my guess is that my grandmother was probably (against medical advice, though perhaps it was "recommended" in 1943) retracting his foreskin, and causing repeated trauma.

Quote:
One of the major problems I have with circumcision is that they dont give the baby any numbing agents during the operation?!?!?! They argue that the baby cant feel the pain...? Now that just doesnt sit well with me!!! How can you say that the baby doesnt feel pain? How do they know? It really terrifies me!
In Soth Africa, you'll almost certainly find that an anaesthesiologist will want his cut of the money - I've never heard of surgery where an anaesthesiologist wasn't there.

Quote:
I tried talking to dh last night about it and in the end his logic was, "well you're not a man so you wouldnt understand." Huh? Okay, let me back up... I asked him to list his top reasons for having a circumcision. His first reason: Health. His second: self-image (boy should look like dad) and his third: Well, I didnt let him get that far b/c I was too busy arguing with his first two...
I didn't look like my dad, and it made no impression on me whatsoever. Only now that I'm aware of the issues around circ do I feel quite sorry for him.


Frank was a little off on his stats - judging from my own experience, I would say that the circ rate in the middle classes 30-40 years ago (probably the age of your husband) was about 50%. I suspect that it's very, very low now though - in our pre-natal classes, when the topic was mentioned, we were asked who were considering circumcision for their babies, and no-one was (though there were a few questions, so obviously some people had been thinking about it).
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Old 06-08-2003, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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WOW!!! First of all...Thank you for responding so kindly and so informatively! I have followed all the links that you have supplied but I have already been given more than enough conviction to stick to my gut which says MY SON WILL NOT BE MUTILATED!!!!

As far as the circumcision rate in SA goes, its actually pretty high. In fact Id say 90% if men I know are circ'd... sad...

Thanks guys!!!!!!

(Now this baby better be a boy!: )

You guys have made me cry.... I love you all!
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Old 06-09-2003, 12:47 AM
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Hey, you'll come back and let us know what it's gonna be, won't you?
Lots of love.
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Old 06-09-2003, 05:47 AM
 
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Originally posted by Raven
As far as the circumcision rate in SA goes, its actually pretty high. In fact Id say 90% if men I know are circ'd... sad...
Wow, that's scary. I'm quite surprised. My experience comes from seeing schoolmates in boarding school showers, but a well-known urologist has also quoted figures of 50% (and he sees primarily adult patients, of course).
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