the circumcision issue - Mothering Forums
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The Case Against Circumcision > the circumcision issue
motherearthdancer's Avatar motherearthdancer 01:11 PM 08-02-2007
Okay, so please don't get mad at me...but I wanted to hear if anyone else was in the same situation. Since we found out we were having a son, we had a terrible time debating whether or not to circ. We did lots of research and for a long time I felt like we wouldn't do it. I was always against it, but I still felt that, being a woman, it was something my husband should have a say in. We talked about it for what seems like forever. We did lots of research. My husband is not a brutal man, he is very gentle and a pacifist. So ultimately I told my husband that I would support whatever decision he made. We ended up circ. our first son. My son did cry during the procedure, but he nursed afterwards and we never had any problems since. (hes 2.5 years old now)

Now we are 30 weeks pregnant with our 2nd son and facing the same decision. Ultimately our 1st decision did come down to whether or not we wanted our son to "look" like his father, but it wasn't that my dh HAD to have it that way. He said that as for his own experience, being circ. was something he never regreted. The only insecurity I can even think of is that, we were worried about him not being circ. and then asking daddy questions about it and feeling different. Okay, before people start pointing out all the proof that this woud not be so...please know that we knew that and know that, but the emotional aspect of it is so pulling its hard to see when everyone else you know is circ, or those that you know who are intact...well, those people that we know who are intact, are not the kind of parents that we are. We are very "natural" in other aspects..such as babywearing, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, gentle disapline..etc.

I am confused because we haven't made any concrete decisions regarding what we plan on doing and probably wont until the baby gets here. I don't want to be seen as a monster parent no matter what I decide. I feel like if we don't circ. son #2 then we should be appologising for what we did to son #1, but if we do circ. #2 then we are being labeled as terrible people, abusive people...etc. Its a lot of pressure for a person to deal with. I wouldn't say that I regret circ. son number one, b/c we haven't had any problems and he is a happy kid, and was a happy baby. I do know people who decided to circ. as an adult and wish they had it done as a kid, and I know people who wish they hadn't circ. at all. So again, I'm torn between my relationships with these people and the decisions we feel pressured to make. Also, I know my husband will support my feelings on it,I just felt that he knew better than I about boys which is why I said I'd support whatever decision he made. He's had his doubts about it, but we can't change the past...and I still do stand by what I said, and I do support him. Now this doesn't mean that we feel "good" about having to make the decision by any means. Its obviously something that is eating away at us since we found out we are expecting another boy.

I'm not pro circ. and I'm not against it since it is something that 2 of the boys in my life have had to deal with, and seem to be okay with (except in the debating aspect in my husbands case...he is very much torn about the issue in general) I just don't want to get yelled at, we are already beating ourselves up enough over this and I just want to know if I'm alone in feeling this way. I wouldn't say its regret b/c after its done its done and we really had no bad experience with it. I'd really like to hear from moms who circ one of their boys and decided not to with the 2nd.

Papai's Avatar Papai 01:21 PM 08-02-2007
It's obvious you're very conflicted over this issue, but I worry things might get ugly since you're not against circ, and this board is all about being against circ. Everyone, try to be nice.

I'm intact and so are my brothers and cousins that I know. But we never ever checked each other out or commented on each other's penises.

Circumcision is unecessary and you at least admit that you did it for superficial reasons. But really, how important is it to "look like daddy"? I mean, what impact does that have on his life? What if your son grows up and has an intact best friend and then he notices the difference? Isn't that the same situation? "Mommy, why am I different?"

There are intact and circumcised penises out there and at some point your son is going to notice that difference, and then you're going to have explain to him why he was circumcised. Circumcising him to make him look like daddy doesn't avoid that conversation.

I urge you and your husband to leave your second son intact. How can you be about gentle discipline but subject your newborn son to genital modification?
starry_mama 01:23 PM 08-02-2007
Mama, I have a circed son and an intact son. Its not the end of the world. I also have a curly haired son and a straight haired son.

Also, whether or not you circ baby#2 or not, you WILL owe child #1 an explanation about circing him. That should have no bearrin on your decision to circ. Pm me if you want to talk. I remember feeling like by me NOT circing my second son, I was hurting my first son all over again. This is NOT true, but it feels like that sometimes.
LavenderMae's Avatar LavenderMae 01:28 PM 08-02-2007
The default is leaving babies how they are born, so if it's a boy with all of his penis.
Emotional reasons should not truimp the fact that it's an unnecessary cosmetic surgery done to an unconsenting person.
You really don't know if your son's circumcision and lack of foreskin will affect him and he might not tell you if it does. Because it would most likely be in a personal and sexual way not something most men talk to their moms about.

I think as parents how we view our children needs to shift, we do not own their body parts. Really circumcision should not be a parental choice at all anymore than female circumcision is. Or cutting off a finger or a toe ect.
And most of all foreskin is there for a reason (several actually).

You should apologize to your first son because you took something that was his and something that was a natural and healthy part of his body. I truly hope you won't make the same mistake again

*I am not saying any of this with a mean or snarky tone , just a disclaimer because tone is so hard to read on-line.
guestmama9908's Avatar guestmama9908 01:28 PM 08-02-2007
My first son is circumcised as well. You can read his story in my siggy. It is a decision I regret very much.

The reality is that more than likely your son will not care whether he looks like Daddy. Once he gets to the age where he might notice the difference he will probably not be seeing your husband nude anyway.

If I ever have another son I will not circ again. My husband agrres wholeheartedly. I have no qualms about my children being "different" from one another. I know I will have to explain to Calen one day why he is circumcised and I do intend to apologize to him. I consented to a surgery which altered his body and his future sexuality when I had no right to do so. It is his penis and he should have been the one to make that decision for himself.

The other aspect of this to consider is that circumcision is like playing russian roulette. The outcome depends completely on who performs the procedure and how they perform it. I think that every circumcision is probably different even if performed by the same physician because every penis is different. Just because your first son has had no complications doesn't mean your second son won't. I think the guilt would be beyond imagination if you chose to circumcise knowing what you now know and he came out with a complication.

This article might help clear up some of the emotional aspects that circumcision holds for your husband. It is meant for you http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/v...ty_of_men.html

I hope this helps.

Molly
kldliam's Avatar kldliam 02:36 PM 08-02-2007
nd_deadhead's Avatar nd_deadhead 02:44 PM 08-02-2007
Welcome, motherearthdancer, and congratulations on your pregnancy!

Whether you circumcised ds#2 or not, eventually ds#1 is going to discover that he is circumcised. You might end up apologising to him in any event.

Do you want to have to apologise to #2 as well?

The bottom line is simple: baby boys come with a foreskin. It is a normal, natural body part, and should not be cut off without a REALLY good reason. You wouldn't have any other operation on your son "just because", would you?

Look carefully at this part of your post:
I don't want to be seen as a monster parent no matter what I decide. I feel like if we don't circ. son #2 then we should be appologising for what we did to son #1, but if we do circ. #2 then we are being labeled as terrible people, abusive people...etc. Its a lot of pressure for a person to deal with.

You have a lot of concerns about how YOU will be viewed (whatever your decision), about how YOU might have to apologise to ds1, how YOU are struggling with the pressure. But you didn't write anything about ds2. How will HE feel about your decision? Is this operation the best thing for HIM?

Both my sons are intact; DH is circumcised. My sons are almost 13 years old (twins), and they are very glad that we left their genitals alone. When they learned about circumcision, rather than ask to be circumcised like their Dad, they felt sorry for him.

Simply explain to ds2 (if and when he asks) that when he was born, you felt it was best to have his foreskin cut off; since then you have decided it wasn't necessary, and left his little brother's alone. You might feel as though leaving #2 intact will be like admitting you made a mistake with #1. If it is a mistake, does doing it again make it less so?

The first time around, you more or less left the decision up to your DH, because he has a penis. But since he doesn't have a foreskin, his experience is no more personal than yours. The only preson who really should make a decision about cosmetic surgery is the person having the operation.

Best wishes to you for a comfortable pregnancy, uneventful delivery, and a decision that you, your DH, and mostly your son can live with.
kldliam's Avatar kldliam 03:06 PM 08-02-2007
Quote:
So ultimately I told my husband that I would support whatever decision he made. We ended up circ. our first son.
http://www.circumcision.org/others.htm


Quote:
My son did cry during the procedure, but he nursed afterwards and we never had any problems since. (hes 2.5 years old now)
With all due respect, how will you know if your son has any "problems" with his circumcision when he is a full grown man? Many men regret being circumcised for multiple reasons. When they learn about the value of having an intact body, many men feel cheated. I would too if someone decided to remodel my vagina for me without asking first.


Quote:
He said that as for his own experience, being circ. was something he never regreted.
Ahem. How would he even know if he regrets it? He doesn't know the expierence of having a fully functional, mechanically normal penis....how can he even make a judgement on that without knowing what it feels like to have a foreskin?


Quote:
The only insecurity I can even think of is that, we were worried about him not being circ. and then asking daddy questions about it and feeling different.
See the link above. This argument is designed to protect the Father from feeling bad, not the son. For it is the Father who must confront that HE is different, that HE is suppose to look like his son. An intact penis is the default, not the other way around.


Quote:
or those that you know who are intact...well, those people that we know who are intact, are not the kind of parents that we are.
What does this mean I wonder?


Quote:
I am confused because we haven't made any concrete decisions regarding what we plan on doing and probably wont until the baby gets here.
This is a pretty major decision, not one that I would make at the last moment.


Quote:
I don't want to be seen as a monster parent no matter what I decide. I feel like if we don't circ. son #2 then we should be appologising for what we did to son #1,
Be brave. You do owe him an apology. Apologies are apart of life. Many parents have to apologize to their children for various reasons. Why are you afraid of that?


Quote:
but if we do circ. #2 then we are being labeled as terrible people, abusive people...etc. Its a lot of pressure for a person to deal with.
In this forum we feel that MGM is an abuse of power by a parents. The only way I can make you understand this is to ask you this: If your Mother had her clitoral hood (the female foreskin) removed at birth by force (because it's fashionable let's say) and claimed that she never regretted it and then she gave birth to you and thought that you should have your clitoral hood removed too becuase they would want your vagina to match your mom's....how would that make YOU feel? Yikes!


Quote:
I wouldn't say that I regret circ. son number one, b/c we haven't had any problems
You wont use HIS penis for the next 90 years....how do know what HIS problems might be down the road, due to this decision of yours? What do you know about ED? Do you plan on discussing ED with your grown son? What do you know about tight circ's and painful adult erections? Do you know if he will suffer those as a result of your decision? Do you plan on discussing this with your grown son? I rather doubt it.

Quote:
I just felt that he knew better than I about boys which is why I said I'd support whatever decision he made.
This is a cop-out. Genital integrity is everyones right. The fact that you are a woman does not excuse you from protecting your son's right to genital integrity.

Quote:
Now this doesn't mean that we feel "good" about having to make the decision by any means. Its obviously something that is eating away at us since we found out we are expecting another boy.
When you know better, you do better.

Quote:
I wouldn't say its regret b/c after its done its done and we really had no bad experience with it.
Again....it is not your penis. You will not use this penis ever. You will not know what the long-term ramifications are of not having a foreskin. To say that you have "had no bad expierence" is incredibally foolish of you, the only person who can rightfully make that claim is the man who owns and uses the penis. A man who is missing an important part of his body is NOT expierencing life the way it should be. That's not good.
paphia's Avatar paphia 04:20 PM 08-02-2007
I have to agree with some of the PP's - you go on and on about how this decision will affect you and dh, and how it will affect your relationships and your perceptions of yourselves and your relationships. And then you throw in that other than his obvious pain at being cut, your ds1 hasn't had any problems (yet).

But it is not your body to modify, not your genitals to amputate. Why is this even an issue if you know all that is wrong with MGM? Will your son not be a grown man someday, capable of making decisions about his body for himself? When do you hand ownership of his penis over to him? When he can go to the bathroom himself? Of course not, it is his body from the very beginning. Try thinking of this new person inside of you as a very young human being, rather than YOUR baby and YOUR son.

We do not own our children. My dh and I have a great relationship, but we are aware at what has been taken from us by his parents' ignorance and willingness to let others tell them what to do with his body. Leave the choice to your son and don't let your parental guilt affect how you treat your newest family member. You are good parents for revisiting this discussion, you are good parents for realizing you owe DS1 an apology, you are good humans for acknowledging that MGM is cruel and abusive.

Listen to your heart and tune out all this static about people you know and their foreskin status and I think the decision is already there. GL in leaving your son whole. He might just thank you for it!
MCatLvrMom2A&X's Avatar MCatLvrMom2A&X 04:21 PM 08-02-2007
I hope you can see that since they are born with a foreskin it is ment to be there.

It isnt about you or your dh it is about your son and his right to be whole. There are a few mom's here with cut and intact sons and they have delt with it. This is not a decision that you or your dh have a right to make at all and it really sucks that only here in the USA do parents choose to do this so often to their little boys. Other countries that once did RIC have all but stopped and most never started it to begin with.

Your fist son who is circed may come to you one day and say mom why did you do this to me and you will have to explain why. He cannot get back what was taken from him.

If you second son is left intact and comes to you and says mom why did you leave me intact you can tell him why. The major difference here is he can choose to be cired. While your first ds can never get his foreskin back.

Your dh can not regret being circed because he has no idea what is missing. He has never experianced things as they were ment to be and he only knows that one way.

You on the other hand have your complete genitals and know you are not missing out. So honestly you are in a better position to decide.

You keep saying your ds has had no problems with his circ but in all honesty you dont know that. You can see any thing wrong now but as a adult he may not have enough skin to cover his erection and have tight, painful ones. He may have hair pulled up onto the shaft. The list is endless what he might have to suffer from later on.

Here are some facts for you to read.
Reasons to leave your son intact:

- The owner of the penis should be the one to decide what to do with it.

-The foreskin, not the head, is the most sensitive part of the normal, intact penis.

- The movable shaft skin of an intact penis facilitates intercourse, reducing friction and prolonging pleasurable sex for both male and female.

- The foreskin aids in foreplay; lubricants are optional.

- An intact penis will have no circumcision scar, will often have less hair drawn up onto it shaft, and will on average be somewhat larger than a circumcised penis.

- The foreskin protects and lubricates the head or “glans” of the penis for the life of its owner. The glans or the head of the penis was never meant to be a external organ it should be inside the foreskin to protect it and keep it sensitive.

-80-85% of the world’s male population has intact genitals, including nearly all European males (please note that HIV/AIDS rates are actually lower in Europe than in America). Circumcision does NOT prevent AIDS wearing a condom does.

-Male circumcision permanently diminishes the sexual feelings for both male and female.

- When people from non circumcising countries hear that we in the USA still do it they are usually shocked, and often don't believe it to be true.

- Care of the intact infant penis is actually much easier as there is no wound care, you just wash it like a finger, it should never be retracted by anyone other than the child. The age it becomes retractable varies greatly normal range is childhood to adulthood.

- The foreskin contains three to four feet of blood vessels, 240 feet of nerves, and 10-20,000 specialized nerve endings.

- When the foreskin is removed 30-50% of sexual pleasure goes with it. Because 30-50% of the total penile skin is removed during a RIC depending on the Dr. and the type of circumcision that is done.

-The circumcision rate in the USA has fallen from 90% in 1970 to roughly 56% today.

-Circumcisions was originally introduced in the country in the late 1800s to prevent masturbation. It has since been touted as the cure for all sorts of ailments - all of which have been scientifically disprovable. Including but not limited to it being a cure for baldness, mental illness, cancer etc. Etc.

The History of Circumcision
http://www.historyofcircumcision.net...tpage&Itemid=1

Warning disturbing pictures "The medicalization of circumcision"
http://www.icgi.org/medicalization_o...ion.htm#Page_1

A Short History of Circumcision in the U.S.A (this one is really scary when you read it)
http://www.sexuallymutilatedchild.org/shorthis.htm

The Ritual of Circumcision
http://www.noharmm.org/paige.htm

-Cutting off the foreskin cuts off the most sensitive, erotic, pleasurable part of a man’s body. The foreskin plays a very important role in sex. Men who were circumcised later in life compare circed sex/intact sex to someone who is color blind they can see just fine but the full "color" is missing.

-Circumcision is almost NEVER medically necessary. The only true medical reasons for circ are, frostbite, gangrene and cancer (all of those would be extremely rare) The incidence for necessary medical circumcisions is less that 0.05%. Circumcision for phimosis should only be done as a last resort. After trying stretching, steroid cream and a dorsel slit.

-No medical organization anywhere recommends routine infant circ.
Here is a list of statements from several countries including the USA and Canada.
http://www.cirp.org/library/statements/

- Circumcision is EXTREMELY painful, even if anesthetic is administered. Studies have proved that babies feel pain even more acutely than an adult would. It is a very great breech of trust for a baby to be taken from his parents and cut. It is very violating. Long after any anesthesia that might(most only get a sugar dipped rag or paci to suck on) have been used wears off there is still a raw open wound sitting in urine and feces with no pain relief.

-The intact penis, if left alone, has no greater risk for UTI's, STD's, Penile Cancer, HIV, causing Cervical Cancer in women.

UTI myth http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/UTI/
http://www.nocirc.org/statements/breastfeeding.php
Quote:
In fact, UTI's are so rare in any case that, using Wiswell's data, 50 to 100 healthy boys would have to be circumcised in order to prevent a UTI from developing in only one patient. (Using more recent data from a better-controlled study, the number of unnecessary operations needed to prevent one hospital admission for UTI would jump to 195.
FORESKINS: Seek Elsewhere for Infants' Urinary Tract Infections
http://www.cirp.org/news/1997.12.22_PhysiciansWeekly/


UTI Neonatal circumcision revisited
http://www.cps.ca/english/statements...ION%20OF%20UTI

The incidence of Geniturinary abnormalities in circumcised and uncircumcised presenting with an initial urinary tract infection by 6 months of age
http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/UTI/mueller/
- Girls have a much greater risk of UTIs, yet we don't cut off parts of their genitals to prevent them.
Cancer Society:http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/co...evented_35.asp
Quote:
In the past, circumcision has been suggested as a way to prevent penile cancer. This suggestion was based on studies that reported much lower penile cancer rates among circumcised men than among uncircumcised men. However, most researchers now believe those studies were flawed because they failed to consider other factors that are now known to affect penile cancer risk.
http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/cancer/
Quote:
Gellis (1978) said there are more deaths from circumcision than from cancer of the penis.8
Boczko et al . found numerous reports of penile cancer in circumcised men, thus conclusively disproving Wolbarst's false claims of protection from penile cancer by circumcision.9
In "Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy," Edward Wallerstein writes14: "If infant circumcision reduces penile cancer we could expect to see proportionately less penile cancer in circumcising nations as compared to non-circumcising ones. No such difference is found."
Quote:
******* established quite clearly that there was little evidence to support a relationship between lack of circumcision and penile cancer, cervical cancer, or cancer of the prostate in 1970 but he was unable to identify the causative agent at that time,6 while Leitch did the same in Australia.
Circumcision and AIDS/HIV
http://www.circumstitions.com/HIV.html
http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/HIV/ http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab003362.html
http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...Statement.html

Comparison of North America to other non-circ countries HIV status
http://www.avert.org/america.htm
http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm
- The times the intact penis has trouble are when it is forcefully retracted before it is ready. The penis should only be retracted by its owner, when he’s ready. It is normal to not be retractable until after puberty. It is not a problem.

- Circumcision is SURGERY and as such poses significant risks of infection to the wound.
Possible complications include but are not limited to:
Infections;
Botched circumcisions that have to be redone;
To tight circumcisions that cause extreme pain with erection;
Hair on the shaft;
Loss of sensation in the glans (head), it becomes keratinized (hardened) without the foreskin;
Amputation of the part or all of the penis;
Ruptured stomach, bladder, and or intestines from crying so hard;
Skin bridges
Adhesions
Scaring on the penis shaft
Meatal Stenosis http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/persad/
DEATH
and much much more.
It is estemated that between 10-15% of all males will have at least 1 or more of the complications listed above. But none of these side effects are present when leaving a boy intact.

Links of pictures Warning graphic pictures
http://www.circumstitions.com/Restric/Botched1sb.html
http://www.noharmm.org/IDcirc.htm

- There are NO medical benefits with routine infant circumcision. It is a cosmetic surgery, and as such more insurance companies will NOT pay for it.

- Circumcision is big business in the US. Several billions of dollars every year. Doctors are very invested in keeping the circumcision myths alive.

- A single doctor can make $20,000 a year doing circumcisions.

- A little known fact is that foreskins are then resold to the highest bidder. They are used in cosmetics, skin growth for grafting, cancer treatments and much more. The after life of foreskins is also a multi billion dollar a year industry. Parents are not told about this. There is no informed consent. Certainly the foreskins owner doesn’t have a say in the matter.

- “Every boy born in the US has a $300 coupon attached to his foreskin. All you have to do is cut it off to redeem.”

- Circumcision should only be performed on consenting adults who know all that is entailed.

-What if your son wants his foreskin?

- A lot of men are very angry when they find out the truth and feel very violated. (like my husband.)

- How would you feel if someone cut off your clitoris and labia without asking you? They do it in Africa all the time. We are horrified when little girls are mutilated. Why not when little boys? FGM type one, the most common form of female circumcision, only removes the covering of the clitoris and some of the labia. Those parts directly corrilate to the foreskin on a male penis.

- It causes immense trauma & physical pain to a brand new baby who just had to undergo birth. Often times a baby will suddenly cease crying and so the Doctors say it doesn't hurt them. It does - they are in shock.

- Smegma isn’t bad or gross. It is the Greek word for soap. Women have it too. It helps keep everything clean and healthy. No intact boy should be forcefully retracted just to clean it out. It’s supposed to be there!

- When they separate the foreskin from the glans it is similar to ripping off your fingernails. Than they crush the foreskin and cut it off. They also stimulate an erection so they “know where to cut.” A boys first sexual experience is one of great pain and trauma. A stranger gets to choose how your son's penis will look. Since all circ are subject to the different specifics that the Dr. chooses to use. (Your first ds's circ will more than likely look nothing like your first ds's)

Common myths you may hear from others and even Dr's:

http://www.coloradonocirc.org/myths.php
Why men may insist on circumcision article

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

Side by side comparison of MGM & FGM
http://www.circumstitions.com/FGMvsMGM.html


Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 04:34 PM 08-02-2007
Your sons have an inherant right to their WHOLE bodies. Regardless of any possible discomfort you as parents might feel with yourselves and your friends. It's your childs penis, not yours.
fruitful womb's Avatar fruitful womb 04:58 PM 08-02-2007
Hi! Welcome!! I'm so glad you visited

The people here on CAC are wonderful. They are all super smart! We won't bite. kldliam, you did a great job on your post! Its everything I wanted to say. Op, you've come here seeking advice and already I can tell that your instincts are pulling you away from the circ decision. You have good instincts. Since your looking into the matter your safe here. If you came here stating that you made up your mind and no one will ever change your decision to alter your son's genitals to an arbitrary reductive cosmetic surgery and compromise his genital integrity just so your family can feel "unified" and continue to bask in your false sense of security against the persecution for your choices... then you can expect to be eaten alive! You didn't do that so you don't have to worry.

ds1 was circ. I didn't want it done but dh did. (sound familiar?) I own what happened to him and do fully regret that he was circed. Surprisingly, dh does too. It seems, the more educated you are on the matter the more your against circumcision. There is ZERO education going on in America. My cousin is a Doctor fresh from residency. I asked him, "What did they teach you about the foreskin?" He said, "Nothing, only how to cut it off."

I just don't understand how your not regretting what happened to your ds1! I can't begin to fathom even for a second this statement you've made. I will carry this tragedy to my grave!!! Please don't take that harshly, I'm just saying I will never be able to comprehend it.

I have two more sons and they are intact. The boys get along great. Sure my 7yr circ son knows he is different than his brother and knows the reason dh wanted it done "To look like daddy" which is lame if you ask him, ds1. (You have to understand that my ds1 and your ds1 isn't culturally conditioned like our dhs are; makes all the difference in the world doesn't it?) Your ds1 will know that too one day. ds1 says he will never let that happen to his sons. And he adores his dbs. When Liam was born ds1 held him close and said, "I will never ever fail to protect you." It was really sweet.

Think about what your asking,
Your thinking about sacrificing your ds2's genital integrity, circumcising him just so ds1's feelings won't get hurt?!?! He may be even more resentful that not only did you and your dh choose to take away something that was rightfully his but you did it to his brothers too. And thats even worse because brothers are very protective of each other. For the most part, they are. Again, I'm not dogging on you. I'm helping you see the bigger picture.

It will be your job, the more educated parent and your fully intact (I'm assuming you are), to protect your children if he fails to do so. I took a stand on this role after realizing I can't count on others to protect my children. It has to be me. It has to be YOU! You should feel empowered by that! Embrace it!!! In the end your dh will thank you for it. Mine did.

Quote:
those people that we know who are intact, are not the kind of parents that we are.
Please explain that to me.

I'm glad your here. We're here to help!
A&A's Avatar A&A 06:10 PM 08-02-2007


I'm so glad you're here, asking questions!

Please read these links:

http://www.circumstitions.com/Itsaboy.html

and

http://oknocirc.blogspot.com/

Regarding having one son circ'd and one not, Maya Angelou said it best: "When you know better, you do better."
motherearthdancer's Avatar motherearthdancer 09:22 PM 08-02-2007
Thank you all for your replies and posts. I appreciate what you have to say. I do appreciate all the info you've given, and a lot of it I have already researched and know. I believe my dh knows as well. Here is the thing: Our decision to circ. son #1 wasn't as concrete as "because we want him to look exactly like daddy." Obvously he'll still look like daddy, and obviously all people are different. It was much more of the abstract. I'm not sure how to explain it more clearly. I'll try though. After much debate and talk and all of that, it did come down to "looks" as one of our main decision factors, but it wasn't because of superficial reasons.

The reason we keep talking about "us", is because right now, within this society, the decision does in fact lie with us. Perhaps it shouldn't, but the fact that the debate even exists is proof that is just how things are in society, and I do agree with most everyone on here when I say that doesn't make it right. The female circ. customs in other cultures are very common and I don't agree with them, but I say that as a person who has grown up in a much different culture with different societal views. I studied cultural anthropology for a long time and its still a fasinating subject for me. If my mother was circ and wanted to circ me out of mere tradition how would I feel? Honestly, I don't know? Its a 50/50 sort of question that would depend a lot upon my upbringing and our belief systems and how strongly I felt about upholding tradition and the reasons for it. I've seen lots of stories about women who do go along with female circ. or other "barbaric" customs within their culture because it is what society expects of them. Now I don't agree that it is right at all, but who am I to tell them that my way is better? It really comes down to a matter of belief, and belief isn't something that can be proved, its not science.

Again let me assure everyone that I'm not defending circ or anything like that by saying that, I'm merely pointing out that different people have different traditions and cultures and those traditions and cultures have strong ties within society. This also does not mean that there are people within said societies that don't agree with traditons, for certain there are, but again, it goes both ways. In American society it has become customary to circ. boys. As far as I know every boy in our family has been circ at birth. Breaking that decision, even with all the logical points against circ. isn't so easy, even for academics and scholors who like to educate themselves. When I found out I was having a boy, I was terrified, not just because of the circ. issue, but because the majority of people in my family are women and we are very much a family run by the women. I had no idea how to take care of a little boy. My own father wasn't very active in my life, and the only other boys in our close family were married to my 2 aunts and out of our 7 cousins and siblings only 2 were boys. Only one of them was I somewhat close with. My grandmother raised my twin sister and I and she had raised 3 girls herself.

Okay, so that is a bit of my history, so when I found out I was expecting a boy...I had no basis for comparison. I always thought of myself as open minded and educated, and a feminist. I was definately raised in a family of strong women with strong opinions, but little boys...babies too...remained a mystery to me. My husband, on the other hand came from a huge family. He had an older brother, and a father in his life. His mother has a strong influence on him and raised him with feminist ideals. His sister had 2 little boys as well. He had 25 first cousins alone. Its not a cop out to say that I didn't know anything about little boys, even as educated as I wanted to think I was, I was afraid of making any kind of decision having to do with a penis. Thus, because in our society it is a question asked of the parent "do you want to circ." it was something my dh and I discussed and it was something I did say, "I'll support you whatever you decide."

I hope that clarifies that bit a little. You should also know that as into "natural parenting" as we are, my husband and I are also people who have in the past modified our own bodies. Now we would never tatoo our child or pierce our baby, but I wonder how much of that reasoning would be because its not "okay" within our society to do such. For their are many societys that do tatoo and pierce their infants and children as is custom to that society. Again, I'm not condoning these customs and/or traditions, but merely pointing out that I am the way I am because of the customs and traditions I was raised in.

Yes, babies are born beautiful with their forskin, but my husband and my 1st son are no less beautiful without it. My husband does not feel any animosity towards his mother for circ. him, nor does he want her to appologise for what was the custom of her time. He has no regrets about her decision. I agree with you, he doesn't know what it is like to have an intact penis, but I do have a friend who was circ. and his brother was intact. My friend did not circ his son, he wanted to, but ended up not doing it because their insurance didn't cover it at the time. He says, "if my son has any questions, he can ask his uncle". Another gentleman I met says he was not circ. at birth and later on decided to have it done ( I believe his girlfriend wanted him to do it) he said that he doesn't regret doing it, but it did feel different and that if he could change anything it would be to have his parents have it done to him as a baby so that he wouldn't notice the difference. He said it was noticable, but not enough to make him regret his decision. (It was a very interesting class topic that day and he met with a lot of flaming from the others in the class against circ.)

So you can see why I feel so conflicted, don't you? I'm not debating the evidence, I'm merely saying it isn't as logical as calling circ. "abuse" and "mutilation" b/c within the majority of American society it is such an accepted tradition. Obviously my family and I have considered breaking this tradition or we would not be here discussing it, you know. Its just such a strong emotional tie. Thats is where it gets harder to explain b/c its not really religious, its not really academic...I suppose its more of the tradition of the parents deciding. I don't know anyone who is pissed off that his parents had him circumsized and I'm sure if I did, that would heavily push me to be against circ. but I can't justify being against something when my husband (nor the men in our family) have really no disagreement with. Does that make sense?
paphia's Avatar paphia 09:35 PM 08-02-2007
To me, no, you don't make a lot of sense.

To you, this is all about You, your dh, your ds1, your family, dh's family, society, someone you met a few years ago who had his foreskin cut off...

Where does your son fit in? So far he's a mere afterthought. And to me, that makes no sense. Just because every person you have met has assumed that parents have a right to this decision does NOT make it right. It is very presumptuous of us, as a society, to do something so permanent and life-altering as to remove the genitals of our boys.

This is HIS BODY you are talking about cutting! No one in your family or our society will love him any less for being intact, so let HIM decide for himself when he is old enough. Why can't you do that?
Super Pickle's Avatar Super Pickle 09:43 PM 08-02-2007
It makes total sense, motherearthdancer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

As a mom who circumcised her firstborn and left her second son intact, I can say that while it defnitely is difficult and scary at first to go against the grain and break with "tradition," it doesn't take long at all (like, a few diaper changes) to get used to the way an intact boy looks and to realize that it is totally normal and not dirty/dangerous/disease-prone/etc. And while well-meaning family members may express concern at first, if they are at all reasonable, their fears are usually put to rest with a simple "My doctor said that it's not recommended anymore."

Also, it is important to realize that the cuture is changing on this issue. I don't know where you live, but where my son was born (progressive neighborhood in the circ-happy Midwest), lots of little boys were left intact, and the parents were the kind of people that I would like to think I had a lot in common with. Intelligent, educated, responsive, attached parents who were open to questioning the dominant culture.

Some traditions are worth preserving. I completely believe that. Sometimes, it makes sense for one person's individuality to be curbed a little for the sake of culture and tradition. However, routine infant circumcison in America is not one of those customs! It has a very shady, perverted history; it doesn't contribute to public health; it has no deep cultural significance; it hasn't been around very long. There's just no reason for anyone to feel socially obligated to put her child through that kind of pain, and to subject him to those risks. You never have to use the word "mutilation" if the subject comes up; you just have to say that it's not necessary and it's a personal choice.

I'm enjoying reading your posts. I hope you'll stick around this forum.

Trust me: It feels so incredibly liberating when they ask you if you're circumcising or not and you say "No." It is such a relief not to have to worry about it.
kittywitty's Avatar kittywitty 09:48 PM 08-02-2007
I agree. And studies show that women overwhelmingly prefer intact men, if that is one of the "cultural" things that worries you. It is also more pleasurable for men.

And this is a very delicate subject for many of us. My ds didn't have issues with his meatal stenosis until he was ~4. After sitting through surgery with him, pulling his meatus apart to help it widen, holding him while he is crying and in severe pain, and dealing with repeated infections, I can never in a million years see why anyone would prefer that.

Would you circumcise your daughter? If not, why not? It is the same thing. It is genital mutilation either way. Would it be ok if you had been? Or your family?
jaye's Avatar jaye 09:50 PM 08-02-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by motherearthdancer View Post
within the majority of American society it is such an accepted tradition.
I don't believe it's the majority anymore. And I see you are in Northern Calif. I'm not sure if this matters to you but circ rates are dropping every year around here and I'm pretty sure the majority of boys are being left intact. I'm sorry I don't have a link right now to the rates but I've read them recently.

Good luck with your decision. I agree w/ the pps that he should be left intact.
LavenderMae's Avatar LavenderMae 09:55 PM 08-02-2007
Slavery used to be a custom here too and thank goodness people eventually took a stand against it. And their are plenty of other examples.

Basically I think you are saying you would circumcise to fit in (and it's the comfortable choice for you, your dh and family) and I guess fitting in, following the crowd is important to a lot of people. I think it's a pretty poor justification for cutting off body parts of a newborn though. I would not want to have to tell my child I cut off part of his penis because it was the popular thing to do at the time. We aren't talking about baby clothes or nursery scenes here but body parts.
I also do not think baby boys are born flawed , they are not in need of immediate 'corrective' surgery on their genitalia. I am sickened that so many parents in this country don't feel the same. It's shameful.
Lauren82's Avatar Lauren82 09:55 PM 08-02-2007
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To the OP, you talk about circ being one of our customs or traditions and then you go on about how you are into natural parenting. Well, I look all around me and see kids in disposible dipes, being shot full of the garbage in vaccines, babies CIO, parents shoving fast food into their kids, etc... Do you consider those cultural traditions too? Because it's EVERYWHERE I look.

I am also what you would call a modified person. I've got several tattoos/piercings and stretched earlobes. I've participated in "ritual" suspensions and energy pulls. If anything, it has made me realize the importance that my children's bodies belong to THEM. I would never have my child tattooed or pierced. I would never modify their bodies in any way shape or form. I don't care what is going on in someone else's tribe in another country regarding modification of their children. To even compare RIC in the US to a cultural rite of passage elsewhere is ridiculous. I do not even agree that THOSE parents have the right to do that to their children. To me it's an argument that falls flat real fast. It does stun me though that you would not pierce or tattoo a child yet you had your sons genitals mutilated?!

It is plenty logical to call RIC mutilation. It is the removal of a healthy, normal and functioning body part for NO REASON. So what if other people think it's okay? It reminds me of the whole "jumping off a bridge" cliche. Other people think it's okay to beat their kids. Other people think it's okay to let babies cry and scream in their cribs alone for hours on end.... :

I do hope that since you say you have already read the info that most people passed on, you will decide to leave son #2 intact. There are plenty of males out there that are pissed that they were circ'd. Why would you even chance having your son be one of them? Who are you to deprive your son of the most sensitive parts of his penis? You would also be depriving his future partner of the experience of a full functioning penis. :
gottaknit's Avatar gottaknit 10:11 PM 08-02-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by paphia View Post
To me, no, you don't make a lot of sense.
Yeah, you're making zero sense to me, too. :

This isn't about whether or not to tell your kids Santa brings their Christmas presents, or other harmless "traditions and customs" we have in the US. We're talking about sexually mutilating a newborn baby for NO REASON!!

There is nothing "abstract" about circumcision. This is not an academic debate in an anthropology class.

Quote:
It really comes down to a matter of belief, and belief isn't something that can be proved, its not science.
Please tell me you're not using faith as an argument for RIC...
guestmama9908's Avatar guestmama9908 10:18 PM 08-02-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalenandEllasmomma View Post
The other aspect of this to consider is that circumcision is like playing russian roulette. The outcome depends completely on who performs the procedure and how they perform it. I think that every circumcision is probably different even if performed by the same physician because every penis is different. Just because your first son has had no complications doesn't mean your second son won't. I think the guilt would be beyond imagination if you chose to circumcise knowing what you now know and he came out with a complication.


Putting aside the fact that I pointed out to you that my first son is circed and that he has suffered horribly because of it.

Evidently the above bolded part of my post fell on deaf ears. Your belief that circumcision is okay because it hasn't hurt the men in your life doesn't mean your new baby might not suffer a complication. Beyond the fact that you would be taking away his right to a whole body.
motherearthdancer's Avatar motherearthdancer 10:19 PM 08-02-2007
Wow, I really feel like some people feel like I'm some sort of monster for even just discussing it. I'm not saying that I am circ. my son. I'm merely pointing out the reasons we are having such a hard time with the decision. To me its not as simple as logic or statistics. Part of it is the emotional ties to family traditons, and that is hard to debate. I really appreciate the honesty of all of your answers and points of view. It really does make a difference. Again Im not saying these traditions are "right" or "wrong" because again, I don't think like that.

Those of you who pointed out how slavery and such used to be acceptable within tradition are completely right. Just because it is a tradtion doesn't make it right, but it isn't easy to change and those things didn't change overnight. Its just really difficult for me to say that these select beliefs are right and these select beliefs are wrong because of these reasons. Also there are strong emotional ties to tradition. If my husband doesn't consider his body mutilated by his parents, why should he feel that he is mutilating his son? And I think I did post this already, but I honestly don't know how I would feel if my mother had wanted to circ. me. It really would depend on our beliefs and how I was raised and whether or not I felt it was the "right" thing to do. I don't condone it at all as a practice, but again that is because of my beliefs and the way I have evolved as a person. So it really comes down to defining what is mutilation and what isn't. It isn't right that it is seen as "okay" to cut men and not women within our society, and I do see that that view is changing or there would not be formums such as this and I would not hence be here discussing it.

Please understand that I'm not condoning anything, or defending circ or anything like that. I"m merely stating the facts of our specific situation and why we are having trouble making the decision (again). I'm hoping to learn a lot from these discussions.
ndunn's Avatar ndunn 10:25 PM 08-02-2007
Bottom line as someone else stated: we're talking about cutting off a piece of someone else's body without their consent. Socially acceptable? Maybe in some people's eyes, but I assure you if you tried to do it to another unconsenting adult it would not be acceptable. The chain of abuse has to stop somewhere, and personally, I believe that you have to "be the change you want to see in the world" as Gandhi said.
Lula's Mom's Avatar Lula's Mom 10:27 PM 08-02-2007
This discussion has been beautifully civil so far and I am asking you all-please make a real effort to let it remain so. You are having a discussion, one in which the OP's feelings and beliefs can change and be worked through as she hears your points.
kldliam's Avatar kldliam 10:30 PM 08-02-2007
Quote:
Mod: one in which the OP's feelings and beliefs can change and be worked through as she hears your points.

Lula's Mom's Avatar Lula's Mom 10:31 PM 08-02-2007
Mind giving her a chance? Do it for me.
motherearthdancer's Avatar motherearthdancer 10:34 PM 08-02-2007
oh, I also forgot to add...just as an academic thought...
I totally agree with everyone that just because another culture does it doesn't make it right, but in my opinion it doesn't invalidate the practices and/or beliefs of the people of said customs who practice said traditions. I wasn't saying that just because some cultures modify their kids bodies that makes it okay for me...no no no...please don't misunderstand. I was merely sayng that as a person who studies such varied beliefs and customs (which yes, have some effect on my own beliefs and customs) it is difficult for me to say "their" way is wrong, just because I disagree with it. Is that a clearer way of saying things?

so, no, I wasn't using faith as a debate for my specific situation..not in the sense that it was a tradition in my belief system to circ. ITs not. I was merely pointing out that such things are linked together and the fact that at somepoint in my ancestry the tradion of circ. males was a part of the belief system and left its mark (literally) on our family. My other point was that I can't condem a society for their practices that are based on religious reasoning. I wouldn't want anyone to condem my traditions based out of my beliefs, therefore I, myself, do not decide what is "right" and "wrong", I just merely see it as a difference in customs and beliefs. Perhaps I'm making it even more confusing. I don't mean to make it sound like Im defending circ. at all. I'm merely being honest with the facts as I see them and how I take them into my head. Again, I'm here to learn and see if by discussing the issue here my perspective will once more adapt and how that will effect the decision we will have to make regarding circ. son #2
guestmama9908's Avatar guestmama9908 10:34 PM 08-02-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lula's Mom View Post
Mind giving her a chance? Do it for me.
I'm willing to give her a chance and talk through this with her. I made this mistake once and learning the truth about circ has horrified me and forever changed my mind as well as my husbands. Unfortunately this info came to late for my poor sweet baby boy.

OP please continue asking questions and I will try to answer them.
kldliam's Avatar kldliam 10:37 PM 08-02-2007
Quote:
OP: Its just really difficult for me to say that these select beliefs are right and these select beliefs are wrong

What do you think about the belief in pedophilia? I certainly hope you don't judge people poorly who have a "belief system" that it is ok to have sex with little children....
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