I have never posted here before but was very compelled by your plea in loving support of your friend's baby. So here goes...
We believed we were informed when we circ-ed our first son. He was 8 days old because he'd been ill and we waited. I can't believe I actually walked him in there to have it done. He was altered afterwards. He was just a different baby those days following the procedure.
I had had a traumatic cesarean and was very into gathering info and making better choices when we decided to have a HBAC with our next baby. I had decided not to do the circ, but my husband was still not convinced. When I lifted that sweet baby out of the water and my husband said "What is it?" I lifted him further and we saw his little penis, and my heart sank at the thought of what I still had to face (the battle) but later my husband told me when he saw our son's perfect little penis, he could not imagine cutting him.
My own reasons had been, first, the lack of evidence that it was necessary. Kids get ear infections all the time; we don't operate until it becomes a chronic problem. Why operate on the foreskin in case later it becomes infected. We no longer take out tonsils, and are evolving away from other such ideas.
Second, I can't give it back to him, not ever. It was not my right to cut my first son's body. Just as I felt I had been needlessly cut in my birth of him, I had allowed him to be needlessly cut. IT'S NOT MY BODY. IT'S NOT MY CHOICE TO MAKE. If my son wants it done later, I will inform him and then support him. I doubt he will, but you never know.
Studies have shown a lower pain threshold in boys who are circumcised. There is permanent psycological damage done. It changes who they are in a very core way.
I believe we are born the way we are intended to be. If it were not necessary, it would have over hundreds of generations, shrunk and vanished on its own.
So, we have one with, and one without. Here are the differences we have seen:
Our son who is:
Initial response and much pain in care in those first days
A very bad scar on one side of the cut, puffy, red scar tissue (he's almost 7). I can only hope he does not end up with a bent penis when having an erection later in life, an unfortunate result that his dad has.
At least 4 infections of the opening of his urethra. Constant irritation and chaffing. Complaints of burning and itching of the head of his penis. Little boys often "leak" a bit of urine before making themselves stop playing to go pee. They get a wet spot on their undies and it rubs their penis.
Our son who is intact:
One infection of the skin under the foreskin (not a UTI) that occurred at age 3. I had not been cleaning under it yet (I know there are different schools of thought on this. I now have him gently retract and rinse in the shower w/out soap) that was resolved with antibiotics (I have learned more since then and would now try a gentler approach first, homeopathics or herbal remedies).
Now, as to their comments: My circ-ed son once pulled what foreskin he has over his sore penis a little when we were dealing with yet another irritation and said "this should cover it to protect it from my undies". We switched him to boxers when he decided that he would no longer wear underwear at all (!) due to the pain.
About a month ago the 4 year old noticed the difference in the shapes of him and brother and asked. I explained what we had done for the first time (I had waited till it came up and figured that would be a good time, for him to show readiness) and the circ-ed son was just mouth-dropped shocked. He asked, "You mean you cut the end of my penis off?" and I explained more, but frankly, he was right. I told him we thought we were making the right choice back then. "Then the younger said, "I sure am glad you didn't do that to me!" We dealt with the older child's questions and as always explained how being his parents has helped us so much to learn, and that he has been our greatest teacher. We told him that he has helped his brother, and we apologized.
They don't care that they are different from dad. They also don't have hair there, but they don't care about that either. The arguments that most people put up are really a smoke screen for a core belief that they have that if they don't do this, they are breaking with what is socially acceptable and going against mainstream. They worry about judgment. It is cosmetic. Men don't like the way other men look with a foreskin. But if we lived in a place where it was the norm, a circ-ed man would look freaky. (I know of women from other countries who have endured female circumsision who think a normal female looks strange and open and ugly.) Now, when I look at my sons, the one who is intact looks whole to me, and so very sadly, the one who is circ-ed looks amputated and mutilated. I feel deep regret for what I have done, and I cannot change it. I wish I could go back and stop myself from ever walking out the door with that whole, beautiful, perfect baby, to return with a baby that was raw, bleeding and in pain. All because I was too afraid to think too hard about my own biases and need for acceptance.
I urge your friend to reach into her mother heart and think about what this whole issue is really about. It's not about hygiene, it's not about health... it's about looks and custom. It's also about that little boy's right to grow up with the body he was born with and make choices about that body for himself. Any mother I know would pass through a lion's den to protect her child, now is the time to start.
With much love and sincerity,