There are only a few baby/parenting related topics that I feel extremely defensive about. Circumcision is one of those topics.
I was asked recently by one of my BFing mama friends "why are you so anti circ?" I love that she asked me! Even though our boys are already born, she still asked. Like religion & politics, circumcision is one of those topics that most people prefer to avoid. But, if discussed with an open mind & the understanding that every parent is entitled the their own opinion, I feel that we (as adults) should be able to discuss these delicate matters in a civilized and mature manner.
So, what was my answer to her question?
Well, I'm not anti-circ as much as I am anti uneducated decision making. I don't agree with the people who circumcise "just because" or the moms who say "that's daddy's decision. I don't have a penis, I can't make that decision." BULL SHIT! You carried him, you birthed him, you need to make an educated decision like a responsible adult. Once you have done a thorough study and research on the subject, you will find that it is NOT medically necessary.
Another circ argument that I don't find to be relevant is "Daddy is circumcised, so we want baby to look like daddy" or "I don't want him to be made fun in the locker room for looking different"
I've got 2 main problems with this "logic" (and I use that term loosely here)
1. why are you basing your parenting decisions on your husbands parents decision? THEY chose to circ THEIR son (years and years ago) You need to make your own decisions as a parent today. Are you going to allow your parents & his parents to dictate what & how you raise your baby? (I hope not) You need to take personal responsibility for the health, wellness and safety of your baby every day of his life, and that begins the minute he is born.
2. Are you going to raise your son to believe that every single human is exactly the same? (again, I hope not) We are all different and it is extremely important for children to learn that. And honestly, do you really think boys are going to be standing around the locker room inspecting each others penises? According to my husband, no.
I want to share with you a few facts (not opinions) regarding circumcision. First though, I want to clarify that "preference" is an opinion, not a fact. What a man or woman prefers visually, cosmetically or sexually is their opinion, not a fact. Claims of sensitivity or sexual performance are opinions, not facts.
That being said, here are some facts regarding circumcision around the world.
- About 80 percent of the world's population do not practice circumcision, nor have they ever done so. Among the non-circumcising nations are Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, the U.S.S.R., China, and Japan.
- So called "health" circumcision originated in the nineteenth century, when most diseases were of unknown etiology
- nonreligious male infant circumcision is not "normal" in any culture outside of the United States
- circumcision is most commonly carried out neonatally or in childhood, with the primary reason being perceived improved penile hygiene, or to fit with the "social norm."
- People in Europe, Asia and Latin America are often appalled to hear that American doctors and hospitals remove part of a boy's penis shortly after birth. Approximately 75% of the men in the world are not circumcised and remain intact throughout their lives.
- Over the years, the claims that circumcision prevents various diseases have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or outright fabrications. Most men in the United States are circumcised, but our STD rates are as high as or higher than those in countries where circumcision is rare.
- the open wound left by the removal of the foreskin will continue to cause the baby pain and discomfort for the 7-10 days it takes to heal.
- Claims that circumcision prevents HIV have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or false. Only abstinence or safe sex, including the use of condoms, can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
- No national or international medical association recommends routine circumcision.
- The immediate complications of circumcision may be classified as hemorrhage, infection, surgical mishap, other miscellaneous complications, and death.
- The immediate postoperative complications of circumcision may be classified as urinary retention, meatitis, meatal ulceration, meatal stenosis, skin tags, adhesions, skin bridges, concealed penis, phimosis, and miscellaneous complications. These complications are iatrogenic.
Here are the websites I have collected the above information from.
Doctors Opposing Circumcision
World Health Organization
The Circumcision Reference Library
The Art of Manliness
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers
Please do NOT just take my word on this matter. Do you own research! But beware. There are a LOT of defensive, opinionated, down right mean people online fighting for which ever decision they feel is the correct one. Try to stick with medical facts and avoid the opinion websites.
And if you really just can't decide, watch a couple of circumcision videos. Now imagine allowing that to be done to your baby.