I'm about 17 weeks pregnant now and so the gender of the growing babe inside of me remains a mystery for a couple more weeks. My husband and I have been tossing around names for boys and girls and we've been narrowing down our choices on both ends of the rainbow. As some of you may know, we have a three year old daughter already. As we await the news of whether or not shell have a new roommate, or whether we will be making a nursery out of our guest bedroom, a new question has entered my consciousness, and one I never had to think of before as a mom: circumcision. Truth be told, my mind is all but made up on the issue. I've heard both sides of the argument, from people who fear that it's a form of mutilation, and from those who say i'ts the healthiest choice. Ultimately, if we have a boy, I think that the decision will come down to what my husband wants and I'm pretty sure he wants to circumcise. Since I've found evidence supporting both circumcision and leaving things the way they are, I'll gladly just defer to him on the matter. But still, I'm curious. I want to know more about it without having to read accounts where parents are so strongly for or against the act that I feel guilty for even considering one or the other. I want to know more about the subject without feeling like I'm being roughshod to go a certain way while people make prey of my sensitive Mama guilt.
I do have just a little bit of experience in the matter. I remember my newborn baby brother being brought home from the hospital and how he looked after being circumcised. Surely, it was painful, but he didn't seemed bothered by it, despite how it was all black and blue for a week or two afterwards. I remember how we carefully cared for it with ointment and how soon, things were back to normal and the issue was forgotten. Even though the idea of inflicting pain on my baby isn't the best, I don't mind doing so if it's for his good.
So far, I've only looked into circumcision a little. Personally, because of my faith, I look to the Bible before anything else on the issue. I know that it's not a harmful thing to do because God called his people to be set apart by the act of circumcision in the Old Testament. Also, this might be evidence that it's quite healthy since the laws set out for the Israelites were laws to keep them from being unclean back before humans knew anything about germs and contamination. However I also see the scriptures in the New Testament where Paul says that believers in Christ do not need to live under the old law where circumcision was once required. In addition to looking through the Bible, I once watched a very compelling documentary where boys in Africa were circumcised because it was found that doing so effectively brought down the percentage of people infected by AIDS. Apparently, it's possible for bacteria to build up behind the foreskin and cause infection, though Im sure adequate cleanliness could help to rectify that.
I think what I'll do first is to ask moms that I know and respect what they did and why. I know that my friends aren't going to make me feel terribly for considering either to circumcise or not to circumcise. But also, I sort of want to hear kind responses from some of the readers here as to the reasoning behind why they did or did not circumcise their newborn boys. I'm open to hearing it all.
So I guess I should just ask the question formally of you all. Those of you who are mothers to little boys, did you circumcise or didn't you and what was your reasoning behind it? I obviously have preconceived notions surrounding the issue, and yet I cannot seem to come to a solid conclusion. I'm quite curious to see what you all have to say on the matter.
Amanda Date 2/20/2013
I am due with our first son in 2 months and we are going to circumcise him. I left the decision up to my husband, but we agree on the issue. We both feel like the benefits outweigh the risks. It's a big decision, and people are very passionate about it on both sides!
Bridget Date 2/20/2013
We chose not to circumcise our son. I felt it was an unnecessary medical procedure, and that if something did go wrong, it would be harder for me to cope with knowing I made that decision for my child than to deal with any of the "higher risks" loosely associated with staying intact. And in fact, he did get a UTI around 7 weeks, and I would make the same decision again in a heartbeat. Even the doctors said that it was a random chance, and while there are slightly higher rates in uncircumcised
Hannah VW Date 9/10/2013
We did not circumcise our children because medically it isn't worth it (causes more complications than it solves, just like removing any healthy body part), it often causes sexual problems later in life (that you probably don't hear about because they're kind of personal and often don't show up until later in life), and because we know that God created our bodies very good.
The foreskin serves many purposes designed by God. Males and females both have this organ (females' is a little different obviously, but it does the same job). It keeps the glans or clitoris from drying out or getting chafed or injured. Think of how your tongue feels if you sleep with your mouth open all night...that is what circumcision does to the genitals. Of course it still has feeling, but most of that feeling is gone because of the layer of calloused skin, dryness, etc. Most of the pleasure-sensitive nerves are also amputated during circumcision because they are located on the frenulum that connnects the foreskin to the main part of the penis. That doesn't mean circumcised men (or women) can't enjoy sex, but it is definitely not the same.
Some complications that don't always happen but aren't rare either include excessive bleeding, meatal stenosis, skin bridges, erectile dysfunction later in life, and other problems.
Circumcision is quite painful. Many (not all) babies are even in too much pain to breastfeed comfortably, or because they are in shock. So it can really impact your chances of getting breastfeeding off on the right foot if that is important to you.
The circumcision practiced in biblical times is really quite unlike the medical version done nowadays. They didn't amputate the entire foreskin, it was a small cut or "trim" (if you look at the Hebrew word).
It didn't have any health benefits then and it doesn't today: please look at the studies on AIDS and see that in countries where circumcision is higher, AIDS is also higher. It really doesn't protect much (if at all).
Please check out http://somethingsarehard2say.blogspot.com for a really well-researched view from a Christian perspective.
I'm guessing from the date of this blog post that it is too late to influence your decision about your son, but hopefully if anyone is searching or browsing this site they will be able to find this information to help them decide.