Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gentle Help on the Circumcision Talk

I could not have imagined the response to the circumcision post on Monday.  I'm humbled and encouraged by the kind words and support most of you offered.

Over 700 people have viewed that piece, and I hope I changed some minds.  This morning an anonymous commentator left the following:

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate posts like this...and how intrigued I am by it all. I am not a mother yet and, I too, am stuck in the middle in regards to what my decision will be when I have my own son one day. The more I read, the more I learn, the more I understand...the more I move towards an anti-circ opinion. In fact, I would say that my instincts are already brain just needs to catch up. My issue? My husband. He is of the "I had it done, why not our future son?" mindset; and of course, "there was ONE kid in gym class in middle school that wasn't...and he was tortured by the other guys for being different. I don't want out kid to be subjected to that." God bless him he is a wonderful man but sometimes he just doesn't think for himself. We aren't ready to start a family yet, although it will be sooner rather than later and I find myself hoping we have girls first to give non-circ-ing time to become the America norm so it won't be as much of a difficult fight for me. The way things have been going for all of my friends having babies it looks as though I'm going to be spending all my energy fighting a planned/forced/"necessary" c-section. I don't want to have to fight the circumcision band-wagon either. So...any suggestions on how to get through my dear husband's thick head!?

Here's our opportunity to make positive change in a future child's life.  How would you gently shift this man's thinking? Please share your tips, advice, and support for moms and dads reaching out to unconvinced spouses and partners. 


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

My husband used very similar arguments in favor of circumsizing our baby-in-belly. I really wanted him to consider more than the usual arguments and, if we were going to circumsize, I wanted to feel better about the decisions and have a little more amunition. We finally sat down at the computer together and searched both sides of the argument. After about 15 minutes of reading several different sides of the debate, our decision was clear. My husband was surprised at what he found and I was surprised how easy it was to get the info.

A.W. said... [Reply to comment]

I don't believe we should make any decision based on what will happen in the Locker Room. America has already changed their views enough that either way you go is not really going to make a difference. I had a friend tell me that was the reason their circed their son & that floored me! We circed our son, but after we had researched, thought about it, & prayed about it.
Sit down with them & look at both sides, but know your spouse well enough to not focus on anything that will annoy/anger (for lack of better words)them. Be open about your feelings & understanding about theirs. #1 thing in parenting is to work with your co-parent, forget what everyone else thinks. You are the parents & you have the responsibility for your children. It is your choice, as parents, how you decide to handle circumcision! Just make the choice together, so there are no hard feelings.

Restoring Tally said... [Reply to comment]

"The Vulnerability of Men" is a very good post looking into the head of some men who feel that their son "must" be circumcised.

Many men are in denial that their favorite body part is less than perfect because it is missing the foreskin. It takes time for these men to come to the realization that they were harmed by circumcision.

I think it important for parents to realize that there are 3 people involved in the circumcision decision. There are the parents and the son. As a son I was circumcised as a baby. I do not like being circumcised. I have made peace with myself and I have taken matters into my own hands by restoring my foreskin. The decision to restore was easily made for me after I realized that being circumcised was hurting my wife (not to mention its affect on me). When a man acknowledges that circumcision is harmful, he will not want to circumcise his son.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

i have a magazine i wrote to help. free. Also 5 free albums of music and two books . . . Enjoy

Circumcision said... [Reply to comment]
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Christy said... [Reply to comment]

My husband initially thought we should circ our oldest so he wouldn't be "different" from himself and his oldest from another marriage. He didn't give me any grief about my staunch decision to NOT circ. Three intact sons later, he has so many times wished he were still intact.

I always knew I would not want part of my perfect baby's healthy painfully removed, but I have actually become far more educated about it within the past few months by reading articles at, which is the best educational site I've found.

I really think that if parents knew all the facts, they would choose to keep their sons whole. I think they are purposely kept uninformed by the medical establishment, which makes a lot of money both from the actual circs and selling foreskins for other uses. A new injected wrinkle serum uses infant foreskins, for instance.

Have your husband watch a video of a circ. The baby is strapped down, and almost always with NO pain medicine, his fused foreskin is ripped off, then cut or clamped off. A baby feels pain far more acutely than adults, and it astounds me that we daily cut off healthy penis tissue from newborns, who feel every bit of it. It is a very cruel way to welcome him to the world. He is very traumatized, and this assault is recorded forever deep within his psyche. In fact, an MRI showed permanent brain damage as a result.

Make sure your husband knows that circ is very risky. Botched circs are much more common than people realize. Disfigurement, complications, and even death frequently occur.

Also, it is important to know that the foreskin is the most sexually sensitive part of the penis, containing far more nerves than the head and shaft. It is about 15 square inches on an adult, and about 1/3 to 3/4 of the infant penis. It is the sexual equivalent of the female clitoris, and both organs develop from the same fetal tissue.

The foreskin also protects against contaminants and infections. It should NEVER be retracted by anyone other than the child, and retraction sometimes does not occur until after puberty. It is very easy to clean an intact penis. Just wash like you do arms and legs.

Ask your husband to imagine his father had lost his glans (head) due to an accident, which is actually something that happens sometimes during botched circs, and even the entire penis is sometimes accidentally cut off. Ask him if he would want to sacrifice his glans so he could look like Dad. I'm sure he'd find that ridiculous. It's the same with foreskins. Intact boys do NOT want part of their penises cut off to look like Dad. My boys are horrified at the idea of being circed. They are very thankful to have the whole thing.

It's such an insane thing to do when you really think about it. Please make sure your husband is fully informed, and he will most likely want to keep him whole once he knows the truth.

If he still insists on circing, you have the legal authority to refuse, and they can't do it. Just make sure you keep the baby with you always, (if he's born in a hospital) along with a letter that if he is circed against your will, you will sue. If it comes to that though, contact someone from one of the many intactivist groups to find out exactly everything you need to do to protect your son.

I imagine once your husband knows just how bad circ is, and just how valuable the foreskin is, he will also want to keep your baby whole.

Oh, and about the current medical model of childbirth that has massive amounts of women getting c-sections due to the interferences (starting with induction), if you want to avoid that, stay home! I've never birthed in a hospital, but I would consider it torture. I could write a book on that one! Here's a blog post I wrote on that subject:

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

My husband was of the same mind the first couple times we discussed circ. At the time I had no real stance on the issue. 'I have no religious or spiritual reason to do so, so why would we go to the trouble' was my basic view on the matter. My husband was concerned that he, as a circed man, had no knowledge of how to care for a foreskin and wad leaning towards having our son circed aswell.

there were three things that changed his mind.

1) when he googled the procedure the first 5 hits were children's rights groups. He read their arguments and considered them carefully.

2) In our prenatal classes, the instructor read a very clinical and unbias description of the procedure. I was crying by the end of it and every man in the room was shifting in their seat.

3) Here in Canada the only part of our child birthing experience that would not be covered by the government was circ. In our culture, the very thought of paying $250 for a medical procedure is breathtakingly rediculous so we weren't about to do that.

I had told my husband that he could make the choice for our son. He was mindful enough to educate himself before making his decision.

I would encourage your husband to read everything he can about the procedure, and consider that he will likely NOT be the only boy in gym class with a foreskin before making up his mind!

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