It seems that the men of my generation are mostly circumcised.
Don’t ask how I know. Let’s just call it anecdotal evidence.
By the time I had children it appeared that the tide had turned and little boys are no longer routinely circumcised. Part of it has to do with the fact that provincial health care stopped covering it (in Alberta at least) and also because it became seen, depending on the group, as a non-necessary intervention, genital mutilation or simply an esthetic procedure.
There are arguments for doing it: it’s cleaner, so he can look like daddy, reduced the risk of STD’s when he’s older (not that I want to think about that one).
There are arguments for not doing it: it’s not necessary for cleanliness, it hurts the baby, and it’s unethical.
Here is what dear old Wikipedia says:
“Global estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that 30 percent of males are circumcised, of whom 68 percent are Muslim. The prevalence of circumcision varies mostly with religious affiliation, and sometimes culture. Most circumcisions are performed during adolescence for cultural or religious reasons; in some countries they are more commonly performed during infancy. Circumcision is also used therapeutically, as one of the treatment options for balanitis xerotica obliterans, phimosis, balanitis, posthitis, balanoposthitis and urinary tract infections.”
So I was in a conundrum about the penis, especially once I found out I was having a boy!
I googled. I wiki’ed. I asked my friends, my mother, my in-laws, (which taught me a lot more about the men in my family then I ever really wanted to know…) acquaintances, and my mommy group. I phoned a doctor that performed circumcisions and grilled his assistant. Most people fell into two camps and most were very vocal and outspoken about their opinion. One person looked at me incredulously and said “I don’t know why you wouldn’t do it?” Another flat out told me it was child abuse to do it.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about it either way.
So, not having a penis, I asked the man attached to the one I know best. I fully expected my husband to be pro-circumcision but he surprised me.
We talked about pros and cons. He asked about logistics; when, where, how much, pain, aftercare, etc. Then he asked what the trend was. He suggested that while a boy may be concerned about why his penis doesn’t look like daddy’s when he’s 3, by the time he’s 13 he’s going to feel awkward if he doesn’t look like his peers.
He told me that he was comfortable either way. Then the wimp left it up to me.
I hemmed and hawed. I thought about one of my nephews who had to have it done anyway when he was 3 because of repeated infections. Poor baby would walk around the house clutching it saying, and I quote “my dinglehoffer hurts”. I thought about a guy I knew in high school who claimed a botched circumcision left him with part of the foreskin intact. He claimed he could stick a pencil through it. I never investigated that claim… And everyone I went to high school with will know exactly to whom I am referring…
Then I remembered one thing another dad told me; if you leave him uncircumcised, he can always get it performed when he’s old enough to decide; in other words, the kid will have options.
And really, the cost, $250 seemed ridiculous for a little piece of skin and a whole lot of pain. That was another corker for me; I couldn’t deal with taking my baby boy to get hurt. I was a wimp too.
So in the end my boy is uncut and uncensored. And I’m alright with that. Teaching him how to pull the skin back to clean it was dicey, but I think we’re good now because he does it a little too enthusiastically. If only he could learn to control it and not pee all over the wall before finally hitting the water I’d be ecstatic…
What are your thoughts on circumcision?