Hey, remember a few weeks ago when I set the internet on fire by asking whether or not I should lop off the tip of my kid's wang? And by chop off my son's penis, I mean consent to minor cosmetic surgery to remove his foreskin, a tradition in Western culture that most likely would have little effect on my son's future development. And by simple, elective procedure, I of course mean an invasive surgery akin only to genital mutilation and child abuse. Remember that blog? Yeah, me too.
So do a lot of people. I still get all sorts of e-mails asking what decision we came to. Some of them are a bit aggressive, but most are very kind and concerned. So to ease inquiring minds, this week's blog is an update to my previous circumcision blog. (If you haven't read it, I suggest you start there.)
Instead of teasing it for 600 words, going to commercial, coming back, lowering the lights, opening an envelope and then going on for a few more minutes on how the votes were tallied, I'm just going to get right to it. We have decided to not circumcise our son.
Now to be fair, the first paragraph of this blog touched on the extremes of the conversation. Our decision was made with the help of the many comments from the center. We also talked to our doctor and our family and friends. I even asked my two-year-old daughter. Her answer was something about wanting string cheese. To be honest, I probably publicized a personal decision too much. I'm glad I did though, because with all of your help and love I know that we're making the best decision for us.
A few points I'd like to make
On the original blog and the comments:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to everyone who commented! The original blog highlighted one of my main goals with Ask Your Dad Blog, which is to have conversations about the parts of parenthood people don't usually talk about. I understood that circumcision is a sensitive topic, but it was wonderful hearing from folks on both sides.
Now… if you read the comments on the original post you know that they were weighted somewhat dramatically to one side. A bit of explanation is warranted.
The original circumcision blog was found and posted on an anti-circumcision message board hosted on Reddit.com. This brought in a lot of wonderful visitors that contributed helpful, kind and productive comments to the conversation. They linked to great articles and sent me some very nice private e-mails that presented a rational argument against circumcision.
It also brought a few folks who were nearly militant with their beliefs and thought personally attacking people with differing opinions than theirs would help prove their point. While I left anything that made a point in the argument, any comment that was personally attacking another commenter was removed. (These were the rare exception though.)
On our decision to not circumcision:
I do not think that those who choose to circumcise are cruel parents, less intelligent, or even less informed. I have many friends who made the decision to circumcise their sons and not only do I consider them spectacular parents, but I also look up to them as role models of the type of parent I'd like to be in a few years.
I do not think that circumcision is evil. Based off everything I learned, I don't think it is necessary. But it's not evil. Like I mentioned before, I'm circumcised and I like my penis just fine. I also feel no ill will towards my parent's decision. I did find it surprising that when I talked to my mom she mentioned that if she had the decision to make again she didn't know if she'd make the same one. In fact, she said she probably wouldn't.
I support a parent's right to make the decision. Here's why I made mine:
One thing kept hitting home for us. If it's not a religious issue for us (it's not), and there's very little legitimate medical reasoning to do it… then why do it? I trust my communication skills enough to explain to my son someday why his little guy is wearing a turtleneck. Hell, I'll just show him this blog (which honestly, will probably damage him much more than the circumcision ever would have.) At the end of the day, there were more reasons not to circumcise than there were reasons to circumcise. And thus, our decision was made.
It was a personal decision and I am glad I (we) had the right to make it. It involved me in my unborn son's life in a way that made me feel closer to the little guy. Up until that point I had thought of him in fluffy generalizations like "ooh we'll play catch in the back yard someday" and "ooh I'll have to learn how to throw a baseball someday". Remembering that all decisions aren't simple made him seem more real than any silly day dream I've had. And while some decisions are going to need to be made on the fly, I'm glad we had nine months to make this one.
|This picture makes more sense if you read the last circumcision blog.|