Before I was pregnant I didn’t think much about circumcision. I’d read about it in the Bible and recall hearing things about looks and cleanliness, but never felt inclined to develop a preference one way or the other. I assumed if I had a boy someday, I would let his dad decide if our baby would be circumcised or not.
During my first pregnancy we didn’t find out our baby’s gender and around 30 weeks Dominic and I had a discussion with our midwife. It went something like this …
Midwife: Have the two of you talked much about circumcision?
Me: Not really, it’s up to Dominic.
Dominic: I am, so we probably will if we have a boy.
Midwife: Would you like to read a little more about it before making your final decision?
Our midwife sent us home with some literature and encouraged Dominic specifically to check out some videos of the procedure online.
On our drive home I reiterated to Dominic that the decision was up to him. Although I now regret not wanting to be part of the decision. Dominic did his research and a few days later told me he was leaning towards keeping our son intact. I was relieved, even though I had separated myself from the decision, I was happy with Dominic’s conclusion. It just felt right, to keep our son whole.
Then Jemma arrived and we didn’t have to officially decide anything (which isn’t the case everywhere in the world, you can read more about female genital mutilation here). Since Jemma’s birth I’ve learned so much about circumcision, it’s history, and the reality of the risks – much thanks to the natural parenting community. Praise the Lord we had a daughter first as we now feel confident in the decision to keep our son intact.
Below are the main reasons we’ll be protecting our son’s genital integrity. I’ve also added a brief video of an interview with midwife, Gloria Lemay – definitely worth a quick look.
Not everyone’s doing it.
As of 2009, only 33% of male infants in the U.S. underwent circumcision. In the Pacific Northwest even less, 15-20%. It’s definitely not common, making circumcised males a minority.
Experts aren’t on board.
The AAP does not recommend routine infant circumcision and they are being encouraged to take an even stronger stand. In the future this may trigger insurance companies to stop covering the procedure which currently rakes in $150-270 million annually.
We don’t all look like our parents.
I couldn’t say it better than Anktangle … I imagine that the moment when an intact child realizes he looks “different” from his dad isn’t that big of a deal. The son asks “Why?” and the father says, “Because I’m circumcised and you’re not. We kept you whole.” Then, the moment is over. What’s the big deal about having “matching” genitals? We don’t surgically alter baby girls’ labia to match their Moms’!
It’s not your body to permanently alter.
I’m definitely pro-life and believe circumcision falls into this category. Little ones can’t decide or communicate their wishes and it’s the parents job to protect that until they are of age to make an informed decision. As with all permanent decisions it’s important for the individual to know and understand all the risks and benefits associated with the change – infants can’t do that.
The pain is extreme, the risks are real.
Last, but not least, here’s the video. It isn’t visually graphic, but obviously, taking the topic into account, she does say penis and such.
An interview with renowned midwife Gloria Lemay, advocate for birth freedom, breastfeeding and genital integrity for all children. Gloria talks about discussing protecting genital integrity with parents to be.
I completely understand that circumcision is an extremely personal decision, both for parents and the infant it effects. My words are not meant to judge, rather to inform those approaching the circumcision decision like we are. I hope by sharing my experience and research you’ll be able to make an informed decision or pass it on to parents-to-be. I welcome your thoughts and experiences in the comments or by email, and as always, please be respectful of my words and others who join the conversation.
Additional reading on this topic available at Natural Parents Network, Intactivists, and Peaceful Parenting. I also enjoyed reading the following posts and articles:
Dr. Oz on Circumcision from Anktangle
Sunday Surf: Circumcision Edition from Momma Jorje
What the Bible Really Says About Routine Infant Circumcision
Circumcision from The Hippie Housewife
Plastibell Infant Circumcision from Peaceful Parenting
10 Reasons NOT to Circumcise from Butterfly Birth
10 Reasons to Leave Your Son Intact from Mandy at Natural Parents Network
A Private Matter from Anktangle
My Notes on Male (and Female) Circumcision from Wildflower Ramblings
Researching Circumcision from Code Name: Mama