Little E recently learned the word penis. He can say it perfectly and he is so proud when reciting and pointing to all of his body parts.
The topic of circumcision came up when were at a friends house over the holidays (I know, interesting dinner talk - but that's what you get with a bunch of hockey men).
Along with little E's new word and hearing men's twisted views on this topic, Hubby and I have recently had another talk about our views.
Circumcision is a topic that really gets me fired up. Why? Because it is a decision that Hubby and I had to make together from two very different point of views.
Hubby is "cut" (TMI?). When the topic first came up he was adamant that any son of his was to be too. I, from the get-go, was very unsure of it. I found it very disturbing. When I asked his Mom why she circumcised him (because it was not for obvious religious reasons), she told me it was just what everyone was doing. The Doctor did it for free in the hospital and she didn't question it. She said she remembered being told that it was mainly a cleanliness issue.
Hubby's initial arguments were the classic, he needs to look like his father and it looks better. These were not reasons I would accept - ones solely based on looks.
I believe there is a reason why boys are born with foreskins. I don't think it was a mistake. I've read in many articles that a foreskin can be compared to an eyelid. It is there to protect and self-clean. I've also read about it's role in sex. Believe me, I've read a lot.
These are the reasons (and some points that stood out to us) that WE, collectively, decided NOT to circumcise our son:
- It is only widely practiced in North America, but almost unheard of in Europe. Only 10-15% of boys are circumcised in the world.
- It is not recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society.
- My baby would be perfect the way he was born. Why would I surgically remove or change something for cosmetic reasons? Plastic surgery on an infant?
- Although, it is perceived to the general public to be a subject of cleanliness - newer research shows otherwise. Did you know it was started to try to eliminate masturbation?
- Human rights. Period.
- Babies are commonly strapped down during the procedure. Torture?
- Babies scream in terror and pain. I don't believe for one second that they don't feel the pain and aren't scared out of their minds. In this video clip, they talk about how babies can go into shock and coma's. They appear to be sleeping calmly - not so much.
- It is traumatic for both the baby and the parents. I can't stand to hear my baby cry from tummy cramps, let alone let some one butcher his penis. Not to mention the post-traumatic stress and issues it can lead to.
- The thought of a bloody penis trying to heal, but being exposed to urine and feces in a diaper made me cringe.
- The thought of tending to a bloody, healing penis on top of trying to master the art of breastfeeding and everything else that comes along with being a new mother, completely stressed me out.
- Although, it's seems normal to those in North America, I believe (and so do many others) that it should be compared to female genital mutilation that we hear about in third world countries.
- More babies die from circumcision complications than from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This really hit home for me because I lost a niece to SIDS.
I did a lot of research while I was pregnant and I'm happy I did. I have recently done a lot more since starting this blog and finding so many other (amazing) blogs that have written on this topic.
I especially loved Annie's take on circumcision over at PHD in Parenting. She explains that circumcision, like many other parenting choices from the past, is something that now has been proven to be unnecessary or harmful.
I've heard people's stories of driving newborns home from the hospital without a proper car seat, but now you have to have your car seat checked before being discharged. Or what about all the drinking and smoking while pregnant in the past? Now we have research that shows the negative effects these habits can have on our unborn children. The list goes on and on. Circumcision to me seems to be one of those, "I wish I knew then, what I know now".
Another blog I frequent is Peaceful Parenting. In her post, "Are You Fully Informed?", she states that circumcision is rarely an informed choice. Just last week her post, "Neonatal Circumcision (A video for healthcare professionals)", really disturbed me. To sum it up she writes, "No national or international medical organization in the world recommends infant circumcision." I think this post and video should be read and watched in full by all parents considering circumcision.
Hubby and I are definitely on the same page again now. It's amazing what a little peer pressure in the hockey dressing room can do to a guy. He still has a small concern that that our son will get teased in the locker room when's he older. I told him it's a dying breed. By the time little E is old enough to be concerned about this, circumcised boys will be the minority. There has already been a drastic decrease in the last few years.
I know some parents that didn't even consider circumcision because the father wasn't. I also know some that want to circumcise their son because the father wished he was. It's hard for me to understand why parents are still circumcising their sons with all of the facts out there.
What I do know is that our boy is perfect just the way he his and I couldn't be prouder of OUR decision.