Hot topic time. As my wife and I come closer to the birth of our second son (My wife is 38.5 weeks along now) we also come closer to one of the most challenging times in a person’s life. Challenging for our newborn as he starts a long journey of learning how to do everything… EVERYTHING and challenging for us parents as we start to make the decisions that will lay out the future of our son. I’m not talking about whether or not he plays baseball or hockey (hopefully both). More like the decision to Breastfeed versus bottle (That will be a hot topic for another day) or what kind of sleep training will work, Cry-it-out versus Console.
This particular decision I’m referring to is the great “Circumcision Decision”.While most Americans this fall will be making a decision that affects the globe, in my little Canadian household our decision simply affects one little soul. Being a new parent in the 21st century affords us the benefit of using the Internet to make an “informed” decision. I use the term “informed” loosely because there are a lot of misnomers on the Internet. You really have to dive in deep and make a decision based on what may seem to be the most consistent and logical.
One thing I noticed when I turned to the Internet is that this topic really is a hot button issue. Also, there is no clear cut (pun intended) science about it. Where every fact exists about the topic, it is readily followed up with “However… (insert unproven disclaimer here)…” It can be an extremely confusing time for us parents. Ultimately it boils down to what was done (or undone for that matter) to daddy when he was a new born. 32 years ago when I was a baby, my parents didn’t have the benefit of the Internet or message boards to research it themselves. They usually continued the cycle from what their parents did and so on.
When I was growing up, I only saw one uncircumcised penis and to this day I remember thinking “What is wrong with him?” I was so young, the only thing I knew, was that it didn’t look like everyone else’s. It was all very confusing. I remember being 10 when I finally realised that I was circumcised. I always thought I was born ‘this way’. I never imagined my parents would put me through a surgical procedure so young. I wasn’t raised with religion and I always associated circumcision with a religious belief.
To me a circumcised penis is natural; it’s what I grew up with and even as an adolescent teen, peaking in adult magazines or movies, everyone in those films is ‘cut’ as well. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I have come across an uncut penis in my life. This should make my (I say ‘my’ because I don’t think a mom has any say in this field, and I will argue that until the day I die) decision an easy one right? Just get it done and continue the cycle. The problem is I have to look into the future, I need a crystal ball. What may be the norm today may NOT be the norm in 20 years. I have to factor in the “Internet effect” and realise parents are able to do their own research now. They may no longer just continue the cycle. I’m not overly religious and not culturally handcuffed, I just want my son to be comfortable and fit in. Who wouldn’t want to save their son embarrassment if they could? Except, what if I end up causing embarrassment by having him cut when the majority of kids his age are not. Showering with the other boys after gym class in grade 10 is stressful enough. I don’t need to give the other kids a reason to single him out. So what do we do?
You have to go with your gut, and do what you feel is the best decision for your child. Thankfully for us, this is our second son, so the decision is a no brainer. He will have what his brother has. At the very least I can make sure they don’t feel inferior to one another. Our most challenging decision came 38 months ago with our first son. I’m not going to reveal what the final decision is, because no one needs to know. If you are using my blog to help in your decision making, then I will pray for you. Just remember what I already said, I’m not an overly religious person. For those that argue health reasons, just know that nothing is conclusive either way, there are only pseudo facts and opinions. For those of you arguing religion, well that’s an argument that is hard to prove. For those of you arguing culture, well along the same lines as religion, it’s hard to win over someone else of a different culture or religion.
Just make sure you spend enough time doing your own research, having meaningful conversation with your partner, and ultimately being confident in what you decide. Don’t let outside pressures affect you. It boils down to a personal decision, and just as there are no clear cut facts, there are no clear cut answers. Good luck, the decisions only get more difficult…
Keep your head up and your nuts covered
We blogged about choosing to circumcise our son later in infancy (he was adopted, so newborn circumcision was not an option). Boy have people jumped down my throat about that. Hot button topic indeed. I stopped approving comments because they were getting too extreme. Didn’t want that post to turn into a pit of negativity. Odd how fervent all the anti-circumcisers are, yet I haven’t heard from anyone who wanted to voice their opinion as pro-circumcision (despite that still being the statistical norm).
Anyway, you can read our experience here: http://www.adoptionistas.com/olivers-anatomy-our-adventures-in-surgery/ We’re glad we did. Nice to see other bloggers talking about this in a rational (regardless of where you land) way. 🙂