Thursday, June 7, 2012

Circumcision. Or not?

     Growing up in a Catholic family, attending a Catholic church, playing piano for said Catholic church as well as doing some housekeeping for the priest OF that Catholic church meant that I didn't know a THING about a penis until I was well into high school.  I knew they existed, and at one particular sleepover my best friend and I molded some play doh into what we thought they would look like.   Have I mentioned we were poor, lived in the country, and had to find our own entertainment most of the time?  After having 5 kids, it's fair to say I learned plenty about them - although up until recently (more recently than you would think) I had no real opinion on circumcision. 

     It wasn't until several months after Lars was born that I questioned myself in regard to the topic of circumcision.  I had never owned a penis before, and to this very day, I've never had to make a decision on how I'd want one to look if I got to pick.  Yes, I have a boy.  Yes, the doctors asked whether or not I wanted him circumcised.  Yes a decision was made.  Lars' Dad took full control over that decision making process, and Lars was left just as he was born.  Foreskin intact. 

     A couple of months went by, and one evening, I was chatting with Brandt's Mom on the phone as I was changing a diaper.  I'm not sure how we even transitioned our conversation to my sons genitals, but she asked if I had been making sure to do a few things when I changed him.   Before I go any further, I want to say that I love my soon to be mother-in-law A LOT and she hasn't ever once made me feel like a bad mother in any way at all.  But, I'll be honest - the second she and I hung up, I turned to Dr. Google and searched for "how to care for an uncircumcised penis".  Because apparently, I didn't know.

     What I found was a lot of advice from a lot of different sources with a lot of different opinions.  Most of them told me what I had believed to already know:  Leave it the heck alone!!!  Some sites gave some general cleaning suggestions that were slightly more descriptive - but for the most part, I was already doing everything I was supposed to do.  Which was nothing. 

     Like most confident, experienced mothers, I second guessed myself once again, and continued to search for different answers as I clicked on more links.  I'm not sure what happened or how I got there, but the next thing I knew I was clicking "Play" and watching a circumcision video linked to one of the sites.  I got about 11 seconds into it, and had to stop.  I won't go into detail about what I saw that night, but will say it's stuck in my mind ever since and that I'll never forget it. 

     Fast forward a couple years to last week.  My best friend is expecting her 2nd baby.  It's a boy (her first is now 7 and is a beautiful little girl!).  She has a supportive husband who has been really great during her whole miserable pregnancy (she's had a doozy and anyone who has felt their toes swell until they squished knows what I'm talking about).  Now, she is much more pro-active than I thought to be, and brought up the topic of circumcision with him a couple of weeks ago.  In a nutshell, he told her that it's happening - they are circumcising him - and he refuses to discuss it any further.  She's brought it up a couple of times, and has gotten the same response and has even left open web pages with pictures of "gone-wrong" scenarios, and the link to the dreaded video as well. 

     I blogged awhile about all us Mom's sticking together and supporting one another and how important this is to do... and I STILL believe that this (as well as vaccinating our children) is 100% the parents choice to make.  It's a personal decision, and one that should be made personally.  After researching and reading and... ugh... watching, I have to say that for us, we made the right decision.  I based my initial decision 100% on what Brandt wanted - and after becoming much more informed, I would make the same decision again if I had to. 

     My friend is struggling with this.  She has researched even more than I have, and feels very differently about her husbands choice in this matter.  She and I have talked about many aspects of this, and I totally understand where she is coming from (and agree with her 100%) but I want to support THEIR decision even if they make one different from mine.  I also want to help her find a way to at least get her husband to hear her opinion, and any facts she has that would back it up.  At this point, he won't budge or even listen. 

     So -  If anyone has any recent FACTUAL opinions, or links to great sites... I'd love for you to share your information with me so I can pass it along to her.  And while, I'm all for leaving baby boys just as they are, I'd also love to hear facts that support circumcision. 

     THANK YOU!!!


  1. I had twin boys last Oct and our choice was emphatically to have them circumcised. And here is why. My step-MIL's father had to be circumcised at the age of 86. This happened in August of last year. His foreskin had fused together and when he urinated it caused urine to go everywhere but out. He was having severe UTI's and bladder problems because the urine could not effectively leave his body. And what did just caused a major mess. The man, Paw Paw as we call him, was effectively never clean. It takes a long time for an uncircumcised male to get into that realm of the foreskin fusing together. But I could not imagine my sons having to go through that at 86 when as an infant, they won't remember a thing.

    I know the majority of aspects are debatable - cleanliness, etc. But that story that we were so close to, that's what sealed the deal for us.

    By the way, I'm Lori. I'm new to you, but I love your blog!

    1. I think that's what ALL moms need to do - make a decision based on personal experiences. I'm finding that circumcision IS really just a personal choice to make - a lot of the reasons behind it - (as you say with cleanliness, etc) are pretty much debatable... so it's just basically what we WANT to do.

      I haven't ever thought of any repercussions of the decision as an elderly adult... so THANK YOU for sharing!!

  2. I was a teenage mother and my mother took charge of that when my son was born 42 years ago. He is kind of "slow" so I think it was a good decision, otherwise he may have a trouble keeping the foreskin as clean as it should be. My uncle was in the service during World War II and he ended up in the hospital because he was not circumcised and got a terrible infection. I worked in nursing homes and believe me, nobody liked caring for the men who were not. It is a matter of what you choose to do.

    1. Thanks - I hadn't thought of what happens when a man gets older... I guess a benefit of being circumcised would be that we're less of a "burden" when we're elderly.

  3. I was a new mom (young) & my doc didn't believe in circumcision. So I didn't have it done when my son was born. But I changed my mind & when he was 3 mos old he had it done. After I put him in the car, swung my purse in & shut the car door. Locked. This was Jan. Cold. I panicked, ran into the hosp, got security to slowly go to my car. I had left the window cracked so they easily opened my car & the whole time my son was quietly watching. I didn't tell hubby about that for 5 yrs. So that is our circumcision story. Sorry I couldn't help with any facts but both my sons are circumcised.

    1. So sorry you had such an experience!!! UGH! Can I ask what made you change your mind?