Ahhhh yes…Circumcision. Just drop that word on any Facebook page, mic drop like a boss, and watch the mayhem ensue! It’s heated. One of the most heated issues in the natural birth community, and with good reason. How can we talk about the decision to cut our sons without passion?? People read it and be all like
Here’s the thing…when I talk to a papa who genuinely believes it’s no big deal, I know he just hasn’t done his research yet. I know he’s a product of our culture which has been cutting our sons without blinking an eye for generations upon generations. OR, what he’s read isn’t coming from an accurate source. I mean, hell, even the American Academy of Pediatrics current stance on the issue is pretty wishy washy!
Today my buddy over at Dadswagger posted his blog, “We’re Talking About Penis“ over on The Birth Concierge page. Full disclosure, he was saying he wanted to shake things up, to hear other arguments, the other point of view. Oh he’s shaking things up! Clearly, he’s going for humor, I know Danny. Yes, a lot of people will be offended by the language in his blog, we’ve already seen it coming through the comments like wild fire, haven’t we, Danny? The language may be juvenile in places, the topic is made light of, but let’s be honest: This is about the tone of a lot of couples I work with as they are first navigating this enormous decision. Our culture isn’t exactly comfortable talking about genitalia without a teehee here and there. First and foremost, I want to thank Danny for putting himself out there to the universe, for being honest about his current stance and seeking to know more. So here we go:
My response to you, Danny, is what I tell all couples I work with as we explore this decision. It is honest. It is raw. It is personal.
My sons would have been cut if it were up to me. I would have been the biggest regret mama out there. When we found out we were having a boy 5 years ago, I just assumed we would circumcise. That’s all I knew. I was a product of my culture. I was raised in a family of doctors. I am a microbiologist. My husband was circumcised. I believed ALL of the myths, many mentioned in your blog. So important to look like dad, right? Don’t even mention infection to the microbiologist…SOLD! So hard to clean, right??
I mentioned it in passing to my husband who got very heated. “We will NOT cut our sons!” Whaaaaa???? But you’re circumcised! Why wouldn’t we? He opened my eyes to how upset he was that the decision to alter his body was made for him. Being a good scientist, I began my quest for knowledge. I was alarmed at what I would have walked into blindly. Mortified that I would have put my son through that without even fact checking all of my beliefs. Very long story short, we left our son intact. He is perfect, as is his now 8 month old little brother. I am forever grateful to my husband for shaking up my thinking and protecting our sons.
I won’t go into details citing all of the research out there that changed my mind, because it’s everywhere, and I’ve got a baby that’s about to wake up from a nap. Here is a blog I share with all of the couples I work with as a doula and childbirth educator. Birth Without Fear had an amazing guest piece that I find so respectful and compassionate. It walks you through each common thought and myth, explaining the flaws, and citing the data to support it. Please take a read. Did you miss the link? Here it is again: BEST BLOG PIECE EVER ON CIRCUMCISION!
I will just say a few of my own thoughts and experiences: Guess what? My boys look different than their dad. You know what else? Even if they were circumcised, their penis’ would look different than their dad’s. Do you know any children who have adult size genitalia? Also, if you take 100 circumcised men and line them up, I’m pretty sure we’ll see some variation. Same goes for labia, vulvas, and vaginas, am I right?!?!
Next point: I have never thought once about how to clean an intact penis. It’s waaaayyyyy easier than my experience cleaning up a poop explosion with a little girl. Danny, I KNOW you know what I’m talking about on that one! The only thing I’ve ever had to worry about was protecting my boys from a sneak attack retraction by a physician. So I’m THAT mom in all pediatrician appointments. “My son is intact. Please Do NOT retract his foreskin!” *Or I’ll cut you (whispered under my breath, on account of I’m a professional).
Finally, what about the rates of HIV/AIDS, and even UTI’s??? Go read over at the Birth Without Fear blog on that. The rates are so insanely low, the data is so insanely flawed. All I can say is, again, I am embarrassed this even used to be an argument of mine.
I’m very curious to hear what you think after exploring the procedure further, Mr. Lesslie. The final piece of advice I give to parents is this: Please watch an actual procedure before scheduling your son to be cut. Be informed. When we know better, we do better. And please…be kind to each other. Support one another in this human experience.
With all the compassion and love in the world,
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