Previously on this blog, I have slightly discussed the driving reason behind the decision Mr. Wench and I made to not circumcise our son. While perusing my stats today, I saw that a view had been referred by a site called Restoring Tally. I headed on over there to check it out, and found that my entry “Labor Day, Truly a Labor of Love” had been mentioned in the anti-circumcision circle (check out the full entry here).
I am honored that my short paragraph was deemed worthy to be of interest to other people looking into, or already supporting, the anti-circumcision side. And I feel that I should delve a little deeper into the whys that drove our decision as parents to leave our son intact, and also provide an update on life with my son’s non-circumcision status.
Since the birth of our son, I have to say that taking care of his intact penis is a lot less involved than I thought it would be. It’s quite simple, really. Simply wipe and that’s it. No retraction (NEVER retract the foreskin of an infant who isn’t circumcised), just wipe. It’s also a lot less awkward. I feel more backwards about lifting his testes up to clean underneath them and swipe some Desitin on than I do about cleaning him in general. There was no circumcision wound to watch for signs of infection, no limitations on bathtime. Because let’s be honest. It’s enough to worry about keeping the umbilical cord stump dry, at least, it was for BabyBoy, who hated having his little man bits exposed to the air. It was awesome to be able to pour warm water over his lower half to comfort him and not worry about getting a healing circumcision wet.
During my research into the pros and cons of each side of the circ debate, I stumbled across a video of a circumcision, and I made the mistake of watching it. I say mistake, because no matter what side of the debate you’re on, it’s definitely memory-searing. The screams of that baby are forever burned in my mind. I wanted to comfort him, and he wasn’t even my son. The emotional response that video produced in me, for a child who was not my own, resonated through me. I was not going to hear my son scream like that. It wasn’t a baby’s typical “Feed me change me hold me!” cry, it was an “Oh my god this hurts, someone help me!!!!” scream. I cried.
Since I lack the proper equipment to teach my son about himself, I informed Mr. Wench early on that he had to be comfortable with explaining to our son when he’s older how to take care of himself, and, should the question arise, explain why BabyBoy looks different than Daddy ‘down there’. Mr. Wench fully assured me he had no problems with this.
Circumcision, when not for religious purposes, was often performed as an answer to an issue of hygiene. I can understand this. Back in the old days, it was probably a lot easier to clean yourself if you didn’t have to worry about pulling a bit of skin back to clean any dirt out.
But today, the world we live in is very different. Great strides have been made in cleanliness, rendering a circumcision for hygienic reasons nearly obsolete, to the point where more and more insurance companies, including my own, refuse to cover circumcisions, deeming them an elective cosmetic procedure.
WIL was not happy with our decision. She is convinced that when BabyBoy is older, he will be made fun of for being different. She did not want to hear that more and more parents are opting to not have their sons cut. The difference is a disappearing issue, as more and more boys are uncut and intact. She is convinced that women will reject him. I think Mr. Wench came up with the best retort to that one…he said “If a woman only cares about whether or not my son has a foreskin, she’s not the kind of woman I want him with”. While I have had friends say that an uncircumcised penis is gross, I’ve heard others say intact is better. I would not have even addressed that aspect, as I don’t want to think about any of my children having sex, they’re children, for goodness sake, but as WIL had brought it up, I had to consider that as well, and I came once again to the same conclusion…if BabyBoy wants it taken off, he can have that done himself. It’s not my choice to make.
I do not regret our decision. I am convinced that had I prevailed upon my original view and our son had been circumcised, I would be regretting it now.
And like I told my grandmother, who was supportive of our choice “You can always take it off…it’s nearly impossible to put it back on and have it be like it was never taken off”. If he wants it off later in life, then by all means, my child, go right ahead. But it is his body, and it is his decision, not mine.
I am honored that you felt my short paragraph was good enough to be included on your blog, Tally. Thank you.