When we found out we were having a boy, the decision about whether or not he would be circumcised didn't cross my mind until my doctor asked me about it.
I Googled circumcision (bad idea) and was completely flooded with information. Whether or not to circumcise a child is widely discussed -- it's an extremely controversial topic.
I read pages of information circulated by parents and professionals who oppose circumcision, but I didn't see as many arguments presented by parents who chose to have their children circumcised, with the exception of those who decided to do it to honor their religious traditions.
So my husband and I talked about it at length, and by our next appointment, we had come to a decision.
We considered the medical benefits and risks. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, circumcision has some health benefits associated with it along with surgical risks, but the procedure is not considered medically essential. We also didn't have strong religious influences to weigh our decision one way or the other.
When we talked about our options, I went back and forth a few times on my decision, but my husband's feelings remained consistent: The men in his family had all been circumcised. He felt it would be strange to have a son whose body looked different than his own. I could respect that. What every other boy looks like in a locker room when he gets to be a teenager didn't impact my decision, but while he's young and learning about his body, I didn't want him to feel different than his own father.
Maybe I would feel strongly one way or the other if I had a penis, but since I don't, I relied heavily on my husband's thoughts and feelings on the matter.
So it came down to this: While it wasn't medically necessary, long term, it wouldn't cause him any harm. Yes, I know it's painful for a baby in the moment, but so are a lot of other things in life. We weighed our feelings about family against any possible medical ramifications and decided to do it.
This is a deeply personal issue and I know many people will not agree. While I don't think anyone who chooses not to circumcise is making the wrong decision, I think the criticism that is meant for parents who do make this choice is over the top.
How do you feel about circumcision? Did you choose to circumcise your baby boy? Why or why not?
Image via jen_rab/Flickr