I Circumcised My Son Out of Love

227

The decision of whether to circumcise my son or not was the hardest parenting decision I have made in my nearly five years as a parent. As a Jewish mother, I was especially torn because even though I'm more culturally than spiritually Jewish, the tradition in my culture made it very hard for me to consider not making the cut.

Almost from the moment we found out the baby had boy parts, my husband and I dreaded the idea that we had to make this choice. And yet, I'm glad we had the choice to make.

One woman's crusade to end circumcision is having repercussions all over the country, though the bans have only been truly explored in the Bay Area (where it's on the ballot this fall) and now in Santa Monica, California.

It's repulsive. For so many reasons.

As a Jewish parent, I take great offense to the notion that somehow one woman's distaste for a cultural practice could derail something we Jews have done since the dawn of our faith. It's unconscionable that something Jews and Muslims feel is commanded by G-d would be banned by the government.

But there are even health reasons for doing it. The American Academy of Pediatrics has always taken a neutral approach to the issue, but even they are amending their recommendations to stress the health benefits a bit more, namely the role of circumcision in preventing HIV transmission. They aren't outright recommending it, but they're saying it's a choice every parent ought to have. And it's one San Francisco and now Santa Monica would like to take from us.

Never mind that the potential ban is anti-Semitic (which it is). Never mind that the potential ban completely ignores any health benefits circumcision gives. Mostly, this is an attack on personal freedoms, on our ability to dictate what is right for us and our family. I hated making the choice, but I am glad I had the choice to make.

The fact is, part of being a parent is making hard choices. If we start banning all the things we find distasteful and unnecessary, we would be banning everything from earrings to braces and beyond.

I hated everything about making that choice. I hated talking to our pediatrician on the phone for a total of three hours. I hated crying when I thought of both choices. And I hated feeling cultural pressure to do something I didn't necessarily think I would do otherwise. But in the end, standing at the bris, I felt strong. Even as I also felt my heart breaking (I was eight days postpartum!) and had tears streaming down my face, I realized it was a good thing. What we did, we ultimately did with intention and love, in a ceremony standing right beside him. We did it because we love our son and want him to be part of our cultural history. We did what we felt was right for him.

This is the same way any parent makes a choice. You hold your breath and you hope it's the right one. What you don't do is become so self-righteous and sanctimonious in your own choice that you invalidate the choices of others.

I respect and love my friends who chose not to circumcise, but I expect that same respect and love in return. I thought just as long and hard and did just as much research as they did. I hated making that choice, but I was glad I had one.

Do you support the circumcision ban?

circumcision

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Memph... MemphisSuzi

NO I do not.  The government should not have the right to make these kinds of parenting choices for us.


Thank you for so eloquently saying what I have tried to say many times in the past.  You have pinpointed the struggle to make this (and any) parenting decision.  We all just try to do our best. 

Leele... Leelee1008

NOT ONE BIT! Honestly to each their own, I dont see how any person has the right to take that choice away from some parents. I have 2 boys, They are both circumsized and I see NOTHING wrong with that. in fact ALL of my friends children that are boys are circumsized as well. Our 3rd child was a boy, we lost him in utero but he would have been done as well, 4th child was a girl so we didnt have to worry about that, but if we were to ever have another child, and it was a boy HE would be done just like his brothers were. people need to get off their high horses and stop making such a big stink about it. If they dont circ so what, leave the parents who do wish to ALONE

aj_ba... aj_baby_06

It is repulsive that anyone would want to cut a functional and healthy part of their childs genitals off. I support the ban, this is about an individuals right to decide what modifications are made to their own body. This doesn't affect the parents at all, they are not the ones who are going to have to live with the results of this.


BTW, girls are protected from this no matter the religion of the parents. It is no different for boys, to think otherwise is hypocritical.

JAFE JAFE

No. I don't support this ban in any way, shape or form. This is up to the parents NO MATTER WHAT. You've written a truly moving post and I don't have anything more to add. We do have tough choices to make as parents and I don't think the government should be involved in anything medical.

Pua Smith

Up until my son was born, I was on the fence about circumcision. Ultimately, it was my husband's decision and he chose to have him cut with no real research (which I did extensive amounts of) and did it because he was. He was adament about it being done and I felt like my son's choice was taken away. When they came to take him, I sobbed and begged for a compromise; he'll be cut, but in a bris. We are not Jewish, but I found a mohel who would do it in a secular cermoney since I am Pagan. I felt it would be a better way to do it because I would be allowed to be with him and seems less traumatic, but alas, that wasn't a choice for my husband either. It sucked to have those choices taken, and I feel guilty every day (he's 11 months now) that I didn't fight harder. I don't think the choice should be taken away, but I do think the procedure done in the hospital needs to be reformed. It's not the same loving environment a bris is. I couldn't see my son for several hours, and when he finally did come back to me, he was noticeably withdrawn and wouldn't nurse. Cont

Pua Smith

As far as lowering HIV? So does practicing safe sex, which is what we should be focusing on teaching our young adults who chose to be sexually active. The argument of it lowering STDs and "cleaniness" aren't really a great ones, because of the fact that those are things that are easily taken care of by proper hygene and, as I mentioned, safe sex. Circumcision should be based off of religion (if applicable) and personal feelings. My personal feeling is that if I could go back in time, I wouldn't have allowed it, but I respect your choice to have it done.

JAFE JAFE

Exactly Pua Smith. It's our choice as well it should be. Just like vaccines and breast or bottle or what about people who pierce the ears of an infant? This topic makes people mean and nasty and it's really no body's business but the parents of the child. How traumatic is birth? Should we outlaw that and mandate that everyone had a cesarean?  Of course not. It's also no reason to name call and be nasty. It's got to be our choice. 

zandh... zandhmom2

I had my son circumcised 15 years ago and truth be told, never had a moment of doubt.  It is so not like female circumcision that they do in Africa...which is usually done without medical benefit and done so a girl can never feel pleasure so she won't be incline to be sexually with anyone but her husband.  My husband and every men I have been with is circumcised and none of them hav EVER had a problme with sexually pleasure.  I wonder if these same people who object to this also object to piercing their little girls ears? Jeez, if you don't want your child to have either of these things done, then don't do it BUT stop trying to tell me what to do with my kids!

kisse... kisses5050

"BTW, girls are protected from this no matter the religion of the parents. It is no different for boys, to think otherwise is hypocritical."????


 Seriously AJ ??? In case you haven't noticed girls do not have  a penis and to compare female circumcision to male circumision is ludicrious  on so many levels.

Beth Brown

My husband and I decided not to have our son circumcised. It is a highly controversial subject with my family and I really don't see why. It was our opinion and decision. The act of circumcision was introduced by religion(and still practiced as stated in the intro). In Egypt, girls have had the clitoris cut off for religion; to reduce or eliminate sexual pleasure. This is no different. Both my husband and I are not religious, but our son may be one day. We obviously cannot replace it if he wanted it, but he can chose to have it removed later if he wishes. Furthermore, we also found no medical reason for the incision. As I realize this is a sensitive subject, I need to add the disclaimer that these are merely my opinions on the matter. I am very proud to have an uncircumcised son.

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