I Circumcised My Son Out of Love


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?



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surfg... surfgrl60

No. I circ. It is more clean and for a future wife its a better choice. Alot of people would make fun of them. My oldest, I was a younger mom and couldnt afford to circ him. My whole family treats me like I am a horrible parent and they bash me for not doing it. I could afford 500+ at 17 years old to do it. I say go ahead and circ! People need to chill out! Who would want a no circ penis!?

Mom2B... Mom2Buggy

Not that I really care, but I had to drop out of some mommy blogs b/c it became a witch hunt for 'those parents' who got their son's circumcised. It is scary that they 'think' this bill will pass! How dare 'those people' TRY to tell me what I can and can't do with my own child. yes, this practice may not be world know, but lets face the facts there is A LOT of practices I don't want to pick up just b/c the Brits do or don't or the Aussies do or don't and the same goes both ways. We should have the choice to make this decision and not this mommy crusade! 

Bobbi... BobbieKay29

I do NOT support this ban.  I agree with zandhmom2!  This is not the same as what they do to the girls in Africa and people need to do proper research before saying so.  This is one choice that a child's parents should make on their own and not be dictated by others who find it "distasteful."  Great blog by the way.

Sara Larane Savel

Considering that Europeans don't circumcise and have extremely low HIV rates, I really don't see the connection.  But as far as the ban goes:  Um, hells yes it is anti semetic.

As someone who didn't circ our son because there was no compelling medical reason, but also as someone whose matrilininal line is jewish (though my grandmother and mother left the faith, and I was baptized into the faith of my father), I feel very strongly in the religious reasons for jewish circumcision, should a parent desire a bris for their male sons.

Personally, I feel a lot better about a mohel performing a circ than it being done as a billable med procedure. 



Gigan... GigantaursMommy

I just want to point out that firstly there is another religious ceremony open to people of the jewish faith who wish to not circumcise their children. secondly, the type of circumcision that is performed on infants today has only been made available with modern medicine and can only be traced back a few years. Ancient circumcisions were a knick off of the tip of the foreskin to draw a few drips of blood still leaving the prepuce over the head of the glans because it was impossible to preform a circumcision as we know it back then without fully removing the tip of the penis and it would have been a bad decision to remove something completely that protects the babies penis from fecal matter and other infection risks. Just trying to help you understand a little more.

clean... cleanaturalady

It's not an easy decision and it is a very personal one.  One I don't choose to discuss with anyone. 

mypbandj mypbandj

Circumcision is so engrained in our culture that it seems unnatural not to do it to many. However, we are desensitized to the face that it is genital mutilation. It's barbaric no matter how "normal" we think it us. I guarantee that if babies could talk, they'd beg us to not cut up their genitals. Is it ok to cut up a little girls genitals? What about honoring religions that say it's ok to beat your wife? Marry multiple women? Have sex with children? Many may say, those are different. I'm arguing that they are the same. But it's because our cultural has become desensitized to the practice if circumcision and that's why we think it's ok to cut off a baby boys genitals and not a girls. This isn't a cultural or religious freedom that we should allow. It's a human rights issue!!

ceciliam ceciliam

No I do not support it, no matter what my beliefs are.

Sweet... SweetMamaof7

I do not support this BAN. I have 4 sons All of whom are circumsized and it was the right decision for my family..oldest being 16 and youngest 10 months. So in 15 years my decision has not changed. You want the have the RIGHT to NOT circumsize your sons...what if that right was taken away and they passed a LAW that said ALL BOYS MUST be circumsized! Why is it Okay for you to propose we can't circumsize or sons. I have heard the argument and still do not see it as the same as female circumsizion. It is a parenting choice and a religious ceremony that has taken place for generations. Taking a parents right away is no different then taking the right away to breastfeed in public, the fact is as PARENTS we should be working together to not have our rights invaded by the government. So it is okay to go have an abortion and ultimately KILL your child but having a little skin removed from the tip of their penis will be illegal? It is just ludicrious!!

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