I know this is a hot button topic. But for the record, I don't feel very passionately about either position on the issue of circumcision--for or against. IMO, there are a bunch of tremendously credible arguments in support of both sides. The one I don't buy though, is the comparison to female genital mutilation (FGM). As I heard another mother say once, the equivalent to that would be more like cutting off the entire penis.
Perhaps one day in the future, infant circumcision will be
banned and males will only be able to be circumcised when they are of
age and can give consent. In this case, I suppose the debate would be
over. Well no, because for the people who do it for cultural and religious reasons, a law banning it would be reason for even more debate.
But speaking of choice, there is a mom over at babble.com dealing with a unique circumcision issue right now as you read this. Her uncircumcised 5-year-old, who was born in another country, now lives in the US--and suddenly wants to be circumcised. All his friends are, he says (5 year olds apparently notice everything).
Wow. I do not envy this mom at all.
The advice given to her by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris, however, is one to grow on. Here's a portion of it:
You may be tempted to do anything you can to help your son assimilate in the name of compassion (or guilt). But if you were to circumcise now, you could send a message that being different is indeed so bad and so awful that it needs to be avoided at all costs. Since it would hurt quite a but, he could assume that you think it's worth physical pain just to fit in. That's probably not a message you want to be sending.
So what can you do instead? Talk about how the penis is just one area in a whole landscape of ways people are different. And that's okay. You can point out how even within your family each person has unique characteristics. Respect his concerns. You don't want to be dismissive or ignore him, but reassure him that he won't always feel like a stranger in a strange land. You can tell him about circumcision and how some families do it, and others don't. Show him in every way you can that you are completely certain that his penis is just wonderful the way it is. Just like the other kids' penises are great, too.
What's your take on circumcision? Do you agree with this advice?