To Circumcise . . . or not?

September 13, 2010 · 2 comments

20090830-3A few days ago my friend posted this article about a little boy who had been accidentally circumcised against his mothers wishes and family tradition. When I re-posted it, I included a comment from my friend about how parents aren’t allowed to be present, which was a response to my horror that the procedure could be done without the parents around. When another friend commented that she had been allowed to be in the room when her son was circumcised, and it had been difficult to watch, it got me thinking more about it. Compared to the other parenting decisions I’ve made, circumcision wasn’t something I thought much about. It was something I was willing to defer to my husband, since he’s the one with the penis. Since he didn’t feel strongly either way, we didn’t circumcise either of our boys. Neither was born in a hospital, and if we wanted it done, we would have to make special arrangements. It just worked out that way, and that was fine with us. In many hospitals, though, generally the default position is to circumcise (so much so that one midwife recommends to her transport patients that if they don’t want their sons circumcised to put a brightly colored index card labeled “no circ” on their bassinet). This blog on circumcision, brought to my attention by the same friend, makes it clear that no matter what we choose to do, it’s something we shouldn’t defer to the “default”. The article is comprehensive and well-written, and while clearly in favor of leaving babies intact, her reasoning is well-articulated and defended. Even if you don’t agree with her, it’s a good reminder for all of us to think carefully about all the decisions we make for our children.

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