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In general, people are so widely uninformed about circumcision that most fall into one of two categories:
“Some people think circumcision is mutilation; others want one even if they don’t know what it is.” (Harriett Hall, Science-Based Medicine)
Can you imagine undergoing ANY type of surgical (yes, I said surgical) procedure during which an incredibly intimate piece of you is permanently removed without fully understanding what the procedure actually is?
Let me say here, though, that because I am a woman raising a daughter I don’t think I can fully understand how personal this decision is. However, Hall, in her post “Circumcision: What Does Science Say?” she illustrates the uninformed side of the spectrum perfectly with the following story:
“When I was working in an Air Force hospital emergency room one night, a young airman came in requesting a circumcision. I asked him why he wanted one. He said a couple of his friends had had it done, and he’d heard it was a good idea, and he was going to be getting out of the Air Force pretty soon and wanted to have it done while Uncle Sam would still foot the bill. I examined him: he had a neatly circumcised penis without so much as a hint of any foreskin remnant. I’ve always wondered what he thought we were going to cut off.”
This young man didn’t even know what was going to get cut off, so he certainly didn’t fully understand circumcision.
So before you decide for your own young man whether he’s going to be circumcised or not, here’s the one thing you absolutely need to know:
WHY you’re choosing to circumcise.
You see, circumcision is not medically necessary. There is still no scientific conclusion in the debate around the medical benefits and risks of circumcision. In fact, the reason it became common practice in the United States was to inhibit the urge to masturbate in young boys!
Instead, it’s a personal and/or religious decision. Unfortunately for all infant boys, it’s a decision about their own bodies that they don’t get to make.
You’re making it for him.
You’re making a life-changing, body-altering decision for this precious new child you’ve brought into the world.
Your little boy is truly at your mercy here. This decision, for him, is involuntary.
I would recommend to any parent charged with such an impactful decision:
Most importantly, empathize with your child’s experience. As always, it’s one of the best things we can do as parents and it’ll help you make a decision both you and your son can be proud of once he’s fully grown.