I feel it is my personal duty that Salt & Nectar cover every controversial parenting topic before our first anniversary. Why be a mommy blogger if you can't stir the pot occasionally? Am I right?
We've already covered breastfeeding and co-sleeping, which leaves circumcision! A tiny piece of skin that causes an awful big ruckus. It's also a topic that's back in the news (and blogosphere) after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report concluding that routine hospital circumcisions of newborns have declined over the past 10 years. A survey of three large, independent data sources showed that the rate of in-hospital circumcisions dropped from 62.5% in 1999 to 56.9% in 2008.
I like to think I did my part in dropping that number because neither Griffin nor Amos are circumcised. (Guess I better delete this post right around their 13th birthday!) If I'm being honest, it was a pretty easy decision for me. I have a pretty intense hippie/earth mother streak when it comes right down to it and am generally distrustful of the medical establishment. I gave birth at home. I breastfeed. I vaccinate on an alternate schedule (another post for another time). So, circumcision never really seemed like an option for me.
When people ask me why we didn't circumcise? My reply is always the same. No one could give me a reason to circumcise. I've seen the studies that it can "slightly lower" the risk of STDS, AIDS, and urinary tract infections. However, the impact on infection rates is so small - not to mention I hope to raise sons that understand ways to substantially lower their risk of STDS and AIDS - like say a condom. Heck even the America Academy of Pediatrics (not exactly a fringe group) states there is no reason to recommend routine circumcision in newborn males.
Both my husband and I considered the fact that our boys would look different from men in their family - not to mention other boys in the locker room - but it just wasn't enough to persuade me. However you want to explain its genesis, I think we can all agree that the human body is a superior piece of design. I try not to tinker with that design unless absolutely necessary.
Beyond that, it just didn't seem like my decision to make. In my experience, men take their penises VERY seriously. (Can I get an amen?) It's difficult to think of these tiny little creatures in my care as independent human beings with bodies all their own but that's what they are. If Griffin or Amos decide one day they would like to be circumcised, that's fine with me but I wanted to leave it to them to decide.
So, that's the long and short of it. (HA! Sorry, I couldn't resist.) I decided not to circumcise my sons for my own personal reasons. I'm not an intactivist, although I do admit that is the best name ever. I don't think we should make circumcision illegal. If you chose to circumcise your son, I'm sure you did it for your own personal reasons and I have no problem with your decision. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm glad to see my sons might not be all alone in the locker room after all.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland