Monday, September 27, 2010

I Have a Secret

I have a secret that I've never told, not even my husband. I am too chicken to bring it up, and I am a little afraid of what others might think. It is time for me to be honest and have a little courage. This is my secret.

I do not want to circumcise my son(s).

Now why would I be afraid to talk about this, and why in the world would I think about this? Why is this a big deal, and my husband usually likes to ask, "How long have you felt this way?"

I suppose I will start with answering the last question, and the others will get answered along the way. I do not remember exactly when I read Alice Walker's The Color Purple. I may have been 16 or 17, but I am certain I was in high school. I could not put the book down!

Fast forward a couple of years to my sophomore year in college. My friend L owned the movie, and I wanted to watch it after having learned that Jim Walker played the flute in it. Yes, it seems that my favorite movies tend to be ones in which Jim Walker plays the flute. Either that year or the next, I came across another book by Alice Walker entitled Possessing the Secret of Joy. This book was about female circumcision. I thought, "How could people do such a thing?" How indeed? Unfortunately people do it all the time to their little boys. In this country people are horrified at the thought of female circumcision, but male circumcision is "normal". An uncircumcised penis is considered abnormal, gross and dirty to many people. I started to do some research about this in 2005. I remember that year because that was the year my parents moved to their current home. In the back bedroom on the computer, I read article after article about this topic. I learned two things. First, it is a completely unnecessary procedure. Second, I would never EVER allow that to be done to my son(s).

I researched circumcision before I even got married and definitely before I had children. This was before I became interested in natural birth, breast feeding, slinging, gentle parenting, etc. It was definitely before I heard of Intactivism. This was a very recent discovery. I don't consider myself a follower of Attachment Parenting. I consider myself a follower of my heart and my instincts. If my heart cries out to me not to do something (for example, using CIO methods) then I just won't do it. Circumcision is the first of those tugs at my heart. I just can't allow it.

Now why is it such a big deal? I can't make the decision to cut off a part of my child's body, without anesthesia (or without enough) in many cases, because it is completely irreversible and irreplaceable. It is his body, and I could never bear him asking me later on, "Mom, why did you allow this to happen to me?" Sure there are procedures to restore the foreskin, but it is not 100%. If my son(s) want to be circumcised, he (they) can make the decision. If facts and figures don't convince, then the fact that my heart screams, "Don't do it!" should be enough.

Off the top of my head, I know the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization do not recommend it. It is no more difficult to keep an intact penis clean. The foreskin does serve a purpose, and I've read that it helps mens' partners as well. At least one thing I've read is there are less lubrication issues. Here is the latest post I've read about it.

Now I have been scared to say anything because circumcision is "normal" in my little piece of the world. I'm sure the men I know who may be circumcised (I really don't know who is and who isn't-it's just a guess from the way people talk) don't go around missing their foreskins. But how could they? They have no idea what they are missing. They have no idea that decreased sensitivity may not just be from getting older but may actually have something to do with the hundreds of nerve endings sliced off at birth.

I also fear talking about it because I sort of feel unqualified as I do not actually OWN this equipment. However, my little boys will own THEIR equipment. Not Mommy. Not Daddy. Not Mawmaws or Pawpaws, aunts or uncles. THEY get to decide. Until they are old enough to decide for themselves, please just leave their foreskins alone!

**Note: Please forgive my misuse of terminology in certain areas. I am not known for my writing skills, and I am by no means an expert on the topic of circumcision, restoration, or reconstruction. I am not a doctor or an expert of any kind on parenting or the penis. I am only an expert on my heart and my own good judgement.

***Note #2: I approached my husband about this subject before he had a chance to read this post and when I said I don't want to circumcise our (future) son(s) (after building it up about how worried I was about his reaction) he says, "Okay. We won't do it. My goodness you had me worried that it was something bad!"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your note.

    Foreskin restoration is NON-surgical.
    When surgery is involved it's called foreskin reconstruction.

    Restoring is very worthwhile, but it only expands the surviving skin so it can protect the mucosal parts and provide an exquisite rolling/gliding mode of stimulation. Restoration DOES NOT regenerate the lost nerve endings which are concentrated richly in the tissue taken in circumcision.

    When providers discuss the risks of circumcision they rarely mention that 100% of the time it takes about half of his specialized pleasure-receptive nerve endings.