Cafe AmyB
Moms of boys: Was to circumcise or not an EASY decision?
June 13, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Or was it something you struggled with?

Circumcision Is No Easy Decision for Anyone

on Jun 13, 2011 

The decision of whether to circumcise my son or not was the hardest parenting decision I have made in my nearly five years as a parent. As a Jewish mother, I was especially torn because even though I'm more culturally than spiritually Jewish, the tradition in my culture made it very hard for me to consider not making the cut.

Almost from the moment we found out the baby had boy parts, my husband I dreaded the idea that we had to make this choice. And yet, I'm glad we had the choice to make.

One woman's crusade to end circumcision is having repercussions all over the country, though the bans have only been truly explored in the Bay Area (where it's on the ballot this fall) and now in Santa Monica, California.

It's repulsive. For so many reasons.

As a Jewish parent, I take great offense to the notion that somehow one woman's distaste for a cultural practice could derail something we Jews have done since the dawn of our faith. It's unconscionable that something Jews and Muslims feel is commanded by G-d would be banned by the government.

But there are even health reasons for doing it. The American Academy of Pediatrics has always taken a neutral approach to the issue, but even they are amending their recommendations to stress the health benefits a bit more, namely the role of circumcision in preventing HIV transmission. They aren't outright recommending it, but they're saying it's a choice every parent ought to have. And it's one San Francisco and now Santa Monica would like to take from us.

Never mind that the potential ban is anti-Semitic (which it is). Never mind that the potential ban completely ignores any health benefits circumcision gives. Mostly, this is an attack on personal freedoms, on our ability to dictate what is right for us and our family. I hated making the choice, but I am glad I had the choice to make.

The fact is, part of being a parent is making hard choices. If we start banning all the things we find distasteful and unnecessary, we would be banning everything from earrings to braces and beyond.

I hated everything about making that choice. I hated talking to our pediatrician on the phone for a total of three hours. I hated crying when I thought of both choices. And I hated feeling cultural pressure to do something I didn't necessarily think I would do otherwise. But in the end, standing at the bris, I felt strong. Even as I also felt my heart breaking (I was eight days postpartum!) and had tears streaming down my face, I realized it was a good thing. What we did, we ultimately did with intention and love, in a ceremony standing right beside him. We did it because we love our son and want him to be part of our cultural history. We did what we felt was right for him.

This is the same way any parent makes a choice. You hold your breath and you hope it's the right one. What you don't do is become so self-righteous and sanctimonious in your own choice that you invalidate the choices of others.

I respect and love my friends who chose not to circumcise, but I expect that same respect and love in return. I thought just as long and hard and did just as much research as they did. I hated making that choice, but I was glad I had one.

Do you support the circumcision ban?

Replies

  • stormystar15
    June 13, 2011 at 10:55 AM
    I dont support the ban. i circumsized both of my boys and being a single mother its a lot easier to take care of and making sure its cleaned right so there wont be any type of infections
  • prissypoptart
    June 13, 2011 at 10:57 AM
    I had both of my boys circumcised. I am Christian and I also feel like it is cleaner and better for them health wise..
  • CrystalJulianna
    June 13, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    i circumsized both boys. I didnt have to think about it. I know thats what i want to do. 

  • BlueRayofLight
    June 13, 2011 at 11:05 AM

     I don't support the ban. I believe it should be a parents personal choice. If the parents don't believe in circusmcison then they don't have it done, but for the other parents that do want it they should be able to have that choice.

    I had my son circumcised, not based on religion, but by research and weighing pros and cons.  It was an easy choice.

  • Liansmommie
    June 13, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    It wasn't a hard choice for me. The men I know that have not been, had all had to be at some point with major complications and have voiced regret that it wasn't done when they were babies. With 20/20 hindsight I am even more grateful we did, given the battles over basic hygiene and sensory issues we fight on a daily basis. It is one less thing he has to worry about. The ban is stupid. It is a reactionary one size fits all approach to parenting.

  • kylesmom
    June 13, 2011 at 7:18 PM

     It was an easy decision for me

  • ADozenPlus
    June 13, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    My husband didn't want it done (he was) but I had the last say.... with 3 boys. And I'm glad it was done, so are they.

  • PEEK05
    by PEEK05
    June 14, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    It was an easy decision for us. We won't permanently alter our children's bodies without their permission, unless for NECESSARY medical reasons.

    However, that being said, I think it's up the family's to make a choice that's right for their family. I just wish people looked into it a bit more and just not from one or two sources.

  • TheJerseyGirl
    June 14, 2011 at 7:06 PM

     I did becuase I know it's the cleaner option and much easier on them in the long run.

  • aneela
    by aneela
    July 14, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    my son was...and it was easy decision