Our choice to circumcise was not taken lightly

Posted September 13

I couldn’t stay in the room when our son was circumcised.

I know that’s cowardly and lame, but he was just so little and that needle looked so long, and so my husband stepped up and sat beside our son while the doctor did the procedure.

As I stood in the hall hiding from what was happening behind that door, I wondered if we were doing the right thing.

We made the choice based on what was most “normal” for our family and what we thought was best for him. But outside that door hearing my little guy cry, I felt the weight of that decision.

As parents, we make choices for our children all the time. We choose what food they put in their bodies, what vaccines they get and when. Circumcision felt different, though. This was a choice to alter this perfect little body — and I was the one making it.

I had done my research. I read lots of articles on the pros and the cons. I worried about loss of sexual sensation for circumcised males, but I also worried about infections for noncircumcised children. I read the arguments both from opponents of circumcision who liken it to child abuse and from staunch supporters who call it a matter of public health.

In that moment outside that door, though, I wasn’t thinking about the articles or the arguments. I was thinking about my little son on the table, undergoing a surgery based on an utterly irreversible decision my husband and I made for him.

I wasn’t prepared for the sense of responsibility I would have for his pain and for the healing he would undergo in the days that followed. Every time I changed his diaper and slathered on a ridiculous amount of Vaseline, I thought: I chose this.

Still, I would choose it again. My decision to circumcise was based on thoughtful study and consideration and, like any decision we make as parents, the choice was intensely personal and made solely out of concern for the child.

So when a friend of mine told me recently that he would not be circumcising his child, I listened to his reasons and told him my own for going ahead with the operation. I told him how I couldn’t be in the room for the actual operation, and how strange it was after to see his body changed.

And here’s the great part: He listened without judging me and vice versa. Even though my friend and I have made vastly different choices for our sons on this issue, we respect each other as parents and know that we are both trying to do what is best for our children.

Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to make these tough choices, but it’s all part of the parenthood package. At the end of the day, I made my best choice for my child. And really, when you put all the rhetoric and debate aside, that’s all a parent can do.

How did you make the decision to circumcise or not circumcise your sons?

Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, she discusses it all while her daughters dive-bomb off the couch behind her and her newborn son wins hearts with his dimples.


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