Someone asked for my opinion on circumcision and all of the other popular Babycenter debates. This is a great question because I have LOTS of opinions on all of these things, having debated them 9 trillion times on Babycenter and dealing with them in my own life.
I am far too verbose to cover them all in one reasonably sized post, so we'll start with Circumcision. I've glossed over my opinions on this before, when discussing how rude people "on the other side" of the debate often are in real life but I'll give you the unabridged version here and now.
PERSONALLY, we decided it was unnecessary. Well, I decided and then beat Mr. Ashley into submission.
While researching like the good First Time Mom that I was, I encountered the circumcision debate. I didn't even know there really was an option other than doing it and had never really even thought about it before.
The idea made me a little queasy. I can't look at a scraped knee without my stomach flip flopping.
So I read both sides of the debate and every piece of literature (biased and unbiased) that I could find (because I'm a little OCD like that).
The prevailing arguments for doing it were:
*Looking like daddy. Frankly, this one disturbs me a little. Are families seriously hanging out examining each other's junk and developing complexes as a result? I spoke to a few people about this phenomenon, including members of my own family, and found several examples of people with a penis that looked different from their father's who were fine with that. In fact, some didn't even know they were different from their father until it came up in this discussion (and yeah, I know more about the penii in my family than I would ever want to know. All in the name of research.)
*Cleanliness. I have always heard this one, even before I knew there was a debate. Having no penis, and finding them all kind of yucky, I had no idea how hard they would be to keep clean, but I just couldn't imagine that it would be that difficult. So once again I "looked into it" and found that you're not supposed to do anything to it at all until it comes out of it's little sleeve. This takes years. Then you just pull it back and wipey wipe. It sounded even easier than teaching a girl to bathe to me, and in all honesty, I plan on raising my kids to shower daily or at the very least wash down stinky areas.
*Increased risk of STDs. This one did actually give me pause. Until I read the studies done ON the studies of those African AIDS studies and found that they were really flawed to begin with. As far as increased risk of HPV, HPV is running rampant in this country as it is. I know at least 5 women who have gotten HPV who haven't ever even been with an intact guy. Besides, there is just no excuse for unprotected sex these days. You're in just as much danger without a foreskin, in my opinion. It's a total and complete gamble.
*Fear of teasing in the locker room. Come on. Seriously? So if he has a big nose should I get him a nose job so no one teases him in the hallway? Besides, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE STARING AT EACH OTHER'S PACKAGES?? This one is such a non-issue for me that I can't help but laugh when it is mentioned. It is just so bizarre to me. I guess I will instruct my children to scream, "Why the hell are you staring at my dick, pervert?" and start some rumors around school.
*Girls don't like it. I have encountered some girls that really do like it. A lot of the others don't know anything about it. Some don't like it. Most don't care. I *really* hope that any chicks sleeping with my sons like them so much that this is something they will gladly accept about them. If this is such a turn off for them that they can't deal with it, au revoir you shallow bitch.
*I let my husband decide because I don't have a penis. With all due respect to every woman that has ever uttered these words...wh-wh-wh-WHAT? Oh no. Around here I am 75% of every single decision involving my children. I get the extra 25% because I did more to get them here. Besides, men love their penises. They freaking love them. There is no better looking or more functional penis than their own. Also, let me point out that men only have experience with the penis they have. So they are as unqualified as you are to make an unbiased decision.
So after coming up with my own stance on these issues, reading that the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend it routinely and discovering that my insurance at the time considered it cosmetic, I had pretty much made up my mind. Watching a video of one being done sealed the deal for me, it was professionally and medically done, with pain medication, but even the sight of the thing they strap them down on just made my stomach sink.
Above and beyond all else, I have enough faith in God, Science, Evolution, Biology and all of that other good stuff, to believe that human beings are just not born needing to have a piece of them cut off.
So I informed Mr. Ashley that this was something I now felt passionately about and he said "Oh hell no."
I explained the history of circumcision (made popular again to help cure men of insanity and sexual deviance such as masturbation), I went over the debates and I begged him to see that people weren't born with extra pieces that needed removed and that babies don't need cosmetic surgery.
Finally, at a total stalemate, I insisted that he read the research and watch the video and get back to me. He said he would but that it wouldn't change his mind.
Of course he never did, further infuriating me. Finally it came up again when I was 10 months pregnant, during a Florida summer, and I yelled, "You will have to tear this baby out of my arms in the hospital if you think you are cutting anything off of him. And that is that!"
Luckily, when the nurse asked us in the hospital, and we both looked down at that precious 6lb tiny bundle who was born blue and not breathing and who had had one hell of a day, he agreed with no hesitation that he wasn't going anywhere and would be leaving the hospital with all of the parts he was born with.
NOW...before you moms who did circumcise think that I think that you're mutilators, you're wrong. I'm not a hard core Intactivist who thinks this is a Human Rights Issue. Personally, I don't think it's my choice to make for my child but I don't begrudge any parents making their own decisions.
Mostly, this is a cultural/traditional thing in our country. Do I think the African tribes tattooing and piercing their children are mutilating them? Or that that's a Human Rights Issue? Nope. It's a part of their heritage, traditions, culture, religion, whatever.
So while of course I wish everyone thought like me, I don't think badly of people who don't. It really is not a defining force in anyone's life, almost everyone will be fond of the penis you gave them, regardless of what you did or didn't do to it.
So far, what we've done has worked out great. No extra care, no issues, no identity crises about not looking like daddy, no urinary tract infections, no teasing. Can I also say that I've noticed that being uncut gives the illusion of extra length? Either that or my kids are well endowed compared to other kids their age. I don't know, I'm just sayin'. That sort of thing could really help out in all of these naked locker room arguments.