Thursday, February 16, 2006

Snip Snip

There are many decisions to be made when you are having a baby: breastmilk or formula, cloth or disposable diapers, what to name the little booger... but with a boy, there is one other decision to be made... and it's not a fun one.

As if not being able to settle on a name weren't bad enough, we are also currently struggling with the "circumcision decision." (Cue all men to cross legs). When I say "we," I mean Chris. I actually declared early on in my first pregnancy before we knew whether I was gestating a boy or a girl that this would be a decision I would lay squarely on the shoulders of my husband. After all... I don't have the body part, I don't have to deal with it every day, and I don't stand around in locker rooms comparing mine to others. So really, this one is all on him.

That said, I am still reading up on it and trying to educate myself as to why folks do or don't go through with the minor (yet heart-wrenching) procedure. Turns out, there are just as many pros and cons to either side. It all comes down to what you WANT to do. I suddenly wish that we had religious beliefs that would dictate this for us so that we could just unquestioningly make the decision. Unfortunately, we don't even have blind faith.

So now I have to be sensitive to Chris when asking about it or even writing about it. (For example, he has asked me not to refer to it as "snip, snip," yet I continue to do so. But that's only because as much as I try to be sensitive and caring, I'm really just interested in making Chris squirm). I've asked others to weigh in -- men and women -- and although people often have an opinion, they don't always know WHY they have that opinion. I really think this is going to be the hardest decision for us (well, Chris) to make.


Cathy said...

I had no opinion about this issue until I talked to a guy who was not circumcised. (who shall remain nameless to protect his privacy) He is currently in his 20's. He voluntarily underwent the surgery a couple of years ago. His reason: he was picked on and singled out because he looked different from everyone else. I think he also had to do some explaining with certain girls. He hated it. I don't know what percentage of babies are circumsized these days, but it's another angle to think about.

Staci said...

I have a similar story to Cathy's. Have a friend who decided to have the surgery as he was older. He said it was more painful and difficult to heal from as an adult than a baby, but worth it, in his opinion.

I did date a guy once with no snip-snip. All I could think of when I saw it was a snake wearing an ill fitting tube sock. So I guess that puts me in the "pro-snip-snip" category. Does that help your decision Chris?

eaf said...

"All I could think of when I saw it was a snake wearing an ill fitting tube sock."


I dated a no snip-snip once too, and I found it distracting more than anything. I almost felt like I was in a Ripley's Believe it or Not museum. Not in a bad way... just in a "well, THAT'S different" way.

It did seem LARGER, which I suppose might be a pro to the whole "no snip-snip" argument...

Chris said...

"Snip, snip" doesn't make me squirm, hon, it makes me angry.

That being said, the numbers of cut/un-cut are equalizing. There are very strong lobbies on both sides. I'm pretty sure I'm going to fall on the "cut" side of the equation - there is strong medical evidence that circumcised men have a much lower chance of contracting STDs than not - about 7-8 times less likely.

Tony said...

I'm posting this here because Chris requires a Blogger account to post comments and I don't have one. In response to Jason's comment there:

I've never heard of anyone who is circumcised going through life wishing they weren't.

... as well as your follow-up:

I've never EVER heard of someone who is circumcised pining away for his missing foreskin.

I wish I wasn't circumcised. I'll explain the reasons, if you'd like.

eaf said...

Hi, Tony!

Thanks for your comment. We have been very careful about evaluating both sides of the issue, and we discussed every issue raised on the page your name links to. We weighed them all very carefully. It really is a very difficult decision to make, and I hope you know we don't take it lightly... either of us.

Thanks for dropping by and giving us your feedback. :-)

Chris said...

Thanks Tony. I read some of the links on your web site. I've been gathering as much information as possible for and against, so I appreciate the extra view points.

Interesting points raised.

Jessey said...

We recently had a baby boy and decided not to have him circumsized. My reason was primarily that I felt weird about cutting off parts of his body. That is the way he was made to be.
I did a lot of reading prior to making the decision with my husband and found that a lot of the rumors about increased risk of STD and extra attention needed for cleanliness, etc etc, are for the most part unfounded. In fact there are even studies out there that suggest that circumcision may increase, albeit slightly, risk of contracting HIV.
In any case, I say the best way to avoid STDs is to avoid having sex with people who have STDs whether you're snipped or not.
I've also read that the numbers of boys in the US who are intact are reaching equality with those who are circumsized. In our family there are five grandsons, my son being the youngest, and only one of those boys is circumsized.
My sister in law was against us not circumsizing our boy (hers is the one who is snipped) and her reason was that he would look different from other boys...well, not in this family and if the numbers I'd read are true he'd look the same as about half the boys his age.
Bottomline, I just didn't want to mutilate my kid for no good reason.

Chris said...

Yeah, it's a touchy subject (for obvious reasons). It's also one that everyone has an opinion on too.

In the end, it's my decision and my decision alone. Elizabeth and I discussed it last night and, while she has input to offer, she agreed that it's my call. No pressure, right?

Cathy said...

My deicision to have my boys circumcised was based on hygeine. That skin that lies so sweetly over the head of an uncircumcised penis covers a warm, moist breeding ground for bacteria.

I had three friends who had chosen to keep the skin. They all had little boys who were prone to infection and irritation.

Plus, it's just darn better looking :-)

Little boys dig in the dirt, scratch their butts and God only knows what else with their little hands. Then they go pee and grab that penis with those same hands.

They transfer germs to their penis and if there is a foreskin then there is a warm, moist place for those germs to grow and mulitiply. If there is no foreskin then those germs have no place to hide and cause trouble.

Two of the three mothers that I knew ended up having their boys circumcised later due to infections and such. For me it wasn't about looks or whether or not the penis would be larger. The circumcised penis is easier to keep clean which meant less maintenance for me and them as they grew and it cuts down on problems with infection.

Jessey said...

Since dad's making the decision, I'd recommend reading this article

Amy said...

I feel so lucky, I can fall back on the "my husband's a jew (albeit a fake one) so there ya go."

Chris said...

Thanks Jessey - very helpful article.

eaf said...

Yes, Amy. This is one of those times where I wish I just had some sort of conviction that told me the right decision. In fact, I have this weird dichotomy going on in that I really don't like body mutilation (I have no tattoos and I have even let my ear piercing close up) personally (although others are free to do with their bodies what they please. Yet for some reason, I feel circumcision is okay. Clearly, these two things do not go together.

So really, whatever Chris chooses is going to be okay with me. And he is far more qualified to make the decision in this case. I think we BOTH agree there. :-)

I will say that the most reassuring thing about this whole ordeal is that it seems to be a very tough decision for everyone... not just me. Obviously, there are people who are sure one way or the other, but what it really comes down to is you are making that decsision for someone else. Someone who doesn't even know what night and day are at the moment. It's a bit daunting. You don't want to screw it up.

Jessey said...

You know what's even more comforting, is that either way, the kid will be fine.
It's not like doing it or not doing it is going to automatically prepare him for or exclude him from a great life.
Whatever you decide to do, he'll be fine.
And that's totally the most important thing.

Jason said...

I can't wait for 13 years from now to explain to your kid that a bunch of strangers were discussing his wing-wang on the internet back in 2006.

eaf said...


Thanks for the additional info. I've emailed your comment to Chris in case he didn't see it before I deleted it. I don't want this site to become a circumcision forum (or any other kind of forum, really), so I have deleted your post in an effort to stop hits that may occur from people wanting legitimate information.

This is not to imply what you provided isn't legitimate, but I am not comfortable becoming a resource for folks on the topic, and I do know I have had hits before from people doing yahoo searches that seemed more medical in nature.

Thanks again, and I appreciate your understanding.

eaf said...

Jason: I think I've already completely humiliated my son by posting his sonogram images including an arrow pointing out how we knew he was a boy. I do hope he'll find it in his heart to forgive me. :-)

(And it would help if you didn't mention it to him...) :-P

Tony said...


I certainly understand your reason for deleting it. Thanks for considering my opinion, though. Good luck to you and Chris with the rest of your research.