Am I Ruining My Kid?

To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise

My husband and I agree on most things—except for one

My husband, however, is unmoved. “If I had a son who I thought was planning sex tours to Haiti, then I would say yes to that,” he says.

Forget Haiti, has he seen what’s going on at local high schools?

But, honestly, I have other reasons, too.

First of all, high school is hard enough without having to be ridiculed for how you look—and, doubly, for something that was forced on you by your parents.

Second, it’s easier to clean. Will my young (or, heck, teenage son) be careful to clean under his foreskin? (Thank God, doctors say parents don’t need to do this when they’re infants.) It's not as if I'll be able to check, as I would, say, his crazy-messy room.

Third, I’ve read arguments that say it makes sense for the boy to look like his father (yes, my husband is circumcised). It’s not as confusing for the son once he discovers his own body and wants to ask questions of his dad.

Fourth, what if my son needs a circumcision later for medical reasons, or if he decides that he just wants to have one? Isn't that operation going to be way more painful than if he’d had the procedure in the hospital after getting the shock of his life just by being born?

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Did You Circumcise Your Newborn Son?

I’ll admit that my knee-jerk opening argument with my husband was a bit weak: "But everybody gets their sons circumcised!"

Not only was I not exactly right—one of my own friends actually hasn’t circumcised her two young sons (along with just under half of other U.S. parents as of 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)—but he volleyed back with the fact that this is, after all, elective surgery, and that the AAP even conceded that the decision ultimately lies with the parents.

But the more research I’ve done, the more confident I feel in wanting to avoid health problems for my child.

And, honestly, I don’t want my son to come back to me years later, saying, “Mom, you could have fought for my penis while I was still in the womb, and you didn’t.”

At which point, I’ll turn to my husband, tell him to put down his sword, and let him know that he can do the honors of taking our son to the hospital.

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