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Infant Circumcision: More Painful Than We Thought

A study was recently released that showed infants feel pain just like adults do, only they feel it more severely. Researchers put several sleeping infants through MRI testing, and poked them in their sleep. These pokes were not sharp enough to wake the babies, but were definitely sharp enough to register in the baby's brain. In fact, the severity of the poke registered in the baby's brain the same as a poke of four times that force registers in an adult.

What does that mean? The same action hurts a baby more—perhaps four times more. It makes me think of that day my first baby entered the world. It makes me wish I could go back and choose differently.

RELATED: To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise?

We were the brand-spanking-new parents to a beautiful, perfect, baby boy. I was riding the high of my post-natural birth hormones, when I was presented with a question for which I was not at all prepared. The nurse approached us and asked if we wanted to have our baby boy circumcised. I'd read so many books on the process of childbirth and pregnancy and everything that comes before the actual birth, but I had not looked into circumcision at all.

We didn't find out the sex of our baby until he was born, so it just didn't enter my mind. She cautioned me that only minimal painkiller was used in the process, and that the pediatric group at that hospital did not recommend circumcision. Having no educated opinion on the topic, I deferred to my husband.

There hasn't been a day that I was glad we circumcised our son—quite the opposite.

He expressed concerns that, since then, I have heard over and over from parents who choose to circumcise. Would the other kids make fun of him for being different? What if he wonders why his penis doesn't look like Daddy's? What would his future wife think? So, in light of these issues, we opted to go ahead and have him circumcised. The nurses took him away for a while, and when he came back, he was peacefully sleeping, eyelashes moist from tears.

RELATED: Is Circumcision Genital Mutilation?

Over the next couple months, we struggled as he healed from the circumcision, even enduring a visit to the pediatrician when they had no choice but to essentially re-circumcise him by pulling the healing wound apart, since the skin had tried to grow back. There hasn't been a day that I was glad we circumcised our son—quite the opposite. But, we all survived the ordeal, and I believe are no worse for the wear. My husband and I have since talked more about circumcision, and if we ever have another boy, we'll be skipping circumcision this time.

Now we know better, and so do you.

Image via Twenty20/MoniDom22

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