Decisions, decisions...

15 September 2009

I've been thinking about penises a lot lately. How's that for an opening line? Well, in actuality, I've really been thinking about the circumcision issue. Now that we've had a boy in a European country, we've come face-to-face with the controversy and confusion over why or why not to circumcise. I'm not going to list all the reasons to or to not circumcise - I'm sure we all have our own. But that having been the decision we made for our first son - and were on our way to making for our second son - we now find ourselves in a bit of a conundrum.

Originally, we were totally set on the matter: circumcision was the way to go for our boys. Being Americans, we viewed it as a cultural issue, as well as a health issue. However, now residing in Ireland, having your child circumcised is way easier said than done. Upon Asher's birth we were looked at with a bit of disdain by the attending pediatrician when we asked about our circumcision options. We were told that it would be at least 6 months before Asher could be circumcised, he would be put on a waiting list, and then when it was his turn, he would be put under general anesthesia for the "operation." This did not sound ideal to me. I thought briefly about obtaining the services of a Mohel and having a psuedo bris, but this didn't seem like a particularly honest or ethical option, either.

So, our names have been sent to the local pediatric surgeon, and I'm waiting to hear from him with lots of trepidation... needless to say, I'm extremely hesitant now about circumcising Asher. I'm just not sure, in the long run, if it's really worth it.


  1. Check with another doctor or so. We were told it was almost impossible when we had a boy in Europe. We were also looked down on and told to "go back to our country". But we asked my OB, and he was willing to do it himself in his office, and he did not charge us at all. So ask around - there may be someone who is willing to do it.

    Failing that, I'd seriously think about getting the Mohel to do it. Likely he has more experience than the doctors, and it is easier done early. He may be willing to do it even if you explain that you want it to honor the tradition, but you are not Jewish.

    Or not. People live just fine without it, but... to be the one boy in the house who is "different"... could be embarrassing or awkward later on.

  2. No advice, just hugs. We revisited this issue with each of our boys, and there are so many pros and cons. God made us one way and told Abraham to go the other. It's no real surprise to us it's kind of six of one and half dozen of the other.

  3. I'm an American, Christian mom and also a maternity nurse. Will you please read this link that offers what I feel is a great perspective on Christianity and circumcision?

    Knowing what I know as a Registered Nurse, and also being a Christian where circumcision is not mandated, I elected to leave my son just as he was born. He's 13 years old and has never had any problems, nor is he bothered that he's intact but his dad is circumcised. It's just a non-issue. We are all different, you know? Plus, in the US the circumcision rate is now about 60%. That means 4 out of every 10 boys will still have their foreskins in the locker rooms. I don't think teasing will be an issue ever. And outside the US, only Muslim and Jewish boys are typically circed so those with non-religious circs might actually get weird looks (unfortunately).
    Please reconsider your circumcision decision.

  4. We had a bit of the opposite with our boys, NOT wanting them circumcised in the U.S. Husband Miguel is from Venezuelan and Latins don't usually circumcise...even so, we were asked continually about it with each boy. Made us doubt our decision a bit, I think. Personally, I think that like father, like son is a good principle. But I think I'd be concerned about the 'general anesthesia, too...seems a bit over the top! Do hope you get it figured out...

  5. hi, just a reader here who found you through coffeegirl confessions. anyway, we had our first son circumcised but 5 years later when our second son came along, we didn't feel so good about it. we decided not to. so now we have one of each and they haven't noticed yet. our baby is 10 months old. anyway, just so you know that there are people out there who have done it that way. the being "different" from dad and big brother just wasn't a good enough reason to send him under the knife when we really had no other good reason to do it. you may have a good reason, so that's fine too. All is grace.

  6. Hey Gals, thanks for all your comments. I knew this was a passionate issue for some, which is why my being on the fence about the whole thing made it a bit more difficult to come to the right conclusion. Anyway, we have decided, for now, not to have him circumcised. My main reason: I don't want my baby put to sleep to have an operation at 6 months old. If we could get it done now and were living in the States permanently, we'd probably do it. But for now, the foreskin stays on and we feel much peace about the decision. Thanks again for your thoughts! - jackandellasmum

  7. Circumcision update! nearly 9 months later and it has been decided that Asher does indeed NEED to be circumcised for medically necessary reasons. Sigh. Seeing as how the Irish won't do this for hi before 12 months, we'll hopefully be getting it taken care of in the US on home assignment. Guess it just goes to show you that no matter how much we think we control the decisions/outcomes, God's still got His own thing going on - and He'll let us know it eventually! :)