Friday, April 20, 2007

More Talk, Less Penis?

One of the big decisions I struggled with when I was pregnant and knew I had a little boy arriving was whether or not to circumcise him. When I asked my doctor about it she said,

"Heidi, in the sixteen years I have practiced here, no one has asked me the questions you do. People here just assume it is done and they are surprised when they have to sign the release form. I have one other patient, a European lady who is choosing not to do it."

My mother said,

"You HAVE to do it. Your brothers were circumcised and so is your father. That's just gross."

My father said,

"I'm sure you'll make the decision that is right for you." I think this is one of the most comforting things my dad has ever said to me.

I read until I was sick of reading about how we are the last country who routinely circumcises its baby boys. About how it stops cancers and diseases. About how the Victorians introduced it as a deterrent to masturbation. For every argument there is for it, there is an equal one against it. I read about how this removes a very sizeable part of the skin that becomes the penis. I read stories about guys having issues that their sons wouldn't look like them or what would happen in the locker room. What would the girls think? Your body is not something you should feel inferior about, especially your penis. Not something you want to think about at the tender age of zero.

My co-worker Paco reassured me by saying,

"Heidi, if someone is staring at you in the locker room, THEY have the issue. I wouldn't do it if I had a son."

I decided not to and then I was going to and then I talked to The Godfather and he encouraged me not to as well. I didn't do it. I couldn't do it. Even though the whole floor knew he was the one little boy not going under the knife, a new nurse came in with the release form. She didn't know.

When I heard the wild howls coming from the nursery the next day, I knew I had made the right decision for me. I have no religion telling me to do this, so what right did I have to remove a perfectly healthy and normal part of his body? I was happy with my decision.

Wednesday Snowflake had his three year check up. Everything is fine, except for the fact that he is overweight according to the CDC charts from 2000. His doctor reassured me there was nothing to worry about- he's healthy, active and looks fine. Parents do worry though.

Next subject, his penis. She looked at it and said that the skin is still quite tight and at this point THERE'S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. There's that damn phrase again.

Some baby books say to start stretching the skin back. If you do this before the skin is loose enough, it can get stuck behind the head resulting in excruciating pain. Other sources like Dr. Sears and Dr. Spock tell you to relax and let nature take its course. It will happen on its own. By the time they are five or so they should learn how to clean themselves and take proper care of their unit. I'm good with that, but you won't find me hunched over the tub trying to skin the weiner dog. That's just beyond me.

She said that if it doesn't loosen up he may have to be circumcised between a certain age. Again, don't worry. Frick n' frack! I felt bad because I can't seem to get anything right. I felt like I was doing the right thing and it was. I just hate to think of him having to go through that experience now, knowing that someone is going to alter his body and the pain he may encounter. I wish for the best.

We never know if the decisions we make are the 'right' ones. We can only hope they are.