This will probably be the first of many blog posts that might offend some people, so I am warning you now, if you don't want the facts don't keep reading!
At my first midwife appointment, many months ago, we were asked if we wanted a packet with some circumcision facts and studies. Of course, I thought, but we are going to circumcise, everybody does... it just makes since. So we took the circumcision packet, along with many others and put it in our birth/labor folder. It sat in the car for the weekend and on our way home from Clifton, I got it out and started reading it to myself. That didn't last too long, before I could get a few sentences into it I had to read it to Brandon.
Link to the Article--The Case Against Circumcision, by Dr. Paul M. Fleiss, MD--
The article is very long, but I couldn't stop reading. It is very informative!
Some interesting facts from the article:
"Routine circumcision of babies in the United States did not begin until the Cold War era. Circumcision is almost unheard of in Europe, Southern America, and non-Muslim Asia. In fact, only 10 to 15 percent of men throughout the world are circumcised.
Circumcision started in America during the masturbation hysteria of the Victorian Era, when a few American doctors circumcised boys to punish them for masturbating. Victorian doctors knew very well that circumcision denudes, desensitizes, and disables the penis. Nevertheless, they were soon claiming that circumcision cured epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, eczema, bed-wetting, hip-joint disease, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, wet dreams, hernia, headaches, nervousness, hysteria, poor eyesight, idiocy, mental retardation, and insanity.4 In fact, no procedure in the history of medicine has been claimed to cure and prevent more diseases than circumcision. As late as the 1970s, leading American medical textbooks still advocated routine circumcision as a way to prevent masturbation.5 The antisexual motivations behind an operation that entails cutting off part of the penis are obvious.
The radical practice of routinely circumcising babies did not begin until the Cold War era. This institutionalization of what amounted to compulsory circumcision was part of the same movement that pathologized and medicalized birth and actively discouraged breastfeeding. Private-sector, corporate-run hospitals institutionalized routine circumcision without ever consulting the American people. There was no public debate or referendum. It was only in the 1970s that a series of lawsuits forced hospitals to obtain parental consent to perform this contraindicated but highly profitable surgery. Circumcisers responded by inventing new "medical" reasons for circumcision in an attempt to scare parents into consenting.
Careful anatomical investigations have shown that circumcision cuts off more than 3 feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries, 240 feet of nerves, and more than 20,000 nerve endings.31 The foreskin's muscles, glands, mucous membrane, and epithelial tissue are destroyed, as well."
There are many interesting facts in the article, read it if you want all the facts.
The main things that changed our minds:
Circumcision was brought back as punishment. --I would rather not do something to my perfectly formed child that was originally done as punishemnt!
Circumcision is not medically necessary as stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Link to the article. --Did you know that most health insurances do not cover the cost of circumcision now that it is viewed as not medically necessary??
By circumcising you are taking away around 240 feet of nerves and more than 20,000 nerve endings. --I am pretty sure, even if you don't want to think about it, that your child will be very thankful for those nerve endings one day!
If a child is born without a foreskin it is actually looked at as a birth defect!
I found the article very interesting, but Brandon was even more surprised by the facts. I thought of it as a decision we both needed to make, but it was more his choice. I obviously don't have a penis, so how could I make that decision. I know most fathers will say, everyone in my locker room was circumcised or the only guy who wasn't was made fun of...blah blah blah. Do you know that in the US only 40-50% of boys are circumcised these days? So actually, by circumcising your son you might make them one of the few?
We just feel that I have been molding and making this perfect child inside of me for the past 9 months, why should we screw it up as soon as he comes out? We view it as part of his body and if he comes to us one day, down the road and wants to be circumcised, it is totally his decision. I just feel it isn't one that we should make for him.
I hope this post will make you think, read, and discuss circumcising your child before you just do it!
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