Male circumcision is a divisive issue. Only a couple of generations ago, circumsion in male babies was a relatively common procedure and the risk factors were generally considered to be minimal. As time has progressed and society has evolved, more and more doctors refuse to circumcise babies, and more and more parents view circumcision as totally unnatural and unnecessary. There are religions that require circumcision, but in western culture this procedure has become less commonplace and more frowned upon as some feel it is a form of genital mutilation.
“Why mess with nature”? That’s the argument I hear. I don’t have kids and I don’t have a particularly strong stance on this subject. I do have experience nursing people that were either incapable of looking after themselves, or were genuinely unaware of how to maintain hygiene in their nether-regions. I often wondered if it was a matter of ignorance or laziness that led to some of the poor genital hygiene I have witnessed in males who were responsible for taking care of themselves before being admitted to hospital (not all of these men were ‘old’ or senior citizens.)
Like breast-feeding, I think circumcision is a personal choice for parents to make. I don’t feel they have to justify themselves. I would put forward these two thoughts though.
- If you are going to have your son circumcised, do it sooner rather than later. The incision heals quickly in infants, whereas the risk of infection increases the older the child is.
- If you aren’t getting your son circumcised, don’t be afraid to show them how to clean themselves thoroughly. Use the proper terminology: ‘foreskin’ is not a dirty word.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a parent. But I’m regularly dismayed at how critical parents can be of other parents. Can people agree to make decisions they deem best for THEIR family, without projecting these opinions onto others? Isn’t parenting supposed to be difficult enough without supportive communities? Sometimes people need to agree to disagree. Some will choose to bottle-feed. Some will choose cloth nappies over disposable. And some will pursue circumcision for their child. Is it really the business of others to get on a soapbox and tear new parents apart?
What is your stance on circumcision? Has it ever been raised in a critical way?