Courtesy of Liza Wyles

9 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Choosing To Circumcise My Son

By
Share
Ad failed to load

If you have an opinion on how I’m raising my kids, get in line. Even though I’m lucky enough to have a great group of mom friends who support one another and avoid judgment, because we’re smart enough to know that tearing each other down is a sure way to perpetuate the patriarchy, I can’t avoid life’s haters. So I fully expect to get flak for choosing to circumcise my son and not apologizing about it. Like, I’m not even #sorrynotsorry about it.

The decision to circumcise our 1-day-old son did not come easily. My partner and I were informed, so we knew what we were asking the doctor to do to him. The hospital where he was born dictated that we were not allowed to be present for the procedure, which freaked me out. My baby was going to have skin snipped off of him and I couldn’t be there to comfort him? That, admittedly, is a difficult pill to swallow. And when he was brought back to me in my recovery room, he looked stunned. “What have we done?” I wailed to my husband, scooping the baby up and pressing his little body into me.

Then my son nursed, fell asleep, and woke up like any other typical newborn, completely incapable of holding a grudge about what his parents chose to do to his genitals.

Ad failed to load

I will never feel great about deciding to circumcise my tiny baby boy, but it’s a decision my partner and I made with clarity and reason. I can’t have regrets. If, in the end, it turns out to have been a mistake and he’s furious with us for having that done to him, I will need to deal with it.

But there is no way I’m apologizing to anyone else for making this personal parenting decision, and here’s why:

Ad failed to load

Because It Had Cultural Relevance

Giphy

I’m Jewish, and circumcision has been a practice my Jewish family has always followed. While we didn’t host a bris and make a thing of it, it just felt “right” to have my son circumcised, as he is the son of a Jewish mother.

Because It's What Our Families Have Done For Generations

My husband is not Jewish, but it was the practice in his family to circumcise boy babies, too. Thinking about the act, it really is terribly cruel. We’re cutting skin off a baby’s genitals and the reason is because we’ve always done that. I certainly wouldn’t defend the practice of corporal punishment just because my husband and I were raised at a time when physically punishing children was considered typical. But with circumcision, it felt like a testament to what our families have been doing, to no ill effect, for years and years. And not circumcising our son would feel like we were making ourselves outliers in our supportive family.

Because My Husband Was In Favor Of It

Giphy

My partner and I don’t always agree, but there are certain things we knew we had to be in agreement on if we were going to raise kids together. One of them was circumcision. It was something he felt fine doing (since it was done to him), so there wasn’t any debate about it between us.

Ad failed to load

Because Our Older Doctors Supported It

The doctors in my obstetrics practice were older, and I think were just accustomed to circumcision as being part of the childbirth process. In hindsight it seems odd that a pediatrician wouldn’t perform the procedure, and that it was the doctors who oversaw my pregnancy and baby’s birth who would be the ones coming to the hospital to do it. Nevertheless, they didn’t even blink when they asked if that was something we wanted for our son.

“Wanted’ may be too strong a word, I realize. But it was something we planned to have done and the doctors respected our wishes without remark.

Because There Were No Negative Longterm Effects I Was Aware Of At The Time

Giphy

While circumcised newborn penises needed extra care during diaper changes, there weren’t any negative side effects to having it done, as long as we kept the area clean and protected. It did prolong the amount of time my newborn son was exposed when I was changing him, which increased the risk of him peeing on me, but luckily that didn’t happen more than a couple of times.

Because It Was What's Familiar To Me

Without giving my “number,” suffice it to say I had seen many penises in intimate situations. But not one of them were uncircumcised. I had definitely encountered uncut genitalia, but had no “hands-on” experience with it. So, I decided to stay in the zone of familiarity when considering the procedure for our son.

Ad failed to load

Because It Was What I Thought Was Best When He Was Born

Giphy

Since circumcision was all my husband and I knew about baby boy’s genitals, we thought it was the right move. Seven years later, there has been absolutely no fall-out from having the procedure done. I have to believe it was the best choice we made on the matter, at the time.

Because I Only Need To Do Right By My Family…

When it comes to making choices for our kids, my husband and I truly act in the best interest of our family. Not other families. Not different families. Not even your family, dear reader. Just ours. While we realize our decisions reach beyond the walls of our apartment, when it comes to our behavior and how we vote, and how diligently we recycle (very), there are some decisions that are personal and affect only us. I am not beholden to the public when it comes to how I manage certain aspects of my children’s wellbeing.

… & Not Those Who Judge Me

Giphy

I know there are people reading this who disagree wholeheartedly with our decision to circumcise our son. But this is not up for debate. Some family values are just that: family values. And while I would never condone any violence or mistreatment of children, circumcision is a safe practice that didn't jeopardize our son’s health.

He may grow up and hate us for this decision. He will be justified in being angry that we made a decision about his body for him. I am anticipating this possibility. The choice should have been his… but having it done as a newborn was a lot less risky than if he had opted for the procedure as a grown man.

As angry as he may get at us for doing it, he will never feel unloved. Parents mess up, and we’re not immune from making mistakes. My children will see us be fallible, but they will never know us not to act out of pure love for them.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}