Thursday, November 22, 2012

Standing Firm...

Last night my wife and I went to the nearby hospital for a tour of the maternity center.  We joined six or seven other expectant couples and in between pee breaks, we familiarized ourselves with the area. 

Our tour guide led us to the front desk, the delivery room, the recovery room, and everything in between while also going over procedures and protocols that were standard and in compliance with many regulations that I did not pay full attention to.

While in the recovery room, which was very nice and almost resembled more of a hotel room than hospital, our instructor informed us that it was here that our baby would be ready for his pictures and, for those having boys, circumcising. 

Here we go...

My wife raised her hand--or she may not have, actually I'm certain that she didn't--and asked:  

“Do both parents have to sign the consent form?”  Twelve heads whipped around towards us in unison, trying to locate the source of such an odd question.

My face, elevated from it's normal stand by shade of semi pale to an immediate code red, was now flushed and broadcasted what could be described as a pleasant scowl.

“Uh, no just one.”  The instructor answered, her tone pleasant and neutral.

This did little to mitigate my wife's concern, as she looked back at me with helpless resignation, as if she were touring a puppy mill.  I stood stoically behind her, attempting to put forth the look of the strong silent type, praying silently that she wouldn't start her tangent about mutilation and cruelty.

“I think nearly 90% of parents opt for the circumcision.” The instructor went on,  but this did little to satisfy my wife.  She mumbled something to the effect of not in Africa, which I didn’t understand nor acknowledge because I didn’t feel like having this ongoing debate in front of an audience.

And it has been a debate.  This is the only decision I have been adamant about.  My wife thinks it’s cruel and will cause unnecessary harm to our son.  I counter by telling her that I’m the expert in this department.  I don’t remember it, it’s done quickly and then it’s over with.

For those who aren’t circumcised or have elected not to circumcise their sons, that is fine too.  This just happens to be the one thing I request, and I don't feel that it's too much.

My wife finally let it pass, and we continued the short tour without incident.  I’m sure that this won’t be the first time we don’t see eye to eye on decisions for our son, and I’m sure she will more often than not get her way.  


  1. This is a tough decision for many parents. I happen to agree with your wife on this one - but my husband would absolutely agree with you! We have three girls, so we never had to really have it out about this, but we have disagreed about other parenting choices(co-sleeping, natural foods, education choices). I don't always get my way and neither does he. Basically, if he will take the time to read and be well informed about the issue and still disagrees, I will typically try to compromise. Circumcision has been banned in several countries and there are no medical reasons for doing it. As a mom, it seems cruel. But like you said, this is your area of expertise!I hope that you come to a decision that you are both comfortable with.

  2. Such a tough decision and to be honest one I was truly glad I didn't have to make or sign off on. Just wait until you have to sign off on immunizations. My husband and I would take turns, because we felt horrible having to sign for them to get shots, even though we knew it was for their benefit. the girls would always go in happy and smiling and come out crying and screaming. These are moments you wish you could truly take your child's place or at least crawl into a big hole!!

  3. When it comes to making this decision, I felt I didn't have any say in this. I don't know what it is like to be a boy. So I gave my husband full rights to make this decision. He would know better than I would. I understand how some may think it is cruel, but it isn't like you are in the room watching it. However, I did tell my husband that he would be on diaper duty until it healed, because I wasn't sure I would be able to handle it. As far as I am concerned it is a cleaner option. Boys get less infections because it is easier to stay clean. But this is just off of what my husband told me. I would create a list of all the reasons why your son should have it done and present that to your wife. Maybe that would convince her.

  4. I have to agree with your wife on this one. My husband felt the same as you. I asked him to watch a video online of a circumcision being done, and that changed his mind completely. I would just suggest that you research both options fully, rather than just making the decision based on looks or something similar. I wish you both the best in making a decision that you are comfortable with.

  5. Hmm, seems that I'm outnumbered here...I do see the other side to this, but I've talked to people who were not and wished they were circumcised to to the infections. It certainly isn't an easy choice!

  6. Not being a parent yet, I'm not sure I'm entitled to an opinion, but I'll give it anyway. I think you're right, Pete. From what I've read, circumcision is much healthier over the long run. I'm sure you know that, though. I hope your tour went well, and I know you'll figure it all out together.

  7. Pete, I'm totally with you on this. And as a mom to 3 boys, I have been through a circumcision THREE times! When I say "been through", it means I was in the room the whole time (but no i did not watch). Since I am Jewish, circumcision is pretty much done, no matter what. We had a mohel perform the circumcision in our home and it was so quick and all 3 of my sons barely cried. My husband, who is not jewish, was completely in favor of circumcision as well, mainly because most father's want their sons to look like them. Give your wife that argument. Your son will wonder why he looks different from you if you don't circumcise him. Oh and by the way, my father is a physician and when he was in the Navy as the ship's doctor, he used to perform circumcisions on grown men who regretted not being circumcised when they were younger and trust me, that is NOT something you want your son to go through!! Good luck with the decision....

  8. Interesting't really comment because I feel woefully underqualified. But, it's interesting how two parents really come together and compromise in the rearing of children. I think it's like a natural system of checks and balances. Great food for thought.

  9. Wow, I'm not a parent yet either, but I know this is a topic for much debate. I know families who have gone through it, and those who haven't. That's a tough one to weigh out when you have two parents on opposite ends of the scale. Not a helpful comment, I know - but, I hope you're able to make a decision together soon. Btw, this is the first post of yours that I've read and I loved it. Will be back to read more. Good luck!

  10. We chose not to circumcise...who knows if it was the right choice. That's the way of parenting. You always do what you hope is best, and then wait and see how it plays out in the end. Usually? You're okay.

  11. Thanks guys, all of your helpful comments are greatly appreciated. It may boil down to a gameday decision!