Lately I've been feeling a lot of guilt over having had my son circumcised. The truth is, I did absolutely no research on the subject (which is not like me at all). My husband thought it should be done, and other people suggested that there were medical benefits (such as being cleaner, resulting in fewer infections, and a correlation with lower rates of STDs) so I said, "okay." I barely even gave it a second thought until it came time to do it. When the doctor came to take Monkey away for the circumcision, I felt sick about it. When they brought him back and I saw his raw little penis, I cried.
So, why did I do it?
If only I had taken the time to learn more about it before he was born, I probably wouldn't have consented. I know now that there was no legitimate medical reason to have it done. I know now that it was painful for him. I know now that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend it. I know now that I made a decision that cannot be undone, and my son will have to live with it for the rest of his life.
Since there is no medical rationale, why are we still cutting our baby boys? For the sake of tradition, culture, or religion? Just because something has gone on for a long time (e.g., slavery, female genital mutilation, hazing) or is done in the name of culture or religion (suicide bombings, honor killings, ritual human sacrifice) doesn't make it right, and male circumcision is no exception.
I don't know any men who would voluntarily be circumcised as consenting adults, so why on earth do we, as parents, subject our sons to it?
"He won't be able to remember it, so it's okay."
Really? REALLY??? Most people can't remember anything before the age of two (and some before the age of 5), so does that mean that it doesn't matter how we treat our children for the first couple of years because they won't remember anyway? Go ahead and slap your kid around - he won't remember when he grows up, so it doesn't matter. This kind of "logic" helps parents feel better about the mistakes they've made along the way (and hey, nobody's perfect), but it shouldn't be used to justify abuse - or unnecessary cosmetic genital mutilation. Besides, we wouldn't allow this to happen to our daughters, would we?
I can't undo what I have already allowed to be done to my son, but I can (and do) support the MGM Bill to end nonconsensual genital mutilation.